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  GOP Death Watch

Armed with Massive Advantages, Mitt Romney Once Again Fights Rick Santorum to a Draw

Mitt Romney
On Tuesday, Mitt Romney had a really bad night. You know you’re having a really bad night when a member of the mainstream media–in this case Michael Crowley from Time magazine-tweets the following about you: “Remember the Simpsons where Homer is only employee who hasn’t won Worker of the Week, and then they give it to a carbon rod? Romney=Homer.”

Looking back from November, we might remember Super Tuesday as the night when Romney could start preparing his concession call to Barack Obama.  Faced with a do-or-die situation for his candidacy, Romney took the middle approach: he didn’t do and he didn’t die. He just inflicted his candidacy with a fatal shot of fecklessness. He lives to limp on to the GOP convention in Tampa, where he has to be the nominee if only because there are no carbon rods available.

Ten states were up for grabs on Tuesday, and the results in most of them were predictable. Romney won Massachusetts, where he was governor, and neighboring Vermont, where cows probably outnumber Republicans. He also won Idaho, because of its large Mormon population. But in Ohio, the state where it most mattered, both for Tuesday and for election day in November, Romney could not deliver the knockout blow he needed to stop Rick Santorum, a candidate whom he outspent by several orders or magnitude (6 to 1 or 12 to 1, depending on how self-pitying Santorum is feeling). The narrow margin between the two candidates is an embarrassment for both of them: for Romney, for proving once again he is not a man of the people, and for Santorum, for blowing a huge lead.

Still, Santorum had a strong enough showing to prove he is the only credible (if that’s the word for another GOP extremist) alternative to Romney. Santorum won Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota, enough to generate a bit more money for his anemic coffers. The next round of voting is in states like Kansas, Mississippi and Alabama, places that are far more amenable to Santorum’s social messages than to Romney’s attempts to prove he’s really a conservative despite his moderate record. Newt Gingrich won his own state of Georgia, as well as the title of Candidate We Are Most Likely To Forget Is Still in the Race.

What the GOP primary has become is the modern day political equivalent of the Battle of the Somme–an endless bloody slog where successes are measured in yards, not miles, and in the end victory is hollow. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that the extended primary is driving up the unfavorable ratings of all the GOP candidates. For a candidate like Romney, whose image is rapidly becoming fixed as the clueless wealthy guy, a longer primary season is a potentially fatal development. People may have a pretty good idea of who they think Romney is long before he gets to introduce himself as the GOP presidential nominee.

There’s probably at least another month of party self-destruction still to come. Given the fact that Santorum relies most heavily on religious conservatives for votes, he needs to motivate them if he wants to succeed. That means more red meat of social issues. The contraception controversy the Santorum helped spark has been cast as a signal that social conservatives object to women having sex outside of marriage. This is true, as far as it goes. (Ask Rush Limbaugh.)

But the real issue isn’t about the gender. It’s about the sex. Santorum and his allies have a unified view of the sexual universe, and straight premarital sex and all gay sex are just variations on the spectrum of immorality (even if they are pretty different to you and me). So don’t be surprised if gay issues re-emerge as a theme in the campaign yet again. After all, you may get flak for attacking women, but not nearly as much for attacking gays.

photo by Gage Skidmore

 

 

By:           John Gallagher
On:           Mar 7, 2012
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 7 Comments
    • B
      B

      One really odd thing about Rush Limbaugh’s attitude towards Sandra Fluke is that she was not advocating premarital sex, but was rather testifying about the cost of medical care and denial of treatment for serious medical conditions. She was testifying about the impact on women in law school. As to contraception, a non-trivial fraction of these students are married and have a legitimate reason for postponing a pregnancy for a few years – an income too small and academic constraints that would make properly caring for a baby difficult if not impossible. Does Limbaugh expect them and their husbands to remain celibate?

      Of course people are disgusted with Limbaugh. He went after a student. Unlike a politician with a staff that includes PR guys who can counter anything Rush says, Sandra Fluke, if she is like most students, has a discretionary budget of close to zero. That’s one of the reasons for distinguishing public figures from ordinary citizens regarding laws about defamation. If the standard becomes, “testify before congress and the attack dogs will use the national media to defame you,” no one who is not a professional politician will testify unless forced to. Congress won’t get decent information on which to make decisions and the country will continue along its downward spiral even faster than before.

      Mar 7, 2012 at 2:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rowan
      Rowan

      Really? You’re going to call Gingrich “Candidate We Are Most Likely To Forget Is Still in the Race” in the same article that doesn’t even mention Ron Paul?

      Mar 7, 2012 at 4:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chuck
      Chuck

      Newt picked up GOP’s biggest prize state, GA. Mitt proves he cannot win in the South as Frothy wins Tennessee. Mitt pulls a squeaker in Ohio with heavy PAC advertising.

      Mar 7, 2012 at 5:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      The scary thing is…if Gingrich wasn’t in the Race Santorum would have won Ohio and Michigan.

      I can’t believe that these folks are looked at as serious candidates.

      Mar 7, 2012 at 7:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abel
      Abel

      You can’t shake santorum, you have to wipe it off and wash up carefully.

      Mar 7, 2012 at 9:03 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      Just so you know, an order of magnitude is a multiple of ten. Several orders of magnitude would be 1000 times or 10000 times, not 6 or 12. Sorry for being a math stickler – you probably know this, but to some of us, it’s really annoying. (although in terms of political spending, I realize that 6 times might as well be 1000 times in a normal race).

      Mar 7, 2012 at 11:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InscrutableTed
      InscrutableTed

      @Mark: Yeah, I stopped reading at that point. At first I thought it was ridiculous hyperbole, but then I realised that Queerty doesn’t know what order of magnitude means.

      By the way, 1000 or 10000 times would be a *few* orders of magnitude. In my book, “several” orders of magnitude implies something like one million times.

      Mar 8, 2012 at 1:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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