Is Newt The Comeback Kid?

Bookmark and Share    Newt was focused and seemed to be resonating with the SC Republicans at the last debate. He made Santorum and Perry seem like lesser alternatives for the conservative vote. He’ll have to convince people finally in the debate on Thursday that he is the single conservative candidate to rally around if he hopes to win in South Carolina and hope to stop the Romney coronation. If anyone can do it, it is Newt Gingrich. At the same time, Newt is also the man who will have the hardest time doing it.

His attacks on Romney’s time at Bain were stupid and he now knows it. Many who found his attacks reckless turned to Santorum. They could be wooed back since Santorum was not their first choice and he is a fairly weak candidate. To get them back, Newt has been explaining his attacks and distancing himself from the SuperPAC that launched the worst of them. He doesn’t have much time to heal the wounds, but is making excellent progress. Whether he can pull it off this week without making another mistake remains to be seen. If he can pull it off anywhere, it would be easiest in South Carolina where he has many past supporters.

A victory for Newt in South Carolina can come in two ways: he can beat Romney or he can be at least 10 points ahead of Santorum. With either outcome, he can campaign on the ‘strongest conservative’ strategy fairly successfully and probably win back all those who lost confidence in him outside South Carolina. However if he stays tangled up with Santorum, the two of them will have to get in a room and decide who is going to drop out in order to unite the conservative vote before it is too late to make a difference.

But, let’s say that Gingrich pulls off the win in South Carolina by at least distancing himself from Santorum and Perry. Perry will, if he has any sense for his political future, drop out of the race so as not to split the conservative vote. Santorum should do the same, but would probably try to make one last stand in Florida hoping that Newt would only be strong in SC. All that aside, the question remains: would Newt uniting the conservatives be a good thing?

We have learned that the new Newt is just the old Newt with a couple dozen extra pounds. He is still mercurial and gets sucked into conflicts without seeing the bigger picture. The Bain mistake will likely not be his last and conservatives could find themselves without a candidate if he implodes later in the race. If he manages to hold it together and win the nomination, he is still a hard candidate to sell to the all-important independent voters. No one can question his debate skills, but if he can spin out of control so easily under the pressure of Romney’s attacks it certainly raises doubts that he will be able to battle the vicious lie machine called the Obama campaign.

Can Newt be the Comeback Kid? Would the party benefit if he were? I think he will succeed in being the final conservative standing and challenge Romney. I’d give him a 30% chance of winning the nomination if he pulls that off. I’d then give him a 25% of winning the Presidency if he were the nominee. I, and pretty much every Republican, would end up voting for him because of our intense desire to see Obama out of office. Yet, independents are fickle and can be bought by slick ads and accusations – especially with a complicit media helping at every turn. Newt would only need to make one mistake and he would be beaten over the head with it constantly. While I am entirely convinced he would mop the floor with Obama in a debate, I doubt Obama will give him the opportunity. Sure, Newt says he’s just hound Obama like Lincoln after Douglas. That would work if the media weren’t in the bag for Obama and would report Newt fairly. Since that is not the case, Newt would make a lot of good points no one he needs to reach would hear.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Newt is great. I’d love to see him force Santorum and Perry out of the race and get this nomination process focused between the three wings of the party with one candidate each. I think that the party needs that debate and to pick a direction on issues rather than personal bickering. I just don’t think Newt can pull off the final victory due to the mistakes he’s already made and the likelihood that he’ll make more when the pressure really comes on. In his defense, I think Santorum and Perry stand even less of a chance and if anyone can pull it off for the conservatives – it is Newt.

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The Fox News GOP South Carolina post-debate review

The Fox News South Carolina debate and GOP race was blown apart by two brilliant performances last night from Texas Governor Rick Perry, & former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Both men turned in factual, solid, cool and collected performances. What was also noticeable about the night wasn’t so much that both men attacked establishment favourite Mitt Romney, it was the manner in which the former Massachusetts Governor fell apart all on his own. Romney must have been glad that Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s consistent approach on foreign policy proved its usual unpopular self with the attending audience.

The sharpest contrast that was highlighted between Gingrich, President Obama and Mitt Romney was the desperately worrying fashion in which the conservative media and establishment favourite Romney fell apart. Make no mistake ladies and gentlemen; this was a train wreck of a performance by Governor Romney, which in a national debate with President Obama would certainly have secured another four years for the current incumbent.

