The Other McCain

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

Departing for Jacksonville: What’s Up Today Down in the Sunshine State?

Posted on | January 26, 2012 | 14 Comments

My flight leaves Baltimore-Washington International Airport about 9 a.m. and arrives in Jacksonville about 1 p.m. By the time this post goes live, I’ll be on my way to the airport. But I’m troubled by the news reports indicating that Rick Santorum has evidently decided to leave the campaign trail in Florida after tonight’s debate:

Speaking to reporters here [in Naples], the former Pennsylvania senator said was unsure if he would be in Florida the night of the primary, committing only to campaigning in the state [Thursday and Friday]. On Saturday, he’ll head home to Virginia for fundraisers and to prepare his tax records which he plans to soon make public.
Santorum said this weekend will be the first time he’s slept in his own bed since Christmas. . . .
But the GOP hopeful has been seen strong crowds in the South, drawing more than 1,000 supporters to a Megachurch here. And his rhetoric suggests he has no plans to leave the race anytime soon.
“This race has just started. It’s a three man race. We’re going to be in this race for the long term,” he said.

OK, on one hand, this makes a lot of sense. Florida is a winner-take-all state, and if the best Santorum can hope for is third place (as polls currently indicate) it’s only logical that he would rather raise money in Virginia than to spend money traveling around Florida in a last-minute effort that might boost his final showing by a few percentage points, without making any significant difference in terms of delegates.

Nevertheless, it will cost him some potentially valuable media exposure to be off the trail, and a disappointment to his Florida supporters if their candidate doesn’t show up for a Primary Night event in Orlando.

Turning to more practical considerations, however, the campaign calendar becomes more complex and challenging after Florida. There’s the Feb. 4 caucuses in Nevada, expected to be a test of strength between Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. (Lots of Mormons and libertarians in Nevada.) I’d be surprised if either Gingrich or Santorum decided to make an all-out effort there, although if they could knock Romney down a few points, it might enable the Paulistas to deprive Romney of a win.

A better chance for Santorum would be on Tuesday, Feb. 7, when both Minnesota and Colorado hold caucuses. With two states on one day, Santorum could focus his strongest campaign effort in one (probably Minnesota, an industrial state with lots of Catholics), trying to score a stronger-than-expected finish, and leave the other to Romney and Gingrich.

Then, however, there’s a three-week gap in the calendar before the Arizona and Michigan primary on Feb. 28, and I’d expect Santorum to go all-out in Michigan: It’s home turf for Romney (whose father was the state’s governor 40 years ago), but it’s also the kind of blue-collar Midwestern industrial state that has been the focus of Santorum’s economic message. If by some miracle of dogged determination, Santorum could pull an upset win in Michigan — his second victory over Romney — the 2012 campaign would be a whole new ballgame. And that would be doubly true if, while Santorum’s got Romney pinned down in Michigan, Gingrich mounts a similar all-or-nothing battle against Romney in Arizona.

That kind of strategic hypothetical is getting way ahead of the game, however. Meanwhile, there’s Florida, where Allahpundit says Romney “seems to have stopped the bleeding, at least. . . . Looks like Mitt’s Freddie Mac attacks at the last debate were more effective than we thought.”

OK, but who is this “we,” Kemosabe? Never mind. From the standpoint of stopping Romney, Santorum’s reported pull-out from Florida is good news because it could help Newt hand Mitt another defeat, confirming that Romney’s “inevitability” is over. But Newt continues playing the “grandiose” game, generating headlines like this:

Gingrich Pledges To Establish
Permanent Base On The Moon
‘By The End Of My Second Term’

Yeah, he’s pandering for aerospace industry votes on the Space Coast, but those people probably don’t mind. It’s only somewhere down the line — when Romney or Obama cuts a TV attack ad talking about the outrageous cost of this space project — that Newt will be forced to pay a political price for spouting kooky sci-fi stuff like this.

UPDATE: Ruh-rohNewt down by six in the latest Florida poll? High stakes in tonight’s CNN debate. Much will depend on how Wolf Blitzer runs the show. Will he have Mitt and Rick beating up on Newt? Rick and Newt beating up on Mitt? The moderators of these debates exercise an important influence over the proceedings, and some Ph.D. student in communications could get a dissertation of how this year’s debates have been stage-managed.

Late last night I got an e-mail from CNN’s lovely and charming publicist, Jennifer Scoggins, telling me I’m OK with the credentials for the debate. The question is whether there will be room for me in the filing center.


