A Razor-Thin Victory for Romney

Rick Moran is blog editor of The American Thinker, and Chicago editor of PJ Media.His personal blog is Right Wing Nuthouse.


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As for Jon Huntsman’s last place finish, he wasn’t competing in Iowa anyway, saving his money and spending all of his time in New Hampshire, hoping for a strong showing in territory that has proven friendly to more moderate Republicans in the past. While Romney seems to be extending his lead in the Granite State, Huntsman figures a strong second will allow him to move on to other primaries later this month.

It’s all about perception, of course. “Exceeding expectations” — or not — is the name of the game. In that contest, Rick Santorum has aced the Iowa test. How he did it is not complicated. The former Pennsylvania senator held a staggering 358 town hall meetings in the last year, visited every one of Iowa’s 99 counties, and counted on a volunteer network of churches, pastors, and Christian activists who worked tirelessly on his behalf. If national pundits believed that retail politics were not as important in Iowa as debate performances and paid advertising, they might want to rethink that formula after Santorum’s effort in 2012.

With the momentum he will get from his Iowa campaign, Santorum is seeing a huge increase in his fundraising. A Santorum staffer told CNN that “the campaign raised more money in the last week than they raised on-line the past six months.” He added that “fundraising is between 300% and 400% higher on a daily basis than it was just ten days ago.” The candidate raised only $700,000 in the third quarter and ended up at the end of the year with just $190,000 in cash.

But the rocket-powered boost in fundraising has already fueled some ad buys in New Hampshire, and next week, Santorum will begin to run ads in South Carolina. It is likely that he will preserve most of his cash for that primary, and make little more than a token effort in New Hampshire. South Carolina has picked the eventual Republican nominee for the last 30 years and Santorum is expected to run strongly in one of the most conservative states in the union.

The entrance polls revealed that Santorum cleaned up with conservative Christians, winning 30% of those voters who made up nearly 60% of caucus attendees. He also did very well with those who identified themselves as “very conservative” — a good omen for his efforts to come in South Carolina.

What Santorum does with this pivotal moment when he will basically be introduced to the American people for the first time is crucial. Most voters are completely unfamiliar with him and since first impressions in politics — as in life — are the most important, how he performs in the glare of the spotlight will tell the tale of the rest of his campaign. Media will descend on his appearances, and how he handles the crush, as well as how he crafts his message, will inform voters of how he performs under the pressure of a national campaign. It is patently unfair that the short window for Santorum’s introduction will make or break him. But such is the pitiless nature of the media and politics in modern America.

The flip side of a candidate exceeding expectations — a failure to live up to his billing — has to be Ron Paul. While he finished a strong third, his showing is being spun by the media as a disappointment. From the entrance polls, Paul ran away with the youth vote, winning 52% of those aged 17-29. But the young people who flocked to his banner only made up 15% of caucus goers. Paul was hurt by a late spate of negative ads from several candidates that pointed to his questionable foreign policy views as well as other problematic positions that highlight his libertarianism rather than his conservatism.

Paul has a strong organization in New Hampshire but he will probably not achieve the same kind of success in a state that looks like a lock for Romney. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion except that Iowa was Paul’s high water mark. And while he will compete in every primary up to the convention, his chances of winning the nomination disappeared in the cold Iowa night.

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  • Brian Donegal

    Whoever wins should not be a repetition of Bob Dole. The Republicans should field a winnable candidate

    • Supreme_Galooty

      Neither do we want a repeat of Bush – either of them. Big Government, Liberal Establishment, Country Club Republicans are ALMOST as dangerous as Democrats. Win, lose or draw, NO MORE establishment Republicans!

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Mitt Romney didn’t hurt himself in Iowa but he didn’t help himself either.

    BS, the victory is Mitt's, as he spent less time in Iowa by far than any of the other candidates and still won. Meanwhile, Santorum has been camped out in Iowa for months, while at the same time being completely absent in other states.

    Not to mention that Mitt's strategy was to force Gingrich and Perry near the bottom of the heap, which he did successfully, as those two candidates were the only two candidates that could possibly mount a challenge to him.

