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Still Coming Up Mittens

[ 65 ] February 29, 2012 |

Obviously, I’m not changing my mind about the direction of the race after a Romney sweep.

Michigan does make me understand why some people are stubborn about seeing a race here; I was skeptical of Romney for too long myself.   Given the mismatch of resources, it’s not an impressive win.   But the fundamental truth is that you can’t beat even a weak candidate with nothing, and Romney is lucky enough to be facing only marginally less maladroit (Santorum) or actively worse (Newt) candidates who also can’t touch his financial and organizational resources.   Santorum and even Newt might get some wins on Super Tuesday, but it will just be delaying the, er, inevitable.

It will be refreshing to have a Republican candidate proposing to help out ordinary Americans by abolishing taxes on multimillion dollar inheritances.

Comments (65)

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  1. Morbo says:

    Obligatory “What about Ron Paul?”

  2. LosGatosCA says:

    Santorum gave us a good ride. For completely different reasons he’s the Paul Tsongas of this cycle. This is the last flicker of his electoral candle at any level. He retreats into wingnut welfare permanently. Yet he served his purpose mortally wounding Romney and exposing Gingrich as an outright fraud.

    Romney has had to roll out a battalion of howitzers to barely beat a mosquito. In the kiss of death for a Republican, he looks weak. Looking tough for the TeaBaggers doesn’t require much, think Bush strutting around – but more than he can deliver.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks says:

      The way Paul Tsongas mortally wounded Bill Clinton in 1992? Analogy fail.

      • McKingford says:

        I think it is the notion that Santorum has mortally wounded Romney that is mistaken because this suggests that “but for Santorum” Romney would be doing fine.

        But of course we know that isn’t so. Santorum, and before him, Gingrich didn’t have their moment in the sun because of their talents, but because the base deeply mistrusts Romney. So, they rose in spite of their own liabilities – liabilities so strong they still can’t beat a very weak Romney.

        In short, it isn’t Santorum doing the wounding. Romney is quite capable of doing that on his own, with his love of firing people, his $10K bets, all the while driving Cadillacs in tandem…Santorum has merely been the beneficiary.

        • witless chum says:

          Romney’s doing the wounding, but if he had no challengers left he’d presumably be getting less attention on the dipshittery that comes out of his mouth. So it’s hurting him more because more people are hearing it.

  3. Mitt's Middle Finger says:

    Today I will humbly accept the Michigan victory. Tomorrow they may announce quietly that Santorum got more delegates, but I will still be “the guy with the organization”.

    • McKingford says:

      It’s funny, isn’t it, how the media STILL hasn’t learned from 2008: it is a delegate race, not a “momentum” race. I mean, if there’s anything we learned from 2008, it is that momentum was entirely meaningless*. The guy who understood this, and focused on delegates, won.

      (and hell, if there is anything constant in this year’s race it is that momentum remains meaningless)

      Here we are 4 years later, and it looks like we are in for another long race (even the premise of Scott’s post – that Romney still wins – is based on the race lasting through at least April). Yet the media still doesn’t see this as a *delegates* game. Yet the difference between Romney winning Michigan 41-38 vs. Santorum winning by the same margin is probably about 4-5 delegates.

      • DrDick says:

        Santorum terrifies the Republican establishment, who know he can’t win and find him too extreme on social issues, and the marginally sentient rank and file who can do the electoral math. This, of course includes a lot of the political press.

      • John says:

        I don’t see how this is a delegates game. It’s not exactly a momentum game, either, but Romney’s comfortable lead in delegates has very little to do with why he’ll win the nomination.

        The 2008 Democratic campaign was an anomaly. It was able to go on for so long because both candidates had tons of money, a natural base, and strong backing from party leaders. It also continued for a long while after it was clear to everybody except Clinton and her die-hard supporterrs that Obama would be the nominee.

        The idea that this anomalous example shows that nomination contests are a “delegate race” is ridiculous. It’s an exception to a normal rule. No other recent race – 2008 Republican, 2004 Democratic, 2000 Republican, 2000 Democratic, 1996 Republican, every other Republican race besides 1976 – saw anything like the 2008 race. What happened in all those races is that one guy won most of the early races, and then everybody else dropped out. This race is going on longer than those, but it’s still not anything like the 2008 Democratic race.

