The Other McCain

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The Santorum Surge: Mainstream Media Finally Beginning to See Omens in Iowa

Posted on | December 27, 2011 | 27 Comments

IOWA CITY, Iowa
If you’ll check Real Clear Politics, you’ll notice we haven’t seen any new poll numbers out of Iowa lately. With no new polls and no more debates, suddenly reporters are forced to focus on the actual on-the-ground campaign here in the Hawkeye State. And once you start paying attention to that kind of stuff, you can’t help but notice that somebody’s doing a lot better here than the poll numbers might suggest:

He has received key endorsements from well-known social conservatives in the state, and has had solid performances at each of the debates. And he’s running an old-school style campaign that Iowa voters expect in the retail-style politics of the Hawkeye State.
The man whose at the back of the polling pack — despite recent buzz giving him a late boost — is taking nothing for granted but has nothing to lose.
“My feeling is when you’re sitting last, if you can do better than that, that’s good,” he told Fox News.
Santorum said he’s got 1,000 caucus representatives in a contest with about 1,700 caucus locations. He acknowledges that means no official representative to make his case at each of the locations, but at “almost all of them, and no other campaign is going to have someone there who’s going to get up and speak on our behalf.”
Santorum, who claims organization and message will make the difference, is also banking on a divide and conquer strategy.
“There’s really three primaries going on here,” Santorum said. “Ron Paul has his own primary, the libertarian primary. And (Newt) Gingrich and (Mitt) Romney are sort of the establishment primary. And I think there are three who are vying for the conservative mantle to go up against the Gingrich-Romney duo. And I think that I’m going to be the one coming out Iowa with that mantle.
“And if we can do that, then we’re off to the races here, and conservatives around the country, just like they’re doing here in Iowa, are going to start rallying around our campaign,” he said.

Dan Collins also writes about the Santorum Surge today, and check out Curt’s headline at Flopping Aces:

Newt Implodes As Santorum Surges

Evidently, the “Newt Romney” factor is both real and spectacular. Nothing says “kiss of death” quite like the revelation that you’ve been walking the RINO walk while trying to talk the conservative talk.

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 re-districting 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.

Santorum has not yet polled better than 10% in Iowa. If this surge is for real, and he finishes third or fourth — which could put him ahead of a big money “contender” like Gingrich or Perry — then it’s Katy-bar-the-door. And Santorum himself is entirely willing to put his fate in the hands of folks in the Hawkeye State.






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Comments

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Suppose Santorum were to WIN Iowa.  “Katy-bar-the-door” notwithstanding, he has little organization in New Hampshire (which is known for surprises, but also not nearly as conservative as it was 20 years ago) and virtually nothing going on anywhere else.  The failure to make the ballot in Virginia is the tip of the iceberg – other states’ deadlines start coming fast and furious now, if there is no effort already under way, the guy isn’t going to be on a number  of other ballots.

    That’s if he WINS the caucuses.  If he’s a respectable fourth, he’s just out.  There is no time to move the family to New Hampshire and South Carolina and recruit 1000 volunteers.

    This is just reality.  Santorum’s chances of surviving January are roughly equal to my chances in tonight’s Mega Millions drawing.  But I’ll pledge that if I DO win it, I’ll hit the tip jar AND send Rick a nice check.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL

    All of Rick Santorum’s success is to to the hard work and shoe leather of RSM.  We all know that. 

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ EBL

    is due to…

    Sorry, my hoof slipped on the keyboard.  

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  • bob

    all have some baggage—maybe palin should get in or write her in, as hers is no worse than the others and she is a fighter

  • Tennwriter

    If he were to win in Iowa it would be time for some serious organization and money to get behind him.

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Actually, come to find out neither Santorum, Bachmann, or Huntsman even tried to get on the Virginia ballot. The only ones who tried and failed were Gingrich and Perry.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    According to Santorum the only venues where they anticipate ballot trouble are VA, DC and I think Vermont… they claim they’re good everywhere else.

  • Anonymous

    Sigh…he is the best of what is left…

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Not true – more MSM BS.  Huntsman didn’t try because everyone he asked replied, “Jon WHO?”  But Santorum AND Bachmann tried and were unable to collect enough signatures – 10K VALID registered voters including 400 from each of the eleven congressional districts.  There was no point in turning in 9999, so they didn’t.  The reports assume they didn’t try. 

    Use this example when considering “news” you see or read, including on Fox News.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Virginia is supposedly the 3rd toughest, but deadlines are deadlines.  Even if you only need 100, if you wait until an hour before the deadline to begin, you don’t make it.

    The question ought to be, for any candidate, “How many state ballots have you ALREADY qualified for?”  No reason to wait until the deadline if you have the sigs.  Paul turned his in early in Virginia.

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  • Reuben Andreessen

    In Pennsylvania the Secretary of State has not released the form to get the required 2000 signatures so in some states starting way early is not an option.

  • Reuben Andreessen

    For conservatives in Iowa the real contest is between Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, and Michelle Backmann. Whoever comes out on top among these three will see an infusion of funds to make their campaign viable against the libertarian Paul and establishment figues Gingrich and Romney. Rick Santorum has a real chance to get the bump he needs out of Iowa.

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  • http://twitter.com/royalcrown100 DIANE LANE

    Actually Reuben, its Santorum, Bachmann.  Perry is a former Democrat who switched parties a few years ago in Texas to become governor.  Herman was my first choice, Santorum my second, then Bachmann.  These were and are the TRUE CONSERVATIVES!
     

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1300614068 Shawn McElhinney

    [Perry is a former Democrat who switched parties a few years ago in Texas to become governor. ]

    Perry switched parties almost 25 years ago and did so more than ten years before he was governor. Get your facts straight please.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UGYI5EKZRMHIIMARBB5IS35ELU DeborahL

    To all the naysayers, it was said that he couldn’t get this far. Well, here he is now polling third. If he does well in Iowa, then the volunteers and money will happen. Rick is a real Conservative with a real track record. The fine blog Three Beers Later has a series of videos (also posted on YouTube) of Santorum speaking at the San Fernando Valley Republican Club in California. “Inspiring” is the word comes to mind. From American exceptionalism to his record which includes stopping partial birth abortion, this is the real deal.

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  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    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.

    Stacy is the only reporter I have ever read or seen who has admitted that truth.

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