Iowa’s Mold Breaker Might Matter

We are discovering the 2012 election cycle dynamic every day.¬† One thing we have learned already is that things that didn’t matter last week are crucial this week.¬† The thing we are learning this past week is that money matters, as Mitt Romney surrogates bought waves of negative airtime, Ron Paul bought Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman, and Newt suddenly began to realize what a nice thing it would be to have campaign staffs, ground crews, or even counter advertising money.

To Huntsman’s dismay, we may be discovering that Iowa matters.¬† Let me put it this way.¬† If Newt Gingrich wins Iowa, it doesn’t really matter.¬† If Santorum wins Iowa, it will give him some false momentum but Iowa alone won’t matter.¬† If Bachmann wins Iowa, we will all drop our jaw and then move on with the real race.¬† If Paul wins Iowa, mainstream Republicans will spend the next few days complaining about how he did his usual ballot stuffing tricks, but then move on.

However, if Mitt Romney wins Iowa, that will be huge.¬† Iowa has typically stuck to mainstream, evangelical, more conservative than moderate candidates.¬† Iowa has granted hope to Mike Huckabee in recent years, and Michele Bachmann this year.¬† Now, with Mitt Romney leading in the polls, it appears that more conservative, evangelical voters are accepting that Romney will win the nomination.¬† In fact, in this case I wonder what type of dynamic Ron Paul is attributing to Romney’s rise.¬† Are Iowans viewing Gingrich, Perry and now even Santorum as third party spoilers?

I think with the Iowa dynamic, voters may actually prefer Santorum in the current field.  Instead, it appears that Iowa may end up being about who can beat Barack Obama, or more immediately, who can beat Ron Paul.  At any rate, if Mitt Romney wins, Iowa matters.  As McCain proved in 2008, voting for a candidate primarily because of electability is a tough paradigm to crack once it is set.

One thing is for sure.  If Romney does win in Iowa, Newt is dreaming if he thinks he can turn everything around in New Hampshire.

And the Winner of the Iowa Caucus is……….

Romney and Santorum may surprise all with a first and second place finish, respectively, but South Carolina will be the real winner of the Iowa Caucuses.

Bookmark and Share I am predicting that Mitt Romney will in Iowa and it will go a long way in establishing a sense of inevitability that will help him wrap up the nomination sooner than later.   However; unless Romney racks up a win with 30 or more percent, the results will not matter a great deal and in the end, the real winner will be South Carolina.

Iowa’s caucus history shows that the winners of their nominating contests do not usually go on to become the nominee and President.¬† More often than not, Iowa caucus voters seem more intent on sending a message to the establishment than sending¬†a nominee to the White House.¬† This time may be¬†different in the sense that Iowa Republicans may believe that their support for most of the existing candidates will not send any strong message and that Ron Paul, the only candidate for whom a protest vote for would send a clear message, is not in any way a responsible and realistically, viable candidate.¬†¬† As it is, most Iowa Republicans do not support Ron Paul.¬† His perceived success in the state so far is due mainly to the Independent¬†and Democrats who are allowed to vote in the caucuses if they change their Party affiliation.

This is something which Paulbots have been planning on taking advantage for a very long time and they are doing a good job at it.

But not good enough.

In the end I believe that between all the back and forth of frontrunner status for one candidate or another, Mitt Romney who has been consistently at the top of the polls in Iowa and who has the strongest organization of all the candidates in the state, will benefit from a social conservative and evangelical vote that is sharply divided between at least four candidates, and from his perceived electability against Barack Obama.  These factors will allow Romney to win the caucus, but unless he wins by an overwhelming amount, it will not do much to help him convince people that he will definitely be the nominee.  That job will be left up to South Carolina, which will actually be the big winner coming out of Iowa.

Everyone knows that Romney will win New Hampshire, so there is little suspense there.  That leaves South Carolina which follows the Live Free or Die State, as the most pivotal of all the early state contests and the greatest beneficiary of the results in Iowa.

