Waking Up to Santorum

Santorum happens to all of us on occasion, and now the Republican party knows the feeling. They went to bed hoping against hope that Colorado, which Romney won easily in 2008, would deliver them from a three-state sweep, but, like Minnesota, which Romney also won big in 2008, and Missouri, it went hard for Rick. What caused this unholy mess? Nate Silver sums it up:

Mr. Romney has had deep problems so far with the Republican base, going 1-for-4 in caucus states where turnout is dominated by highly conservative voters. Mr. Romney is 0-for-3 so far in the Midwest, a region that is often decisive in the general election. He had tepid support among major blocks of Republican voters like evangelicals and Tea Party supporters, those voters making under $50,000 per year, and those in rural areas. Instead, much of his support has come from the wealthy areas that Charles Murray calls Super ZIPs — few of which are in swing states in the general election.

Meanwhile, polls show that a large number of Republicans have tepid enthusiasm for their field. And this has been reflected in the turnout so far, which is down about 10 percent from 2008 among Republican registrants and identifiers.

These are not the hallmarks of a race with a dominant candidate. Nor, even, of a race with a candidate like John Kerry, the best of a somewhat weak lot of Democrats in 2004, but one whom the party settled upon fairly quickly.

Instead, this race bears more resemblance to something like the 1984 Democratic contest or the 1976 Republican race. There was a favorite in each of those contests — Walter Mondale in 1984 and Gerald Ford in 1976 — and they were ahead in the delegate count more or less from start to finish.

If you’re a mainstream Republican Romney backer, are you going to haul your ass out of your warm house, trundle down to poorly-run caucus, and face the wrath of some teabaggers when you raise your hand or stomp your foot or whatever caucus voters do to indicate preference? Mitt Romney’s only hope for the remainder of February is that the next two contests, in Arizona and Michigan, are primaries in states that should be sympathetic to either the Angel Moroni or the name Romney. As David Axelrod notes, Mitt’s Super PAC is going to be banging away at Santorum, but I don’t think he’s as soft a target as Gingrich, at least for Republicans. His weakness as a general election candidate is his bigotry, but that’s a strength among the 27 percenters, so Romney can’t mention it. Instead, the Romney campaign will be attacking Santorum’s earmarks when he was in Congress.  That’s a far cry from adultery and moon bases.

Let’s face it:  in their hearts, the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along, but they held their nose and voted for Romney.   With 11 caucuses in March, they can come out of the closet and wallow in it.

82 replies
  1. 1
    Egg Berry says:

    Santorum happens to all of us on occasion

    Speak for yourself.

  2. 2
    WyldPirate says:

    Even the Talibangelicals don’t seem to care even about Santorum.

    Colorado had 2.3 million registered voters in 2010and had a turnout of 100k for the primary. Santorum won it with ~1% of those voters who probably wouldn’t make up the number of congragation members of the megachurches in the Colorado Springs area.

    The 27% of crazies better get the fires under their hate stoked up or they’re going to sit at home in November.

  3. 3
    Privatize the Profits! Socialize the Costs! says:

    the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along… they can come out of the closet and wallow in it.

    Well, just as long as they don’t swallow it!

    Wait! Come to think of it, I’d like to see that, too..

  4. 4
    PeakVT says:

    No, I think the teabaggers are still voting not-Romney. It’s just now there are a lot fewer not-Romneys to choose from. Anyone who showed up in MO/MN/CO is probably fairly informed about who Gingrich is, so that leaves Santorum, who has the endorsement of leading god-botherers.

    ETA: Paul has all the support he will ever get, and will keep it until he drops out.

  5. 5
    WyldPirate says:

    PeakVT:
    Gingrich wasn’t on the ballot in Missouri.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    There is one thing to note: no one is claiming that Santorum will beat Obama. The advocates of previous not-Romneys always made a claim, however unlikely, that this was the candidate who would beat the Kenyan usurper–e.g., Noot, brilliant and fearless, would crush the dusky Muslim in a (lengthy) series of debates, or go to the moon and be transformed into a post-human, or something.