The former governor of Massachusetts faced tough questions over negative campaigning and his failure to release his tax returns and fell apart on a seemingly straight forward question on hunting. The biggest damage to Romney was how many lines of questioning Perry, Gingrich and Rick Santorum opened on Romney during the course of last night’s debate, and how ineffective he was in closing them off or responding to them.

Only if Rick Perry had of turning in debate performances like last night four months ago, this race could look very different now. Perry has some good sound bites like, “South Carolina is at war with this federal government!” Perry’s masterstroke was when he challenged Romney to release his tax returns; Romney was very visibly hesitant and awkward in his response. Perry also argued forcefully against cuts to military spending and condemned the administration’s condemnation of the Marines caught urinating on Taliban corpses

Santorum challenged Romney over his Super Pac’s attack ad on Santorum’s voting record over felon rights, Santorum, went for the jugular demanding that Romney say where he stood on the issue. When Romney said he did not believe “people who committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote,” Santorum pointed out that Massachusetts under Romney had even more lenient rules for felon enfranchisement than the ones Santorum supported. “If in fact you felt so passionately about this, why didn’t you try to change that when you were governor?” he asked. Romney’s response was weak and those watching knew it. Santorum however, had his mantle as the challenger to Romney stolen very firmly away from him last night by Speaker Gingrich, and it showed in the post-debate interview with Sean Hannity when he seemed to lose his composure.

Gingrich was pressed into his best debate performance of the season by the Juan Williams over his comments calling President Obama “A Food Stamp President.” in a brilliant response littered with the very best elements of the concept of the American Dream. The excellent Juan Williams, who asked many thought provoking questions all night asked: “Speaker Gingrich, you recently said black Americans should demand jobs, not food stamps. You also said poor kids lack a strong work ethic and proposed having them work as janitors in their schools. Can’t you see that this is viewed, at a minimum, as insulting to all Americans, but particularly to black Americans?”

“No. I don’t see that,” Gingrich replied. Gingrich argued that many children could learn good vales and the value and respect of having a paying job as opposed to the employment of one expensive janitor in New York, “they’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor.”

“New York City pays their janitors an absurd amount of money because of the union,” Gingrich said. “You could take one janitor and hire 30-some kids to work in the school for the price of one janitor, and those 30 kids would be a lot less likely to drop out. They would actually have money in their pocket. They’d learn to show up for work. They could do light janitorial duty. They could work in the cafeteria. They could work in the front office. They could work in the library.”

“They’d be getting money, which is a good thing if you’re poor,” he added. “Only the elites despise earning money.”

Williams stressed that some had perceived Gingrich’s comments about child labour, as well as remarks he made this month singling out blacks when speaking about food stamps, as offensive to poor people and racial minorities.

“The suggestion that he made was about a lack of work ethic,” Williams said. “And I’ve got to tell you, my e-mail account; my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities.”

“You saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina, where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as ‘the food stamp president,'” Williams continued. “It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people.” Williams’ points resulted in loud boos from the audience.

“Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history,” Gingrich said to applause. “Now, I know among the politically correct, you’re not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable.”

“I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness,” he said. “And if that makes liberals unhappy, I’m going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn some day to own the job.” Gingrich’s response was met with a standing ovation from many in the audience.

I’ve maintained throughout the last few months that Romney, is not strong enough under pressure or on foreign affairs. These weaknesses again came rushing to the front and if Gingrich wanted to press home his advantage last night, he easily could’ve done it.

Above all, I was pleased that despite a huge concerted effort by the conservative media and establishment, to anoint Romney this weekend in South Carolina, the ordinary viewer and supporter observed saw for themselves how weak a front runner Governor Romney actually is. People should not dismiss President Obama, and the scale of the challenge facing any GOP nominee in an election.

You will hear a lot of attempts in the coming days from media commentators saying,” Gingrich can’t win in the General election”. Ignore their efforts; this 2012 election has to be about issues, ideas and solutions. If the American people go for personality, the election is already a foregone conclusion. Only the voters and your average American person can make it about the issues that matter to them, jobs, the economy, health, housing and security.

Hollow Victories?

One aspect of the Republican race for the nomination that may yet become a serious issue is the penalty assessed on NH, SC, FL, AZ and MI because they held their primaries before February. It has been the case that no Republican has won the nomination without winning SC and either IA or NH. Yet, this year those victories are more a public relations victory than ones that really build a delegate base. Even if Mitt Romney swept the January primaries, he won’t have amassed the type of delegate count candidates would have historically had by Michigan. When he is only polling on average at 25% across the country and a couple other candidates still with money and a national campaign staff, Romney could be unexpectedly wiped out on Super Tuesday.

