Stupor Tuesday came and went. It was a beautiful spring-like day in early March and unseasonably warm like this whole winter have been. I thought, “What better way to enjoy the day than to go to the polls, declare myself a Republican and screw up Mitt Romney’s life more than it already is by voting for Rick “Foamy” Santorum.
If I could have I would have. Actually, I could have, but then I wouldn’t have been able to vote for any of the Democratic candidates running for state and local offices. I decided to keep my monkey wrench in my pocket and leave it to the real Republicans to decide between Dumb and Dumber.
Mittens beat out Foamy to win Stupor Tuesday’s biggest prize, but it wasn’t by much and crossover voters didn’t tip the results Foamy’s way. In Ohio, you have to declare your party affiliation before you cast your ballot, so only the Dems who fibbed and played Republican-For-A-Day were able to make Mitt’s night miserable.
I’m not surprised Mittens won. He outspent Foamy 4-to-1 in Ohio, but only could squeak out a 1 point “victory.” Not much to brag about when you consider your opponent lost his Senate seat in 2006 by 18 points. Of course, in the grand scheme of things they don’t ask how much you won by just that you won, but Mittens still ain’t feeling the conservative base love.
As far as this supposed fired-up Republican base chomping at the bit to turn out President Obama it wasn’t in evidence here. My daughter worked the polls as part of her “Youth at the Booth” volunteer program and was at her station from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm to help voters.
Less than 200 bothered to show up. Where’s all that Republican rage to beat Obama I keep hearing about?
What does Mittens’ incredible, overwhelming, devastating “win” in O-H-I-O mean? Some victories are less than meets the eye and this one qualifies.
Before the Michigan primary last week, Romney said he wasn’t willing to light his hair on fire to win the election. But in looking at Tuesday’s exit polls, he must at least be ready to pull his hair out. Fifty-four percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue in determining their vote, and they voted for Romney by 41 percent to Santorum’s 33 percent. Forty-two percent of voters in Ohio said they wanted a candidate who could beat Barack Obama. That was the top quality they sought in a candidate. Romney won in that group 52 percent to 27 percent. Voters also said they preferred a candidate with business experience over government experience by 64 percent to 27 percent.
All of that would suggest a big Romney win, right? Nope. Voters want something else, too. In Ohio, the other half of the electorate cared about who was the true conservative, and Santorum crushed Romney 51 percent to 13 percent on that score. The 21 percent who cared about moral character likewise went for Santorum by 40 points over Romney, 60 percent to 19 percent. Ohio voters also felt like Santorum shares their concerns more than Romney, a big problem for Romney in a key bellwether state. The state has picked the president since 1964. The Republican candidate will have to beat Obama on that important economic question. That Romney can’t convince members of his own party—particularly blue-collar voters he’ll need in the general election—is not a good sign.
Santorum is going to start feeling the pressure from Republicans who say he should hang it up to keep from damaging Romney too much. The math is inevitable, so all he’ll do is weaken Romney in his ultimate contest against Obama. Romney is already suffering from the bruising primary battle. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Romney’s unfavorable rating has grown to 39 percent. His favorable rating is only 28 percent. The longer the battle drags on, the less time Romney will have to raise money and repair the damage done by the primaries.
The Romney campaign never wanted to be seen arguing that Romney was inevitable. Now they’re doing just that. It’s a version of the argument that the Obama campaign made in 2008 when it tried to get Hillary Clinton to turn around her campaign bus. The key difference is that Barack Obama was filling stadiums of rabid supporters at the time. Mitt Romney is not burdened with this problem.
Meanwhile…what about the ever so loveable Dr. No (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As Ron Paul). How did he fare on Stupor Tuesday?
Same as Paul always does. He lost. Repeatedly and everywhere.
Paul was hoping Alaska might give him his first win in the primaries. Alaskans gave him 24 percent of their votes. Good enough for third place behind Mittens and Foamy.
At least Paul’s Alaska showing and the 40 percent he raked off in Virgina where he and Mittens were the only two boobs on the ballot, he can turn to the Newster at the next debate and sneer, “in yo’ face, sucka!” As if they both aren’t as ugly as their personalities. Bragging rights ain’t much, but that’s about all Paul’s got left. He did have some nice lawn signs though. I look for those sort of things and I didn’t spot a single one for Mittens, Foamy or the Newster. Not a one.
Never confuse enthusiasm and volume with actual numbers and genuine commitment. The Paulinistas make a big noise, but they aren’t a big deal.
What exactly was settled by Stupor Tuesday? A few things we already knew. Mittens has the money, the organization, no firm beliefs and he can’t close the sale with the conservative base with the “only one who can beat Barack Obama” pitch.. Foamy has firm beliefs but they’re all crazy ones. Gingrich’s Angry Fat White Man has played out but he still says he’s the one who can go toe-to-toe and beat Obama in a debate, but the presidency isn’t the price award to Best Debater.
Poor old Ron is a bad joke worn thin to everyone except the fanatical few (and getting fewer every day). Paul was only running for president because he wasn’t running for another term in the House, and really, it’s not as if he has anything better to do with his time.