    But Santorum would get beaten, badly. Everyone knows that, and no one bothers to even try arguing otherwise.

  7. 7
    Oshi says:

    Haha m_c was right.

  8. 8
    harlana says:

    good lord, caucuses are stupid and unfair, imo, but anything to keep the fight going is alright by me!

  9. 9
    Oshi says:

    No love for Mormons in Colorado

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    HIGH-lrious spin from a precinct capt. in NW MN. The totals are off ~15% from 4 years ago – but this jackass was on MPR this morning crowing about how they had sooooo many new voters (mostly Paul & Frothy guys according to this moran) because there is ssoooooo much anger at Obama. HA! mega-fail!

    There was another sound bite with some old guy who supported Willard because he could beat Obama & then whined about the GOP field being labeled weak. If none of the others stands a chance to beat the Black Jimmy Carter how else could you classify it?

  11. 11
    Napoleon says:

    I love it!

  12. 12
    amk says:

    Forget caucuses. The MO primary turnout was about 43% of 2008.

    nate quoting 10% less turnout is utter bw bs.

  13. 13
    Cat Lady says:

    @MattF:

    That’s exactly the unstated message this morning in the Village as represented on Morning Hos. Even the Politico hack VandenHei said there’s no spin that will work for last night’s Romney FAIL. The Republican party is three completely different constituencies who now have to pick a poison, and the only way for the GOP primary voters to win is not to play. It couldn’t happen to nicer bunch of fucktards.

  14. 14
    Tom65 says:

    I know it probably won’t happen, but I’d love to see the GOP head to the convention without a clear nominee. The resulting bloodbath would be televised live.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    amk says:

    @Tom65: Do they allow guns inside their convention? After all, the awsome 2nd amendment rox and rulez.

  17. 17
    Schlemizel says:

    @Tom65:
    Yes, it would be fun to see the Paultards/Aillard$/Salamanders gun fight – a live action “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” with a lot more blood being spilled and no treasure found at the end!

    Sadly. I can’t imagine the GOP allowing this to happen

    @amk:
    I wish! But I’m old enough to remember a black delegate being beaten up at the RNC simply because he was black.

  18. 18
    RossInDetroit says:

    I checked the MI GOP polls last week and they had Mitt leading by between 10 and 20 points. Those are probably stale numbers and there will certainly be some change between now and the primary, but that’s where it stood in the most recent numbers I’ve seen.

  19. 19

    @WyldPirate:

    Gingrich wasn’t on the ballot in Missouri.

    Nor Virginia, his home state – thus demonstrating the organizational skills one wants to see in a President ;)

  20. 20
    Egg Berry says:

    @Schlemizel:

    a live action “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” with a lot more blood being spilled and no treasure found at the end!

    And without the “Good” part.

  21. 21
    Schlemizel says:

    @Egg Berry:
    Yeah, I had a hard time typing that. But I can just imagine every delegate seeing themselves as Eastwood squinting down Wallach and Van Cleef. I bet some of them could even be heard whistling that tune!

  22. 22
    The Golux says:

    It’s certainly amusing to watch all these lightweights come and go; it’s as though they have been kept in the glovebox in little foil packets until their turn comes up, then proudly unfurled, only to be quickly discarded like sticky bits of latex in the parking lot behind the drugstore.

  23. 23
    Yevgraf says:

    Santorum’s problems are multifold.

    1. His antigay thing isn’t one which will resonate. More voters don’t give a shit than than you think, even people who won’t actively gay bash.

    2. His racial thing, his hyperreligiousity and his opposition to contraception, however, smack people where they live.

    He’s a creepy freak.

  24. 24

    @Schlemizel:

    I had a dream last night that someone was re-making The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  25. 25
    RalfW says:

    Failed media experiment Tweet of the night, 2/7/12:

    @JamesFallows I’m not a conservative, but if I were I’d be signing on for Santorum. Nice speech just now.

