The Other McCain

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SANTORUM SCORES ‘DECISIVE’ WIN IN KANSAS REPUBLICAN CAUCUSES

Posted on | March 10, 2012 | 26 Comments

Headline from the New York Times:

Santorum Takes a Decisive
Victory in Kansas Caucuses

Now the story from the Wall Street Journal:

OLATHE, Kan.—Rick Santorum easily won the Republican presidential caucuses in Kansas on Saturday as the front-runner, Mitt Romney, didn’t campaign the state. . . .
With 95% of precincts reporting, Mr. Santorum had 51% of the votes—more than the combined totals of Mr. Romney (21%), Mr. Gingrich (14%) and Ron Paul (13%), figures from the Associated Press showed.

From a Santorum campaign press release:

On the heels of three stunning victories on Super Tuesday in Oklahoma, Tennessee, North Dakota, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wins the Kansas caucuses.
Santorum National Communications Director Hogan Gidley issued the following statement: “We are very pleased to see the Santorum surge sweeping through the Jayhawk State. This is a great win for the campaign and further evidence that conservatives and tea party loyalists are uniting behind Rick as the true, consistent conservative in this race.”
The Santorum for President campaign invites everyone to come out to our Victory Rally tonight at 8:00 pm CT at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

UPDATE: Linked by Donald Douglas at American Powerthanks! — who includes video of this interview Santorum did Friday with Al Hunt of Bloomberg News:

“Congressman Gingrich [on Super Tuesday] finished first in one state, his home, and finished third or fourth everywhere else, which has been a consistent pattern. He’s finished third or fourth in almost every state since . . . Florida, so we feel pretty good that it’s now narrowing to a two-person race. We’ve been competitive.”

This pattern of Gingrich’s fade since the Jan. 31 Florida primary — which was exacerbated by his Feb. 4 meltdown in Nevada — hasn’t gotten much serious analysis from most conservative pundits, who seem rather embarrassed to admit that Gingrich is no longer in serious contention.

Or maybe the pundits are just embarrassed to acknowledge that Santorum, the candidate they never thought had a snowball’s chance in 2012, has run a surprisingly effective campaign and emerged as the only viable conservative alternative to Romney.

UPDATE II: Now a Memeorandum thread and let me be the first to predict — in fact, I predicted it yesterday — that this “decisive” victory in Kansas renders instantly obsolete any previous polls showing Gingrich or Romney ahead in Mississippi and Alabama. And let the ladies sing: GAME ON!

UPDATE III: Linked by Lisa Graasthanks! — and I’m not sure I entirely agree with Tina Korbe about this:

Santorum’s win in Kansas might help him to pick up a point or two in the polls in the next crucial Southern states. It’s nearly as vital for Santorum to outright win Mississippi and Alabama as it is for Gingrich. While his campaign will continue either way, Tuesday is his best chance to knock Gingrich out of the race. While Mitt Romney wins in both states would probably also knock Gingrich out, they obviously would do nothing to move Santorum closer to the actual nomination.

Let’s stipulate that conservative bloggers don’t have the power to set the stakes in the expectations game. That will be done by the major media without regard to our complaints.

However, anybody who thinks Gingrich can survive two losses Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi is nuts, even if the nuts include Newt himself. Can Santorum lose both and survive? Sure he can, and I would count surviving as “moving closer to the actual nomination.”

This is something I think a lot of analysts have missed about Santorum’s campaign: According to the experts, Santorum never was supposed to get this far. He’s been counted out over and over, and has come back to win over and over, and so he exceeds expectations merely by staying in the game.

The South is supposed to be a lock for Newt, and when he lost Tennessee on Super Tuesday, it exposed his weakness. If he loses in either Alabama or Mississippi on Tuesday, Gingrich will be seriously hurt, but if he loses both, he’s dead meat.

Santorum? Yeah, it would be great if he could pick up another win or two on Tuesday, but there isn’t any real pressure for him to do so, despite all the “act of God” talk from Romney and the pundits about delegate counts. If Newt goes down in flames Tuesday, that will be the story for a day or two, and then Republican primary voters will start taking a second (or third or maybe even fourth) look at Santorum. All Santorum has to do Tuesday is survive and, no matter what else happens, he’s got a chance to be the Last Man Standing against Mitt.

Also, I think Santorum’s win today will be worth more than “a point or two,” in part because, again, Newt finished third in Kansas and fourth in Wyoming. Since Nevada, how many times has Gingrich finished third or fourth? A lot, and it’s hard for a candidate to keep doing that and still be considered a “contender.”

Finally, don’t rule out the possibility that Newt could finish third in Alabama and/or Mississippi on Tuesday. Once a campaign starts going downhill, you never know where the bottom will be.

