2012 Tuesday: Michigan is the show-me state for Santorum

Our unscientific poll last week found that, by about a 3-to-2 margin, readers believe Newt Gingrich would be hurt more by losing next week’s Georgia primary than Mitt Romney would by losing today’s primary in his native Michigan. Today, I’m going to suggest the person with the most riding on one of these states is neither Gingrich nor Romney, but Rick Santorum.

If one believes the “Mitt Romney vs. the Not-Romneys” narrative of this GOP primary, it follows that Santorum must buck the trend of all the other short-term front-runners if he wants to be a serious threat to topple Romney in the end. There is little reason to believe Santorum has risen to his current No. 1 spot by mere force of personality or policies: His personality and policies didn’t keep him out of fifth and even sixth place for much of the race, and they haven’t changed during the past two months when he became a top-tier candidate (or survivor, depending on how you view him). So, we need to see if he can buck the trend.

The trend to which I refer actually is two-fold: Before the primaries began, a Not-Romney front-runner — Rick Perry or Herman Cain — rose to the top, only to be brought down by his own actions. Perry’s debate gaffes and Cain’s increasingly apparent lack of preparedness on topics such as foreign policy. (I continue to believe Cain’s missteps on this front had more to do with his downturn in popularity than did the allegations of sexual harassment and an affair, although the latter did finally push him out of the race.) For both Perry and Cain, the candidate’s undoing was his own fault.

Once the primaries began, a different — and, for Santorum now, a more relevant — trend emerged: One candidate would win a primary and gain (or re-gain) the front-runner status, only to be brought back to the pack. These downturns usually followed a barrage of negative advertising: e.g., Gingrich’s attacks on Romney in South Carolina, and Romney’s returning the favor big-time in Florida. (I do not place Santorum’s win in Iowa in the context of this trend, because he wasn’t actually declared the winner over Romney until weeks after the fact.)

Now we have Santorum, still riding the momentum of his triple wins on Feb. 7 in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, and trying to prove in Michigan that he can really hang with Romney. Opinion polls forecast a narrow win for Romney or a narrow win for Santorum, depending on which one you view, after each man has taken a turn leading the state by a healthy margin. Gingrich and Ron Paul have effectively conceded Michigan, so it’s a two-man race.

Once again, Romney has used his campaign’s financial advantage to blister Santorum with negative ads, largely about his spending record in Congress. But unlike Gingrich in Florida, and Iowa before that, Santorum has not withered. At least, not if you believe the polls.

By late tonight, we’ll know how close the election really was and, barring a ballot controversy, who won it. It remains to be seen if a narrow loss by Santorum would cast enough doubt on his candidacy to put Romney back in front or if — as Santorum’s campaign staff is already spinning it — merely running close in Romney’s home state would be enough of a victory. This much, however, certainly is true: Eventually, if one of these Not-Romneys is going to be the nominee, he’s going to have to take the lead and hold it.

Santorum may have won the (non-binding) primary in Missouri. But for a lot of GOP voters, Michigan is more of a show-me state.

(Note: I will be on the road today following the Gingrich campaign in Northwest Georgia, so my blogging and responding to your comments will be sporadic.)

– By Kyle Wingfield

412 comments Add your comment

Do what??????

February 28th, 2012
9:38 am

“Santorum may have won the (non-binding) primary in Missouri. But for a lot of GOP voters, Michigan is more of a show-me state.

Well yeah, considering Michigan is a traditional socialist state that currently went red after 2010.

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
9:45 am

What the Michigan primary will show is whether the Republican base in that state can swallow or even admire the incredible lack of reason, logic and truthfulness Santorum has consistently and sincerely exhibited in his campaign speeches and interviews, and favor him over the insincere and flip-flopping Romney with his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth but with a better chance to defeat Obama.

Do what??????

February 28th, 2012
9:51 am

“flip-flopping Romney with his penchant for putting his foot in his mouth but with a better chance to defeat Obama.

Speaking of foot in mouth disease, nothing will compare to Obozo apologizing to the Afghans or playing the race card to get black people to vote him back in.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
9:58 am

“Flip-flopping”

A term used by unintelligent people who believe that you may never change your original position on any issue in the face of new evidence.

G whiz

February 28th, 2012
9:58 am

Santorum appears to know how to campaign. I’ts pretty amazing what he is doing in Michigan. Gotta give him credit even if he doesn’t win. I think Romney has missed his chance to connect with most voters. Poor people, Cadillacs and all his rich friends – would he brag about how many USS carriers and Stealth Fighters he has along with all his other toys?