  26. 26
    amk says:

    @The Golux: poor paul, that old crazy coot, is the only one not to hit the not-mittmentum yet. paultards must be pretty pissed off by now … or they’re all in a bong hit session right now.

  27. 27

    @Yevgraf:

    His opposition to contraception probably won’t make him a big hit on college campuses…

  28. 28

    So, the Ron-bots need to remind me why Ron Paul is still a viable candidate. I’m waiting.

    Last night on Twitter one hilarious Ronbot claimed that the caucuses were ALL RIGGED because ONLINE POLLS had Ron Paul ahead.

    Online polls. Yes, this is the Ron Paul True Believer in action.

  29. 29
    Mino says:

    Dennis should repost his Mariana thread.

  30. 30
    Yevgraf says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:

    His opposition to contraception probably won’t make him a big hit on college campuses…

    Or with anybody under 50.

  31. 31
    JPL says:

    @Yevgraf: Santorum supports the personhood amendment and believes Griswold was wrong. Besides parish priests who will support him? Medicare might be considered a holy grail but I think birth control is. I don’t think a Republican will win again if they take that away.

  32. 32
    amk says:

    @Southern Beale: paulbots rule teh internetz. they are gonna take over amurikkka by infecting your ‘puters, come november. you losers.

  33. 33
    dmsilev says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Yes, it would be fun to see the Paultards/Aillard$/Salamanders gun fight – a live action “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” with a lot more blood being spilled and no treasure found at the end

    I think that’s really more a “The Ugly, The Ugly, and The Ugly” situation.

    And this time, Clint Eastwood ain’t gonna save them.

  34. 34
    Mino says:

    @Cat Lady: I was waiting for a single one of those people who imagine they are journalists to ask Rick…what would your position be on the availability of contraceptives?

  35. 35
    Shari says:

    @JPL: Or with anybody with a child under 50

  36. 36
    Schlemizel says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy:
    From your dream to His Noodley appendage

    @dmsilev:
    I really wanted to come up with something like, The Stupid, The Crazy and the Ridiculous but I couldn’t get the right meter. Certainly they all fit any one of the 4 (ugly, stupid, crazy and ridiculous). But you know the all see themselves as the Blondie coolly waiting for just the right moment, calmly calculating who to shoot first. The reality is of course they are all Tuco without hise class, ethics or smarts.

  37. 37
    Yevgraf says:

    @JPL:

    Inverse coattails.

    There’s major plusses to a Savonarolan candidacy, as that may shut down the fundie overpowerment for good, and spark a realigning trend.

  38. 38
    Egg Berry says:

    @Schlemizel: “The Rude, the Had, and the Ugly.” Newt, Rmoney, and Santorum, in that order.

  39. 39
    Pavonis says:

    I accessed Washington Monthly on a Linux machine. It redirects immediately to some site filled with ads (but strangely, no p*rn) with a country domain name I didn’t recognize (probably Eastern Europe). They definitely got hacked. Ack.

  40. 40
    Todd Dugdale says:

    but, like Minnesota, which Romney also won big in 2008,

    Romney may have won MN in 2008, but all of the delegates went to McCain because the caucus is non-binding. The MN Ron Paul delegates had their credentials pulled and their votes were counted as “abstentions”. It’s as much of a “beauty contest” as MO is. The MN GOP basically ignores the caucus vote results and allocates delegates based on the person that they think is best for the Party.

    Let’s face it: in their hearts, the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along, but they held their nose and voted for Romney.

    With the recent polling showing Romney losing to Obama, the “electability” argument isn’t in Romney’s favour anymore. Yet Santorum does even worse in those match-ups.
    The Republican base must really believe that anybody can beat Obama, and for that we should thank FNC.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    RossInDetroit says:

    @Pavonis:

    Yeah, I noticed. WTF is .tk? Turkmenistan?

    ETA:
    Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific.
    “Tokelau allows any individual to register domain names. “

  43. 43
    Tom65 says:

    So much for the Trump Effect.

  44. 44
    rlrr says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford:

    According to the Veritas troll, Romney is an unstoppable juggernaut…

  45. 45

    @Yevgraf:

    There’s major plusses to a Savonarolan candidacy, as that may shut down the fundie overpowerment for good, and spark a realigning trend.

