As you wake up this morning, Rick Santorum only lost to Mitt Romney by 8 votes. Santorum spent about a dollar per vote and Romney spent hundreds of dollars for his votes. Rick Santorum substantially over performed and while the Romney camp wants you to believe a win is a win, Romney got less votes in 2012 than he got in 2008. In addition, everything you heard last night from the professional class of political pundit was bull crap.
The political press and pundits have gotten so used to standard narratives that they cannot deviate from the mean even when it becomes grossly dislocated from reality.
First, the reason the GOP is having such a chaotic primary fight has nothing to do with the tea party. Frankly, it has nothing to do with the bulk of the GOP not wanting Romney.
The reason this Republican primary season is so chaotic is because George W. Bush failed to have a successor. Had President Bush had a Vice President to run for President, Bush would have undoubtedly made different policy decisions, but even aside from that there would have been an ascertainable front runner coming from the Bush administration to win or lose.
Because there was not such a thing and because the GOP likes orderly processes, we had to go back to 2000 and dredge up John McCain.
The Republican field was unable to reboot because we had no logical successor coming out of the White House to either win or lose. We went back to McCain and have had to work our way back through unresolved issues from 2000. And now, when the field should be rebooted, we’re having to deal with Mitt Romney who should have been displaced by an heir in 2008 and instead, because the 2008 season did not reboot the crop of candidates, is now the guy three quarters of the GOP does not want who is about to be the nominee.
Our process is chaotic because Bush left us no heir to win or to be rejected through a cathartic process of locking in gains or moving on from Bush. Yes, this one is Bush’s fault. On the bright side, the Democrats will have the same problem in 2016 unless Obama ditches Biden now for Hillary.
But that’s not the only issue the media has failed to pay attention to. There was some serious bull crap coming out of reporters’ mouths last night that is flat out false.
For starters, the media would have you believe that the 123,000 people who turned out for the Hawkeye Caucii was a record. This is simply not true except superficially. If you take out the non-Republicans who came into the caucuses last night for Ron Paul, the Republican turn out was less than 2008 — even considering the ratio of independents to Republicans who turned out in 2008.
At its best, this turn out does not signal core enthusiasm with the field as it is presently constituted and perhaps signals that an alternative could still jump in. Considering “winner takes all” races do not come until April, someone coming out now could campaign and build momentum to the winner takes all states.
Additionally, anyone who says “this was a victory for retail politics” should be beaten with an Iowan cattle prod. Rick Santorum’s “victory” — and it was a victory in every sense but those 8 votes — was because he has run one of the most God awful disastrous retail campaign operations of any candidate with enough popularity to get on the debate stage.
Santorum visited all 99 Iowan counties, some of them repeatedly. His “successful” campaign never, ever caught on with Iowa voters despite all that retail time in Iowa. It only became successful when ever single other candidate had been vetted and imploded and there was absolutely no other person familiar to the voters who could stand as the non-Romney candidate.
Had Santorum run a successful retail campaign and caught fire on his own accord, he’d have been vetted by now and probably also succumbed to the Romney machine. His campaign was not successful, it’s just all the others sucked so bad.
And now that leads me to Bachmann and Perry. Bachmann, the Iowa native, won not a single county. Even Rick Perry won two counties. Bachmann must drop out. Frankly, it makes sense for Perry to do so as well except for one issue.
If Rick Perry drops out of the race it will be the ultimate failure of the tea party movement to see the race come down to two or three big government conservatives. Romney and Santorum both hide behind compassionate conservatism to expand the state to suit their purposes. Only Rick Perry has run a campaign to make Washington “as inconsequential to our lives as possible.”
If I were Perry, I’d wake up tomorrow, say I refuse to surrender the Republican Party into the hands of big government conservatives after all the gains the tea party has made, and then announce I’m firing all my political staffers and communications staffers and ask South Carolina to help me reboot to victory. Make it an Alamo stand and, if like at the Alamo Perry goes down, perhaps there’ll at least be a rallying cry for small government conservatism left over.
That’s just me. Perry’s policy people have been phenomenal. The comms staff and political staff so badly bungled this that Rick Perry just suffered the first political loss of his career.
Don’t count on it happening though.
As you wake up this morning, the tea party has failed because it has surrendered itself into the hands of Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich — all of whom would use government to suit allegedly conservative ends, which is not conservative in and of itself. But by God Mitt Romney may now get the political beating everyone has been expecting him to get. Newt Gingrich has nothing left to lose. He can go Newtlear against the guy he sees as having destroyed him. Newt Gingrich can unleash unmitigated hell against MItt Romney and just like the attacks on Newt were true, they’ll all be true about MItt Romney too.