It is where Newt Gingrich has been trying to build a firewall and hoping to establish himself as either the frontrunner or the only real viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

South Carolina is also a prelude to the Florida and the momentum provided to the candidate who wins in South Carolina will go a long way in helping that candidate’s chances of winning in the Sunshine State’s primary.¬†

Even in the unlikely event that Romney blew out all his rivals with a win of¬† 30% or more,¬† South Carolina will still be an early contest that either solidifies Romney’s lock on the nomination or gives someone else the opportunity to be¬†Romney’s true chief rival as the race moves forward.

These are just simple facts which will not be changed by any result that Iowa produces.  If Senator Rick Santorum happened to pull off a Huckabee-like, 2008, come-from-behind victory, Romney will still dominate in the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina will still host the contest that play a somewhat more decisive role than either New Hampshire or Iowa.

When all is said¬†and done, Iowa will serve one chief purpose.¬†¬†It will help¬†weed out the field¬†of candidates.¬†¬†It will help to begin sealing the deal for several¬†of the lower tier candidates, especially Rick Perry.¬† But even in¬†that capacity, Iowa is not likely to¬†end anyone’s candidacy.¬† Once again, that mission will be accomplished in South Carolina.

That said, in the tradition of making predictions as one year ends and a new one begins, while I hold true to the belief that Iowa will really only matter if Romney comes in anywhere under third pace, or wins with a large plurality, I also believe that the candidates will finish as follows:

  1. Mitt Romney – 26%
  2. Rick Santorum -21%
  3. Ron Paul – 17%
  4. Newt Gingrich -16%
  5. Rick Perry – 11%
  6. Michele Bachmann – 7%
  7. Jon Huntsman – 2%

I am quite uncertain about those totals, but very confident in the order of each candidate’s placement.

These results will produce several storylines coming out of Iowa.  One will be about whether of not Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination as he is now on a path to becoming the first non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep both Iowa and New Hampshire?  The other story will be is Rick Santorum, the new Mike Huckabee and can he translate his strong Iowa showing into a victory elsewhere? 

The other stories that will provide¬†the filler for 24 hour cable news programs, will be can Newt comeback “in South Carolina”? What happened to Ron Paul’s surge? And is this the end for Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann?

The answer to all these questions will be determined¬†by the state which I argue will be the ultimate winner in the Iowa Caucuses…..South Carolina.

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Santorum Bases His Candidacy on a Fight for America’s Freedom, Against President Obama

Bookmark and Share¬†While New York liberal, Anthony Weiner captured Monday’s headlines with his admission that he is a member of Congress who is a liar that¬†denied his penchant for the proliferation of porn on the internet that featured his own member, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, a candidate known for his conviction to values and moral decency, was citing the real promise that our nation was founded on, as the foundation¬†for which he based his decision to officially run for President.
 
In his speech delivered in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Santorum hammered President Obama on everything from his unwillingness to wisely use our nation’s resources, to amassing a debt that will cost future generations 40 cents on every dollar.¬† “Who are you, Mr. President, to say that you, and your Administration should take 40 cents out of every dollar, and borrow it from future generations to prop you up”¬†said Santorum.¬†
 
But what the former Senator used to really pummel¬†the¬†President with was Obamacare.¬† For him Obamacare is the primary example of what is wrong with the thinking of the current Administration and¬†it was used as the basis for his theme……..keeping Americans free.¬†
 
Santorum made the case that our nation was founded by people who did not want to live  where their rights were granted to them by Kings, but instead to live in a nation where they were free to exercise the unalienable rights granted  by God.  He argued that the purpose of America is to be free yet under the current Administration, that freedom is at stake.  He added;
 
“We are facing a time when we have a group of people led by President Obama who believes that America’s greatness is in government , not its people . And there is one singular act that is the lynchpin¬†and that is Obamacare”
 
According to Santorum, Obamacare is designed to take power away from the people and make them dependent by hooking them up to government with an IV.
 
“They want to hook you. They do not want to free you. They do not want to give the opportunities. They believe in themselves, the smart people, the planners”¬†, said Santorum
 
In a reference to Margaret Thatcher, Santorum made the case that Obamacare, was the greatest example of the type of
legislative threat to our freedom and prosperity that we must make a priority in turning back and repeated the words of Lady Thatcher who after doing an assessment of her time in office, compared to Ronald Reagan’s time in office and stated;
 
“I was never able to accomplish in England, what Reagan accomplished in America, and it was one thing that stood in my way….the British national healthcare system.”
 