        • mpowell says:

          I agree with this. It is almost always a momentum race for a variety of reasons, though at least one of them is that the media make it out that way. But probably the biggest factor is political career considerations. Most people don’t appreciate how important elites are to the process. They shape fundraising and directly determine endorsements, both of which have a major impact on votes. And since a primary is between members of the same party, these are people you have to work with for the remainder of your political career. State party members aren’t going to want to back an obviously losing candidate, because it will hurt them in the future. So you get strong bandwagon effects early on. It is a perception game all around, but for correct strategic reasons and it’s not just the media’s perception that matters. We should probably just be thankful that early voting actually drives this process instead of it being a purely elite’s concern.

        • joe from Lowell says:

          I don’t see how this is a delegates game. It’s not exactly a momentum game, either

          I would describe it thusly: Mitt Romney is playing a momentum game, and Santorum and Gingrich a delegates game. If Romney can win the momentum game, he’ll have the nomination sewn up long before he actually has 50%+1 of the delegates. If he can’t, then it will become a delegates game, and even then, Mittens would still have a good chance of winning it.

        • R Johnston says:

          It also continued for a long while after it was clear to everybody except Clinton and her die-hard supporters that Obama would be the nominee.

          This. Sort of. Even the 2008 Democratic nomination race was over by February. It was clearly over, and the people pretending it wasn’t over were ridiculous people using Karl Rove’s math.

          Of course the Democrats in 2008 didn’t have any winner-takes-all primaries coming up. Obama’s lead, while small, was unbeatable after the final pre-super-Tuesday round of primaries, unless some major scandal happened to let Clinton win big the rest of the way. If the Democrats in 2008 had had the Republican system of 2012 in place, the 2008 Democratic race would not have been over so early.

          The structure of the Republican primaries allows for a comeback, even at this late date. The structure of the candidates’ campaigns and the candidates themselves, however, does not. A late entry, well financed and disciplined Republican with a message broadly appealing to the Republican base could beat Mitt Romney from Rick Santorum’s current position. Rick Santorum, however, is not that candidate.

      • The difference, I think, is that in this race Santorum can and will continue to push Mittens further to the right, which will be a harder place to win from. Obama-Clinton was mostly a race to the middle from the start. The Man Who Was Afraid To Google is going to be in a strong bargaining position come convention time.

      • Uncle Kvetch says:

        It’s funny, isn’t it, how the media STILL hasn’t learned from 2008

        The media has a vested interest in the race not being over.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        2008 was an extremely unusual primary. 2004 wasn’t a delegates game. Neither was 2000 (for either party), 1996, 1992 (for either party), 1988…you pretty much have to go back to the Republicans in 1976 to find a race that actually was a delegate game.

  4. c u n d gulag says:

    Yeah, it’s been quite a nail-biter.

    Of course, Mitt didn’t bite his own nails – he hired a manicurist to bite them for him.

    And Santorum was biting the stigmata nails in his palms, and not the ones on the ends of his fingers.

    If money is free speech, then Mitt’s money spoke freely – but I’m sure it cost him and his supporters a lot of it to beat the weakest field of candidates in a generation.
    Congratulations, Mitt!

  5. joe from Lowell says:

    Santorum lost Catholics in Michigan. Catholic Republicans picked the flip-floppy Mormon over the Catholic.

    In hindsight, perhaps saying that John F. Kennedy makes you want to puke isn’t the best strategy for ingratiating yourself to Roman Catholic voters.

    • mds says:

      On the other hand, relentlessly, mendaciously attacking the GM bailout apparently is the best strategy for carrying Wayne County. Which doesn’t actually surprise me.

      • rea says:

        mendaciously attacking the GM bailout apparently is the best strategy for carrying Wayne County

        Or at least, for carrying Wayne County Republicans. Frankly, it’s surprising that there are any Wayne County Republicans.

        • Furious Jorge says:

          If memory serves, there are quite a number of them living in Dearborn, Detroit’s large and very racist suburb to the south.

          There were a lot of Reagan Democrats there back in the day, and once the Arabs started moving in, a lot of them just went full-on Republican.

      • Well, the fact that nobody in the race actually supported it helps. It’s not like Romney isn’t going to get slaughtered there in November.

    • actor212 says:

      I agree with Joe on this, and posted my thoughts at my blog.

      JFK is still a martyred saint to a lot of Republicans, who were working class Democrats until Reagan came along. If he’s not their hero, he’s the hero of their parents and grandparents. This would be akin to saying that St. Peter was wrong to build a church in Rome.

  6. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Women were a key demographic for Willard. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that female GOPers prefer their HANDMAID’S TALE presented in dogwhistles rather than having it recited verbatim.

  7. david mizner says:

    Romney won Michigan only because voters who make more than 100 k a year went for him, he lost everything but the upper class to Santorum. He’s got a serious brand problem, does Richie Rich.

