Something for Everyone Tuesday

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Well, all of the remaining candidates in the Republican fight for the presidential nomination had something to brag about, and to worry about, after last night.

1.  Rick Santorum:

Brag About:  Major bragging rights go to Santorum.  He battled to almost a tie in Ohio, after being outspent four to one by Mitt Romney, in a truly remarkable demonstration that fervent volunteers can largely negate a money advantage.  His wins in Oklahoma, North Dakota and  Tennessee demonstrated that where the Republican party is strongest, unless there is a substantial Mormon population., Santorum also tends to be strongest, and that he has an appeal to the Republican base that is not limited to geography.  He came in a strong second in Alaska, and weak seconds in Idaho and Massachusetts.

Worry About:  He did not win in Ohio and thus any momentum from a near defeat in the Buckeye State will be much less.   Gingrich is giving no sign that he is leaving the race and his vote totals deprive Santorum of victory after victory.

2.  Mitt Romney, a/k/a the Weathervane:

Brag About:  He dodged a bullet by winning, barely, the big prize of Ohio last night.  He won overwhelmingly in Massachusetts.  Toss in victories in Virginia, Alaska, Vermont  and Idaho and it is impossible to argue, as much as I would like to, that Super Tuesday was not a very good night for the Weathervane.  He ran a strong second in Oklahoma, and weak seconds in Tennessee, Georgia and North Dakota.  He continues to amass the most delegates and to be the clear favorite to get the nomination.

Worry About:  Unless his money mud machine is fully deployed, the Weathervane has a great deal of difficulty in winning against a strong candidate, the prime example last night being Ohio where he eked out a one point victory with only a four to one spending advantage.  His victory in Virginia, where 40% of Republicans voted for Doctor Delusional since he was the only not Romney on the ballot, is also troubling for the Weathervane as it shows the depth of the anti-Romney sentiment among rank and file Republicans in a key state in the fall, and is mirrored throughout the nation.

3.  Newt Gingrich:

Brag About:  You’ll always have Georgia Newt! Newt felt that he was personally humiliated by the Romney money mud machine, and I believe he views last nights going away victory in his old home state as a personal vindication.

Worry About:  Newt’s on a simple vanity tour now.  He has zero chance to get the nomination and his staying in is assuring that the man he despises, Romney, will get the nomination.  Time to drop out now Newt, and become Santorum’s chief advisor in media relations.

4.  Ron Paul (R.Pluto)

Brag About:  Paul’s moment to shine last night was in Virginia where he got 40% running against his ally Romney.  If he had been seriously campaigning against the Weathervane, he might have pulled an upset that we would all be talking about this morning.  He had a  good second place in Vermont.  His caucus strategy is working with second place showings in Alaska and North Dakota and a strong third place in Idaho.  He will come to the convention with a fist full of delegates and have his speech at the podium and I think that is his goal.

Worry About:  No, Doctor, no matter how pleasant you are to Romney, he is never going to choose Rand as Veep, since if Kentucky is in play he is a goner anyway.  Rand I think has a big political future, but not this year, and probably not as long as you are still on the scene.

14 Responses to Something for Everyone Tuesday

  • Jay Anderson says:

    If you count Super-PAC spending, Dullard Flip Rino’s advantage in Ohio was probably something more like 12-1. Every time you turned on the TV here, Santorum’s grainy photo was juxtaposed with ominous music paid for by Dullard’s Super-PAC.

    At any rate, Santorum’s loss in Ohio – even though a squeaker – coupled with Gingrich’s win in Georgia – which will be enough to keep Gingrich’s oversized ego in the race, means this thing is, for all practical purposes, over. And the allegedly “conservative” and “pro-life” party will have nominated someone who is neither.

    Which means I’ll be casting my vote elsewhere this fall. Time to replace my Santorum bumper stickers and yard signs with ones for Virgil Goode.

  • Probably a correct analysis Jay unless Gingrich does decide to drop out soon and put every drop of energy he has behind Santorum. Unlikely, yes, but this year I do not think it is ever safe to assume that the unlikely may not occur.

  • Big Tex says:

    I’m not sure the Pauls are angling for Rand to get the VP spot. Yeah, I’ve heard chatter about it, but it doesn’t seem to make much sense to me given that Romney’s positions (as floppy as they may be) are far and away different than those of Pauls… at least the ones Paul supporters care most deeply about (foreign policy, ending the FED, etc…).

  • WK Aiken says:

    Rand Paul’s chances of accepting a VP slot are between none and square-root-of-negative-one. If the GOP loses, Sen. Paul is then cast into Elysium, never to be seen again. If they win, then he’s in that lovely position that was unsuccessful for all but Martin van Buren and GHW Bush.

    He’s aiming at 2016 or 2020, depending. Were there any chance of Paul the Younger being on a ticket, Paul the Elder would have dropped out months ago. Being in any oppositional situation would not serve the cause.

  • Paul Zummo says:

    Pretty much nailed what I was gonna say. I would just add that the Virginia result is the most troubling for Romney, especially since Virginia is such a must-win state for the GOP. That’s a mighty loud protest vote. And for the “electable” crowd, please note that Romney is barely eking out victories while massively outspending his opponents. What is he going to do when he’s the one being outspent on the order of 2:1, if not more?

    Even though Gingrich dropping out would help Santorum – and Santorum certainly would have won Ohio without Newt in the race, and probably Georgia as well – there’s something to be said for the fact that Rick would be facing a 2-1 onslaught without Newt. Not having Newt in the race could help Romney and mini-Romney concentrate their fire. So I think the advantage to Santorum to Newt dropping out is not as significant as people might think.