    I can see months of clear demonstration of just what self righteousness looks like. And how effective saintliness is at organization and problem solving.

    “Help, help! We have a problem!”

    “Think pure thoughts, my son.”

    “Help, help! We have a problem! And meditation hasn’t helped!”

    “Deprivation is good for you, brother.”

    “Help, help! We still have a problem! We’re going to be totally destroyed!”

    “Have you tried self flagellation? Very powerful!”

    Bah.

    ETA:
    You guys know I can’t spell.

  46. 46
    dmsilev says:

    I take great pleasure in imagining the Romney reaction to last night. It will be something along the lines of “Unleash the Kraken!”, except of course being Romney it will be closer to “Unfetter the Cephalopod!”.

  47. 47
    Ed in NJ says:

    @Cat Lady:

    There may be no spin that will work, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try. I’ve already read a couple of articles trying to make the case that the contests last night were meaningless, since Romney was inevitable. In other words, there were countless Romney supporters sitting at home, content to skip this process, but prepared to come out in numbers for the general election.

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    As much as I find your analysis spot on, the thing that I loved about this post and which made me LOL for real was this:

    If you’re a mainstream Republican Romney backer, are you going to haul your ass out of your warm house, trundle down to poorly-run caucus, and face the wrath of some teabaggers when you raise your hand or stomp your foot or whatever caucus voters do to indicate preference?

    That was a thing of beauty. You almost feel sorry for the poor fuckers until you remember who they are.

  49. 49

    […] Waking Up to Santorum – As David Axelrod notes, Mitt’s Super PAC is going to be banging away at Santorum, but I don’t think he’s as soft a target as Gingrich, at least for Republicans. His weakness as a general election candidate is his bigotry, but that’s a strength among the 27 percenters, so Romney can’t mention it. Instead, the Romney campaign will be attacking Santorum’s earmarks when he was in Congress. That’s a far cry from adultery and moon bases. Let’s face it: in their hearts, the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along, but they held their nose and voted for Romney. With 11 caucuses in March, they can come out of the closet and wallow in it. […]

  50. 50
    SensesFail says:

    @Tom65:

    The Trump Bump, you mean?

  51. 51
  52. 52
    RossInDetroit says:

    Tomasky says that although Mitt will be the nominee he will have a very hard time motivating the base to vote.
    What I see changing is that every time Mitt looks weak the chances of a down-ticket Dem get better. The more Republicans blow off the election in November the more close races the Dems will win.

  53. 53
    Percysowner says:

    @Certified Mutant Enemy: Eh, I’ll cut Newt some slack about not being on the ballots. He only declared for President to sell books and get publicity. He never expected that Romney would be such a weak candidate that Newt might actually have a chance at this thing. This is so very amusing.

  54. 54
    Barry says:

    @WyldPirate: “The 27% of crazies better get the fires under their hate stoked up or they’re going to sit at home in November.”

    They’ll turn out, due to hatred of the Evul Kenyun Muzlim Atheist. And in the end they’ll fall in line behind whomever the elites push.

  55. 55
    AliceBlue says:

    If Willard thinks last night was bad, he ain’t gonna know what hit him when he gets down here in the deep south.

  56. 56
    AA+ Bonds says:

    If anyone wants the only important information about Santorum, here it is, and I suggest you pay the fuck attention:

    His Super PAC is The Red, White and Blue Fund

    His sugar daddy is a mutual fund investor named Foster Friess

    You’re welcome

  57. 57
    Percysowner says:

    @Yevgraf:

    His opposition to contraception probably won’t make him a big hit on college campuses…

    Or with anybody under 50.

    Or with anyone over fifty who has kids that can’t find a good job in this economy. Anti-contraception is a loser all around.

  58. 58
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Excuse me, a mutual fund EXECUTIVE named Foster Friess, who was standing behind Santorum during his speech last night.

    Don’t get distracted. C.R.E.A.M. The rest is a light show for the rubes.