Senator Santorum wrapped up his remarks¬†¬†by describing how in 2008 Americans wanted a President they could believe in, but President Obama took that faith that the American public gave him, and “wrecked our economy, centralized government, and robbed people of their freedom” and concluded by saying;
 
” I believe now that Americans are not looking for someone that they can believe in.¬† They’re looking for a President Who believes in them.¬†¬† Fellow Americans, it is our watch, it is our time…it is our time for all of us¬† to step up and do what America requires us to do.¬† I’m ready to lead.¬† I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation.¬† with the courage to fight for freedom, the courage to fight for America.¬† That’s why I am running for the President of the united States.¬† Join the fight!”
 
While this speech was not enough to propel Santorum to the head of the pack, no one speech could have.  But this one did demonstrate that he understands the conservative ideology that, if articulated right, can defeat President Obama.  And while many discount the Senator as a one issue candidate, it is clear to me that if his opponents believe that, they can easily be blindsided by an underdog who has been known to come from behind in the past.    So while expectations for him in the G.O.P. field may not be high, he should not be underestimated.  If he can raise a sufficient enough war chest to stay in the race, he will at the very least raise some eyebrows.  And based upon what is a proven conservative record and his ability to convey the sense that he truly understands what lies at the heart of conservatism, if given a chance by voters, Santorum will be one of those candidates who makes the Republican nomination contest a real horse race.    
 
 
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Santorum Takes A Big Step Towards an Official Run for President

Bookmark and Share Earlier this evening in an interview with Fox News Greta Van Susteren, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum announced that after visiting 25 states and concentrating on Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, the first four states to hold Republican presidential nominations contests, he is encouraged enough to create a presidential exploratory committee. The purpose of this committee will be to find out whether or not the resources to mount a competitive campaign for the Republican presidential nomination are there.

With a great deal of encouragement from several quarters of the Republican base, Senator Santorum has been buoyed by the reception he and his message are receiving and as he explained, with many other questions answered, the only one remaining is whether or not he will be able to raise enough money to carryhis message over the finish line. Santorum told Van Susteren that in last campaign for the United States Senate he raised over $31 million and 40% of that came from out of state donors. So he is optimistic about what his exploratory committee will find.

There is no word yet as to when Santorum expects to know if he will be able to gather the resources to take his effort to the next stage and declare his candidacy for President.

Two days ago, Mitt Romeny announced that he is setting up an exploratory committee to see if and when he too will run for President. Others who have taken that same step include Minnesota’s former Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Speaker of the HouseNewt Gingrichis anticipating making a similiar announcement soon. On Thursday in New Hampshire, at 9:00 am, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson will beannouncing that he is an official candidate for the Republicanpresidential nomination.By the end of the month Missisppi Governor Haley Barbour and Indiana Governor MitchDaniels have promised to announce their own decision onwhether or not they willtake any steps to move closer to a run for the White House. The only otherRepublican contender who has already made his candidacy official is FredKarger a political consultant and gay activists fromCalifornia.

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In South Carolina, Santorum Wins. Barbour Loses

Bookmark and Share Republicans in Greenville, South Carolina held their county convention this weekend and addressing the more than 500 attendees were Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Rick Santorum.

Not long after each of the three potential Republican presidential contenders spoke, 413 of those in attendance at the convention voted in a straw poll that produced a big win for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum won 31 % of the vote and coming in second, far behind him, was Newt Gingrich with 14%.

Santorum impressed the GOP activists in attendance with a bombastic speech that touched upon the most important issues of the day. H, ,along with Gingrich and Barbour, praised House Republicans for their handling of the budget negotiations and credited them with getting Democrats to cave and give in to some of the biggest budget cuts in history. But Santorum also roused the crowd with his anti-Obamacare points. He received some of the loudest applause when he spoke of his own healthcare plan which he calls You Care. As Santorum tells it, it is called You Care because you know how to care for yourself better than the government.

Between his good performance and 13 previous visits to South Carolina, more than any other potential presidential rival, Santorum still did surprising well, especially given his lead which was more than double that of the second place finisher.