Odis

February 28th, 2012
9:59 am

I think that if Romney loses Michigan it becomes a serious body wound for him. The fact that most polls have the race as a dead even is not a good sign for Mittens. How weak of a candidate must you be to be in a neck in neck race in a state where you grew up in and your father was a multiple term governor? Not to mention that Romney will lose most of the Super Tuesday states!

JohnnyReb

February 28th, 2012
10:10 am

“…the incredible lack of reason, logic and truthfulness Santorum has consistently and sincerely exhibited in his campaign speeches and interviews, …”

Is that an opinion or is their unaltered, not taken out of context evidence? Every explanation I have heard him give when hit from the Left has been very acceptable.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
10:19 am

“How weak of a candidate must you be to be in a neck in neck race in a state where you grew up in and your father was a multiple term governor?”

Well, considering that the father’s last term in office ended in 1969, I’d say that most people voting in this primary don’t even remember who George Romney was.

So it really says, “Not much”.

td

February 28th, 2012
10:21 am

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
9:45 am

“What the Michigan primary will show is whether the Republican base in that state can swallow or even admire the incredible lack of reason, logic and truthfulness”

Your secular humanism has risen its ugly head. Your dislike for social conservatism blinds your own professed reason and logic. Tisk, tisk.

St Simons - we're on Island time

February 28th, 2012
10:22 am

No, its put up or shut up for Richie Rich Rmoney.
For seven years They’ve tried to sell him to the snakehandler base.
Ching-No sale

Trump-Palin-Tebow in the Broken Convention! Its Transformational!

Inside Out

February 28th, 2012
10:28 am

JohnyReb….Please explain Santorum’s explination for “dogging” Obama’s push for higher education when he is literally taking bits and pieces of the SOU speech and using it on the stump?

Joe the Prophet

February 28th, 2012
10:30 am

It’s very sad. My Republican party has lost it’s way…!!!! They rail against contraception and gay marriage…..yet they support a polytheist polygamist……by focusing solely on defeating the Democratic President, conservatives are going to doom this country to failure…and potentially worse…!!!!!

Yes, Rick Santorum will lose in the general…BUT AT LEAST HE WILL LOSE ON HIS CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES…!!!!! America will not, and should not, elect a Mormon cultist President…I don’t care how rich he is…..I would rather have four more years of President Obama than vote against the teachings of Christ….

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
10:34 am

td @10:21 am: “Your secular humanism has risen its ugly head. Your dislike for social conservatism blinds your own professed reason and logic. Tisk, tisk.:

My secular humanism? Show me the secular humanism in my post. This is not about what I believe, but whether you can read.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
10:40 am

Yeah, Joe the Prophet, it’s better to go down in flames when the next 5 years could see 3 Supreme Court justices being replaced, rather than going with the ONLY guy who has a chance of beating the current Disaster-in-Chief, simply because you don’t believe in his faith.

And please provide any proof whatsoever that Romney has more than one wife.

Otherwise, your charge that he is a polygamist is false and misleading.

What is really sad is that people who allegedly believe in the U.S. Constitution would even consider their vote for someone based on their religion, especially since they have never GOVERNED with their religious views, nor would Congress allow them to do so.

Pitiful, really.

td

February 28th, 2012
10:41 am

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
10:34 am

“incredible lack of reason, logic”

You are good at not giving away any real information about what you believe but sorry you just did with the above phrase. Most common phrase used by secular humanist and almost exclusively used by them. You can deny if you like but now we all know.

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
10:48 am

JohnnyReb @10:10 a: “Is that an opinion or is their unaltered, not taken out of context evidence? Every explanation I have heard him give when hit from the Left has been very acceptable.”

Nothing taken out of context. If you find everything you have heard him “very expectable,” then either the same lack of reason, logic and truthfulness applies to you, or you have not paid much attention.

Question: “: On that question of bailouts, you also ran an ad in Michigan where you suggested Governor Romney turned his back on the workers of Michigan, of course referring to the auto bailout there. But you also are opposed to the auto bailout. So isn’t it disingenuous to charge that Romney is turning his back on Michigan when you have the same position?

SANTORUM: Well, we have the same position on that, but we don’t have the same position on bailouts.”

Lack of logic: I can criticize Romney for this position on auto bailout even though I had the same position, because he had different position on other bailouts.

Question about Afghanistan: “ But if it was a mistake, isn’t apologizing the right, important (ph) thing to do?