    That said, this talk of an Obama landslide-Democratic realignment popping on the liberal blogs seems far fetched to me. The economy is still weak, a Republican candidate is guaranteed a certain number of states, and Romney, while not a good candidate, is, after all, the former governor of Massachusetts who can still plausibly present himself as a non-wackadoo.

    • mpowell says:

      It will be interesting to see to what degree that is feasible after this primary campaign.

    • mpowell says:

      Let me put it this way: Obama could do nothing but run ads with Romney saying stuff from this campaign and that would be pretty close to the best campaign he could run.

      • actor212 says:

        I’d loop that comment to Ingraham endlessly on the radio.

      • joe from Lowell says:

        Just like 2008.

        I wanted the Obama campaign to lay out a bunch of those Obama tire gauges to spell “Share the Wealth,” take a picture, and send it as a mailer to every household in America.

        Hey, everyone, my opponent wants to share the wealth. I don’t think you understood; I said he wants to share the wealth. Stop clapping, you idiots!

        • david mizner says:

          Just wait to the Million Dog Anti-Romney march on Washington.

          We just need to figure out a way not cover the Mall in poop.

    • this talk of an Obama landslide-Democratic realignment

      There is? I haven’t see it, but if so it’s pretty silly.

      • actor212 says:

        I don’t know about landslide, but even Pelosi has hinted at getting the House back, and certainly Snowe’s seat being open helps the Dems hold the Senate.

      • david mizner says:

        There’s quite a bit of giddiness — here’s a Booman post expressing a view I’ve seen quite a bit.

        http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/2/20/14350/7677

      • joe from Lowell says:

        The Emerging Democratic Majority realignment is already happening.

        If Obama wins in a landslide, it will be a continuation of the same chain of events that began in the 1990s, were briefly obscured by the weird George W. Churchill episode, gave us 2006 and 2008, and were again obscured by the bad economy in 2010.

        • Furious Jorge says:

          How many obscuration events can you have before there is no longer a real chain of events to follow? How much noise in the data is acceptable?

          Not trying to be snarky. Just wondering out loud I guess.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            It depends on how strongly the events postulated to be outliers from the trend can be linked to specific, temporary events that are strong enough to cause a deviation.

            I feel pretty safe in saying that 9/11 and the Great Recession caused temporary pro- and anti-incumbent reactions large enough to cause noticeable deviations from a larger, longer trend in voting patterns.

        • david mizner says:

          That’s a different issue. No doubt demographic trends are moving in a positive direction for Dems but not quickly enough to produce a landslide in November (unless perhaps Romney can’t find a way to stop sucking so badly. But even then…)

          • joe from Lowell says:

            It is a different issue. That’s what I was trying to say.

            I think it’s also worth noting that the term “landslide” means something different than it used to, because partisan polarization has shrunk the pool of voters who are actually up for grabs. We aren’t going to see a 1984 or a 1964 again for a long time.

            • Ben says:

              Aren’t you forgetting about American’s Elect running a former comptroller?

              Americans will lay aside their differences and come together under a banner of technocratic efficiency. We’ll have to invent more states just so we’ll be able to adequately capture how many electoral votes the comptroller will capture.

  8. actor212 says:

    My take on last night is, barring a completely idiotic flub by Romney, he should get the nomination handily.

    But that’s a big frikkin’ caveat, Scott. I think Romney, unlike even John McCain or Barack Obama, is unpolished enough at this level that he could conceivably do something that stupid.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      I also think that this paves the way for a Romney nomination.
      Sure, Newt will take some Southern states, with Santorum picking up a few more.

      But don’t forget, in their infinite wisdom, neither Newt’s nor Rick’s team had the brains to make sure their candidates was on the ballot in VA, so only Mitt and Ron are there (and isn’t THAT the kind of competence we want in a President and his staff?). So, it would take a lot for Mitt to lose.

      Romney’s such a really, really God-awful candidate, that he will most likely lose, even to a still beatable Obama, in a terrible, though slowly improving economy.

      What will be interesting to see, is who the establishment (for who else if funding Mitt?) will saddle him with as VP. And that may have significant ramifications on the future of the party.
      If they decide on a another fairly homogenous Republican (read: not completely batshit insane one), they open themselves up for even more extreme candidates in 2016. “Our candidates weren’t Conservative enough!!!”
      But if they saddle him with a teabagging wingnut to “excite the base,” they may be able to blame the loss on the extremists, saying that the teabagger took away Independents. And that may lead to the shift (albeit slowly) to a more rational Republican Party. And no, I’m NOT holding my breath.