  59. 59
    chopper says:

    isn’t it awesome that mittens still can’t seem to crack 50% in any primary (tho i guess he just barely made it in NV), but rih santorum can?

    romney’s gotta be frothing at the mouth over that one.

  60. 60
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    [.tk=] Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand located in the South Pacific.

    I’ll be damned. I had assumed .tk was Turkey.

  61. 61
    harlana says:

    @Yevgraf:

    He’s a creepy freak.

    also, the wife – how one can live with that sort of cognitive dissonance is beyond me, i guess we should ask Michele Bachmann

  62. 62
    harlana says:

    @Percysowner:

    This is so very amusing.

    by the time i get through all this popcorn, i’m gonna weigh 400 lbs!

  63. 63
    The Golux says:

    @Tom65:

    So much for the Trump Effect.

    That is the Trump Effect.

  64. 64
    Nazgul35 says:

    Again…Michigan is an open primary system.

    The assumption that Romney will win Michigan is a big one. Remember 2000? It was Michigan that reignited McCain’s campaign thanks to the large number of Democrats crossing over to vote for him.

    My prediction: Romney loses Michigan to whatever wingnut alternative is hot at the moment thanks to a lot of Democrats with time on their hands.

  65. 65
    Paul in KY says:

    @dmsilev: The Bad, The Insane, The Ugly & Mr. Magoo.

  66. 66
    lacp says:

    @chopper: frothing at the mouth or santoruming at the mouth?

  67. 67
    Schlemizel says:

    @Paul in KY: The dope, the grope, the nope and the pope (Willard, Slamander, Dr. No, old Frothy)

    It took too long but I like it 8-{D

    I wouldn’t mind adding tope and mope but not getting the right vibe with a specific guy

  68. 68
    The Dangerman says:

    …banging away at Santorum…

    I see what you did there.

  69. 69
    Paul in KY says:

    @Schlemizel: Beats the Hell out of mine! Kudos!

  70. 70
    handsmile says:

    Okay, so we’re all agreed that Santorum has no chance whatsoever of being the 2012 GOP standard-bearer. (It’s nice to know that there is a limit to what Americans will accept in a political candidate. Who knew?)

    Gingrich will remain in the race for as long as the Adelson family continues to write checks for his SuperPAC.

    As PeakVT noted above (#4), “Paul has all the support he will ever get.”

    So that leaves Mittens. A profoundly flawed political candidate who seemingly each week makes a howlingly inept gaffe (ones that would doom any Democratic office-seeker). A candidate who is barely maintaining or even losing support from his 2008 primary tallies. How many accounts must we read or hear about his intractable unpopularity with significant factions of the GOP base electorate?

    And this man is going to be the 2012 Republican presidential candidate? There’s going to be a kumbaya circle among these candidates and the warring clans of the GOP?

    Political history and political convention have been shredded in this primary campaign; precedent seems to hold weak value. This morning I am more convinced than ever that a new GOP White Knight will emerge from Tampa Bay.

  71. 71
    Paul in KY says:

    @handsmile: We need him to keep those gaffes coming. I’m afraid that he’s already had so many, that he will be alot more disciplined (or have Rove speaking to him thru a secret earpiece) in the general.

  72. 72
    burnspbesq says:

    Speaking of people who never got it and never will …

    http://www.tnr.com/article/wor.....dium=email

    Sure thing, Leon. We’ll get right on picking a side in the incipient civil war in Syria. For someone who professes such concern for Israel, you seem pretty sanguine about sending large quantities of American guns and ammo to people who don’t like Israel very much.

    Short version: Leon, you’re an idiot.

  73. 73
    MattF says:

    @handsmile: One problem is that Republican Convention delegates aren’t going to approve of any candidate who shows even a hint of moderation. This pretty much rules out any rational choice. But, we shall see.

  74. 74
    IM says:

    @AA+ Bonds:

    You don’t say.

    Could you please explain, why do you behave as if you are the only literate person here?

    That is a blog devoted to american politics after all.

