The Other McCain

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Mitt Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses; Gingrich Blames Mormons for His Loss

Posted on | February 5, 2012 | 31 Comments

The questions now become very serious: “Can he be stopped? And if so, by whom?” But first, the news:

Mitt Romney won Nevada’s GOP caucuses by a wide margin Saturday, a victory that was long expected and helps further his campaign’s argument that he is the inevitable nominee.
Romney held a big lead in early voting results, and The Associated Press and TV networks projected him to win when the last caucus locations closed.

Results of the caucuses were ridiculously slow. As of 2:30 a.m. ET, only 45% of precincts had reported and the results were:

Romney ……………. 43%
Gingrich …………… 26%
Paul …………………. 18%
Santorum …………. 13%

We will have to wait and see what the final numbers are, but at this stage it appears once again — as in Florida — that the combined votes of Gingrich and Santorum are not equal to Romney’s total. And this undermines Gingrich’s oft-repeated claim that his problem is that Santorum won’t quit and “coalesce” with him.

Instead, it could be argued that the problem is so many conservatives were persuaded to put all their eggs into Newt’s flawed basket. Ginger Gibson of Politico reported Friday on the hapless “mess” of Gingrich’s campaign in Nevada. This was an embarrassment for a candidate whose “super PAC” has received millions of dollars from Vegas kingpin Sheldon Adelson. It wasn’t merely that Gingrich lost, but that he ran such a conspicuously shoddy campaign in Adelson’s home state. But Newt seems immune to shame:

Following a second lopsided defeat to Mitt Romney in a week, Newt Gingrich on Saturday night again pledged to go on the Republican nomination fight all the way to the Republican convention this summer in Tampa.
“I will be a candidate for president of the United States,” Gingrich told reporters at a Las Vegas hotel following projections from CBS News and others that Romney would handily win the caucuses. “And we will continue to campaign all the way to Tampa.” . . .
In anticipation of a Romney victory in Nevada, Gingrich scheduled a press conference rather than the traditional election night rally. Gingrich spent much of the news conference attacking Romney, and in particular blasted him over comments the former Massachusetts governor made earlier this week when he said he was “not concerned about the very poor.”

The Lonely Conservative:

Newt Gingrich gave an angry speech. He even brought up Mormons. At this point, I’m all for anyone but Newt. The guy is nuts.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post:

Newt Gingrich predicted during a press conference following Saturday’s Nevada caucuses that he would emerge as the GOP front-runner again by the Texas primary.
Gingrich’s remarks about regaining his front-runner status by Texas — which he repeated — capped a bizarre press conference held Saturday in Las Vegas. . . .
Gingrich seemed to dismiss his performance in Nevada’s caucuses, noting Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) emphasis on caucus states and Romney’s inherent advantages in the state.
“It is a very heavily Mormon state,” Gingrich said, referring to Romney’s religion.

Gingrich is neither helping himself nor hurting Romney with these attacks, and Romney is ignoring Newt the nuisance: “In three campaign appearances Friday, Romney did not even mention Newt Gingrich.” Meanwhile, campaigning in Colorado, Rick Santorum ratcheted up his attacks on both Romney and Gingrich:

“We are not going to win this election if either of these two guys is nominated,” Santorum declared. “Let me assure you. We will not win.”
Santorum claims neither candidate can compete with President Obama, saying both are simply too flawed and will be “destroyed” and “picked apart” by the Democratic incumbent. . . .
“On Tuesday I think we are going to do well in Missouri,” [Santorum later told Fox News]. “It’s going to be interesting because it’s a head-to-head between Governor Romney and myself. Speaker Gingrich is not on the ballot. We will see the idea that one conservative can go up against Mitt Romney head-to-head and win.”

That kind of rhetorical escalation in a GOP primary is unfortunate, even if what Santorum says is true — and who doubts that he is expressing his own sincere belief? Every candidate believes he is best qualified to defeat Obama, or else he wouldn’t be running. There are surely Republicans out there who believe that the GOP lost its best chance to beat Obama when Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry dropped out. But public doomsaying by candidates during the primary campaign is best avoided.

UPDATE: Also best avoided, “a highly delicate campaign by Mr. Romney and his top Jewish financial supporters to dissuade Mr. Adelson from adding to the $10 million that he and his wife have given to a pro-Gingrich ‘super PAC,’ Winning Our Future, that has been tearing into Mr. Romney through television advertising.” (Hat-tip: William Jacobson.)

This kind of thing — one candidate’s “top Jewish financial supporters” putting pressure on a rival’s top Jewish financial supporter — could lead to some very ugly accusations. Just imagine what Ron Paul’s people must be saying after reading a story like that. Or course, they were saying that stuff before reading the story, but still . . .