While the traditional conservatives are split right now between three candidates, there is time to unite even after Michigan and still effectively challenge Romney. That was not the case four years ago when the split among the conservatives allowed McCain to build not just a list of victories, but a strong foundation of delegates. With half of the delegates stripped from the early primary States and the proportioning of delegates splitting them even further, Mitt Romney will not have the lead that McCain had by Michigan even if he runs the table. That has to be cause for concern.

Complicating the issue is the candidacy of Ron Paul. He’s not going anywhere. He can raise the money and has the grassroots network to at least maintain his current percentage of the votes. As the conservatives coalesce around a single candidate, this will become a three man race. Even if the final conservative candidate cannot fully consolidate all of the support currently spread across three, he will only really need around 40% of the electorate to win the election if Paul stays around 20%. Romney voters are not energized for him, generally speaking. Already he is tied with Ron Paul when they are polled against Obama – meaning Romney’s ‘best candidate to defeat Obama’ pitch is already losing its power. When the conservatives finally settle on a single candidate (probably after Florida), that person will likely also pull even with Romney and Paul on head to head match-ups with Obama. With the moderates split, a conservative could cruise to victory.

Super Tuesday could also redefine the election from the current Romney vs. non-Romney into Paul vs. non-Paul. This is possible because the conservative candidate will battle Romney mainly as the main rival, leaving Paul to his 20%. Once the delegates get tangled up between Romney and the eventual conservative candidate, Paul’s slowly accumulating delegate count will become an issue. More moderate Republicans could begin to shift from Romney to Paul as Romney’s chances of victory wane. Gingrich, Santorum and Perry are all polarizing figures. Unifying each others’ supporters will be hard enough, but winning over the more moderate voters could be very difficult, especially if the kinds of attacks on Romney that have been made by them recently continue over the next six weeks. Disgruntled Romney supporters (the elderly in particular) may shift over to Paul giving him both the elderly and the youth. If the vitriol between the eventual conservative and Romney were bad enough, Romney could even endorse Paul just to stick it to the person who ‘robbed him’ of his nomination.

Of course, the conservatives uniting may not happen. An angry Perry or Santorum or Gingrich could pull out and endorse Romney rather than join with a conservative they are angry with. That would give Romney more conservative credentials and be just enough to let him steamroll over the final conservative candidate. With Paul pulling out at least 20%, Romney doesn’t need to be stellar so long as the conservatives don’t fully unite.

Certainly this is all speculation. However, the stripping of half the delegates from the early primary States has bought time for the conservatives to unify that they lacked in 2008. Combine that with a stronger Ron Paul who has gone all in this year (abandoning his seat in the House) and the early primaries just don’t hold the power they normally do. A third party run in the general election is very unlikely. But the dynamics of such a race playing out for the Republican nomination is not only possible but probable. The conservatives will unite. Paul will continue on. Romney will not be safely ahead in the delegate count after FL. How that plays out just can’t be predicted right now. Just don’t think that it is over even if Mitt sweeps right through FL. The victories are hollow when it comes to actual delegates gained. He’ll still be vulnerable. There are States that only Romney and Paul are on the ballot and conservatives could support Paul in those just to weaken Romney, complicating the delegate picture. This isn’t over and won’t be over for quite some time.

ABC News/Yahoo Debate GOP New Hampshire post-debate analysis

I stayed up until 02:00hrs (UK Time) tonight to watch with anticipation the expected slug feast that was meant to be the GOP ABC News /Yahoo debate. Sadly, the standard of debate questions were the poorest of any to date, and I actually felt more sorry for the moderators asking the questions, then for the candidates, who had to stand through this whole debacle which was capped off with the most amateurish of finishes.

Ron Paul was put on the spot early by moderator George Stephanopoulos, over his accusation of corruption against Senator Rick Santorum in his campaign ads.

“It was a quote,” explained Paul. “Somebody did make a survey and he came up as one of the top corrupt individuals because he took so much from lobbyists.”

There was a good composed opening by Romney and Santorum on the issue of the latest jobs report although Santorum was reluctant to repeat his criticism of Romney when urged by the moderator.

