Permalink to The State of the Race, Or MONEY-INFRASTRUCTURE 2012

The State of the Race, Or MONEY-INFRASTRUCTURE 2012

 

Just off the top of my head, I can recall at least half a dozen pieces over the last ten days in the Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, the Weekly Standard, etc., that all urged Mitt Romney to develop a big idea or two, a message, a vision.  For reasons known only to Gov. Romney and his advisors, he never did.  The result? 

From Byron York’s report in today’s Washington Examiner:

The shift to Santorum was fast and overwhelming.  In the end, Santorum beat Romney by 27 points in a state [Minnesota] Romney had won by 19 points back in 2008.  Santorum scored an even bigger victory in Missouri’s beauty-contest, nonbinding primary, beating Romney by 30 points.  And even in Colorado, where the race was closer, Santorum came out ahead.  For a candidate who hadn’t won since his narrow and belated victory in Iowa, it was three victories in one night. Santorum has now won four contests to Romney’s three and Gingrich’s one….mitt.jpg

On Tuesday morning, as it became clear Romney would not have a good night, his campaign’s political director, Rich Beeson, sent out a memo trying to put things in perspective.  “John McCain lost 19 states in 2008, and we expect our opponents to notch a few wins too,” Beeson wrote.  “But unlike the other candidates, our campaign has the resources and organization to keep winning over the long run.”…

After the returns came in, I asked Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley what he thought about Rich Beeson’s message.  Sure, Santorum did well on Tuesday, but doesn’t Romney have the money and infrastructure to outdistance Santorum, and everyone else, in the long run?

“What an inspiring message,” Gidley said sarcastically.  “That is really inspiring.  I can’t wait to put a bumper sticker on my truck that says MONEY-INFRASTRUCTURE 2012.”

“No one had more money and infrastructure than Hillary Clinton, and hope and change wiped her off the map,” Gidley continued.  “We’ll have money, and we’ll have infrastructure, but our nominee has to have a message that people can get behind and inspires people.”

Gingrich and Paul represent non-factors, at least for now, while Romney has been placed, to a really astonishing extent, on the defensive–if he achieves anything less than an enormous victory in Michigan he’ll look vulnerable.  Money and organization still count for a great deal, of course, and the Intrade odds that show Romney the heavy favorite to capture the nomination remain plausible.

But this is Rick Santorum’s moment.

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Members have made 35 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Dave Carter Contributor

    Well, now I’ll have that Beatles song lodged firmly in my head the rest of the day.  ”Money can’t buy me love.”  

    • #1
    • February 8, 2012 at 11:48 am
  2. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    Romney has the money, the organization, and (apparently) the backing of the party establishment.  But it might be that Santorum has the base.  This might be a golden opportunity for conservatives to retake the party.  Here’s hoping.

    • #2
    • February 8, 2012 at 11:51 am
  3. Profile photo of Pseudodionysius Member

    Evitable.

    • #3
    • February 8, 2012 at 11:51 am
  4. Profile photo of Chris Deleon Inactive

    As I said on another thread, a fairly libertarian-leaning talk show host I listen to, Mark Davis, has no problem with Santorum.

    There’s really not much for libertarians and small-government types to fear from Santorum… at least, that they shouldn’t fear even more from a Romney presidency.  He’s been caricatured as a rabid social rightwinger, breaking down people’s doors in the middle of the night to check on their sex lives, etc.

    Based on his record, he’s one of the closest to the conservative positions across the different issues as you’ll find in a politician, including on fiscal and free trade issues.

    As for the social issues, I can’t see him being able to or even trying to implement some of the scare scenarios painted of him.  I do see him pushing hard for true conservative nominees to the Supreme Court; using his executive orders to allow freedom of conscience and religion in things like the recent birth-control issue; using the bully pulpit to speak about the importance of family; and dismantling (as much as he has the power to) the government institutions that break down the family.

    • #4
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:04 am
  5. Profile photo of Katie O Member

    I was just trying to think of a way to word the sentiment you just expressed beautifully Chris. Thanks. What do libertarians or even independents who disagree with Santorum on social issues have to fear from the man? His powers of persuasion? He is a conservative who believes in the Constitution and separation of powers. Now, contrast that with President Obama who has pledged to act unilaterally if Congress doesn’t do his bidding!