31 Responses to “Mitt Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses; Gingrich Blames Mormons for His Loss”

  1. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:39 am

    Hell Stacy, you go one day from great reporting and then the next day you follow it up with weak, shoddy shit. I know you’re for Santorum, and that’s fine, but that’s no excuse for this blatant attempt to spin the caucus results. These Nevada caucuses aren’t typical of any broader pattern, so why try to make out like they are.

    You totally ignore the fact that Ron Paul had a strong, well-organized ground game, and yet seems to have finished third, behind Gingrich, who had practically no organization in Nevada to speak of, certainly nothing on the level of Paul. Yet, Gingrich should be embarrassed? Hell, one out of four caucus goers voted for Gingrich, pretty damn good for a guy who was out-spent, and out-organized, by two candidates, yet still beat one of them.

    And yes, the Mormon vote was definitely a factor. What, we’re supposed to be all PC and not talk about that?

  2. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    It’s not that Gingrich did poorly in Adelsen’s back yard, Shel’s a businessman and one of many, he has no political following.  It’s that he had no organization.

    To some that is an excuse.  It is actually very telling:  Nevada was always going to be one of the first states, and it uses the caucus system which is very dependent upon organization to get people out.  Yet,  just like in Iowa, Gingrich had no ground game and did nothing early to establish one.  The truth is he has no organization anywhere to speak of, perhaps some of his old friends in Georgia will turn out to see him for the rare chance the last 35 years.

    Missing the ballot in Virginia and Missouri was not a fluke.  It’s the most basic of tasks in a campaign, the first thing you do in each state.

    I believe that Newt, like Herman Cain, never seriously considered that he would become a top tier contender.  Both offered their vision sincerely and hoped to persuade others, but they were also using the free publicity to promote book sales and speaking fees.  There is nothing wrong with that; they are hardly the first.  But that’s why there was no organizing being done for either in most states:  they never expected to be in the race that long.

    Gingrich had a huge spike in support  as a reaction to his two strongest debates, both featuring Newt taking down a moderator for his questioning.  The surge carried over to Florida, but was already fading fast as a double-digit lead turned into double-digit defeat in just a week.  Like Bachmann, Trump, Perry, and Cain before him as the Flava Uv Da Month, his poll numbers peak high and fall fast.

    Any idea Newt would be the nominee was always fantasy.  Too many Republicans know him too well.

  3. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:21 am

     Yeah, especially the crooked ones that don’t want him to rock their crooked little boat. Who are all these Republicans who despise Newt so much? Oh yeah, Bob Dole. We should really listen to that fucking asshole, right?

  4. Adjoran
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:24 am

    Did you read the stem article of your update?  It’s Adam Nagourney of the NYT with an anonymous source.  No confirmation.  He does quote one named source, a guy who is friendly with both Romney and Adelson, but he doesn’t say that.  The whole “trying to cut off Newt’s money” is based on the anonymous source.

    Now, of course Jacobson is all in for the idea, since it makes Newt seem almost sympathetic – or as sympathetic as a backstabbing egomaniac with a smartass mouth can  appear – and makes Romney look nefarious, sort of like all the imagined conspiracies the nutters propose.  Because Nagourney has always been dependable and trustworthy in the past, I guess I just missed those articles.  Heck, I always considered him a talentless  leftist hack.

    The real story is that Adelson is ready to put a lot more money than he’s given Newt behind whoever is the nominee because he understands Obama must go, and his support for Newt is based on their personal relationship and he won’t cut him off as long as he wants to run.

    On this stuff you have Zeidman (I think that’s his name) on the record, a friend of both men so he seems credible.  On the “trying to cut off Newt’s money” meme you have Nagourney’s source, an unconfirmed allegation he doesn’t even put in quotes.  Believe as you will.

  5. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    By the way, Bob Dole dislikes Newt, maybe even hates him, because he blames Newt for his own failed campaign. You can make the case that Gingrich made Clinton’s reelection possible. But that’s only because Dole didn’t have the ability to make the sell in 96. Sure, you could say it was Gingrich’s “fault” that Clinton-America, actually-had a booming, killer economy with balanced budgets and welfare reform on the books. But is it Gingrich’s fault that Americans by and large are too fucking intellectually lazy to be able to ascertain who should have the proper credit for that?

    Sure, in all fairness Clinton deserves a large degree of the credit, but that is based on his ultimate willingness to compromise. If not for Newt and the GOP House, the economy would have stayed in the shitter and probably gotten worse.

    Dole should have made that point, instead of allowing Clinton to paint the GOP as the party that forced the government to shut down. You can even make the case that Dole should have pointed out the government shut down was proof the damn government was way too big, seeing as how it didn’t negatively impact a god damn thing other than a bunch of paper pushing bureaucrats living off the public teat.

