Prediction: Senator Santorum to Quit Presidential Race in April

This week, a number of news outlets have reported a conspicuous drop in Santorum’s typical strident rhetoric against Gov. Romney. I believe this is a less than subtle way to position himself to exit the race. Yesterday’s New York Times reported,

Rick Santorum has eased up on using phrases like “worst Republican in the country” when tearing into Mitt Romney. And he is no longer saying that a vote for Mr. Romney would be basically the same thing as a vote for President Obama.

Meet subdued Santorum.

After several highly publicized remarks that left many in his party questioning whether he had crossed the line in attacking a fellow Republican, Mr. Santorum has struggled to find the balance between being a tenacious underdog and leaving himself open to criticism that he is just an embittered also-ran.
[...]
The sudden restraint has surprised some of his supporters.

[emphasis added]

Senator Santorum is not stupid; think about it. Just a few days ago, he rips Gov. Romney publicly and that very same day publicly states he would consider a veep position under a President Romney. Yes, I did a double-take as well! But why let up now? The NYT article even quotes his supporters saying that his “passionate” language is one of the things most appealing.

Here is the reason I believe. There are eight primaries between now and April 24th. Romney is expected to win six of them and probably by a wide margin. The other two are Wisconsin (4/3) and Pennsylvania (4/24). As of 7:30 p.m. PST tonight, Intrade shows the probability of a Santorum win in Wisconsin at 11.8% and a win in his home state of Pennsylvania at 31.1%. The other six states are below 5% except Connecticut (6.8%). Above, I said Santorum is not stupid. He is looking at these same probabilities and he is thinking now.

Here is where the dew of reality is descending upon Santorum’s thoughts.

Rick Santorum’s private thoughts (my conjecture):

“Wow! I could lose this thing fast in the next few weeks. I have to win. I put too much into this thing with my wife, my children, and Bella — And dang it, I worked harder than the other guys and I deserve to win! I have to win Wisconsin to build the momentum into my home state but Mitt is so much more prepared and his machine is killing me in Wisconsin. I have to win Pennsylvania! If I lose Wisconsin, that will not be good going into Pennsylvania! Mitt is picking up steam in Pennsylvania this week. I have to win Pennsylvania! Having to answer to that dang 18 point loss in my senate race in 2006 has been shear [pain] in this race — embarrassing! There is no way I will lose Pennsylvania — No way!”

Do you see where Rick’s mind is right now? Can he win Wisconsin next Tuesday? Absolutely he can if we let up at all. I strongly believe Governor Romney has Santorum in a strangle hold with Wisconsin, especially if he trounces him Tuesday. Romney will likely smash Santorum in DC and Maryland and if he has a really strong win in Wisconsin, Santorum will be all but dead going into Pennsylvania.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported in February:

Yet six years ago, as he sought a third Senate term in Pennsylvania, Santorum proved he can also lose in such a politically competitive state — and lose big.

Santorum’s last race — an 18-percentage-point defeat in 2006 bid — raises questions about his appeal to independent voters who could help decide the national election in November, as well as to Republicans who will determine who gets the party’s nomination.

Santorum’s loss was “the largest defeat by a Republican United States senator seeking election or re-election in modern Pennsylvania history,” said G. Terry Madonna, a polling expert and public affairs professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

So think about it. If I am Santorum and I know I now have two choices (after losing Wisconsin): 1) I could do what I have said I would do and stay in the race all the way to the convention (remember: “principle”) and lose Pennsylvania and be thoroughly embarrassed again, or 2) I could exit stage right and declare my loyal support to Romney and hear everybody cheer me to glory.

How does Santorum avoid losing Pennsylvania again?

If Santorum were to lose Wisconsin to Romney, which do you think he will choose? 1? or 2? I predict Wisconsin will be another close race but that Romney will win it. If this happens, Santorum will “evaluate” the race at that point and decide to exit entirely. What seems hard to predict is when he would make that announcement. I think it would likely be the weekend following the Wisconsin primary and not a lot later so that it does not appear to be correlated with a fear of embarrassment — which a loss in his home state certainly would be.

The most compelling argument for Santorum to attempt a graceful exit from the race, upon losing Wisconsin, is this (he is not stupid — Santorum is the epitome of the political animal): He wants a future in politics — and presidential politics at that. If he were to lose Pennsylvania bad (very good possibility), he would be almost for sure pushed out of the race with people laughing, and his political reputation would be all but destroyed.