    I had suggested on my blog that Santorum would drop out if he lost Ohio, but considering the closeness of the race and the otherwise decent showing last night, he’ll stick it out. He should do fairly well in the next round of states, which are concentrated in the south and midwest. But he faces an uphill climb to 1,044.

  • Jay Anderson says:

    Something to keep an eye on:
    Every time Romney gets a big win, he lets down his guard and drops the conservative fascade. It always comes back to bite him, and his campaign is left scrambling to undo the damage and explain that the candidate didn’t really mean what he just said. (See, e.g., last week’s faux pas re: the Blunt Amendment.) EVERY time. So be on the watch.

    My guess, based on his speech last night in Massachusetts, is that Romney will not wait any longer before doing the general election pivot to the “middle” (i.e. left). It will happen this week, perhaps as early as today. Expect to be continually disappointed throughout this election as the REAL Mitt comes to the fore.

    I expect he’ll even pull a Murkowski and back off his already tepid “support” of the failed Blunt Amendment at some point in the near future. He’ll use the “I support religious freedom, but the Blunt Amendment was overbroad and went too far” line. He’ll even go on record as wanting to broker a “more effective accomodation” than the Obama “accomodation”. It will be somewhat more favorable to the Church’s position, but not satisfactory. Just watch.

    That’s my prediction.

  • Brett Adams says:

    I think that there are a few things people often forget about:
    1) We’ve had huge upswings in this race. To count *anyone* out right now seems crazy and indicates a lack of backwards vision.
    2) I don’t have numbers to back this up, but is it possible that some people who vote for Gingrich might vote for Romney instead of Santorum? I know I would choose Romney over Santorum any day, any week, if it was between those two!
    3) How many Republicans and conservatives are actually going to sit at home on election day if Romney wins the nomination? I think the hatred for President Obama is so high among that crowd that they’d show up to vote for a shoe. So any talk of Romney barely beating Santorum, and only when he outspends him, says nothing about the general election. The general election will simply be, for Romney, making sure he doesn’t offend the Republican and conservative base, and appealing to moderates. Santorum can *only* appeal to die-hard conservatives and Republicans.

    In the end, I can’t see how Santorum is a better general election candidate than Romney: and this comes from a Newt supporter!

  • Paul Zummo says:

    I don’t have numbers to back this up, but is it possible that some people who vote for Gingrich might vote for Romney instead of Santorum? I know I would choose Romney over Santorum any day, any week, if it was between those two!

    Most polling suggests that you’d be in the minority among Gingrich supporters, though who knows what would really happen.

    How many Republicans and conservatives are actually going to sit at home on election day if Romney wins the nomination?

    Well, you’ve got two on this thread alone, and from what I’ve seen I would say that a not unsubstantial number of conservatives would do so. Again, we’ll see.

    Santorum can *only* appeal to die-hard conservatives and Republicans.

    And yet he twice won in a district that was more than 3:1 Democrat to Republican, and won twice state-wide in a leaning blue state (yes, yes, I know – he also lost there by 18). In a general election, Santorum’s populist appeal could very well attract more blue-collar Democrats and independents than Romney is likely going to draw.

  • Pinky says:

    Ohio, Ohio, Ohio.

    Both candidates allowed the press to build it up as the defining race of Super Tuesday, so they have to live with the results. This is the second Clash of the Titans since Santorum’s three-state sweep, and Romney has won both of them.

    Newt has a shiny new toy, and will go into the Convention with two state victories – cause it ain’t gonna happen a third time. Paul didn’t even get a shiny toy. At this point they’re just vying for a good slot in primetime at the Convention. I think they both want to hold their heads high, but really, why should they?

    I’ve been bothered by the constant calls for candidates to drop out, but if Romney can win the two Deep South races of Alabama and Mississippi next week, I don’t see why Santorum should stay in the race.

    How would Santorum be as a VP nominee? Typically, the pick has less significance than the press thinks it does. VP isn’t like being Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon; it’s more like being Michael Collins who stayed in orbit. You’re close enough to see what power looks like, but you don’t actually have any. And there’s always talk about putting all the other candidates in your cabinet to show party unity, which never amounts to anything. But I think that the personas that Romney and Santorum have crafted in this campaign would play off each other really well. The fact that they don’t seem to like each other would work to their advantage.

  • Foxfier says:

    I got to hear the local vaguely-conservative station’s special coverage that was mostly scolding Gingrich and pouting that Santorum was doing so well. (the guy really likes Romney)

    I notice a trend: the folks who support Romney and Libertarians seem to think that SoCons are still going to do their “better than nothing” trick and support anybody that’s not Obama. I think the game is changing– you can’t take the base for granted, not when there’s so much access to information that “better than nothing” is more like eating the seed-corn.

  • Tess S. says:

    After viewing the three speeches last night, I reached the conclusion that there is only one candidate who articulates the fight necessary to beat Obama and the vision to lead this country out of the rubble. I challenge all of you to objectively view the speeches and honestly evaluate the message conveyed.

    P.S.
    Newt= $2.50 gasoline.

  • Foxfier says:

    Tess S. -
    why on earth would we base our choices on one speech from each person? Besides the fact that what I heard of Newt’s speech was not persuasive unless you already agreed, and the idea of Newt fighting the elite establishment still makes me giggle (imagine Pelosi talking about speaking truth to power), I don’t make choices strictly on how good someone is at talking. That may be a bias on my part, because I’m not so silver-tongued myself.

  • Boston says:

    Foxfier,

    Then let’s vote for a candidate based on the fact that he has seven kids.

    The majority of his Super Tuesday speech consisted of bragging about the size of his family, his roots in the Ohio Valley, and a display of a few smooches with his wife. It was beautiful. Profound. A family like his will save the world.

    Yeah. I Pick Rick.

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