"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Predictions (bumped to the top)

Rick Santorum will narrowly edge out Mitt Romney in his home state of Michigan tonight, by something on the order of 40-38, with 12% going to Ron Paul and 8-9% going to Newt Gingrich, who is fading fast.   The spin after tonight will be that Santorum will have won by appealing to Democrats, including through robo-calls, etc.   But he will have momentum going into Super Tuesday next week.   And look for mounting calls for Gingrich to drop out and shift his support to Santorum as the main conservative challenger to the moderate Romney.  

Romney will win a big victory in Arizona, perhaps by 15% over Santorum.   Arizona is a winner-take-all state, so Romney will get all 29 delegates, and the spin after tonight will be that Romney has taken a big lead in the delegate count.   But there are 440 odd delegates at play next week, so this spin won't hold long.

Meanwhile, the MSM will spin that the Republicans are headed for disaster because they'll be beating each other up until the convention.    Don't believe it.    Americans have a short memory, and the negatives about Romney or Santorum (I still think a Romney-Santorum ticket is likely) will have been forgotten by convention time.   Meanwhile, the list of Obama failures grows:

the stimulus
the HHS mandate
the Keystone pipeline
Syria and Iran
Iraq and Afghanistan
the federal deficit ($1.3 trillion this year)
the federal debt  ($15.4 trillion overall, with $5 trillion added since Obama took office)
Solyndra, LightSquared and crony capitalism

He's a weak President with a terrible record and an arrogant, unlikeable personality.   Obama has jumped the shark.    He's going to lose in November to Romney, or he's going to lose to Santorum, or he's going to lose to Generic Republican Yet-to-Be-Named.


UPDATE:  Hugh Hewitt makes the same point on his blog this morning:

The GOP is in very good shape though the brawling has left its two leading contenders bruised and bloodied.  They are both in better shape for all the traded punches, lots of lessons have been learned --think Romney's advance team is better prepared for the fall now than it was last week, or that the public isn't already clued into the Chicago gang's "contraception" cynicism?-- and the support will quickly go from steady to overwhelming as the country realizes it really cannot afford a second term of this incoherent, highly ideological and apparently stubborn and isolated pseudo-intellectual at 1600.

UPDATE 2: Kimberly Strassel in the WSJ has a good article about the race to define Santorum in Michigan by Romney's camp as a "Washington insider" or as an "extremist" on social issues.   At the end she adds a couple of paragraphs that portray Santorum on the stump:

The irony is that all this is coming at a time when Mr. Santorum has never looked so good on the stump. He's toned down his talk on social issues and is reassuring voters he doesn't intend to "impose" his views on the country. He's hitting hard on the economic message and reminding audiences that he was pushing big reforms before it was fashionable. At his own turn at the Troy event, he joked of the entitlement mess, "I saw it coming. And people were behind me . . . way behind me."
Most notably, he's honed his argument that Mr. Romney has too much baggage and too little nerve to provide a clear contrast with Mr. Obama. If Republicans nominate Mr. Romney, "We give up the issue of freedom of conscience! We give up the issue of bailouts! We give up the issue of cap-and-trade!" thundered Mr. Santorum. "Why would we do that? Why would we nominate someone who's uniquely unqualified to take on the biggest issues of the day?" By the end of his speech, many of the activists in the crowd were shouting "Go, Rick, go!"

The last part is key for me.   If Romney is nominated, which I think he will be ultimately, Republicans will weaken their ability to go after Obama on the biggest issue of the campaign -- the looming disaster of Obamacare.   Romney simply won't be able to make that case effectively because of his own signature health-care program in Massachusetts, which also contained an individual mandate.

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