SANTORUM: Well, again, it suggests that there is somehow blame, this is somehow that we did something wrong in the sense of doing a deliberate act wrong. I think it shows that we are — that I think it shows weakness.

I think what we say is, look, what happened here was wrong. But it was — it was not something that was deliberate, and we are — we — you know, we take responsibility for it. It’s unfortunate. But to apologize, I think, lends credibility that somehow or another that it was more than that.”

Lack of reason: If we apologize for a mistake, it it a weakness, and we are implying that it was deliberate.

Santorum either was not raised well, or developed bad manners later.

SANTORUM: “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.”

Liar.

SANTORUM: “Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, faith is not allowed in the public square. I will keep it separate. Go on and read the speech. I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith.”

Liar.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
10:57 am

Anyone (pundit or blogger) who takes a single remark from any candidate and extrapolates it into a potential policy position is a waste of oxygen.

Jorge

February 28th, 2012
11:12 am

Santorum is Latin slang for SATAN! And he makes most of us wanna puke.

sheepdawg

February 28th, 2012
11:14 am

none of these gop clones are fit to lead the local PTA

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
11:14 am

td @10:41 am: “incredible lack of reason, logic” You are good at not giving away any real information about what you believe but sorry you just did with the above phrase. Most common phrase used by secular humanist and almost exclusively used by them. You can deny if you like but now we all know.

td,
I do not like the write the following unless absolutely necessary, but what you have just written cannot be called anything but stupid. “Incredible lack of reason, logic” is a phrase used “almost exclusively by secular humanists”? You are just trying to make us laugh, don’t you?

One more time, the subject of discussion is Santorum, not I. I could not care less what you call me. But to attack what I wrote originally because it shows secular humanism is beyond belief.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
11:19 am

Boy, I just love the deep analytical minds of posters like those @ 11:12 and 11:14.

Makes me feel like I’m back on Bookman’s blog. :roll:

Maybe I’ll get drunk just to make this fight fair.

I'd Vote for a Republican But I Am Allergic to Nuts

February 28th, 2012
11:19 am

If Santorum wins in Michigan that means there are a lot of HYPOCRITES in Michigan.

Michigan has some of the best colleges in the country (University of Michigan and Michigan State) and a lot of people have hopes of their children attending one of these schools.

Will they be afraid that they will be LABELED A SNOB by Tricky Ricky who has sent his children to college and he has 3 COLLEGE degrees.

Don’t do as he does….do as he says if you are a PUPPET. :)

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
11:24 am

Te best response for people still harping on Santorum’s college / snob remark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiRGRvE_Wqg

Dusty

February 28th, 2012
11:26 am

Show me state? There’s not a state that can show me what I want to know.

Right now, there is not one Republican nor one Democrat that I am anxious to elect with my vote. Some are passable but none are wonderful.

Maybe I will vote for the Lone Ranger. He will dash into the Republican Convention on his big horse and announce his candidacy with Tonto as vice president.

Now there’s a team I can vote for with pleasure. They give no promises, shoot straight and have a record of rescue. What more is desirable? Also, nobody knows their political party! This gets better all the time!

Lone Ranger for President!! Never say neigh!!

td

February 28th, 2012
11:28 am

MarkV

February 28th, 2012
11:14 am

The prospective from which a blogger comes from says a great deal about how they are going to debate a point. Secular Humanist are hell bent of totally removing any form of religion from the public sphere and as such will do anything they can to discredit anyone that may not be in favor of their goals.

Knowing that you my friend are a secular humanist and as such your mission will tell all the readers how much they can take your statements with the correct prospective. Like it not you have given away yourself and your agenda.

ragnar danneskjold

February 28th, 2012
11:32 am

Not sure the horse race excites me – I don’t see significant policy differences among Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich, so any will be ok with me, and any would be a significant improvement over the status quo.

Although I am leaning toward Santorum, I am not certain why Michigan is a “must” win for Romney. Other than the fact that his dad was governor there 50 years ago, don’t think Romney has had any real contact with Michigan, his connections with Massachusetts and Utah seem much deeper; suppose this is just the “expectations” game played by the non-Romneys. It would be as if saying Pennsylvania is a must win for Gingrich, or Virginia is a must win for Santorum, since those were their birthstates, not necessarily a logical affirmation.

Inside Out

February 28th, 2012
11:34 am

So td let me ask you this…..If interjection of religion into public policy is ok, then is it fair to assume that it would as acceptable to you for a person that believes in Islam to inject their beliefs into public policy as well??? If not, Then why???

ragnar danneskjold

February 28th, 2012
11:35 am

Dear Dusty @ 11:26, amusing note, my compliments. I don’t remember voting “for” any president since Ronaldus Magnus, and I will be voting against the strikingly incompetent incumbent again this time, even if SpongeBob SquarePants gets the republican nomination.