14 Responses to “Departing for Jacksonville: What’s Up Today Down in the Sunshine State?”

  1. ThePaganTemple
    January 26th, 2012 @ 7:42 am

    Santorum might have saved his campaign with this decision. He’ll still be in the next debate, which will give him national exposure. But if he squanders his resources there and still comes in a distant third, its going to be well-nigh impossible for him to get much in the way of future donations or volunteers, because he’ll look more like a lost cause. What he’s doing now is a damn good strategy.

    As for Newt and his permanent moon base, its easy to laugh at something like this, but it might prove to be a wise and farsighted move at some point. Don’t think for one minute the Chicoms wouldn’t love to plant their flag there. It might sound like science fiction, but at some point the nation that controls the moon could very well control the world.

  2. Bob Belvedere
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:31 am

    STACY: I’m goin’ to Jackson,
    I’m gonna mess around
    Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson,
    Look out Jackson town

    MRS. OTHER MCCAIN: Well, go on down to Jackson,
    Go ahead and wreck your health
    Go play your hand, you big-talkin’ man,
    Make a big fool of yourself
    Yeah, yeah, go to Jackson,
    But go comb that hair

    STACY: I’m gonna snowball Jackson

    MRS: Go ahead and see if I care

    STACY: When I breeze into that city,
    The people gonna stoop and bow (MRS: Ha ha)
    All them women gonna make me teach ’em
    What they don’t know how
    I’m goin’ to Jackson,
    Ya turn-a loose-a my coat
    ‘Cause I’m goin’ to Jackson

    MRS: Goodbye, that’s all she wrote

  3. Brian
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    “It might sound like science fiction, but at some point the nation that controls the moon could very well control the world.”


  4. Bob Belvedere
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    Trouble is, knowing Newt, if President I suspect he’ll strike a deal with the Red Chinese for a joint venture on the moon.

  5. Bob Belvedere
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    Trouble is, knowing Newt, if President I suspect he’ll strike a deal with the Red Chinese for a joint venture on the moon.

    Disqus is at it again!

  6. Anonymous
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    “…some Ph.D. student in communications could get a dissertation of how this year’s debates have been stage-managed.”

    Except at Columbia School of Journalism where it’s all been honest, straightforward, spontaneous, and wholly mainstream. Pure as the driven snow.

    Were one to suggest such a paper, he’d probably get kicked out of school. And expulsion would be the best lesson about “journalism” he’d ever learn.

  7. ThePaganTemple
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    When it takes a long time posting a comment, what you need to do is copy the comment while its still lingering there, and then hit refresh. Usually, when the page refreshes the comment will be posted one time. If it doesn’t you have it saved.

  8. Bob Belvedere
    January 26th, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    I just discovered that and was going to write it up here – thanks TPT.

  9. richard mcenroe
    January 26th, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    Newt was lobbying for L-5 Space Colonies back when we could barely launch Space Shuttles.  He’s going to put a viable base on the Moon in eight years?  

    There’s Grandiose and there’s Serious Lack of Attention to Detail.

    Newt should go look at how the SeaLab experiments worked out back in the 60’s for starters.

  10. Apologies for Not Posting Much, and Other Stuff
    January 26th, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    […] but also has a habit of outsmarting himself into negotiating away his bedrock principles. Santorum’s your guy if you’re looking for someone who really believes in conservative principles. I think […]

  11. Mike G.
    January 26th, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    I must take umbrage with one statement in this otherwise well written article.

    Unless or until Ron Paul drops out of the race, there are still FOUR candidates for the GOP nomination. The other candidates would do well to listen to and adopt some of Paul’s domestic economic policies.

    I, like a lot of others, don’t care for his foreign policy except where he advocates closing a lot of overseas bases. We don’t need 900 bases overseas. Keep Diego Garcia and Guam as one blogger friend said, of course, but let a lot of the rest of them go. Sorry for the kick in the groin to the economy of the locales where these bases are located, but we need the money worse than they do, am I right?

  12. Quartermaster
    January 26th, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    We don’t have a vehicle with the required lift to get what we need to the moon. Plus, there is much work to be done before we could even site the thing. I’d say it would take more like 30-50 years before we could have a permanent presence on the moon. The US will be bankrupt long before then.

  13. ThePaganTemple
    January 27th, 2012 @ 6:44 am

    Absolutely right. I don’t know how many bases we have in Europe, but five or six would be sufficient. One each in Denmark and Germany, one or two in Italy, and maybe one each in Scotland and Poland is all the hell we need to maintain a viable corridor to the Mediterranean when needed. Anything else is just shitting money down the drain. And of course we need to maintain a presence in the Persian Gulf, whether Ron Paul likes it or not.

  14. Newt Gingrich: Graceless in Defeat? : The Other McCain
    January 31st, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

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