Mr. Neil King Jr. of The Wall Street Journal yesterday wrote “Romney Widens Lead, but Prize is Elusive” providing an excellent snapshot of the race in the graphics below and in his analysis below:
King’s analysis indicates that if Santorum and Gingrich are going to make a difference to impress, they better get on it now. It is my opinion that it is time for a few Republican sages to tap each man on the shoulder and quietly help them see what they are blind to: that their quest entered the selfish phase awhile back and that it is now obvious to all but a few Americans they seem intent on damaging the Republican chances against Obama. While Obama is amassing war chest funds at a pace much faster than the four GOP candidates combined, we are squandering our funds in needless inter-party scrimmages:
Indeed, a look at the delegate math in the Republican contest shows Mr. Romney still could face a drawn-out race against his main challenger, Rick Santorum, as well Newt Gingrich, and he faces a primary calendar that seems structured to maintain the suspense.
Mr. Santorum, who lags behind the front-runner by well over 200 delegates, would have to win about three-quarters of all remaining delegates to cross that bar, while Mr. Gingrich would have to win nearly 90% of remaining delegates up for grabs.
Mr. Santorum’s aides acknowledge that April holds little promise for their quest. They hope to do well in Wisconsin on April 3, and then in the former senator’s home state of Pennsylvania on April 24. But the campaign isn’t predicting wins in either state, raising the possibility that Mr. Santorum could go 0-for-8 in April, a month that will put 329 delegates up for grabs.
That means a central question in the campaign becomes whether Mr. Santorum’s candidacy can survive a nearly 10-week period of sparse delegate pickups in April and few hospitable states in early May.
In a separate WSJ article, Jason L. Riley gave us “Santorum’s Blame Game” (whatever happened to a leader accepting responsibility for failure in a hard fought battle?):
Significantly, Mr. Romney, a Mormon, has continued to beat Mr. Santorum, a devout Catholic, among Catholics — an important swing voting bloc that broke for George W. Bush in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.
By the way, if you want to see Santorum become snarky, watch the way he answers questions about the Catholic vote! In the Michigan primary loss, he was asked about his big losses to Catholic voters and his reply was that he does well with those that “attend church.” Well, in the Illinois primary exit polls, Governor Romney won the vote of Catholics that “attend church at least once a week.” NICE! It will be interesting to see how he answers the question the next time he is asked about the Catholic vote. Can he blame another Christian for the Illinois loss of Catholics? Why find blame? Why not just accept defeat like a man?
Despite the thumping, Mr. Santorum made it clear last night that he isn’t quitting the race, refusing even to acknowledge that he had performed poorly. [...] The Santorum camp also continued to point the finger at Newt Gingrich. “It’s time for Gingrich supporters to get behind us if they truly want a conservative candidate,” a Santorum aide told reporters, according to Politico.
Mr. Santorum believes that Mr. Gingrich’s presence in the race is splitting the anti-Romney vote and hurting his campaign. That’s certainly plausible but is becoming less so as the nomination process continues. Mr. Romney’s Illinois vote total yesterday was easily greater than Mr. Santorum’s and Mr. Gingrich’s combined.
What is it about today’s leadership at the national level? I fear that many Republicans have fallen into the liberal trap of finding blame outside of oneself for failure. We see it everywhere among the Democrats — we expect as much from them. I strongly believe that a President Mitt Romney will accept every responsibility as a man in a way that all strong leaders do — and he will do so by sharing his successes with others while shouldering set-backs with “the bucks stops here” attitude.
Sadly, if either Gingrich or Santorum exit the race involuntarily, it will likely the be the ignoble way: When they run out of runway (cash is gone).