    Santorum, on the other hand, isn't a threat to Mitt because his campaign is broke and doesn’t have an organization. Plus since his rise in the polls happened right before the caucuses, his excess baggage, which is numerous to say the least, hasn’t been exposed yet but nevertheless is fixing to get exposed in the next couple of debates.

    In addition, Gingrich's support has been falling like a rock not only in Iowa, but all across the country as well where campaign ads exposing his dirty laundry haven't been run yet, and his new strategy of calling Mitt a liar and going negative exposes him as being a hypocrite, very undisciplined, and a thin skinned crybaby in stark contrast to his earlier positive campaign.

    Hence, I predict his new negative strategy is going to backfire on him. Indeed, if Gingrich can't handle the ads exposing his dirty laundry coming from Mitt's Super PAC, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry in Iowa, there is no way he will be able to withstand the onslaught he'll get from Obama's campaign. Thus, I predict his precipitous drop in the polls will accelerate.

    Therefore, this election for the Republican Party nomination for all intents and purposes is Mitt's to lose. Of course, his Republican competitors will be getting a big boost thanks to the Obama campaign that is increasingly running more and more negative ads against Mitt since they are very scared of him, and that will help candidates like Santorum and Gingrich who can't afford to run ads.

    Finally, I believe that Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman will both inevitably drop out and if Mitt can get the endorsement of Bachman that will add a lot of street cred for him with Tea Partiers. Perry's campaign was literally destroyed in the debates by Mitt. Thus, he will probably endorse Santorum or Gingrich.

    • umustbkidding

      Mitt has the adornment of the press so he really doesn't have as much to do. We don't want another McCain. I won't vote if Mitt is the nominee, I'm tired of holding my nose.

      It's why we are here in the first place. Let everything go septic, it's the only choice left if Mitt is the nominee.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Mitt has the adornment of the press so he really doesn't have as much to do. We don't want another McCain.

        Yeah right give me a break. Fox News, the official news media of the RINO establishment Republican Party, has deliberately been mislabeling Mitt as being a moderate from the very get go of the 2012 campaign. When the reality is that in 2008 Mitt was the Republican candidate that most conservatives coalesced and rallied around in 2008 to oppose the moderate McCain. Not to mention that Mitt's conservative stances on the issues hasn't changed one iota from 2008 to 2012. Finally, other than Michelle Bachman, Mitt is the only candidate in the race that is adamantly opposed to amnesty in all of its various incarnations, as all other candidates still in the race support the liberal position of granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.

        Meanwhile, Fox News lifted Newt's campaign up from the dead exactly like it did with respect to John McCain in 2008 because like McCain, Newt supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. Then starting last week when it became apparent that Newt was precipitously falling in the polls, it abandoned Newt and jumped on Santorum's bandwagon and shamelessly provided him tons of free coverage the last few days before yesterday's caucuses because Santorum is also a big amnesty supporter.

        You see…the RINO establishment Republican Party has been advocating for years tossing conservatives and conservative principles and values under the bus in favor of going after liberal Hispanic voters, because they perceive Hispanics as becoming the largest demographic in the future and they want to use the issue of amnesty to throw Hispanics a bone to attempt to attract them into the Republican Party. That strategy miserably failed in 2008 and it will inevitably miserably fail again in 2012.

        I won't vote if Mitt is the nominee, I'm tired of holding my nose.

        Who cares? You are very wrong about Mitt. Not to mention that I didn't vote in 2008 as well. Hence, did you get this idea from me, because complaining that I'm tired of holding my nose was my exact complaint? So are you trying to ridicule me?

        Indeed, I refuse to vote for moderates and especially when those moderates are amnesty supporters like McCain was in 2008, and exactly like Newt, Santorum, Perry, and Huntsman all are in 2012 as well.

        Nevertheless, if you closely examine Mitt's record in Massachusetts, you will find that it is a conservative record and the term Romneycare is just absurd propaganda. Of course, there are also tons of people that will not support a Mormon under any circumstances. Therefore, you may be one of those.