    But then again, Bob Dole is a big government “conservative”. Hardly the man to make the case for small government, and federalism. Why do that when he can run as the candidate of the moderate independents who don’t have enough sense to come in out of the fucking rain, and blame the results on somebody else, Gingrich or anybody but himself. 

    Screw Bob Dole with an electric cattle prod anyway.

  6. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    You may be right, but how many moral victories does it take to make a defeat?

  7. Quartermaster
    February 5th, 2012 @ 8:37 am

    The GOP has always been a big Gov party. Dole is a product of that system, as is Newt. Nothing will change under them.

    I have to agree with Santorum, however. If either Newt or Mittens are the nominee, then Obama gets another 4. It would be a pleasant shock if it didn’t work out that way, but a shock it would be.

    Newt is despised for good reason (and he did run a shoddy campaign in Nevada, by any measure), and Mittens is just another New England lib that Soros has no desire to oppose because Mittens is a Soros kind of guy.

    Soros approved would make a great campaign endorsement for ‘R’ would it not?

  8. Mike Rogers
    February 5th, 2012 @ 9:45 am

    Tend to agree. The caucus environment is tailor made for Ron Paul, and yet he only won two small precincts.
    My only question is whether there’s any skulduggery behind Mittens’ win. There are a number of reasons to think so:
    Mitt’s people were involved in moving up the caucus date.
    Mitt knows, as one pundit said early last night, that he has to show he can break 50% – lo and behold, as the night wears on, his percentage approaches 50%.
    The rumored deal with Ron Paul – what if precincts Paul couldn’t win were being thrown to Romney by Paul’s organizers?

  9. Steve in TN
    February 5th, 2012 @ 9:52 am

    :  “The GOP has always been a big Gov party. Dole is a product of that system, as is Newt. Nothing will change under them.”

    Well, that isn’t true. Newt got his start and his success as an insurgent operating on the right of Reagan.  Newt et al were the end of the beginning of the movement to take the GOP conservative that AuH2o started. 

  10. Romney Takes Nevada | The Lonely Conservative
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    […] even brought up Mormons. At this point, I’m all for anyone but Newt. The guy is nuts.Update: The Other McCain linked and noted “Newt seems immune to shame.” He also has the vote […]

  11. Tennwriter
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    We’re doomed.

  12. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    Stacy, I cannot believe you and Smitty were not all over that Rasmussen poll showing Santorum beating Obama by one point.  Granted it is just a poll, but you are trying to build a little momentum (or rather a lot of momentum) for Rick Santorum.  

    Gingrich lost Nevada for the same reasons he lost Florida.  Yeah the Nevada Mormon vote helped.  Okay, it will likely help in Utah too.  Okay, so what. 

    But Rick Santorum is not Gingrich.  

  13. Drek
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:33 am

    It IS a Mormon state, and nobody but Romney was ever going to win that state.

    So what’s your beef with Gingrich’s obviously accurate observation?

    You would do well to recall why you flipped out on the guy that was working to advance the Perry campaign?  WHAT EXACTLY did you accuse that guy of?  Now look in the mirror, and ask yourself if that exact same criticism can be leveled against you for pushing first the unready Cain, and now the tiresome moralizer, Santorum?

  14. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    Completely off topic, although I guess you could say some politicians occasionally do things this stupid too.  Oh, I stayed up for SNL and the opening was a slam on Newt living on the moon.  With Herman Cain.  And they were repopulating the human race.   Seemed mean to kick Newty when he is down, but FYI.  

  15. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I did not have the SNL clip there.  I will get it when it is on hulu.  

  16. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:37 am  Here is the Newt Moon Colony.  

  17. “Mitt Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses; Gingrich Blames Mormons for His Loss”
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    […] up another victory for Mr Inevitable — marking the latest in a string of primaries or caucuses where the GOP primary voter has […]

  18. In the end, it comes down to the voters « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    […] From Robert Stacy McCain: Mitt Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses; Gingrich Blames Mormons for His Loss […]

  19. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    If you completely remove the Mormon vote, Romney still wins in a landslide. He won Catholics 52%-19% over Newt and “White Evangelical/Born Again” by a solid margin of 46%-26% over the former Speaker.

  20. Dana
    February 5th, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    Mr Gingrich is complaining about the Republican “establishment” being
    for Mr Romney, yet Governor Romney is leading not because of the
    “establishment,” whatever that is, but because he’s gone out and
    campaigned for and won more votes than his opponents.
    As a former Representative, who won ten elections to Congress, a
    former Speaker of the House, and the man who did more than any other to
    lead the Republicans to their 1994 election victories, Mr Gingrich ought
    to know, as well as anyone in the country, that you obtain electoral
    office by winning elections, and that you win elections by getting the
    most votes. In the end, it all comes down to the voters, and thus far
    the voters have given Mitt Romney over a quarter million more votes than
    they’ve given to Newt Gingrich.