    • #5
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:26 am
  6. Profile photo of Noesis Noeseos Inactive
    Chris Deleon: As I said on another thread, a fairly libertarian-leaning talk show host I listen to, Mark Davis, has no problem with Santorum.

    As for the social issues, I can’t see him being able to or even trying to implement some of the scare scenarios painted of him.  I do see him pushing hard for true conservative nominees to the Supreme Court; using his executive orders to allow freedom of conscience and religion … and dismantling (as much as he has the power to) the government institutions that break down the family. 路 23 minutes ago

    You have eased my mind somewhat.  And, is that a cat he is holding?  If so, my opinion of him just went up a few notches.

    California primary is not until June.  I have some time yet before deciding who, if anyone, will get my vote.  (Don’t worry, I’ll definitely vote for the nominee in the general.)  Of course, California Republicans are Romney to the max, so it scarcely matters for which non-Romney I vote.  Anyway, the whole thing may be finished by the time I even receive my absentee ballot.

    • #6
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:38 am
  7. Profile photo of David Williamson Member

    I’m a lot more enthusiastic about Mr Santorum’s wins last night than many here on Ricochet. And I am an agnostic, not that much into social issues.

    For me, it’s nothing to do with religion – for the first time in the race I feel that we conservatives have a good spokesman that we can rely on to “punch back twice as hard” against Mr Obama.

    It’s so refreshing to listen to his victory speech last nite without worrying about whether he is going to put his foot in his mouth. He spoke with the minimum of notes, because he is a conservative at heart.

    We chat a lot here about tipping points, but I think last nite was a tipping point – the more people see of Mr Santorum the more they will like him – and I include “moderates” in that.

    I think he has a pretty good chance of winning, both the nomination and the White House.

    I am gonna celebrate by filling in (out) my AZ absentee ballot.

    • #7
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:39 am
  8. Profile photo of Chris Deleon Inactive
    Katie O: I was just trying to think of a way to word the sentiment you just expressed beautifully Chris. Thanks. What do libertarians or even independents that disagree with Santorum on social issues have to fear from a man who believes in the separation of powers? His powers of persuasion? Now contrast that with President Obama who has pledged to act unilaterally if congress doesn’t do his bidding! 路 6 minutes ago

    No, I think you’ve summarized the sentiment much better than I did, and more concisely.

    • #8
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:43 am
  9. Profile photo of Chris Deleon Inactive
    David Williamson: I’m a lot more enthusiastic about Mr Santorum’s wins last night than many here on Ricochet. And I am an agnostic, not that much into social issues…

    I am gonna celebrate by filling in (out) my AZ absentee ballot.

    Great!

    Everyone, find your state primary date here, register, and GO VOTE!  For the first time in a long time, your vote in the later primary states may actually make a difference.

    • #9
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:49 am
  10. Profile photo of dreamlarge Inactive
    etoiledunord: Maybe Santorum’s mistake was tying himself so closely to George W. Bush. I think Santorum’s loss was more a verdict on Bush’s popularity in late 2006–the absolute worst period of the Iraq War–not his own popularity. People can like you, and respect you, and still vote against you for other reasons. 路 1 hour ago

    I agree that Santorum went down due to the general dissatisfaction with Bush and the Republican party in ’06.  But also keep in mind that Santorum lost to Bob Casey – a pro life Democrat and the son of a beloved pro life Pennsylvania governor.  I think Santorum would have fared better against a different Democrat candidate. 

    • #10
    • February 9, 2012 at 1:54 am
  11. Profile photo of James Gawron Coolidge

    OK guys.  Here I go again.  One more time.  The story of a horse who was the people’s choice.  The insiders hated this horse and weighed him down trying to stop him.  But nothing could stop him.

    He starts Agua Caliente dead last 10 yards behind the tail end of the pack.  He passes the whole field on the outside!!!  AND WINS!!!

    • #11
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:08 am
  12. Profile photo of Katie O Member

    Good point dreamlarge. I also find it curious that we are constantly told to be team players, don’t attack from the right, do it for the party! Then, Santorum is criticized for doing exactly that.

    • #12
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:08 am
  13. Profile photo of dreamlarge Inactive
    Peter Robinson
    while Romney has been placed, to a really astonishing extent, on the defensive–if he achieves anything less than an enormous victory in Michigan he’ll look vulnerable.  