        Hence, like you since Michelle Bachman will probably drop out, if any other candidate other than Mitt wins the nomination, I will also likewise stay home and not vote, because if amnesty gets implemented in this country, it will spell the end of conservatism as it will give the left a permanent majority that they will then use to finish destroying America.

      • Stephen_Brady

        By all means, do vote, if Romney gets the nomination, and vote for him. A vote for anyone but Romney (in that case) would be, in effect, a vote for Obama. Staying home on election woud be a vote for Obama. Voting third party would be a vote for Obama.

        There's a long way to go, in the nomination process. And though Romney has the support of the GOP establishment, the departure of Bachmann and Perry will give a serious boost to Santorum, and Gingrich is in the process of imploding. Many of his votes will go to Santorum.

        It's not over till the fat lady sings …

  • KKKK

    at least its not Ron Paul. not this time at least lets hope that whoever wins the elections in November it will be niether osama-obama nor someone who will be like him like Ron Paul.

  • jacob

    But what should worry every true Republican, not a RINO, is that according to information I've read, it was to PAUL to whom most of the independents vote
    went to and we know damned well whom's vote is what decides any election.

    And if this basket case becomes President, may GOD protect us all, worst
    even than what we presently have……

    • Asher

      Some of the voters who voted for Paul were not from Iowa….The Left is involved in this trek to nominate Paul because they know he is the absolute worst candidate for Evangelicas who support Israel, overturning Obama care, Strong on National Security and Iran not getting Nukes, and legalizing hard drugs….Paul is not a Republican, he is a Libertarian! Lots of outside interference in choosing the Republican candidate, you can bet on that!

  • Steve Chavez

    If Romney's the last man standing, HERE'S A CAMPAIGN COMMERCIAL FOR HIM.

    Have a PHOTO LAYOUT of ROMNEY'S FAMILY, which is huge, that so far are untouched by the media looking for dirt. Kids being kids. Smiles abound. Show the grandkids jumping on Granddad.

    Then Obama's FAMILY PHOTO LAYOUT surrounded by the likes of:

    *SAUL ALINSKY with Obama, wearing a child's Helicopter Hat, sitting on his lap.
    *GEORGE SOROS standing above Obama pulling Puppet strings.
    *KARL MARX holding a "Communism Lives" book.
    *KGB PUTIN holding a sign: "We Won the Cold War after all. Our dupe is U.S. President!"
    *MAO with a poster "Made in China. We're Capitalists now and you're Communists. Thanks for the 'Change' Amerika."
    *CHE with Obama wearing a Che t-shirt.
    *His CHICAGO MOBSTERS, including Oprah, Wright, Ayers, Axelrod, Rahm, etc. in Mafia Outfits.
    *All of them standing on a Star of David flag.
    *Obama holding an upside down small U.S. Flag that he is ready to torch!
    *And how could we leave out Joe Biden who is wearing a TALIBAN TURBAN with a fuse coming out of it.

    Then show OBAMA'S REAL KENYAN FAMILY living in shacks with them holding signs "Spread the Wealth Bro. Visas too. We family!" "Grandma's taking Jerome Corsi's lie detector test. Send $$$ now or else!"

    Caption: "Which one is the All-American Family just like yours?"

    • Asher

      Obama was not even eligible to be on some ballots….We elected an impostor out of Ingnorance, and media cover up……Obama ties to radicals and Raila Odinga in Africa shows us who he really is…..

  • mrbean

    Our country is a big mess. No jobs, professors in liberal colleges degrading our military, and money wasted by this very liberal president, who, by the way, got more Wall Street contributions than any Republican. He will not get much this time from the so-called fat cat capitalists. We need real change in 2012. We can’t survive another four years of this disgraceful, inept, weak administration. What about Operation Fast and Furious, and Solyndra, where’s the main street media on this? Oh I forgot. They are in the tank for President Barack Obama. Good luck America. Vote and make this man a one-termer.

    • Asher

      I agree, Obama is the Worst President this country has ever had, and we can make a 180 degree positive Improvement. Don't be fooled or led by the media or the Left that wants to convince us that there is no hope in a new, better, and Improved All American Candidate….We have had enough of Imposters!