At that moment, there was a loud noise and the microphone had some feedback, Santorum seized the moment saying, “They caught you not telling the truth, Ron.”

Mr. Paul quickly went after Mr. Santorum as well, faulting him for his “big government” votes while in Congress, controversy regarding his residency, and money he has taken since leaving office.

“I wish I had 20 minutes to answer this,” Mr. Santorum said. “It’s a ridiculous charge, and you should know better.” He defended his earmarks on behalf of Pennsylvania and the work he has done in the private sector.

“You’re a big spender,” Mr. Paul insisted. “You’re a big-government conservative, and somebody has to say it.”

Governor Perry did well citing his record and Washington outsider status in his quest for the presidential role and accused Ron Paul of taking earmarks for his district and then voting against the Bill saying it hinted of hypocrisy. Ouch! Perry also did well on the military question highlighting the $1 Billion in cuts under the Obama administration in three years, not just the recent cuts.

The next heated exchange came between Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich in a fiery heated exchange following a remark earlier in the week by Paul that Gingrich was a “Chicken Hawk” for supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan even though he himself has never served in the military.

Asked whether he stands by the remark, Paul responds:

“Yeah. I think people who don’t serve when they could and they get three or four or even five deferments, they have no right to send our kids off to war. … I’m trying to stop the wars. At least I went when they called me up.”

Newt clearly annoyed but disciplined not to appear snarly coolly responds, “Dr. Paul makes a lot of comments. It’s part of his style,” he says. He adds: “Dr. Paul has a long history of saying things that are inaccurate and false. The fact is, I never asked for a deferment.”

Paul responds, ““I have a pet peeve that annoys me to a great deal, because when I see these young men coming back, my heart weeps for them.”

Gingrich then notes his father’s years in the military and chides Paul: “I think I have a pretty good idea of what it’s like as a family to worry about your father getting killed, and I personally resent the kinds of comments and aspersions he routinely makes without accurate information, and then just slurs people.”

The debate then turned to a social values question on Contraception which Romney, Huntsman and Santorum all did their level best at ducking the question and trying not to sound too controversial.

Step up Newt Gingrich! “I just want to raise a point about the news media bias,” he says. He goes on to say that there is more “anti-Christian bias” than bias against other religious groups under this current administration and attacks the administration for their treatment of the Christian faith and receives rapturous applause from the audience.

The debate continued with some further questions and probing on the Patriot Act and privacy, with Ron Paul delivering a good response on the right to privacy under the constitution.

The next controversial issues was the right to Gay Marriage which Romney ducked again, and clearly did his level best to view it as a states rights issue with Santorum effectively agreeing with his assessment and Jon Huntsman distinguishing between traditional religious rights and legal rights. Newt stepped up again with a good answer on gay rights and designation and contrasted his position well to the right of marriage.

On the issue of Iraq, a huge talking point will be no doubt Rick Perry’s tearing up of the textbook by saying he’d send U.S. troops back into Iraq. Nobody expected that response and no doubt his team will try and walk back his response.

There was some discussion over tax and economic plans but to be fair to the candidates, the questions were of such a poor standard that we learnt nothing new and the questions didn’t enable us to learn anything factually new.

All the candidates struggled on the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq and foreign policy in general with the exception of Newt Gingrich who gave a master class in the level of thinking and vision a president needs. “If you want to stop Wahabbism, get an American energy policy so no American president ever again bows to a Saudi king and rattled of a number of ideas and solutions with so much ease frankly, it made the other candidates look poor. Romney was again exposed showing he is great at saying what President Obama isn’t doing but can’t tell us what he’d do as President.

Santorum did well when talking about being a president who would bring every American together not be a divider like President Obama saying, “If you want someone that’s a clear contrast, that has a strong record, has a vision for this country that’s going to get this country going – an appeal to blue-collar workers in Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and Michigan and Indiana, and deliver that message that we care about you too, not just about Wall Street and bailing them out, then I’m the guy that you want to put in the nomination.”

Gingrich came out with a very humourous but well driven home point about President Obama’s attempt to develop a radical European socialist system in the United States which went down very well with the audience.

All the candidates did relatively well with the possible exception of Jon Huntsman who despite an encouraging start got completely slammed on the issue of trade with China by Mitt Romney and desperately resorted to speaking Mandarin to try and save the point, he didn’t.