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Comments

  • Multimedia Group

    When there is not a barrage of negative and spurious advertising aired against him by Romney, Rick does pretty darn well.

  • DonaldDouglas

    Nice, Robert. I got you linked up: ‘Rick Santorum Wins Kansas Republican Caucuses’

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

    Yeah, but Stacy’s been caught embracing the wrong candidate once again.  Remember all that time he spent chasing Alyssa Milano…?  http://tinyurl.com/7fm2wco

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

    Good win, the majority will give him some momentum for Tuesday.

    Why would they hold a celebration in Missouri, though?  Why not have the party in Alabama, to rally the troops there?

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Those Guamis are so on the wrong side of events.  

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  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    And the colored girls go 
    ‘Do0 do0 doo, doo doo doo’

    Thanks for the link, Stace.

  • http://www.ldjackson.net/ LD Jackson

    I’m glad to see Santorum winning Kansas. Who knows, we might have a chance to see someone other than Romney win the nomination.

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

    It hardly throws the polling in AL and MS out the window, since he was expected to win.

  • Confutus

    Not so fast.  It looks like Romney let Santorum have Kansas while he went after bigger game.  A win there won’t necessarily carry over into Mississippi and Alabama, and meanwhile there were all those scattered islands that Romney didn’t forget and sent people to campaign for him.    We’ll see in a few days.

  • newrouter

    because a sunday morning headline of “santorum wins kansas” will have no effects  tuesday

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • robertstacymccain

    We’ll see in a few days.

    Exactly. Over the course of this campaign, I’ve had people try to ask me on a Monday — or even as lates as Tuesday morning — to make some kind of prediction. But what’s the point in speculating about an outcome when you can just wait a day or two and let the votes to be counted?

    We’re within three days of Tuesday and so a lot of this tea-leaf reading from the TV talking heads is just show-business. I’m perfectly willing to wait and see, but I’m throwing out some possibilities now just in case my hunch — that Newt will do worse than expected on Tuesday — turns out to be right.

    If I’m wrong, OK, I’m wrong — no big deal. I’ve been wrong before. But if I’m right? Bye-bye, Newt!

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

     Who says the MSM will write those headlines?

  • newrouter

     Headline from the New York Times:
    Santorum Takes a Decisive Victory in Kansas Caucuses

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

    I suspect you’re right that the size of Santorum’s win in Kansas can’t hurt his momentum, and that Newt will underperform at least opposed to his bragging a few days ago.

    But I think Newt is telling the truth about not getting out.  I think he got in for the free advertising in the first place, to pump book sales, speaking fees, and consulting jobs, and there is no reason to get out now.  Also, once he was a contender, his ego woke up, and he can’t quit.

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

     Probably not decisive, maybe not even significant, but better to come in on a win.  It’s nothing like winning Ohio or Michigan would have been, though.

  • tranquil.night

    You’re right McCain. The so-called experts make their political judgments based on static analysis of various polling and organizational indicators. The volatility of this primary has been ‘unexpected’ for them at each twist – like how those monthly stagnate jobs reports always were ‘unexpected’ to all the expert economists and media hacks.

    As for Tina, she’s young and impressionistic in an industry where not falling in line can be a career risk. Shoe -leather reporting may not be what she has planned for the future, tee her

  • robertstacymccain

    Adjoran, regardless of Newt’s reasons for getting in the race, there is only so much humiliation any candidate can endure. If Newt loses Tuesday, he risks becoming a laughingstock should he attempt to continue the race. More practically, the fundraising would dry up to the point where he could only continue campaigning if he lays off staff or starts piling up debt.

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/ Charles

    Running a campaign at this stage is an all in proposition. You run until all your money and any remote chance to win is gone. Otherwise, you’ll be forever branded a quitter.

    I’ve crunched the numbers and this race goes to May 8 no matter what. Also, Newt Gingrich can’t be definitively put out of contention until April 3 at the earliest.

    http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/2012/03/game-on-santorum-wins-kansas-as-romney.html

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

     I’d suggest the fundraising is coming from somewhere already, he’s already marginal and not a serious contender.  So all he needs is enough to pay his expenses, and since it isn’t a serious campaign he can just cut out campaign events in states he can’t contend in, which is most of them.

    If there is anything we know about Newt, it is that he is immune to humiliation.

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

    Gingrich won’t stay in because he’s in contention.  He’ll stay in because he can.  Santorum can marginalize him and his effect with wins in Alabama and Mississippi, but Newt isn’t quitting.  He has nothing to lose by staying in.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    And Newt only cares about Newt, so he doesn’t give a damn if his continuing allows Willard to get the Nomination.

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