  • Asher

    Santorum really surprised alot of people which just goes to show what can happen when Evangelicals vote in Full Force! Romney is smart and capable, he knows how to create jobs, and is number 1 in investments and Business strategies…Santorum also has experience, and positives….We will watch as the public views more of these 2 candidates…..In my opinion both are 100 times better for America than Barack Obama and his radical policies!

    • Stephen_Brady

      Indeed, had Perry and Bachmann not been in the race, Santorum would likely have won by several thousand votes. Interesting that Romney didn't increase his 2008 showing, despite four years of campaigning.

      That said, I will vote for Romney, if he is the nominee. There simply isn't another viable choice.

  • BS77

    I liked Romney's speech when it became apparent he and Santorum were the main winners in Iowa….it was a decent, conservative speech…..Also glad to see Ron Paul on his way out of the race.

  • digdigby

    Romney = McCain Redux. Santorum is our very last chance and I have NEVER donated to a campaign and I just donated to his. The MSM smear machine will, starting today, go into full search and destroy mode on Santorum (as will Benedict Romney) – so I don't hold out much hope.

  • Questions

    If Ron Paul enthusiasts stuffed ballots in Iowa — ballot-stuffing already having come natural to them in CPAC and other straw polls — then their homeboy should be investigated. Rep. Paul loves liberty except when his opponents might benefit from it. Every tyrant in history has had the same definition of "liberty."

    • Stephen_Brady

      Have you heard rumors to that effect?

  • Jim_C

    If Obama really were "the worst president we ever had" (which is nonsense) you would have no trouble beating him in an election. It should be a landslide.

    Instead, it'll be a close race between Mitt and Barack (it always was–this primary stuff was showbiz, as I've said all along, let's not kid ourselves about Santorum); and we all know Mitt has lots of dough but in the end, there's simply not enough ill will towards Obama.

    Fools will chalk it up to "the media" but it's just the contest we have. The smart GOP candidates stayed out of this one, waiting for 2016.

  • Brain

    are you trying to say none of the other candidates are doing that as well

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Whoever gets the Republican nod had better get the FULL support of Ron Paul, or it will be exceedingly difficult come November. Keeping Palin, Bachmann, and Paul on the fringes will assure a repeat of McCain's feckless run. And we need another Obama term like we need a hole in our heart – "Death to America!"

    • Fred Dawes

      you can see

  • Fred Dawes

    Control news by the enemies of freedom and the American way, just call me a evil person and have me picked up by your SS Police, if you can? Ron is the winner not the other white obama. see ADAA All citizen can and will be arrested if we get out of line.

  • RandyCrawford

    I did caucus intake credentials checking at the Coralville, Iowa combined precincts Republican caucus Jan. 3, 2012, at the Marriott. Since Obama is a shoo-in, we had a couple hundred Democrats stopping by to register as "Republicans" and create all the havoc they could as wolves in sheep's clothing. This crossover vote in Coralville alone gave Romney dozens of bogus votes, and statewide similar exercises gave Romney hundreds and most likely thousands of bogus Democrat crossover votes. Romney didn't win the Iowa caucuses– Obama's pals stole the election so that Obama has a chance to run against his close cousin Romney. Just check out Obama's and Romney's top contributers on opensecrets.org. The same big bailed out banks that support Obama also support Romney. Do you prefer strychnine or arsenic? Either way you're a dead slave of dictatorship with either brand of Obama poison or Romney poison.

  • Izzie

    If you delete the Democratic and Independent crossover votes, Santorum would have won by a significant margin; Romney would have come in second (5,500 votes behind Sandorum), Gingrich would have come in 3rd, and Perry and Paul would have tied for 4th place.

  • Western Spirit

    People believe what suits them.

    If they didn't tyrants would wither away and totalitairism would become a nightmare of the past as would anti-Semitism.

    Fools say there is your truth and my truth, when the truth is there is objective facts and subjective prejudices. For example, when playing tennis there is the place the ball actually
    lands and a place the ball is reputed to have landed thus demonstrating the difference between the two.

