Santorum’s Surprise


The revelation of the 2012 campaign continues to astonish.

Let me say at the start  Santorum’s victories in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri are not game-changers in themselves, and being rather emotional beauty-contests with no delegate impact were probably more appealing to the core of Republican conservatism than to the mainstream Republicans (in name only?), more likely to vote for the Mormon guy.

On the other hand, this kind of contests – without too much money being spent, or better said without Romney outspending Santorum by a big multiple – are probably better apt to show what happens when no one can outspend his opponent 10 or 20 to one, which is what is going to happen in November.

Still, I continue to have conflicting feelings about Santorum’s successes. On the one hand, I can only look with great pleasure at the rise of this still relatively young politician, a man who seems to have the stuff to become the Reagan of the next decade and must be the ideal candidate of most readers of this blog. On the other hand, I cannot imagine Obama’s advisors being displeased at his rise, as they know they cannot wish a better chance to lead Obama to victory  than if he should run against a man, I am not sorry to say, so out of line with the superficial cafeteria, John-Lennon-light, “whatever”-thinking of a great part of the electorate. I can’t imagine a country falling in love with “change” only four years ago and suddenly embracing the tenets of staunch Catholics and evangelicals, a sector with which Santorum will be extremely closely identified, courtesy of the Obama campaign. But I have said all this, and will not dwell on it.

What is perhaps more interesting, is that the decline of the winner-takes-all primaries system makes who “wins” the single contest less relevant. If you look at the delegates count you’ll notice Santorum and Gingrich together continue to have more delegates than Romney; this basically means today’s favourite is, in fact, still not Romney but the one between Gingrich and Santorum who will remain longer in the race, unavoidably attracting the delegates of the other and becoming the official, erm, Christian and Republican candidate.

Another  element I notice for today is that Republican core voters seem not to miss any occasion – however symbolic – to send the clear message Romney is not their candidate. Encouraging, though not necessarily positive if they end up with a factually unelectable candidate; but I might be wrong of course, and after Carter came Reagan.

Last but not least, there seems to be a clear indication Gingrich suffers among the female voters. They’ll be happier with the Mormon or the abortionist, I suppose.



Posted on February 8, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Mundabor,
    two (brief ;)) thoughts:
    – Santorum’s four wins have been in swing states or reliably Democratic ones (like Minnesota), whereas Gingrich won his lone victory in a solidly Republican state. Romney won in New Hampshire as moderate to liberal alternative to Santorum and Paul (Huntsman is too liberal even for New Hampshire Republicans). He won Florida on the back of a smear campaign, and won Nevada because of all the Hispanics, Mormons and Aliens from Outer Space… 😉

    – In case Santorum actually gets nominated, he will need to reassure those “moderate” Republicans that he is not too conservative. (Just as Reagan in 1980) He might try this by nominating a relatively moderate VP. Santorum / Romney: How does that sound to you? (Santorum / Rubio might be a bridge too far…)

    • Catocon,

      if I could consider the three last “victories” of Santorum as real, delegate-bringing contest victories I would, probably, start to think that the American electorate is starting to see Santorum as a potential President and only needs to be reassured we won’t have the Inquisition in place once he is re-elected (pity, though 😉 ).

      Alas, Santorum’s were not the real victories, they were (correct me if I am wrong) beauty contests with no delegates. In missouri Gingrich wasn’t even on the ballot, so useless thought he the exercise, and we’ll have to wait to see the results of the caucuses to gauge Santorum’s real grip on the state.

      The fact Gingrich won in a solid republican state should, in fact, be encouraging for him. Gingrich doesn’t depend on the evangelicals, I can in fact imagine an army of atheist happily voting for him. I still think he is far more “electable” than Santorum, though clearly his inferior in moral values and political coherence.

      If Santorum would make it to the nomination, he’s have to make a great effort to reasure the “moderates” (=tepid) without angering the hardliners. I’d personally prefer someone like Gingrich or Perry, but I agree in this case a ticket Santorum/Romney might be the killer move.

      One would only have to hope Santorum stays in good health… 😉


  2. Mundabor,
    I might be going out on a limb, but I don’t see Gingrich winning a General Election against Obama, at all, regardless of the circumstances (except total collapse of the economy). Obama will win in a landslide if Gingrich is nominated, even surpassing his victory in 2008. Even now, before the Obama attack machine has really started, he is facing a two to one deficit among women. The Gingrich “brand” is toxic.
    Santorum may collapse under the onslaught of hate-filled left-wing propaganda against his solidly conservative positions. He MAY collapse. The opposite may also happen (see: Palin, Sarah, fall 2008, pulling McCain into a national lead in a singularly unfavorable climate for Republicans.) He MAY survive and win the Presidency. Republicans have never gambled like this – at least since 1980. If you don’t try to win big, you will lose big.