Lakeisha Jackson

February 28th, 2012
11:36 am

The Facebook page for Rachel Maddow’s show is urging all Democrats in Michigan to go out and vote for Rick Santorum, since it’s an open primary. Shows you whom they would prefer running against.

ragnar danneskjold

February 28th, 2012
11:37 am

Dear InsideOut @ 11:34, “it would as acceptable to you for a person that believes in Islam to inject their beliefs into public policy as well???” Sure, why not? The Moslems I have known were all decent people, not firebombers. Much more comfortable with a Moslem than with a secular humanist – at least the former have beliefs informed by a relationship with the Eternal Deity.

I'd Vote for a Republican But I Am Allergic to Nuts

February 28th, 2012
11:42 am

Rick Santorum’s contention that President Obama’s plan to make college more accesible is really a scheme to brainwash people into becoming liberals may have struck some outside observers as a little odd.

But for the tea party crowd , Santorum’s words about higher education were right on point.
“President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college,” Santorum said. “What a snob!”
****************************************************

TEA PARTIES are for little girls with IMAGINARY FRIENDS. :)

td

February 28th, 2012
11:43 am

Lakeisha Jackson

February 28th, 2012
11:36 am

Yes, and 4 years ago Rush was running a similar program on his radio show to make sure Hilliary did not win the nomination because he did not think this country was foolish enough to elect Obama. How did that one work out?

Inside Out

February 28th, 2012
11:44 am

ragnar,
While I often disagree with your presented politics, I find your answer honest and thoughtful…I seriously doubt that other bloggers that share your political ideology would be so open minded…

td

February 28th, 2012
11:47 am

Inside Out

February 28th, 2012
11:34 am

I agree with Ragnar. Secular Humanism is a critical step towards communism according to Marx and as such is pure evil and an enemy of freedom.

GOP Fail

February 28th, 2012
11:49 am

This is to Do What @9:51, look genius, the African American populace is on 13% of the Nation’s population. So if Black people are the ones that voted President Obama in, I think a remedial math course is in your future. What voted the President in were Americans who, overall, have grown tired of the GOP failed policies of the last 8 years. Granted, the GOP made a big comeback in 2010, but what the Republicans did not count on was the monster it created with the Tea Party. They truly are a group that is comprised of citizens who just don’t want to see ANY Democrat be successful and then vote against their own interests to keep the status quo.

Wake up. Or have they? Santorum plays to that base, Romney has been forced to play to that base. Either way, for the nominating process that’s red meat. To most moderate and independents that’s extremely far to the right, with no path back to being either a moderate or centrist position. When the general election happens, the GOP will realize that the internal damage its done to its own brand, will haunt them for years. I believe that the GOP will vote for its candidate but in very small numbers. They have angered women, the gay community, students, unions and its workers, the Latino community, and people of color with insensitive remarks, ridiculous bills, obstructionism, and hypercritical acts that baffle everyone. Even the Republican leadership are recognizing the buffoonery that permeates the GOP field, yet they have not come out in a uniform fashion to stop the craziness. Sure, keep believing that this is a vetting process and that whoever the candidate that survives will be stronger. That is just plain hogwash.

So, go and follow the results. We will. But the sadder commentary is that the GOP is no closer to a unifying candidate than the Georgia State Panthers are to a national championship.

Still trying to rap my head around a leading candidate having a rally at a 65,000 seat stadium and only enough people to kinda fill an end zone. Fail. Or for Santorum to attack the President for wanting all people to have access to a college education…major fail. This is the best the GOP has to offer. Ultimate FAIL.

Dusty

February 28th, 2012
11:50 am

Where’s Hillbilly D today?

If Kyle is up in them thar hills checking on Gingrich (Kyle really wanted to see the scenary but that’s OK), Hillbilly better keep an eye on him. There are bears up there and they might like a tender young Republican.

If Kyle isn’t back by dark, we better send out a posse. Besides bears, there might be some wild Dems too. Now that’s scary!!.

ragnar danneskjold

February 28th, 2012
11:51 am

Dear Inside @ 11:44, thanks for a thoughtful answer. I believe the core problem with our culture is not that there is “too much participation by too many different thinkers,” but rather not enough. Too many concealed agendas, too much thunder and lightning and not enough life-sustaining rain. Rather than silence any, let’s hear them all. (As to my jibe at “secular humanists,” I resist them only because they attempt to silence others.)