If he were then to attempt to run for POTUS in future years, it will always be remembered of him that he could not win reelection (2006) to the Senate in his home state (historically huge loss) and that he bad-mouthed Romney for months before being trounced again in his home state of Pennsylvania (2012). And why? Because of a) a huge ego, b) stubbornness, and c) strident social positions. He would be washed up and would forever be overlooked as a serious national candidate. He will not allow that to happen — not when he can control the outcome now.

As we say in business, the risk-reward consideration is making this untenable for Mr. Santorum. I think the probability that Santorum will compete in Pennsylvania is less than five percent.

He will not allow himself to be embarrassed. Not by Governor Romney!

GO MITT! Let’s all work as hard as we can to bring a HUGE win to Mitt in Wisconsin — We do not want the Wisconsin results to even be close! We can finish off Santorum next Tuesday.

“As the world’s finest democracy, we do not do guillotines. But there are other less bloody rituals of humiliation, designed to reassure the populace that order is restored, the Republic cleansed.” ~ William Greider

Exit Question: What is a One Term Obama Presidency Worth to You?

Open Letter to the All-Powerful Illinois Voters — The Tipping Point is Now!

By Greg Stapley

Much has been said about the faceless “Republican Establishment” that supposedly wants this candidate or that candidate to represent the party in the upcoming presidential election. I don’t know who that is, or if such an Establishment even exists, but the people talking about it ignore one important fact: this thing is in the hands of American voters. And American voters seldom take orders from “establishments.”

Greg Stapley

This, week one state’s voters have the unique and historic opportunity to seal the decision in what could be the last meaningful contest of this primary season. Illinois voters can determine the course of history by finally picking the opposition candidate to Barack Obama.

We have some great candidates to oppose the current occupant of the White House. Every one of these contenders — Mitt, Rick, Newt, Ron — is a faithful son of the party. Each has substantial electoral credentials, and each of course has a record.

Not one of them is exactly like me or you. Each one is conservative in many things, but none of them has been perfectly consistent in all.

For example, Mitt is an economic conservative, but historically has not been as socially conservative as I am.

Rick is a social conservative, but his repeated earmarking, votes for Davis-Bacon and unbridled debt-limit increases make him anything but an economic conservative.

Ron is a monetary conservative, but he is somewhere to the left of Jane Fonda on national defense and foreign policy.

And Newt is a political conservative, but the danger for political conservatives is that they are political, and sometimes that means they compromise when they shouldn’t, and wind up sitting on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.

Nobody’s perfect.

But this is undeniable: Every single one of them would be miles ahead of Barack Obama in getting our economic house in order, putting America back to work, and restoring the American values that we hold dear.

This too is undeniable: None of them can win the general election alone. It will take all of us unitedly fighting together against the Obama machine to put our nominee over the top. And we need to start now.

The first step, if our opposition nominee is going to win the general, will be for us as voters to pull them all off of the hamster wheel that this primary has become. You know what I’m talking about: the increasingly cruel and counterproductive exercise in which the candidates are forced to constantly run around the country trying to “out-conservative” each other just to get that next block of delegates. It’s wearing all of them (and us) out, and it will ultimately damage our cause in the Fall.

And so without descending into the quagmire of which one is better than the other on this particular issue or that, it seems like it’s time to pull back and look at the big picture. It’s time to finally figure out which one is best positioned to carry the banner for American values and priorities in the upcoming general election. It’s time to put the debate amongst ourselves to rest. [more photos of romance below the fold] (more…)

2012 Cycle: Snapshot / Analysis / Mormonism Fading / Prediction / Video

This is a great snapshot of the race and a good look to the future delegate line-up:

The Wall Street Journal had some good analysis yesterday. The above chart came from this article — here are some of the better quotes:

“The reality of this race from here on out is that any day that Santorum doesn’t cut into Romney’s delegate lead is a day that Romney wins,” said Josh Putnam, a professor who tracks delegate tallies at North Carolina’s Davidson College.
[...]
There are just four winner-take-all contests left: Washington, D.C., on April 3, Delaware on April 24, New Jersey on June 5, and Utah on June 26. Mr. Santorum failed to get on the D.C. ballot.

The Journal also carried an article about Romney’s faith in which it states that it is not as much a factor now as it was in the 2008 cycle.

