As for 2016? I think Santorum has put himself in a great position for that year, just as Romney did for himself this year with his bid in 2008.
In a hypothetical Republican nomination, you have two candidates, both good candidates. The voters in the Republican primary include a subset of Republicans who will vote in the general election, and a few of the independents who will vote in the general election. The incumbent is a Democrat who is a good candidate who runs moderate (as Obama did in 2008 and is likely to do in 2012). The Republicans who take the time to vote are likely those who are more concerned about winning the general election, and they have a fairly dogmatic fear of losing the independents if they nominate a guy who is more conservative. So many of them will vote for the moderate Republican, even if their own views are more conservative.
Say the moderate wins the Republican primary. Most Republicans will vote for the Republican, although some conservatives may sit it out being dissatisfied with both choices. Independents may see the Republican and Democratic candidates as being relatively similar (same old same old), and stick with the incumbent. The incumbent Democrat wins.
But what if the conservative had won the nomination? He/She will get the conservative base and most republicans. Some independents, if they feel like the "same old same old" isn't working, will vote for the conservative. If enough independents feel that way, the conservative wins where the moderate Republican would have failed.
That's kind of the talking points logic of conservative commentators in a nutshell, and has some basis in reality with regards to the Reagan-Carter election in 1980. Conservatives have been hoping for a repeat of 1980, but they have 3 problems. First, Obama has a much better mojo than Carter did in 1980. Second, he doesn't have an international crisis dragging him down the way the Iran Hostage issue did (although, interestingly, Iran, once again, seems to be a nasty brewing issue that may very well boil over before November). Third, the Conservatives didn't find their Reagan in this nomination process. If he's out there, he sat out 2012.
As I implied above, I personally don't think Santorum beats Obama in the general election. Obama's not Carter, and Santorum is no Reagan. Frankly, I don't think Reagan would beat Obama in a landslide, althought it would sure be a fun campaign process and a lively debate. But I can see how a dynamic conservative candidate might struggle in the nomination process due to the moderate Republicans' fears that the conservative will be less "electable" than a moderate candidate, and still be able to win handily in a general election because independents turn out to like the contrast between the Conservative candidate and the Democrat candidate.
(total aside: The idea of an Obama-Reagan debate got me thinking about what would be the most fun hypothetical presidential debate. I settled on Clinton-Reagan. Two guys with a quick wit, charisma, and a likeable stage persona.)
Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."
Assuming Santorum does not pack it in after his current five-day "holiday" from campaigning, his home state of Pennsylvania looms large. State may be a toss-up. If Romney wins there, Santorum has to get out I would think. So, Romney could carpet bomb PA and try to knock Rick out. Flip side, if Romney spends a ton of cash there and loses, Santorum gets new life and can again argue that money can't buy the office.
So, if you're Romney -- do you play big in PA and go for the knock-out, or play soft and then argue that a loss doesn't mean that much because it's Rick's state?
Eat Mor Jonny.
I would lean towards the first option. Romney HAS to end this soon (if he hasn't already). The etch0-a-sketch has to freset as soon as possible in a more moderate position. He can't do that until he eliminates Santorum. All his big wins (Florida, for instance) have come when he's used his bankroll to bombard the state with TV ... it's wotrked so far.
The only way I wouldn't try that would be in my internal polling shows an insurmountable lead for Santorum. I don't think that's the case -- the public polling is fairly close in the state,
So I think Mitt goes for the knockout punch. If he wins Pennsylvania it's iver for sure -- it's already to the point where nobody else can enter he convention with more delagtes ... all we're waiting on is the off-chance that Santorum, Gingrich, Paul can combine to keep Mitt from clinching and thus force a brokered convention. It's funny because Mitt is not getting 50 percent anywhere -- and is not close to it nationally -- but the way the primary rules work, it looks like he's going to enter the convention with more than 50 percent of the vote.
He certainly will if he win Pennsylvani.
Sounds like the vote, and the delegates, are only loosely aligned at best.
Eat Mor Jonny.
-Jason "I think Santorum will suspend his campaign in the next few weeks, but will not release his delegates" Evans
Don't ask me why, but my mother is making me Tweet. Says it will be good for my career. So, follow my ramblings, mostly on the film industry, @TVFilmTalk
It's an interesting balance for Mitt (and a good early test of his leadership). On one hand, it doesn't look like he needs to buy off his rivals support to win the nomination, but he IS going to need their constituencies to win the general election -- Santorum's social conservatives and Gingrich's econimic conservatives (the split between those two groups pretty much explains the difficulty that Mitt's opposition has had in getting together). It could make a big difference in November whether Rick/Newt embrace Mitt enthusastically, grudgingly or not at all.
"Gingrich Think Tank Declares Bankruptcy"
Ah, the jokes that could have been made in the PPB days . . . .
But makes Newt look even more egotistical, staying in while his company goes kablooey.
Eat Mor Jonny.
Newt is attending a luncheon on Tuesday 2 miles from my house in New Bern; it would be pretty interesting to hear him speak even though I don't agree with much that he says. This is his second trip to NC in 2 weeks, he was in Wilmington last week. Still trudging right along.....
http://nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com/_ne...-campaign?liteSantorumís decision to suspend his campaign effectively stifles the opposition to Romney from within the GOP; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul remain active candidates, though neither of them have a plausible path to winning the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
So...when do we start the general election thread? (I hope y'all allow one, this thread has been fun)
We were talking about Romney's failure to rally his Republican base and now we have some pretty strong evidence.
Gallup's final poll among Republican voters shows him at 42 percent -- the lowest ever for a Republican nominee at this point (Gallup's final polls are when the nomination race is decided, which is usually Feb.-Mar.-Spril):
The only major party nominee to ever wrap it up with less support in his own party was George McGovern in 1972. How did he do?
The only other major party candidate under 50 percent in his own party was Jimmy Carter in 1980. That one is amazing since he was a sitting President. His 48 percent popularity among Democrats foreshadowed his general election loss to Reagan.
Not saying Romney can't win, but he's got a tough haul.
And Carter was still very much in that race until almost the end. There was only one debate between Carter and Reagan in 1980, and it took place the week before the election. Up until that time, polls had it more or less a dead heat (and some even had Carter with a slight lead), but with a decent chunk of undecideds. That was the famous debate of "There you go again" and "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Most of the undecideds broke to Reagan, and it was game over.
Back to Romney -- Fox also had a poll out yesterday that covers the same time frame (Apr. 9-11) and seems to confirm Gallup's findings. Romney is in the 40s (though a few points higher than Gallup, 46 to 42), and the collective group of Santorum, Gingrich and Paul combine for 44%, same as the Gallup poll.
Romney -- 46
Paul -- 16
Santorum -- 15
Gingrich -- 13
Someone else -- 2
Too soon to say -- 4
Unsure -- 4
Still teaches Sunday school in Plains when he is in town. But you have to want to get there; Plains is a long way from anywhere.
Eat Mor Jonny.
But No. 1 on my list is John Quincy Adams, a one-term failure in the White House, who returned to the House of Representatives as a congressman and was in the firefront of leading resistance to slavery. He accomplished more in his final years than he ever did as President.