    And that's why I'm for Santorum because, like a good referee, he calls the values, the facts, the country was founded on, in bounds. the fact is its God given freedom, a Judeo-Christian principle, among other such principles, has created the opportunities that has made this country great.

    compare this with Obama whose values are already bearing rotten fruit demonstrating its source.

    Whether we call this world of illusion Maya or the Devil its deceptive lies fool us and makes fools of us when we vote for principles that enslave us
    .

  • Asher

    Zion and God's people win in the end, God will see to that, his word and his mission will never be changed not by the likes of mortal man!

  • Jim_C

    Yes…supernatural magic!

  • Brain

    is that why he tied santorum last night. amazing that they didn't bash Paul too much with this article like they have been. If Paul wins the nomination who are you going to vote for? I bet an establishment republican like you would still vote for him.

  • Steve Chavez

    Mr. Brain, I WOULD PROUDLY VOTE FOR PAUL even though I think he's a nut but I know I wouldn't have suspicions on whose side he is on unlike the current Con-Artist-in-Chief who has thrown friends like Egypt under the bus on top of now the Obama administration talking with the Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as if they are now the moderates! If you listen carefully to Obama's Egypt speech on youtube, around the 20 minute mark he gives a warning against extremism, BUT IT IS ACTUALLY A SIGNAL OF APPROVAL, FOR EXTREMISM is the way of the future. Now these extremists are trashing all agreements with Israel which is another Obama goal.

    ANYBODY BUT OBAMA!

  • ObamaYoMoma

    If Paul wins the nomination who are you going to vote for?

    Are you mentally incompetent? Never mind that is obvious that Paul doesn't have a prayer in hell of winning because there are simply not enough Jew haters on the right in this country to elect him, and because most of Paul's supporters are cross over leftwing self-hating Jew haters.

    I bet an establishment republican like you would still vote for him.

    Wake up or slowdown with the drugs, as all other Republican candidates for the nomination have already made it clear that should they lose they will readily endorse any other candidate with the exception of Ron Paul.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Mitt's the classic flip-flopper – anything to get elected. Therefore he's hardly the staunch conservative you portray him as.

    Really? Of course, exactly like most conservatives, Mitt steadily flipped to more conservative positions as he has gotten older and wiser via the school of hard knocks known as life, exactly like most conservatives as well. However, unlike Newt Gingrich, for instance, once Mitt flipped to more conservative positions he never flopped back to liberal positions.

    Meanwhile, Newt flip flopped back and forth so many times between liberal and conservative positions, depending upon who happened to be buttering his bread on any particular given day, it will literally make your head spin. Like, you know, when Newt conceded a Global Warming debate, in which he had widely publicized, to of all people Senator John Kerry, and then later filmed a PSA with Nancy Pelosi urging Congress to pass cap and trade legislation because of global warming, or the time he claimed that Congressman Paul Ryan's medicare reform proposal was right-wing social engineering to name a few.

    Hence, go ahead and make my day by naming one time when Mitt flopped back to more liberal positions after flipping to more conservative positions.

    Of course, then again you could be a delusional leftists. I don't know, in which case you would naturally see Mitt's flips to more conservative positions as betrayals and stabs in the back. However, as a conservative, I applaud Mitt's flips and betrayals of leftism. Indeed, any so-called conservative that condemns Mitt's flips to more conservative positions is either a faux conservative or otherwise mentally incompetent.

  • mrbean

    Neo cons really had and have had no say in decisions that were made by leftist leaning indoctrinates of the hard core leftist indoctrinates fteaching in the Ivy league schools. Anti american Liberal professors who worship at the portrait of Mao are ungrateful for the freedom they have from better men than them. In China they would be executed at dawn and their families billed for the bullet, and their body parts harvested and sold.

  • Steve Chavez

    Racist? I'd add the Black Panthers with clubs to the line up. Thanks for the idea. .

  • Fred Dawes

    two white obamas

  • tanstaafl

    Let's at least be respective of the President. His real name is Barry Soetoro.

    As to his real S.S. number……….