    Democratic consultant, Steve McMahon, made an interesting comment last night on Hannity.  He noted that Clinton was the presumptive nominee in ’08.  When Obama beat Clinton he looked like “the giant killer”.  Romney came in as the “giant” in this primary season and he gets smaller and smaller with each passing contest….like “the giant that can’t beat the dwarf.”

    • #13
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:13 am
  14. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member

    I still take credit for all this.

    • #14
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:24 am
  15. Profile photo of Katie O Member

    I don’t get how we can have a candidate with both the experience we seek, and zero entanglement with W’s mistakes…..unless we go with Dr. No that is.

    • #15
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:30 am
  16. Profile photo of Katie O Member

    馃槷 Illiniguy! I see my call to “bare” arms predates yours by a day 馃槈

    Illiniguy: I still take credit for all this. 路 11 minutes ago
    • #16
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:38 am
  17. Profile photo of Stuart Creque Member
    Peter Robinson
    Misthiocracy: There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs. 路 10 minutes ago

    True enough, although with Romney calling for something very close to trade sanctions on China, I’m not sure he’s in a position to press these points very hard.

    But a Romney-Santorum exchange will prove healthy.  In his personal life, Santorum is as impeccable as is Romney.  Neither, in short, will be in a position to throw mud.  They’ll be forced–forced–to debate policy.

    So, at least, I hope. 路 2 hours ago

    Is this an example of a policy debate?

    • #17
    • February 9, 2012 at 2:55 am
  18. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member
    Katie O: 馃槷 Illiniguy! I see my call to “bare” arms predates yours by a day 馃槈 路 33 minutes ago
    Illiniguy: I still take credit for all this. 路 11 minutes ago
    Edited 30 minute

    Dear Lady, I concede.

    • #18
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:14 am
  19. Profile photo of Chris Deleon Inactive
    Stuart Creque
    Peter Robinson: But a Romney-Santorum exchange will prove healthy.  In his personal life, Santorum is as impeccable as is Romney.  Neither, in short, will be in a position to throw mud.  They’ll be forced–forced–to debate policy.

    So, at least, I hope.

     Is this an example of a policy debate?

    Sorry, Peter, there won’t be a clean race with Romney and his super PACs involved.

    Negative campaigning works.  Unfortunately for the people that use it, it does sometimes backfire.  I’m really hoping it backfires hard on Romney this time, because it’s disgusting.

    There is some evidence that the effect it’s had is to wipe out Romney’s target, but also diminish Romney’s favorability ratings at the same time.  This may be why turnout for Romney was so low in the last few primaries (Nevada and yesterday).  I’m still not sure if the Romney camp will abstain, because in the win-at-any-cost mindset, who cares if you get dirty, as long as your opponent looks dirtier.

    • #19
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:16 am
  20. Profile photo of Katie O Member

    Aw…thanks! I knew the Chief Illiniwek avatar was a symbol of honor 馃檪

    Illiniguy 

    Dear Lady, I concede. 路 9 minutes ago

    • #20
    • February 9, 2012 at 3:28 am
  21. Profile photo of Illiniguy Member
    Katie O: Aw…thanks! I knew the Chief Illiniwek avatar was a symbol of honor 馃檪

    Illiniguy 

    Dear Lady, I concede. 路 9 minutes ago

    Edited 5 hours ago 5 hours ago

    Always has been, always will be.

    • #21
    • February 9, 2012 at 8:11 am
  22. Profile photo of R. Craigen Inactive

    I’m not one to count Gingrich out (probably because I’m too lazy to peel his metaphorical bumper-sticker from my metaphorical bumper).  I actually saw this as an opportunity for Newt to escape the doldrums he’s trapped in.  His problem came when he got sucked into the game and put his energies into attacking Romney.  

    Every time he hammers fellow Republicans he goes down in the polls; every time he stands up in an open forum for Conservatism against the relentless Progressive narrative, he goes up.

