The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Santorum Conquers the World?

Posted on | February 15, 2012 | 33 Comments

When I wrote about “Santorum’s Second Surge” Monday, there were not yet any poll numbers available to substantiate my perception that he had scored a critical breakthrough with last Tuesday’s hat-trick triple win over Mitt Romney.

Now, as Tina Korbe says, “Good news just keeps coming for former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum” — and not merely because he’s getting interviewed by bloggers in skirts short enough to require a lecture from Melissa Clouthier, but let’s not go there, OK? One unfortunate digression per day is my limit.

Santorum now leads Romney by 5.4 points — 33.7% to 28.3% — in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, and the latest Rasmussen survey hwas Santorum ahead by a whopping 12 points, 39-27, while Newt Gingrich has faded to a distant third.

When you start looking at it state-by-state, the polls are even more encouraging: Leading all four of the most recent polls in Michigan, including a PPP poll that shows Santorum ahead by 15 points and an “Inside Michigan” poll that has him up by 10. As Tina in the Short Skirt notes, Santorum is also closing the gap on Romney in Arizona.

The really big news, however, is that Santorum now leads Romney 36-29 in a Quinnipiac poll of Ohio.

Freaking huge, man. If Santorum wins Michigan — Romney’s home state — on Feb.28 and then follows up with a Super Tuesday win March 6 in Ohio, that’s going to change the whole race. Those are big states with lots of delegates, and if Santorum wins those, he’s going to win a lot of other places, too.

Why? Because Romney would have to spend a lot of money for ads to try to defend his aura ”inevitability” and, as Zeke Miller points out, Romney’s fundraising capacity is not infinite:

Over 82 percent of Romney’s haul from individuals in 2011 came in donations greater than $1000 . . . And as Rick Santorum stays in the game with a growing pool of small donors — to whom he can return for another $20 or $100 when the millions they’ve given him runs out — Romney’s campaign has launched an intense, late scramble for the cash to fend off his conservative challenger.

Well, how ’bout that? Small donors like you — folks who have given Rick Santorum $25, $50 or $100 — are collectively more powerful than the GOP Establishment guys who have ponied up thousands each. And if you haven’t contributed yet, what are you waiting for?

UPDATE: Before letting myself get distracted today — and not just by short skirts and post-punk musical allusions — I intended to post the newest ad by Rick Santorum:

That’s pretty clever: Pre-emptively warning voters about Romney’s (so far successful) tactic of burying his rivals with multi-million-dollar negative ad blitzes, so that when Team Mitt attempts to repeat that tactic, Romney’s negative ads become the subject of news coverage. Now Santorum just has to raise enough money to run that ad in every state.

UPDATE II: From a Santorum campaign press release, here’s the script of the ad they call “Rombo”:

Visual: Series of shots of a Romney trying to fire a mud gun in the direction of a Rick Santorum cutout. As the spot progresses the Romney character becomes increasingly frustrated with his inability to hit Rick Santorum with his mud-firing gun. The final visual show the gun backfiring, and covering Romney in his own mud.

Voice Over: “Mitt Romney’s negative attack machine is back on full throttle. This time Romney’s firing his mud at Rick Santorum. Romney and his Super PAC have spent a staggering 20 million brutally attacking fellow Republicans. Why? Because Romney’s trying to hide from his big government Romneycare, and his support for job killing cap and trade.

(Type on Screen): Romney Advisor Admits Romneycare Was Blueprint for Obamacare.

Voice Over: And in the end Mitt Romney’s ugly attacks are going to backfire.

(Type on Screen): Romney’s Negative Ads Could Cost Him With Voters.

Rick Santorum: “I’m Rick Santorum and I approve this message.”

The press release quotes Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley:

“At this point, Mitt Romney’s act is old, tired and wearing thin with voters. In every primary state, Gov. Romney’s strategy has been the same: hide from his own record and instead, unleash his well-funded DC attack machine to destroy his opponent. I think it’s very telling that Gov. Romney refuses to talk about his own record and why someone should vote for him and instead chooses to tear down Rick Santorum.
“Maybe Gov. Romney feels entitled to the Republican nomination but regardless, his actions and those of his SuperPAC are sad and desperate. The American people deserve more than the negative, false and misleading attacks Mitt Romney is dishing out. The choice is clear and the people are rejecting a candidate like Mitt Romney who only wants to attack his opponent, but one like Rick Santorum who focuses on building up all Americans and restoring this country to greatness.”


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