It’s Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum Now

Hugh Hewitt has a really helpful commentary on tonight’s South Carolina primary result. He says that the field has effectively narrowed down to three: “It will be Mitt or Newt or Rick. That is the choice now.” I agree with that analysis, although I believe Romney is still the frontrunner.

Hewitt has another item in this article that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I hope a lot of people take note of this. He writes:

The Palmetto State was unfair to Rick Santorum, as was the MSM throughout the fall, the Iowa GOP on the night of the caucuses, and CNN’s John King on Thursday night, when the first question should have been about Iran and should have gone to the former Pennsylvania senator. Santorum may soldier on, but whether he does or not, everyone has to respect the grace with which he has accepted a series of unfair turns dating back to 2006 when a last name in a suit swept him aside because that legacy candidate could surf a flood. Santorum is a good and very able public servant, and though he faces a very uphill battle in Florida, he’s not had much help from anyone to date, and he doesn’t need anyone’s advice on how to run that race.

Campaigns are not always fair, but the unfairness toward Santorum coming out of Iowa seemed to me exceptional. When Romney was declared the winner on caucus night with a razor thin margin of 8 votes, the Iowa GOP called it a win for Romney. When they later certified the results as a victory for Santorum, the Iowa GOP called it a “tie.” Even though Santorum’s margin was larger, they still called it a “tie.” The Iowa GOP’s mistake on caucus night and beyond cost Santorum momentum and money. I’m surprised more people haven’t written about it.

13 Responses to It’s Romney, Gingrich, or Santorum Now

  1. Dave Miller January 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    It sure appeared to me tonight that Newt and Santorum were playing kiss and make up. I caucused for Santorum, but I’m not thinking he has much of a path. But Gingrich’s biggest problem is exactly what Santorum’s strength is – character. Wonder if they are thinking through a Gingrich/Santorum ticket.

    I really like Santorum but I think it’s gonna be Romney or Gingrich.

  2. Paula January 21, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    I just heard Bret Baier at Fox News interview (not the right word) Santorum. The line of questioning was more of a lecture, asking him if he thought staying in the race too long was going to hurt the eventual nominee (who Baier cleary believes will not be Santorum). Santorum, who is usually unflappable in these interviews seemed taken aback by Baier’s hubris. We all know that nobody in the media will ask Gingrich or Romney that question.

    What has frustrated me the most is the narrative the media has perpetuated that the only issue Santorum cares about is homosexuality. He’s questioned about it nearly every time he’s interviewed and it often monopolizes the majority of the interview time. In reality, his policy positions are the same as the other GOP candidates (except Ron Paul who is not really a Republican) and the same as the GOP party platform. Lost in all of this are his other positions, including his very strong foreign policy positions.

    I have often thought that if there were some sort of terror attack (God forbid!) during the course of this election, voters would flock to Santorum. He has the experience, character, and stability to lead in a time of peril.

  3. Joe Carter January 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Hewitt: “It will be Mitt or Newt or Rick. That is the choice now.”

    Um, Hugh, wasn’t that the choice before tonight? Did he think Paul was in the running or did he now hear that Perry had dropped out? ; )

    Sadly, it’s going to be Romney . . . who will be beaten by Obama. It’s going to be a long and depressing electoral season.

    • Denny Burk January 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm #

      Agreed. Do you think there is anyone else in the field that is electable? It seems to me that Gingrich and Paul are not electable. I tend to agree with Joe Scarborough that Romney and Santorum would be.

      • Joe Carter January 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

        Do you think there is anyone else in the field that is electable?

        I think if Santorum were to get the nomination that he’d have a fighting chance.
        Unfortunately, I don’t think he has a fighting chance of getting the nomination.

        My short time working for the Huckabee campaign convinced me that money and organization matter a lot. Santorum just doesn’t have enough of either to challenge Romney in the remainder of the contest.

        Florida is about the last stop on the schedule where candidates can focus on one state. After that, candidates have to go around to numerous states at one time. That is very hard to pull off effectively. And Romney has money to run negative ads in states where Santorum doesn’t have time to visit (or run rebuttal ads of his own). It’s hard to run for the nomination on a shoestring budget.

        • Denny Burk January 22, 2012 at 12:08 am #

          Even if Santorum had the money, how could he possibly put together an organization in the states? He’d have to pick up key endorsement in every state that could offer him their own organization that is already in place. But I don’t think those endorsements are forthcoming. Great to hear from you. Thanks for commenting!

        • Paul January 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

          and yet you guys don’t believe in wholesale campaign finance reform?

    • yankeegospelgirl January 21, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

      Joe Carter just summed up 2012 very nicely there. Brace yourselves for the long haul… it’s gonna be another four years of televised addresses from our dear leader.

  4. M Russell January 21, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    I am going to build on the commentary I heard tonight on FOX News Channel. His comment was highlighting that each State voted for the candidate that best reflected the State’s demographic. Evangelical IA voted for the candidate living up to moral expectations. Moderate NH voted for the middle-of-road candidate who doesn’t ruffle feathers. Patriotic conservative SC voted for the take-no-gruff conservative candidate.

    The way I see it, the ideal candidate would have the best mix of moral character, life affirming social positions, business knowledge, economic experience, boldness, patriotism, historical knowledge, understanding of congress, and conservative/constitutional priorities. Or, to use an analogy, the ideal candidate would be like a stool with three strong legs – moral position, economic position, and conservative position.

    The problem, we have four candidates with one or two broken legs on the stool. Rick S may have a strong moral leg, but is weak on the other two. Mitt R may have a strong economic leg, but is weak on the other two. Newt G may have a strong conservative leg, but is weak on the other two. Ron P is equally weak on all three, but at least they sort-of balance.

    • Denny Burk January 21, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

      The three-legged stool image has been ubiquitous for many years in GOP politics. The three legs represent different priorities/constituencies within the GOP. You have (1) national security conservatives, (2) economic conservatives, and (3) social conservatives. These three constituencies overlap, but the strongest GOP candidates are the ones that bring all three of these together. If even one leg is missing, the candidate will be missing a constituency that could cost him the election in the general.

  5. Paula January 21, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    You’re right on that, Denny. Having all three was Reagan’s strength. There are some serious rumblings for a brokered convention because a lot of people think none of the three are electable at this point. Technically, there are enough delegates in play that it could happen, but it would take a revolt of epic proportions.

    Erick Erickson at RedState thinks Gingrich’s win tonight was angry conservatives reacting to
    the establishment shoving Romney down their throats. He warned them that the only hope of saving the election (and the residual races down-ticket) is to quickly find a conservative that conservatives can rally behind and start all over.

    Could happen, but I don’t expect it from the entrenched power brokers. Way too much ego and money involved. But I sure wouldn’t mind waking up tomorrow to find that someone like Jim DeMint has been secretly laying the groundwork to roll our a campaign. Or even Paul Ryan. I think he would be equal to the task of taking Obama to the mat and channeling all that Tea Party anger without all of Newt’s baggage.

    • yankeegospelgirl January 22, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Good point about Reagan. It’s true. There’s never been a Republican quite like him.

      I see Paul Ryan as a potential 2016 candidate when Obama is (finally) gone and it’s catch-as-catch-can for the Republican nomination. It gives him a few more years to build up a base.

      • Paul January 22, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

        So now you don’t even want a real Christian in office? Ryan is such an Ayn Rand nut that you can’t work for him unless you’ve read Atlas Shrugged. A book that touts Rand’s objectivist (read: libertarian atheist) views for 1.2 million pages. And, his medicare plan will cost the country more money down the line than medicare costs us now. Yeah, great pick.

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