    I see a likelihood that Romney would pull out if there is clear momentum and he sees the writing on the wall, possibly long before the Primaries are done.  If Newt doesn’t completely alienate Romney supporters he stands to absorb a lot of the Romney base, many of whom are suspicious of Santorum’s social extremity.  A scary thought, though:  If Newt has already burned that bridge, those votes go to Paul, and we could look at a Ron Paul/Rick Santorum run-off with Newt in the caboose.  My personal preference is a contest between Santorum and Newt.

    • #22
    • February 9, 2012 at 10:24 am
  23. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs.

    • #23
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:04 pm
  24. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

     Let’s see if the third (or is it fourth?) guy to have his moment can use it for something productive.

    • #24
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm
  25. Profile photo of Mel Foil Inactive

    Santorum points out: Romney is criticizing him (Santorum) for losing reelection to the Senate in a year (2006) when Romney was not even popular enough to run for reelection, period. When you put it that way….

    Maybe Santorum’s mistake was tying himself so closely to George W. Bush. I think Santorum’s loss was more a verdict on Bush’s popularity in late 2006–the absolute worst period of the Iraq War–not his own popularity. People can like you, and respect you, and still vote against you for other reasons.

    • #25
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm
  26. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    Jennifer Rubin set out a plan for Santorum that is more sensible than anything I’ve seen yet from his own advisers.  And, you know what?  If he can go out and beat Romney on Super Tuesday, he will deserve the support he gets, and if Romney can’t beat Santorum overall, he will have earned his loss.

    My own suspicion, which I have widely articulated when predicting this inevitable, “last ABR standing” boomlet, is that Santorum’s narrow, but fervent, base of support, will not serve him well among what Jay Cost categorizes as the “fairly conservative”.  It will be interesting to see how Newt handles things when he is back in the next set of races.  This was the fervent evangelical vote coming out Tuesday night, the key in both Colorado and Minnesota.

    But Santorum is at least a serious and sober candidate, unlike the prior ABR favorites-of-the-week. 

    • #26
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm
  27. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Misthiocracy: There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs. 路 10 minutes ago

    True enough, although with Romney calling for something very close to trade sanctions on China, I’m not sure he’s in a position to press these points very hard.

    But a Romney-Santorum exchange will prove healthy.  In his personal life, Santorum is as impeccable as is Romney.  Neither, in short, will be in a position to throw mud.  They’ll be forced–forced–to debate policy.

    So, at least, I hope.

    • #27
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:17 pm
  28. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member
    Peter Robinson
    Misthiocracy: There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs. 路 10 minutes ago
    True enough, although with Romney calling for something very close to trade sanctions on China, I’m not sure he’s in a position to press these points very hard.

    But a Romney-Santorum exchange will prove healthy.  In his personal life, Santorum is as impeccable as is Romney.  Neither, in short, will be in a position to throw mud.  They’ll be forced–forced–to debate policy.

    So, at least, I hope. 路 0 minutes ago

    Peter, policy debates are great as long as they are true policy debates.  Newt’s approach was to call private venture and buyout finds “vulture capital”- I care not if thjey wish to impugn each other’s character, but I sure want our side not to undercut free market economic principles the way Gingrich and Perry did.

    There is also a difference between enforcing WTO anti-dumping rules and opposing NAFTA, CAFTA, or other FTA.

    • #28
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm
  29. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member
    Peter Robinson
    Misthiocracy: There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs. 路 10 minutes ago
    True enough, although with Romney calling for something very close to trade sanctions on China, I’m not sure he’s in a position to press these points very hard.

    But a Romney-Santorum exchange will prove healthy.  In his personal life, Santorum is as impeccable as is Romney.  Neither, in short, will be in a position to throw mud.  They’ll be forced–forced–to debate policy.

    So, at least, I hope. 路 6 minutes ago

    Agreed.  Strongly.

    • #29
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm
  30. Profile photo of Chris Deleon Inactive
    Misthiocracy: There’s plenty of ammunition for Romney to throw at Santorum, like Santorum’s opposition to NAFTA and his support for protectionist tariffs. 路 2 minutes ago

    He was rated as 100% pro Free Trade by CATO based on his votes.  His earlier weakness on this issue has been fully reversed for years, as documented by how he voted most recently in the Senate.

    In contrast, Mitt Romney gets a score of 55% for his actual record as governor of Massachusetts.

    If Romney makes that charge stick, it would be a horrible affront to the truth.

    • #30
    • February 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm
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