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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Santorum: flavor of the weak

Santorum: flavor of the weak

Santorum: flavor of the weak

December 29, 2011 by Don Surber

Yes, I do mean that Rick Santorum is the flavor of the weak — as well as the week. Here is the thought bubble for the American conservative today:

Herman Cain crashed. Michele Bachmann crashed. Rick Perry crashed. Herman Cain crashed. Newt Gingrich crashed. Ron Paul — oh, good gravy, you lost me at hello. Who is left for conservatives? Rick Santorum. Really? That’s it? The guy the homosexual fanatics so hate that they made up a sex act just to smear his name in Wikipedia and on Google? Well, I suppose he beats a flip-flopping millionaire from Massachusetts.

And so the new polls show Rick Santorum has tripled his support — which was at 3% so he’s now in double digits. Via Real Clear Politics:

PPP poll of 565 likely Republican voters in Iowa on Monday and Tuesday: Ron Paul 24, Mitt 20, Gingrich 13, Perry 10, Santorum 10, Bachmann 11, Who’s it 4.

CNN/Time poll of 452 likely Republican voters in Iowa last Wednesday to Tuesday: Ron Paul 22, Mitt 25, Gingrich 14, Perry 11, Santorum 16, Bachmann 9, Who’s it 1.

Rasmussen poll of 750 likely Republican voters in Iowa December 19: Ron Paul 20, Mitt 25, Gingrich 17, Perry 10, Santorum 10, Bachmann 6, Who’s it 4.

Insider Advantage poll of 452 likely Republican voters in Iowa December 18: Ron Paul 24, Mitt 18, Gingrich 13, Perry 16, Santorum 3, Bachmann 10, Who’s it 4.

So what can we conclude?

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney each have a hard core of 20%-25% of the vote. Conservatives make up a majority of the Republican voters but they are split among Newt Gingrich (don’t ask why he’s considered conservative), Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann.

But let us not overstate the importance of Iowa for Republicans. Four years ago, the results were — Mike Huckabee (34%), Mitt Romney (25%), Fred Thompson (13%), John McCain (13%), Ron Paul (10%), Rudy Giuliani (4%), and Duncan Hunter (1%).

Iowa got it right in 1996 and 2000, the previous two contested Republican contests, but blew it in 1988 — Bob Dole (37%), Pat Robertson (25%), George H. W. Bush (19%), Jack Kemp (11%), and Pierre DuPont (7%).

Iowa also blew it in 1980 — George H. W. Bush (32%), Ronald Reagan (30%), Howard Baker (15%), John Connally (9%), Phil Crane (7%), John B. Anderson (4%), and Bob Dole (2%).

So Iowa blew it in 3 out of the 5 last contested Republican races. Four years ago the guy who eventually won the race finished 4th in Iowa.

Robert Stacy McCain (who saw the Herman Cain revival two months before it began) is in Iowa and has been watching Rick Santorum’s campaign for signs of life. Rick Santorum has hit all 99 counties of Iowa but he has no money. On Tuesday, Robert Stacy McCain reported:

The apparent collapse of Gingrich — at least insofar as it involves conservatives in Iowa — will be one of the big stories to keep watching. Multiple sources confirm the lack of organizational “ground game” for Newt here, but the key questions are, “How far will he fall?” and “Who will benefit most from Newt’s losses?”

Another sign the beneficiary might be Santorum: “Huck’s Army” founders Alex and Brett Harris today endorsed Santorum.

Today I had a long conversation with influential Iowa talk-show host Steve Deace, who remains skeptical of Santorum’s Cinderella potential. Listening to Deace’s analysis, I’d say the unreported story is this: Perhaps the real reason Steve King didn’t endorse Santorum yesterday is not only King’s longstanding friendship with Bachmann, but also that redistricting has given King some new territory that includes a lot of fired-up Ron Paul supporters. The last thing King needs is a bunch of fanatical Paulistas backing a primary challenger against him next year.

There are layers and layers of complexity to GOP politics in Iowa, and I don’t pretend to understand it at more than a superficial level. But I think the situation here is a lot more volatile than most people realize.

Me? So far the conservative darlings have been loud of mouth and short on money and organization with the exception of Rick Perry who has the money and the organization, but his foot keeps using his mouth as a shoe. I would really like to say Rick Santorum is the Great Pumpkin who will rise out the patch and lead us to victory on November 6, 2012. I really would. But he lacks the spark and has failed to attract much of a following. There are plenty of young conservatives looking to latch onto a campaign to be the next Karl Rove. I don’t see one attached to Rick Santorum.

You need more than having the right positions. You need charm and leadership skills. He is surging only because conservatives have nowhere left to go.

So here is my prediction: Santorum finishes third or even second, and we will get a big hullabaloo about Santorumentum. He raised $1 million in a day! (While Barack Obama raised $200 million in the last 91 days.) Then Rick Santorum will crash in New Hampshire because he has no organization. That leaves South Carolina where Governor Nikki Haley already is a Mitt Rider.....


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