Various media outlets are reporting that Rick Santorum, who received a boost late in the presidental race from social conservatives, is suspending his presidential campaign. The announcement comes just days after Santorum met with prominent conservatives about his campaign and his young daughter’s hospital stay.
Santorum’s decision to put his campaign on hold leaves only Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich as challengers to Mitt Romney, who is, for all intents and purposes, the presumptive Republican nominee.
It appears that the 2012 race for President is all but set. Mitt Romney will very likely win the Republican nomination and he will face Barack Obama in November. For those of us concerned about restoring liberty, the rule of law and the Constitution, and getting a grips on our debt and economic crisis; this is not a joyous prospect. Neither man has a record of leadership on those issues and in fact, both men have proven time and time again to be advocates of more government, more spending, and more debt. No matter who is elected President, I’m not optimistic that our serious issues, especially concerning the debt and the economy will be addressed. We need to look elsewhere to at least hold the tide against more spending and more debt. We need to really pour our energies into the Congressional elections and electing more Constitutional conservatives and libertarians.
Every even numbered year, we have the chance to change the entire makeup of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Imagine what kind of difference we can make if we elected Constituional conservative majority in the House and give Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee some more company in the Senate this go around. The only way to do that is get involved. Find a Constitutional conservative candidate in the primaries and back them and volunteer for them. If there isn’t one in your district, consider running yourself. Granted, it maybe too late in many states to do this for 2012, but consider it for 2014.
I was more than a little frustrated with our very own Jason Pye last week. During my lunch break on Monday, I was sitting in a Chick-fil-A working on an idea for a post about the possibility of Rand Paul on the GOP ballot this fall as a Vice President candidate. The rumors flying about the alleged Romney-Paul alliance have also included the thought that Mitt would get Dr. Paul’s support if Rand were the VP on the ticket, and that’s an interesting possibility to consider.
My rough draft and basic outline were scrawled on that napkin, and I was going to finish the post Monday night. Before I sat down to write it, I took some time to catch up on the blogs I read regularly and found that Jason had already written the same content I had just drafted at lunch. It’s like he had eyes in Chick-fil-A reading over my shoulder. (If you know Jason, you’ll know that’s not too far outside the realm of probability.)
I don’t want to just kill the post idea, because it’s a good discussion to have. I also don’t want to plagiarize what Jason wrote. (I’d never hear the end of that.) So I’ve decided to make this post a follow up to Jason’s. To recap Jason’s post, Jason said he likes Rand Paul but doesn’t think he should be a VP candidate because Paul doesn’t have national influence and is still “rough around the edges” politically.
Rand Paul is a great senator, and not just because he is Ron Paul’s son. He can be counted on to regularly stand firmly for principles of limited government. That’s about all I ever ask for in a politician. I know he’s not perfect, but when it comes time to take a stand and show some backbone, Rand does a great job. One day I hope to see Rand Paul run for VP (or even President), but I’ve got to agree with Jason: it’s not yet Rand’s time.
When I was six or seven years old, a new Nashville resident, I remember vividly going to the Nashville Fair Grounds with my parents to visit the flea market, and our family being approached by campaign volunteers for then-Mayoral candidate Phil Bredesen, a centrist Republican who never won on a Republican ticket until he switched parties years later. He would later become one of Nashville’s most popular Democratic mayors and one of Tennessee’s most popular Democratic governors; on a personal note, he played an instrumental role in bringing my beloved NHL expansion franchise Nashville Predators to the Music City in the late 1990s, and he and former First Lady Andrea Conte were vocal critics of Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie’s sneaky, manipulative coup to buy the Predators and relocate them to Hamilton, Ontario in the summer of 2007.
But I digress.
At the fair, we were given and wore white stickers and pin-on buttons that had depicted blue bones with a circle and diagonal bar around and over them; Bredesen’s opponent in that race was a man named Bill Boner.
Various people are debating whether having Gingrich in the race helps or hurts Romney’s chances of reaching 1,144 delegates and clinching the GOP nomination. Many of Santorum’s supporters think that Gingrich is robbing him of delegates that he needs to stop Romney, while Gingrich supporters are arguing that splitting the delegates makes it more difficult for Romney to win. The fact is, it does not matter, because barring finding Romney in bed with a dead girl or live boy, as Edwin Edwards once put it, he has clinched it mathematically.
Taking a look at the current standings, estimated by TheGreenPapers.com we have:
- Romney: 493 - 51%
- Santorum: 235 - 24%
- Gingrich: 157 - 16%
- Paul: 77 - 8%
That’s 962 decided delegates with 1,324 remaining.
With that many delegates remaining, how can it be over?
Well, there are two ways to allocate the delegates that remain. One is by a proportional system where each candidate gets some amount of delegates that are in proportion to each candidates share of the vote. So, if 30 delegates are at stake and three candidates split evenly, each would get 10. The other is winner take all, where the person securing the plurality (the most) of the vote gets all of the delegates.
The winner take all states that remain are: DC, MD, WI, DE, IN, CA, NJ, UT.
If a single candidate gets a majority in the following states, is it winner take all, but proportional otherwise: PR, CT, NY.
Let’s assume that Gingrich and Paul stay in and therefore PR, CT and NY will stay proportional. Of the WTA states, Romney is all but assured victory in DC, DE, CA, NJ, and UT. Together, those are 298 delegates. Being as generous as possible and giving Santorum the other 125 WTA delegates we have:
Several times recently I’ve found myself in discussion with some of my Republican friends about Mitt Romney and the Mormon issue. The argument presented is that Romney can’t win the general election because evangelical voters – specifically those in the South – won’t vote for him because he’s a Mormon and that somehow the red states in the South will become possible Obama victories because of Romney’s faith.
