Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Palin Proved Right: We Are Seeing "Unexpected" Strength in Santorum and Weakness in Romney

Governor Sarah Palin again shows how prescient she is. She has consistently said that only an extended primary season will show who the best Republican candidate is.

That Governor Romney is much weaker than the national press has reported has been shown tonight. That Senator Rick Santorum is much stronger is clear in his three state win tonight. One win was in Colorado a presumed Romney strong hold since he won 60% of its votes in 2008. Tonight Romney got less than 2/3rds that amount in a losing effort.

Totals tonight:

Santorum 55%
Romney 25%
Paul 12%

Santorum 45%
Romney 35%
Gingrich 17%
Paul 12%

Santorum 40%
Romney 35%
Gingrich 13%
Paul 11%

Rick Santorum not only showed unexpected strength as a vote getter, his victory speech was his strongest yet. It showed that he does have fire in the belly and can inspire.

Santorum spoke of Obama's overreach in implementing policies which presume he knows better than the individual what is best for each person. That same overreach has caused the Obama administration to attack religious liberty of Catholics and Catholic institutions this week. It was a strong, rousing speech based on conservative principles and values.

Santorum's speech stood out in contrast with Mitt Romney's more stable presentation of himself as technically able to handle the economy because he is a successful businessman and turned around the Olympics. Governor Romney did paint President Obama as a failure by Obama's own standards, but the main bit of life came in talking about how his father, George, worked his way up from nothing to success. (I remember Governor George Romney's campaign in 1968 ending not long after the gaffe of saying that he had been brainwashed by American military leaders into supporting the war in Vietnam. The talk at the time was that someone so easily misled didn't have the leadership skills necessary for taking on the challenges of the Cold War and negotiating with the Soviets.)

Ironically gaffes [Mitt Romney's statement about not being concerned about the very poor and then compounding that (with conservative voters) by saying he was for an indexed minimum wage] again may be playing a big role in a Romney campaign 44 years later.

Mitt Romney's bad stumbles tonight also breathe new life in Speaker Newt Gingrich's campaign. Romney's losses have derailed the narrative that Romney is the inevitable nominee. These losses will also force the Romney campaign to turn its negative campaign fire from Speaker Gingrich to Senator Santorum. This will further paint Romney as primarily a negative (and dirty) campaigner without a truly positive message. Which, unfortunately, is underlined by his speech tonight targeting Obama's failures rather than Romney's plans for success.

The campaign seems wide open again, and Republican voters will have the chance to weigh which of the three leaders really does have the beliefs and skills necessary to win the presidency and deal with the nation's economic and foreign policy woes.

Congratulations to Senator Rick Santorum on three huge wins tonight!

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