    I have heard of Santorums plutocrat backers and I am the clueless foreigner around here.

  75. 75
    prufrock says:

    @handsmile:

    This morning I am more convinced than ever that a new GOP White Knight will emerge from Tampa Bay.

    The problem is if that happens, they’ll probably get someone like this guy:

    Hans…booby, I’m your white knight.

  76. 76
    feebog says:

    Todd Dugdale @ 40:

    The Republican base must really believe that anybody can beat Obama, and for that we should thank FNC.

    Go over to Red State sometime. First Perry was going to kick ass. When Perry turned out to be a numbskull, some went for Cain, others split for Gingrich. Now they pretty much see Noot as their last hope. Even most Red Staters understand that Man-on-Dog has not chance of beating Obama. Yet these same morons think Noot will destroy Obama in a debate. They are deluded and living in a bubble that no common sense will ever pop.

  77. 77
    handsmile says:

    @Paul in KY: , @MattF:

    Thanks both for your replies.

    Paul: If he gets to the general. And clearly I’m skeptical that will happen. Also, from what we’ve observed thus far, Mittens seems intrinsically, characterologically, unable to refrain from gaffes. He’s long been praised for his self-discipline, so I doubt whether any coaching or earpiece-whispering could halt his compulsion.

    Matt: Convention delegates are among the most well-heeled and well-connected of party apparatchiks. They are rarely tribe members of the tooth-and-claw base. Their interests-financial, social, political-are better advanced by a candidate who is deemed to be of appeal to a broader electorate. Of course, as you rightly caution, “we shall see.”

    TPM now has several articles on Mittens’ current electoral quagmire and beclouded prospects, the one linked below with actual quantitative data (!):

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/a.....?ref=fpblg

  78. 78
    les says:

    @Barry:

    They’ll [the 27%] turn out, due to hatred of the Evul Kenyun Muzlim Atheist. And in the end they’ll fall in line behind whomever the elites push.

    I think that’s right; but the rest of the automatic 45% any major party candidate gets may not be so excited.

  79. 79
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Romney will be the nominee and I am sure that by November the Republican base will come out in droves to support him, whether they love him or not. They hate Obama and that’s enough to get them out to vote.

  80. 80
    Bruce S says:

    Santorum is a dumber motherf***er than even we thought he was. Here’s Ricky on the cause of the 2008 financial meltdown that still plagues us:

    Stressing the importance for the country to provide cheap energy to its citizens, Santorum blamed the recession not on sub-prime mortgages or the derivatives market but on spiking fuel prices.

    “We went into a recession in 2008. People forget why. They thought it was a housing bubble. The housing bubble was caused because of a dramatic spike in energy prices that caused the housing bubble to burst,” Santorum told the audience. “People had to pay so much money to air condition and heat their homes or pay for gasoline that they couldn’t pay their mortgage.”

    Via Ed Kilgore at Political Animal

  81. 81
    sherparick says:

    I can’t wait for the Republican Convenetion. Between the Gold Stanard, Outlawing Contraception, eliminating the tax on Capital Gains, and raising taxes on anyone earning less than $50,000, and probably making becoming unemployed a felony offense, it will like a particularly wild insane asylum. Yep, its going to be fun to eat popcorn and watch the insanity and self-destruction.

  82. 82
    Samara Morgan says:

    Look.
    America is not ready for a MORMON president.
    Americans like to pretend we are, but we ain’t.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Waking Up to Santorum – As David Axelrod notes, Mitt’s Super PAC is going to be banging away at Santorum, but I don’t think he’s as soft a target as Gingrich, at least for Republicans. His weakness as a general election candidate is his bigotry, but that’s a strength among the 27 percenters, so Romney can’t mention it. Instead, the Romney campaign will be attacking Santorum’s earmarks when he was in Congress. That’s a far cry from adultery and moon bases. Let’s face it: in their hearts, the Tea Party base has secretly wanted Santorum all along, but they held their nose and voted for Romney. With 11 caucuses in March, they can come out of the closet and wallow in it. […]

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