While Santorum won big, and Newt Gingrich faired decently in the straw poll, Haley Barbour, the third soon to be presidential candidate to address the convention, lost and he lost big. Barbour has been focusing much of his efforts on the G.O.P. establishment leadership in both South Carolina and Florida. He has made numerous trips to both states and is constantly talking to legislative and Party leaders in both states. Yet in the straw poll he pulled a mere 5% of the vote, tying for 6th place with Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul. The only major name who had a more disappointing total was Sarah Palin who received 4%.

Part of the reason for Barbours loss, despite being there to personally address the straw poll voters, is his lackluster oratory skills. While what Barbour says is popular with the G.O.P. base, how he says is uninspiring and as a result, so are his vote totals.

Common thinking is that Haley Barbour actually has a better chance of becoming the Republican presidential nominee than does Rick Santorum. Barbour has solid roots within the establishment and among Party leadership and numerous Republican Governors. He also has a fundraising network unmatched by anyone, including President Obama. Barbour also has a direct line to some of the top talent in politics. All that is in addition to his own superior political strategic skills. But unless Barbour can begin addressing voters in a way that crerates some visuals and inspiration, all his potential will be wasted. Barbour is in desperate need of skilled wordsmiths, people who can phrase the great thoughts that Barbour has in a way that makes people jump to their feet and in a way that can communicate his message to other regions of the country in a way that makes them forget the Southern drawl that dominates his bland message.

The final results of the Greenville Straw Poll were as follows:

  • Santorum – 31%
  • Gingrich – 14%
  • Bachmann – 7%
  • Trump- 7%
  • Romney- 6%
  • Christie- 6%
  • Barbour – 5%
  • Ron Paul- 5%
  • Huckabee – 5%
  • Palin- 4%
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Bookmark and Share Shortly after President Obama offered up a speech that presented a national energy full of contradictions, former Pennsylvania Senatorum and likely 2012 presidential candidate Rick Sanotorm issued the folowing opinion.

For Immediate Release
March 31, 2011

“With gas prices approaching $4.00 a gallon, President Obama once again chose rhetoric over substance in a attempt to gloss over his Administrations failure to move us toward energy independence. On one hand, he speaks of expanding domestic energy production, but then does nothing to reduce the regulatory barriers that are hindering oil, gas, and coal industries from expanding and creating the fuels of the future, said Senator Santorum. Our nation must institute a comprehensive all-of-the-above energy strategy that focuses on expanding and harvesting our domestic resources as a means of advancing not just energy independence, but energy security. If the past few weeks have taught us anything, it is irresponsible to rely on a region as unstable as the Middle East for energy resources that are so vital to us. Energy development is also critical to creating jobs in rural America where our unemployment is the highest.”

To learn more about former Senator Rick Santorum, please visit www.RickSantorum.com.

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Rick Santorum Sends A Message To New Jersey Republican Straw Poll Voters

Bookmark and Share As White House 2012 and Building the New Majority conductsa presidential straw poll of New Jersey Republican grass root activivsts, candidates, campaign managers and staffers, former Pennsylvania Senator and likely presidential candidate Rick Santorum, has sent them a message which credited New Jerseyans with starting in 2009 what he called “the American Renaissance” Santorum writes:

“What New Jersey gave, the rest of America is taking. Each of us needs to step forward and stand tall for what we know to be true, that America is the most uniquley exceptional nation in the history of the world, not just b ecause of what we have accomplished, but for who we are as a people and all that we aspire to be.

The American renaissance started here [New Jersey] in 2009, and the rest of the country picked up the flag last year. But we must continue to fight by electing a new President in 2012 and electing a new Republican Senate majority”

You can click on the image below to read the complete message.

White House 2012 will is conducting a straw poll at a conference sponsored by Building the New Majority, a statewide organization that identifies, developes and empowers candidates byfocussing in onthe development of candidates for local, county and state offices through direct contributions and grassroots support in order to help rebuild the New Jersey Republican organization from the ground up. The White House 2012/ Building the New Majority Garden State Republican Presidential Straw Poll will be the first of its kind in New Jersey for the 2012 presidential election and should give a sense of where the Party’s base currently stands on the evolving Republican presidentiall nominating contest.

Results of the poll will be released on Saturday, March 26, 2011, the second day of the Building the New Majority conference.

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Click on the image below to read a larger version of Senator Santorum’s complete message

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