    Regarding the “beauty contests” – yes, Missouri allocated no delegates. Gingrich was not on the ballot. We could therefore see the real appeal of Santorum against Romney under equalized conditions. There was one moderate and one conservative on the ballot (and one Ron Paul, a category all by himself…), and no one outspent the other by any significant margin in this state. It was a kind of laboratory experiment regarding appeal among Republicans in an important swing state that has characteristics of both the South and the Midwest (the region in which the President will be selected this fall).
    Minnesota and Colorado have used the same system as Iowa did: Republicans tried to prevent a repeat of the extremely front-loaded primary contest they had in 2008 (Super Tuesday in the first week of February…). Therefore, a new rule states that any state allocating its delegates before a certain date will lose half of those delegates at the national convention. Iowa, Colorado and Minnesota circumvented this rule by having a caucus before this date but using an indirect system of allocation for their delegates that guarantees no delegates will be formally allocated to any candidate before the critical date.
    Insofar as Santorum has not yet earned delegates from his three victories, you are right. But he will earn them later, when his caucus victory translates into a certain amount of delegates at the state conventions. Therefore the delegate count you linked to in your original post (and also the one on Real Clear Politics – I will not post a link, as I’m certain the link would get my message into your spam folder…) already includes the delegates Santorum “won” at the caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota. They were real contests, just like the one in Iowa, and using the same system of delegate selection.

    Regarding the inquisition – yes, a pity… I could name a few targets…;)

    P.S: PPP just released a new national poll: Santorum 38, Romney 23, Gingrich 17, Paul 13. Gallup’s five-day tracking poll has him leading Gingrich for 2nd, and gaining rapidly on Romney. The part of the FOX poll that took place after the three victories had both Romney and Santorum at 30 percent.

    • Catocon, as the Italians say: se son rose, fioriranno…

      If they are roses, they’ll come into bloom. If Santorum is truly as powerful in the opinion of the mainstream Republican (who, in the meantime, have had time to decide whether they rellay, really want Romney) this will sho wwithin a few weeks; and if Gingrich is really undesired, this will also show very soon.

      I do not buy the argument of the women not voting Gingrich. If the contest is Gingrich against Obama, Republican women will vote him all right. Should this not be the case, I think together with the Inquisition we should reintroduce male vote only; but truly, I do think women are not as “emotional” as that when it comes to the ballot.

      You are right the beauty contest are representative are, as I had also written, of what happens when some equilibrium is given in the expenditure matter. But I think the argument works even more for Gingrich, who would collect a huge amount of funds should he remain Romeny’s last Republican opponent.

      In my eyes, at the latest after Supertuesday we will know who is Romeny’s most credible opponent; at this point, the other will retire and his delegates will, unavoidably, vote against Romney at the Republican convention. At that point, everyone will have to choose whether to whine or to kick out Obama, and being a woman will be no excuse.


  3. Mundabor,
    Republican women will vote for Gingrich, all right. Let’s assume that Republicans will vote for Gingrich and Democrats for Obama. Both parties will unite around their nominees. Gingrich will then need a bit more than 50% of the Independent vote (there are slightly more Democrats than Republicans). Men usually vote Republican at slightly higher rates than women. But Gingrich would still need at least 45 to 50% of independent women. This is about the amount Bush got in 2004. Gingrich cannot afford to lose even 5% of Independent women relative to Bush.
    As to the question of voting rights, I’d actually prefer a system in which every family got one vote per person (children included), to be cast by the head of the household, but this would be even less viable politically than a Santorum/deMint ticket or the introduction of the inquisition…

    “But I think the argument works even more for Gingrich, who would collect a huge amount of funds should he remain Romeny’s last Republican opponent.”
    Well, according to the polls, Gingrich voters strongly prefer Santorum over Romney (about three to one) while Gingrich leads Romney as second choice of Santorum voters by a much narrower margin. As soon as Santorum is seen as the main alternative to Romney, the funds will flow to him just as they would to Gingrich. But, we’ll see. By the way, I like your Italian saying very much…having just started to learn this beautiful language.

    • Catocon,

      if Republican women will vote for Gingrich all right, this argument falls. As to the percetage, I do not think the matter can be seen as “how many do I get”. Obama left an army of disillusioned voters, and the tepid democrats he could mobilise in 2008 will not show up in such numbers in 2012. Many might, in fact, vote for Gingrich. Not for Santorum, though, as the latter is in my eyes – bar a miracle of persuasion – too far away from them to be even considered.

      The same goes for the second argument, actually in favour of Gingrich. If Gingrich makes it, he is sure of all Santorum’s and an awful lot of Romeny’s votes. But Gingrich will also be able to mount a challenge to Obama without having all the tepif people out there goign to the poll just in order to avoid Santorum to become President. Santorum as Republican candidate would be in my eyes a very welcome aid to Obama, who would be free to paint the devil to the wall and build an entire campaign around the supposed return of the Spanish Inquisition. I can’t see him having the same grip against Gingrich.


  4. Mundabor,

    We agree that Santorum is the best candidate on the issues.
    We agree that defeating Obama is paramount and should take precedence over selecting the most conservative candidate.
    We disagree on whether Gingrich is, in fact, more electable than Santorum. Whereas you appear convinced of his ability to defeat Obama, I believe he would lose in a landslide. We have argued back and forth to no conclusion.
    Therefore, let’s wait and see. We’ll talk again after Santorum has won the Michigan primary… 😉

    “supposed return of the Spanish Inquisition.”
    But can Obama use this argument? Isn’t this racist? Wouldn’t it suppress turnout among Hispanics? 😉

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