      That’s my take on it.
      Today.
      Mitt could easily come down with several more cases of athlete’s tongue, by sticking his foot in his mouth, before Super Tuesday, so I ain’t bettin’ da house on him.

      • c u n d gulag says:

        OY! – “candididate,” not ‘candididates.’

        Kan oui haz sum edit ‘r delete, pleeze?

      • mpowell says:

        You’re not going to get away with blaming the VP for another loss. Even Palin didn’t get much blame from the base and she was one of the worst candidates you could imagine them producing.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Well, they created Palin, and used her brand of ignorance and lunacy to try to fire-up the base for McCain – and, after they lost, they used her brand to help create the teabagger movement which gave them The House in 2010.

          But now they realize what the Palin/Bircher/Klan/Jesus Monster ID Creature is doing to them and their party.

          So, maybe in the tradition of “Only Nixon could go to China,” they’ll have to be the ones to undo what they done did.

          But you’re right, I think.

          Mitt is just such a stiff rich asshole as a candidate, really genuinely awful, I think, if he loses, there will be no case to be made that a teabagging loon actually hurt his chances.
          And if they try, the base will take further umbrage.
          And, we don’t need that – how much more umbrage from them can we stand?

      • actor212 says:

        What will be interesting to see, is who the establishment (for who else if funding Mitt?) will saddle him with as VP. And that may have significant ramifications on the future of the party.

        I really only see two possible choices out there, and no, Chris Christie isn’t one, since Romney doesn’t even win New Jersey with Christie on the ticket.

        Marco Rubio, who could firm up Florida for Romney and let him campaign in other battleground states, or Mitch Daniels, particularly if Mitt hasn’t wrapped up the nom by the Indiana primary May 8 and has to slug out a battle there.

        Romney’s midwest problems are pretty evident based on Santorum’s wins in the area, and Daniels would give him some support there.

        His strategy in the general is pretty straightforward: he can rely on the mountain states and probably much of the South apart from Florida, Louisiana, and perhaps North Carolina. The northeast is really lost to him, altho he could squeeze NH and VT off. California and the coast are gone to him, so he has to pick up Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri (where McCain and Obama basically tied)…basically anything along the Three Rivers system of the Mississippi valley.

        And then hope he can steal Florida.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          I used to think it would be Rubio, too.

          Now, I’m not so sure.
          To some degree, he’s got his own birther thing going on.

          But more importantly, would he want to be saddled with Mitt? Especially if it’s on a losing ticket? A BADLY losing ticket – potentially.

          Name the last Republican who was VP on a losing Presidential ticket who ever came back as the front runner – I think it was Dole – and it took him 20 years to make it to be the head of a ticket.

          Republicans will almost always choose someone in the next election who lost within their own primaries in the previous one. I don’t see any evidence that they’ll pick the losing VP candidate the next go-round.

          So, I don’t see Rubio, or Mitch for that matter, wanting to test that theory out.
          Better to sit this one out and let them send in some sacrificial lamb.
          I think they’ll stay home, and keep their powder dry until 2016.

          • actor212 says:

            Many people said that in 2008, and it only hurt the party long term.

            I think someone will be asked to be Lloyd Bentsen.

          • Furious Jorge says:

            Rubio’s got a truth-telling issue down here, what with fabricating stuff in his autobiography and then neglecting to mention that he’d been a Mormon himself for a while.

            Honestly, I don’t think Charlie Crist even had an opposition research team at all in 2010, or if he did, I hope he has some sort of legal recourse against them.

            Seriously though – two Mormons? One of them a brown person? Not sure how that’s going to play in some parts of the south. Won’t swing any votes to Obama, but it may be juuuust enough to depress turnout and make some traditionally safe states more competitive.

          • les says:

            Republicans will almost always choose someone in the next election who lost within their own primaries in the previous one.

            That’s a fuckin’ scary thought.

            • c u n d gulag says:

              That may not be true this time.

              This is the worst candidate pool in memory.

              Unless they get even crazier, and than Michele Bachmann could become the favorite in 2016.

  9. sleepyirv says:

    So at some point, Santorum said, “I’m going to lose Michigan but not in a way that would force me out of the race.” That’s a very small tightrope he had to cross. I’m impressed he pulled that off.

    He couldn’t do anything super-crazy or he would have to leave the campaign but still had to alienate a large percentage of the voters. He did get a good assist from Romney’s money but I do hope Santorum gets his just accolades for pulling off his bet.

  10. Joseph Slater says:

    Headline from “The Onion” nailed it: “Romney Thanks State He Was Born And Raised In For Just Barely Giving Him Enough Votes To Beat Total Maniac.”

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