    (Total votes through five primary and caucus states: Mitt Romney,
    1,081,529; Newt Gingrich, 821,496; Rick Santorum, 380853; and Ron Paul,
    282,631. The Nevada vote count is incomplete; the totals given reflect
    the 71% of the vote that has been counted and reported.)

  21. Sven
    February 5th, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    the Mormon vote was definitely a factor

    I’m amazed at how ignorant the discussion of this issue is. Nevada is 24 percent Catholic and 6 percent Mormon. And yet, when a Mormon beats two Catholics in the caucuses there, the non-thinkers jump to the conclusion that religion was a determinant. The assumption just has no relationship to the real-world facts.

    Yeah, Nevada has more Mormons per capita than a lot of other states — but they’re still a tiny minority. Nevada also has more Catholics per capita than a lot of other states. And for 30 years, Nevada has voted for Harry Reid, a Mormon Democrat

  22. Sven
    February 5th, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    It IS a Mormon state

    Six percent Mormon. Twenty-four percent Catholic. Where’s the evidence Mormons caucused for Romney more than Catholics caucused for Gingrich or Santorum? The only evidence I see in the caucus results shows that the dominant religion — Catholicisim — doesn’t appear to have been a factor.

  23. Anonymous
    February 5th, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

     Right…sure…..Newt was merely advancing the flag of racist conservatism….yea…that is what he was doing….

    Revisionist history sure is interesting.

  24. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

     Have you forgotten already this was not a primary but a caucus, and what that entails? It’s all about the ground game, who has the boots on the ground to get their forces out and voters to the caucuses.

    It doesn’t matter what the percentage is of Catholics to Mormons, it matters who caucuses.

    As for who the Catholics voted for, maybe they didn’t make their decision based solely on religion. Maybe the Mormons did. American Catholics actually tend to be pretty liberal, on the average, so I can see where they would go for Mitt. Mormons on the other hand are allegedly conservative, yet evidently they voted overwhelmingly for fellow Mormon Mitt The Moderate.

    A wag might be led to remark that this is almost cult-like behavior on their part.

  25. Quartermaster
    February 5th, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

    You need to go back in Newt’s history and see what he really is. Yes he was an “insurgent” that took advantage of some conditions that Slick Willie created, but Newt did not rise from the Goldwater wing of the party, which has always been very small.

    Nor is Newt a small gov type either. He’s just another guy who thinks the FedGov would do a better job if he were in charge. The founders of all parties would disagree with that idea. Big government is a curse, and we are going to see just how much of a curse in the next 5 years.It’s interesting note that Armey has cited some stats that said the TEA Party types have been increasingly going for Mittens. If the TEA Party is the base, and they really are behaving the way Armey thinks, then the GOP is really screwed.

  26. Sven
    February 5th, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    evidently they voted overwhelmingly for fellow Mormon Mitt…this is almost cult-like behavior on their part.

    WHAT evidence? WHAT behavior? This is what I’m talking about: people imagining stuff and then talking about it like it happened. Tell me HOW you know anything about the way Mormons figured in the caucuses — then maybe I’ll put up with you pontificating about their voting behavior.

  27. Newt’s Narcissism Problem (and Ours) : The Other McCain
    February 5th, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

    […] — of Goldman Sachs, “money power,” George Soros, “the elite media,” Mormons (!) and a “blatantly dishonest” opponent — even his supporters ought to recognize […]

  28. ThePaganTemple
    February 5th, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

     You’ll put up with it as long as you read it, won’t you? When you decide you’re not going to put up with it for another damn minute, you’ll just stop reading what I write, won’t you? Huh? Huh? Huh?

  29. Jorge Emilio Emrys Landivar
    February 6th, 2012 @ 2:17 am

    “Just imagine what Ron Paul’s people must be saying after reading a story like that. Or course, they were saying that stuff before reading the story, but still”

    Quit with the accusations of anti-semitism.  You are better than that.

  30. Sven
    February 6th, 2012 @ 6:51 am

    Another proud member of the Flat Earth Society.

  31. Sven
    February 6th, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    Finally, somebody talking about facts! 

    Yes, Romney would have won even if there were no Mormons in Nevada. According to Edison Research’s entrance polling, Romney beat Gingrich by 11 percentage points among non-Mormon voters. The whiny Gingrich and the Mormon-haters are inventing their excuse for why he lost. 

    Romney won all the religious categories, every way Edison sliced it: Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Other Christian…even both sides of the born-again/not-born-again question. 

    Eighty-one percent of Catholics voted for somebody other than the Catholic Gingrich, yet Gingrich blames the statistically-irrelevant Mormon minority for his loss. 

    Vote for Newt. America needs a nuclear-armed commander-in-chief who’s too brilliant to be swayed by facts.