Tag Archives: surge

Has Santorum Peaked at Just the Right Time?

Wednesday night’s CNN GOP debate from Arizona was important for a couple of reasons: with the Michigan primary and Super Tuesday just around the corner, this may well be the last primary debate of the season.  Also, this was the first debate after the incredible Santorum surge placed him as a solid frontrunner recently.  There was no doubt that there would be a target painted on the Senator as big as Joe Biden’s suspiciously shiny forehead.  Many viewers tuned in just to see how Santorum would fair as the “main target”.

One thing is for certain – being the frontrunner is a lot harder than being the underdog.  As the underdog, Santorum has been tenacious, steady and impressive.  As the frontrunner Wednesday night he seemed slightly nervous and not nearly as confident.  It was not a terrible performance at all, but next to the always consistent Mitt Romney and the king of debates – Newt Gingrich- Santorum had difficulty finding his rhythm.  Of course, there is Ron Paul to consider as well. Please save your hate mail about how no one takes him seriously, Paul fans.  People do take him seriously and that’s his biggest problem.  Moderator John King ended the debate with the question “What is a common misconception the media makes about you as a candidate”- to which Paul answered, “That I can’t win.” He asserted that everyone keeps saying he can’t win and it’s not true.  I know Ronulans applauded that answer, but it made me think that perhaps everyone keeps saying he can’t win because he isn’t winning! So don’t be offended that I often leave Paul out of the mix.  He isn’t on the radar (yet) as far as actual wins go, so in that respect I don’t count him as a viable candidate.  Please direct all of your hate mail to my editor, Rich Mitchell at Conservativedailynews.com.  He loves it.

The real issue in Wednesday’s debate is whether or not Santorum performed well enough to hold on to his dwindling lead in the Michigan polls. A win over Romney in Romney’s own home state could very well permanently tip the scales of this election. Santorum needed to at least maintain his status as a serious contender.  I don’t know if he did that or not in this debate.  This is what I do know: voters are already experiencing severe primary fatigue.  The ups and downs of this process have been unpredictable and draining, to say the least.  I think at this point, with only 4 men left in the race most people have made up their minds about who they want to win.  I’m not convinced that at this point in the race a good or bad debate performance will spell certain doom for any of the candidates, because I believe  voters are tired of the soundbites and they’ve pretty much made their choices.  Santorum voters will see a decent performance by a guy for whom everyone is lining up to smack around, from every angle lately.  Newt voters will find the usual satisfaction in his stellar debate performance – but on a side note, without the debate platforms Newt isn’t nearly as visible or loud in the general media.  Mitt fans will be pleased with his steady confidence and well-positioned attacks on his new frontrunner adversary.  And Paul fans…well, they are nothing if not loyal. No minds will be changed on his end, no matter how good or bad his debates go.

Clearly Santorum has benefited from surging during this relatively long period between debates.  His strength is in the ground campaign and not as a “frontrunner debater”. The rest between debates has given him time to work his ground strategy and voters haven’t had to see him face the direct attacks from his opponents on a national stage.  Had Santorum been surging any earlier it seems very likely the final 4 might be looking a bit different than it does now.  As it stands, Santorum may have peaked at just the right time. We’ll know soon enough.

Be sure to check in with conservativedailynews.com for all the latest in the primary races and campaigns leading up to Super Tuesday.

 

crossposted at kiradavis.net

Santorum Surge: Should We All Start Investing in Sweater Vests Now?

I never in my life would have thought I’d be describing the Iowa caucuses as exciting.  Hell, I can’t even say the word “caucus” without having to suppress immature fits of giggles.  It’s just such a funny word.  I have never really taken the Iowa caucuses as seriously as Iowans themselves do.  After all it’s not a real vote and it polls a small cross section of citizens.  I have always felt content to simply tune into the news the next day and find out the winners and losers.  Tuesday was different.