John Green, a University of Akron political scientist who studies religion and politics, said the Romney religion question has attracted less attention this year in part because it is old news.

“Back in 2007, this was something people didn’t know. Now people know a lot about Mitt Romney,” he said.

Polling also suggests the issue is receding. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in October, 57% of Republicans said they felt comfortable with Mr. Romney’s Mormon faith, up from 50% in December, 2007. The share who said they didn’t feel comfortable dropped to 14% from the 21% of late 2007.

The WSJ Op-Ed page carried this article about Santorum’s success Tuesday in the South. Reference is also made to Gingrich:

[... ] His goal increasingly seems to be to stay in the race to win enough delegates to deny Mr. Romney a majority and force a brokered convention.

Even in that event, however, Mr. Gingrich won’t be the man the GOP turns to. His negative ratings are too high, even among Republicans. His weekend comments that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan may no longer be “doable” may not hurt him with a war-weary public. But the remarks had the air of political opportunism as he grasps for any issue to re-ignite his campaign. The Georgian needs to look hard at whether his continued candidacy divides conservatives enough to deny Mr. Santorum a better chance at the nomination.

Finally, are your discussions of politics costing you friends? Maybe they are and you don’t know it. I found this both interesting and amusing for those who are political junkies (video clip) ——-> THE FIVE

Prediction: Ron Paul will drop out of the race soon after Newt Gingrich does.

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Mitt Romney Compared to Ronald Reagan (Best Op-Ed of March Thus Far!) — George Will Should Read This

William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal wrote this outstanding opinion piece that was published last Tuesday, titled, REAGAN WAS A SURE LOSER TOO.

NOTE: I had to truncate this article — I highly recommend you read the entire article at the link above

Not since Herbert Hoover has a party out of power had such an opportunity to run against everything that troubles the American family—prices, interest rates, unemployment, taxes, or the fear for the future of their old age or the future of their children—than is now presented to the Republican Party.

The Republicans, however, haven’t figured this out. This is their basic problem. They have no strategy for defeating an Obama administration that is highly vulnerable on both domestic and foreign policy.

That’s the conventional wisdom in a nutshell, isn’t it?

It will come as no surprise that these words appeared in a Feb. 29 column in the New York Times. They are reproduced here exactly as written, save for one small adjustment.

The president whose failings they describe is Jimmy Carter, not Barack Obama. The lines were written in 1980, not 2012. The author was the then-dean of conventional wisdom, James “Scotty” Reston. The headline was “Jimmy Carter’s Luck,” a reference to Reagan’s victory in the New Hampshire primary three days earlier.

It appears the conventional wisdom hasn’t changed much. Today’s narrative holds that however weak President Obama’s hand, Republicans find themselves in no position to capitalize on it. A glance back to where we were at this exact point in the 1980 primaries suggests otherwise.

The Republican candidates in early 1980 (from left): Philip Crane, John Connally, John Anderson, Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (photo: Bettmann/Corbis)

Then as now, the Republican primaries opened with a bang, when George H.W. Bush upset Ronald Reagan in the Iowa caucuses. By late February, this loss would lead to Reagan’s firing of his campaign manager, John Sears, in a disagreement over strategy.

Then, as now, Republicans feared that an unhappy contender might bolt the party to mount an independent campaign. In 1980, that was liberal John Anderson, not libertarian Ron Paul. Mr. Anderson did end up running as an independent, whereas Mr. Paul will likely be constrained by the effect a third-party run would have on the future prospects for his Republican son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Then as now, the chattering classes wondered aloud whether a candidate who could win the Republican nomination could prevail against President Carter in November. On March 1, former President Gerald Ford amplified that view when he told a New York Times reporter, “Every place I go and everything I hear, there is the growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election.”

Then as now, some put their hopes on a late entry, in the same way that some now pine for Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie to enter the race. In the same interview where Mr. Ford predicted that Reagan’s nomination would mean a repeat of 1964, he also declared himself open to a draft if there were a genuine “urging” by the party.

In retrospect, we forget how seriously the Ford possibility was taken, or how popular it was in the polls, or how lingering its effects would be (at the convention, there would be speculation about a “co-presidency”). A Harris Poll released just about this time in 1980 bolstered the case for Mr. Ford by reporting that, in a head-to-head matchup, Ford (the noncandidate) would trounce President Carter 55% to 44%. The same poll showed Reagan (the front-runner) trailing Carter 58% to 40%.