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
11:54 am

“Still trying to rap my head around a leading candidate having a rally at a 65,000 seat stadium and only enough people to kinda fill an end zone.”

Still trying to wrap my head around a blogger who doesn’t know that the event in question was never meant to be populated with anyone but the local Chamber of Commerce invitees, and that the venue was used as a perk to those members, not as something to be filled.

Jefferson

February 28th, 2012
11:55 am

The GOP has again proved they have no credibility. To support them would be foolish, just look at the mess they find themselves in with all the butt kissing going on.

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
11:55 am

Oh, and it wasn’t a “rally”. It was a scheduled speech in front of an organization. It is the media and the dumb masses who have spun it into a “rally”.

Will

February 28th, 2012
11:57 am

I think you are correct.

If Santorium loses both Arizona and Michigan today, he will be just the latest in a long line of the “flavor of the moment” for anti-Romney voters. Once again (insert here Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, etc) a “flash-in-the-pan” comes and goes.

If Santorium wins Michigan, I believe the momentum created by this victory will carry forward through next week, most likely ending what very little change Gingrich had of getting back into the nominating race. With that momentum will come more careful review and Santorium’s cultural extremism will not play well with pocketbook issue voters.

Although there is little doubt that the President’s campaign advisors are hoping and praying for Santorium or Gingerich as an opponent, Governor Romney is well financed and organized for the long haul – something no one other than Ron Paul can claim.

In the end, the voice of moderation and pragmatism will carry the day and Governor Romney will be a worthy challenger to the President’s re-election. I believe Governor Romney’s explanation that he was successful as governor in a liberal state because he moved to the middle in order to succeed. I also believe he will repeat that strategy as President because Govenor Romney is more interested in moving our beloved Republic forward than in making some sort of “purity of thought” last stand.

That’s what politicians do – run to the right or left but govern from the middle. Nixon, Reagan and both Bushes govern more closely as “Rockefeller Republicans” than “Goldwater Republicans”. In the end, extremism is, indeed, a vice (and a political loser) in the pursuit of liberty.

GOP Fail

February 28th, 2012
12:00 pm

Either way Tiberius, F-A-I-L!! LOL!! Don’t you think it would have come across better to the public if they had it in a large room at the stadium? Rally or a speech, does it matter? Or did you just hear that the trees were the right height?

Dusty

February 28th, 2012
12:04 pm

Thank you, Ragnar.

As you see, I get a little bored with politics sometimes. But I am glad that there are deep thinkers on both sides who give us their valued opinions. Some have more “value” than others.

Let us hope that you do not have to vote for Sponge Bob Square Pants but who knows? He may have more support than the Lone Ranger. Michigan as the “show me state”? ? I still linger in the state of Mind..

Jefferson

February 28th, 2012
12:05 pm

So what’s the t reps done for ya ?

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
12:07 pm

It is only a fail to the dumb masses., GOP Fail.

Apparently, you’ve never run or been a part of a campaign, have you? Do you even belong to your local CofC? Attend their functions?

If you did, and you attended their functions, you’d know that having a speech in a room (and let’s face it, finding a room in a stadium for that size crowd is a tough thing to do) is NOT the same as being on the field, something many of them have likely never done before, and may never experience again.

It’s a perk, and it comes with being invited and connected. And it’s every bit a part of cementing relations with the people you want to donate to your campaign and talk you up in their community.

This was fodder for the media, and you bought it hook, line and sinker.

southpaw

February 28th, 2012
12:10 pm

Vote @11:42-
Did little girls with imaginary friends hold the Tea Party that happened in Boston Harbor 200+ years ago?

DannyX

February 28th, 2012
12:12 pm

Secular humanists? What bad things are they doing?

Are they flying jets into buildings? Are they molesting boys like the Catholic priests? Are they blowing up federal buildings? Bombing Olympic Parks? Massacring kids at camp? Invading Iraq? Getting massages and meth with church member money? Getting rich off of their mega church while preaching their prosperity gospel?

Please explain.

Inside Out

February 28th, 2012
12:16 pm

southpaw…… It is not 200+ years ago, and This bunch is Nothing like the orginal Patriots…

Tiberius - Your lightning rod of hate!

February 28th, 2012
12:16 pm

I have no problem with people of faith being in government, as long as they don’t try to legislate their morality on me.

Required reading

February 28th, 2012
12:18 pm

David Brooks summed up what is left of the GOP in today’s NYT op-ed column. Nuff said…….