With wall-to-wall press coverage as if it were a real Presidential contest it was hard not to be sucked into the buzz.  Perhaps it was the idea that the field would be thinning a bit with the Iowa results, or the curiosity as to whether or not Ron Paul crowd could propel him to victory there that created such an atmosphere.  Maybe it was all the weirdness surrounding Newt’s surge and fall; whatever it was, Iowa was where all eyes were focused on Tuesday night.

What was widely expected was that Romney would win the caucuses, and Ron Paul might surprise with a win or close finish.   What was certainly not expected was the Rick Santorum -the generic Republican who has seemingly been blending into the background of every GOP debate thus far – would nearly win the caucuses (heehee) and suddenly become a national sensation.

In a race that counted tens of thousands of votes, the winner came down to a difference of merely 8 votes.  Suddenly Rick Santorum went from being a punchline to a real challenger.  Although Mitt Romney eventually came out on top, there is not doubt the real winner was Rick Santorum, who now has a spot in the national limelight for the time being, at least.

But what does all this mean for the months ahead in this primary battle?  Santorum has been branded the “social conservative candidate” and with Bachmann’s exit and Perry’s struggle in the polls, many are wondering if this Iowa “win” will siphon off some of those Bachmann/Perry voters.  I hate to make predictions.  Goodness knows this primary race has already held many more surprises than any of us anticipated.  However it can’t be ignored that Santorum’s Iowa surprise will have consequences for the rest of the race.  Will Santorum suddenly become a Ronald Reagan-type candidate that Republicans across America will suddenly begin to rally around? I doubt that.  Santorum isn’t so much the issue here, but what he represents is the message that conservatives aren’t ready to hand over the nomination to Mitt Romney just yet.  This presidential season is all about the “Not Obama” campaign, and in our own party we are dealing with a “Not Romney” faction that is truly digging their feet in and refusing to concede to the media’s pick for us.

Santorum bet big on Iowa.  He has visited all 99 counties over the last year, repeatedly.  He bet his campaign on the idea that if people could get to know him personally, they would vote for him.  His bet paid off, but can it translate to votes outside of Iowa?  After all, he hasn’t the time or ability to visit every county in America in the next 10 months.  Santorum has received a huge media bump from this win, and that will most certainly translate into dollars, although to what extent remains to be seen.  Also, millions of Americans who had no idea who Rick Santorum was before Tuesday night are now able to associate the face with the name and will be more likely to follow his progress as the primaries move along.  That is publicity that you just can’t buy.  All that bodes well for Santorum to continue his momentum moving into the other primary states.  What won’t be to his advantage is the shelacking he is about to receive from the mainstream media.  Even those on our side have not always been kind to the former PA senator.  At best he has been described by his detractors as a mediocre senator who eventually lost by 18 points to a very liberal Democrat.  He has also supported earmarks and other questionable spending plans and he will most certainly be held to account for those things.  Also, Santorum will most definitely be painted with the same homophobic, racist, sexist brush the media uses to portray all of us conservatives.  He may be riding high today after his almost-victory, but Santorum shouldn’t get too happy. We’ll be hearing the Hitler metaphors inside of a week, bet on that.  How he handles the criticism will be very telling as to whether or not he can turn the Iowa caucuses (snicker) into a victory on a national level.

For Romney, Santorum’s surge means he still has a lot of work to do to win over the Republican base.  Far from being the “lock” he was once predicted to be, Romney can’t seem to poll over 30% and each challenge to his front-runner status has only served to highlight the fact that he is far from wrapping up this nomination, despite the best efforts of the media.

If anything, this Santorum victory serves to remind Republicans that this race is nowhere near over; and while the primary process may be bloody and tiresome at times it is absolutely vital in selecting a credible candidate.  When the process is tampered and toyed with by 3rd party haters and establishment tricks we end up with a John McCain…but when the process is allowed to unfold spontaneously we end up with what we have now – an unpredictable roller coaster.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.