I’m not going to get into the differences between the religious beliefs of evangelical voters and Mitt Romney; that’s a conversation for a different place at a different time (with someone much smarter than me). I would, however, like to address this notion about evangelical voters and their assumed behavior at the polls.
There’s a part of this argument that is valid: the part that takes place in the primary elections. It’s fair to assume that Romney is losing votes in the primary election because of his faith. I’d even make the argument that it’s a part of the reason Rick Santorum has been doing so well lately (though why they pick the liberal Catholic over the liberal Mormon is beyond me). The difference comes when we’re talking about a general election instead of a primary election.
In the primary, Romney will take a hit on being a Mormon just like Ron Paul loses votes over his stance on foreign policy. It’s the same way Newt Gingrich will lose votes because he is (or was) a pretentious, two-timing slime ball, and Rick Santorum will lose votes because, well, because he’s Rick Santorum.
But when November comes around, if Mitt Romney’s name is on the ballot, he’ll get the vast majority – if not all – of the evangelical vote. People who insist otherwise are deceiving themselves. Here’s why:
If you’re like me, you went to bed before the Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota results started to tricke in. It wasn’t hard to see at that point that last night was a good night for Mitt Romney, though he didn’t deliver the “knock out” punch to end the race quickly. We’re probably going to see this thing drag out between he and Rick Santorum for at least the rest of this month.
Had Romney won in Tennessee, it would be a different story. However, exit polls showed that socially conservative voters came out pretty strong in that state. Additionally, Romney’s win in Ohio was very close. So while he may get to claim the state and it certainly helps with momentum, it shows that he is still just getting by.
Santorum is going to keep trucking. As he said last night, he won a few states and got “silver medals” in others. His biggest issue is money. While his team says they’re willing to take the race all the way to Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, he may not have the resources to get that far.
Of course, Santorum’s biggest obstacle isn’t Romney, it’s Gingrich. Conventional wisdom says that if Gingrich drops out that Santorum will be the beneficiary. That’s probably true, but only to a certain extent. Gingrich was defiant last night, but the writing is on the wall. He’s not going to win, especially after five last place finishes. Yes, he won Georgia, but he didn’t get the 50% needed to take all of his home state’s delegates.
Ron Paul’s strategy of focusing on caucus states hasn’t panned out the way his campaign had hoped. Granted, Paul was strong in several states last night, but he still doesn’t have a win in either a caucus or a primary. But as we’ve said before, Paul’s support has grown substantially since his run four years ago and he can no longer be ignored by Republicans.
It’s Super Tuesday, and hopefully the beginning of the end of the long and disasterous primary for the Republican Party. No one can deny that this cycle has been interesting process; well, most party primaries are. But this one has been especially painful to watch — especially recently, when the economy is the most pressing issue for voters, but some of the GOP candidates are focused on wedge social issues.
It’s hard to predict what will happen tonight, but observers say that Mitt Romney will have a good night and Newt Gingrich may re-establish himself if he manages to win more delegates that Rick Santorum, which looks like a very real possibility. On the other hand, we’ve seen so many twist and turns in this primary, would anyone be surprised to see a last minute surge for Santorum in Ohio or Gingrich not win Georgia by as substantial of a margin that polls indicate?
These three candidates — Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum — are a collective mess. While Gingrich generally respected amongst GOP voters and manages to gain enough support to remain relevant, national polls show him as toxic against Barack Obama.
Santorum isn’t much different. Polls show him doing decent in head-to-head matchups against Obama, but that’s largely because voters aren’t familiar with him. His socially conservative message isn’t one that will push independents to Republicans, and his numbers would fall even lower.
I wrote a couple weeks ago about the Obama administration’s mandate that contraception be covered by insurance plans provided by Catholic-associated organizations. The outrage on the right about the mandate was almost universally centered around the idea that it was an attack on the freedom of religion. As I argued in my previous post, these critics were missing the point entirely. Mandates like this one had nothing to do with religion, and were wrong regardless of whether they violated religious or secular liberty.
Now many on the right have inexplicably chosen big-government “conservative” Rick Santorum as their standard-bearer. Despite his awful fiscal record, being named something other than Mitt Romney has allowed Santorum his time in the spotlight. And he has enjoyed every minute of it, offering soundbite-worthy quotes at nearly every event. Many of these statements have brought to light his very extreme views on social issues.
Predictably, Santorum’s views on things like abortion, homosexuality, and contraception have caused an uproar amongst those who do not share his worldview. Santorum has been savaged for things he has said both recently and in the past. Whether or not you believe him to be a sexist or a homophobe, it’s clear that his opinions are not shared by millions of Americans, and in fact cause great offense to many.
Following politics as closely as I do, I’ve built up a thick skin of cynicism regarding the presentation of truth by politicians and the media. There is a good reason for that; according to a Gallup poll a few months ago, from 1998-2010, the number of Americans expressing distrust of the mass media outlets has risen from 46% to 57%. Congressional approval ratings remain lower than the average age of a fan at a Justin Beiber concert. And while Americans generally want to think well of their president, (especially a president seen as proof that America is no longer a racist nation), Obama struggles to convince half of Americans he’s doing a good job.
I was thinking about this as I watched and read coverage of the Republican presidential candidates by the mainstream media. If we are to believe them, this assemblage of Republicans is among the most backward, bigoted, heartless and arrogant people ever to walk the earth. Mitt Romney is decried as being rich and out of touch with average Americans. Newt Gingrich is the arrogant, professorial philanderer too volatile to be trusted with the presidency. Rick Santorum is portrayed as the far right theocrat who will be sneaking into the homes of unsuspecting women and arresting them for using birth control. Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul. They don’t know quite what to make of him.