Nor was candidate Reagan without baggage. As governor, Reagan had pushed through the largest tax hike in California’s history, had signed one of the nation’s most liberal abortion laws, and—as George H.W. Bush pointed out—presided over the doubling of the state budget over his eight-year tenure, to $10.2 billion when he left office from $4.6 billion when he entered.
[...]
Later he would face Santorum-like fears about his social message, especially after appearing at a mass gathering of Christian fundamentalists and evangelicals. A minister with whom he’d shared a stage was taped saying “we’re being attacked by satanic forces,” which Times columnist Anthony Lewis declared “the scariest piece of television” he’d seen in some time.

President Reagan

Yes, the parallels to 1980 take you only so far, and Mitt Romney is no Ronald Reagan. Still, at this same point in his campaign for the GOP nomination, neither was Reagan. The President Reagan we rightly admire for bringing down the Berlin Wall, reviving the U.S. economy, and attracting into the GOP millions of disaffected Democrats was still to come.
[...]

[emphasis added]

Quotes by President Ronald Reagan:

“Welfare’s purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence.”

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”

“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”

“Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.”

“You can tell alot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.”

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Dick Morris is Right about Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul — Gingrich’s Big Fantasies

Jayde published a piece yesterday that had a link to the Dick Morris “After Super Tuesday” Op-Ed in The Hill (it is worth a complete read). Here are a couple of the more salient snippets (written prior to ST):

Neither Santorum nor Gingrich nor Paul can win this nomination prior to the convention unless one of them gets two-thirds of the remaining delegates. That is not going to happen. It is very unlikely that even together Santorum and Gingrich can win two-thirds of the remaining delegates.

So the only way either man can win the Republican nomination is by triggering a deadlock, denying Romney a majority and fighting it out on the convention floor.

That would be OK if the convention were in early July. But it is to be held during the very last week of August. If the Republican Party does not have a nominee until Sept. 1 and we have to spend the next six months watching these candidates beating the living hell out of one another, you can kiss our chances of defeating Obama goodbye.

So the bottom line is that Santorum’s and Gingrich’s only path to the nomination is to create a situation that virtually guarantees an Obama victory. Is it worth it, at that price? Can Santorum or Gingrich credibly challenge my math? Can they really maintain that deadlock is good for our party and that it is OK not to have a nominee until Sept. 1? Are they seriously going to argue that another six months of candidate-bashing is not going to irreparably injure our fortunes in November?

Based on Morris’s simple logic and math, I would argue that by RS and NG deciding to slog it out in the race, they do not really have the best interest of the nation in mind at all. They have self-interest at their core. Dick Morris is right.

The Wall Street Journal had some outstanding analysis of ST results yesterday from the front page, its Election2012 section, and both sides of the Op-Ed pages. Following are from those articles.

From “Romney Wins…” we have: (more…)

Mitt Romney: “The Best…Most Qualified Candidate…Will be an Outstanding President” (guest post)

I LOVE THIS SHOT!

Another great photograph telling a great story!

Occasionally, we will publish opinions submitted to us by visitors that have studied Governor Romney over many years. Gary Chidester is a frequent visitor to MRC and he provided this powerful endorsement of Governor Romney. He informs us that he is a retired Iowa school teacher. This particular opinion carries some additional weight in my mind because Chidester personally spoke to all four candidates while they campaigned in Iowa.

Mr. Chidester’s Op-Ed below nails it! I wish to add that Governor Romney is far superior to any of the remaining candidates in so many ways; but as an executive leader, the other three don’t even come close. Governor Romney has worked most of his career as a chief executive of major organizations. Even if you combined the careers of Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul (~100 years), there is no comparison to the years of executive experience of Governor Romney! Think about it.

By Gary Chester

I have been a Romney Republican, since 2007. He is the BEST candidate we have had in decades! When his issues and vision for America were shown to my friends, (as from Candidate X), almost everyone agreed that ‘this’ was the candidate they would support. When I told them that Gov. Romney was the candidate, nearly everyone started to fudge about their decision.

I am, however, surprised and saddened that some of my dear Iowa Republican friends are still playing the ‘religion’ card. For such an enlightened State, I’m ashamed that this one issue is the Achilles’ heel of the general mindset. Sadly, most Americans are the same way. If Gov. Romney would have been a Methodist or a Baptist, he probably would have been the Republican nominee in 2008 and would have won the election that Fall. (more…)