Overall, the debate was the most disappointing so far, largely because of the lame questions being asked & it made of mockery of it, supposing to be a presidential standard debate being put on by the network. It left the viewers and candidates short changed. I couldn’t believe that throughout the entire debate there was no question on Obamacare, debt or entitlement reform.

Newt & Romney are in a league of their own compared to the rest of the field; I just wish we could narrow down the field and have some real substantive debates.

All candidates generally had a good night, Newt was the quality class responder however, Romney was the winner purely due to the fact that, nobody laid a glove on him and he hammered Huntsman on China.

P.S. I’d like to thanks Tina Revers for her input & contribution in producing this analysis.

A Republican Occupy Protester and Republican Gay Activist Lead Rick Perry in New Hampshire

Bookmark and Share  If a recent Suffolk University poll is an accurate indication of voter sentiments in New Hampshire, Rick Perry is going to have a tough time not only explaining why he should be President, but simply explaining why he should still be running for President.

According to the Suffolk University poll, Rick Perry shares last place in New Hampshire with activist gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger and is being beaten by former Democrat and Governor of Louisiana Buddy Roemer, a pro-Occupy Wall Street candidate who whines about how nobody cares about his candidacy.

The poll question and results were as follows;

Q7. If the Republican Primary for President of the United States were held today and the candidates were {alphabetical} Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Fred Karger, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney, or Rick Santorum for whom will you vote or toward whom would you LEAN at this time?


Now I am not willing to conclusively state that Perry is done.  Some very strange things happen in politics…….very strange.  And we find ourselves surprised all the time.  Between that and the fact that a week in politics is a lifetime, you never know what miracle may occur to propel Rick Perry in South Carolina and beyond.

But at his point in time, if Rick Perry can not beat a relatively unknown, gay Republican who runs to the left of the Republican base, Perry will likely be the butt of more jokes in the conservative South Carolina Republican presidential primary, than a recipient of votes.

Just something for Perry think about before Saturday nights, debate.

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Perry’s Very Telling Decision to Stay in the Race

Bookmark and Share    When it became clear that Rick Perry was going to come in fifth place in the Iowa Caucus, it seemed as though his hopes to recapture the lead that he once held in the G.O.P. nomination contest were dashed.  The only two good bits of news to come out of Iowa for Perry was the fact that he won two of the 99 counties, the only candidate to win any county aside from Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, and that he did not have a totally embarrassing last place showing.  That distinction went to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose sixth place finish put her ahead of only Jon Huntsman, the one major candidate who did not do any campaigning in the Hawkeye State and who summed up his appreciation for Iowa by saying “who cares”.

Then the writing seemed to be on the wall when Governor Perry came out to address his supporters and told them that he was going back to Texas to reassess his campaign.

But a strange thing happened to Governor Perry on his way home.  Between the time he decided to reevaluate his campaign and the time he woke up the following morning, an infusion of optimism compelled him to type a Twitter feed that read;

“And the next leg of the marathon is the Palmetto State,” Perry tweeted, “Here we come South Carolina!!!

The electronic announcement came as a pleasant surprise to his campaign staff and stunned the political world.  Few thought it possible for Perry to continue with his campaign after making an inference to how bad things were by stating the need to “reassess” his chances of winning the nomination.  Most experts agree that given the poor showing and all the time and money that he invested in Iowa,  no sincere evaluation of his campaign have  possibly found any promising reason for Perry to stay in the race.

From my vantage point, I can only assume that  Rick Perry believes that if doesn’t give up too early, the short history of this election which has created a new frontrunner every month, will repeat itself enough times to give him another opportunity to be in that position.  Perry probably assumes that Rick Santorum will not be able to sustain the attacks he is undoubtedly about to face and will not have the money to respond to those attacks effectively.  As a result, he is holding out hope for another opportunity to became the clear viable alternative to Romney.

But there may very well be another reason why Perry has found the strength to continue his fight.

Not long before the Governor tweeted his battle cry and aimed his campaign guns at South Carolina, it was revealed that a group of national evangelical leaders will gather in Texas for the second time in five months and determine who other Mitt Romney, they can all get behind.

Having a very good relationship with these religious and their associates, Perry may know something about what they are inclined to decide and it just might be responsible for his going from the need to take a close look at if and how his campaign could move beyond Iowa, to determining that he still has a chance to make a last stand in  South Carolina.

No matter what was exactly responsible for Perry’s change of heart, it is mainly a leap of faith.  Especially since Rick Santorum’s surprise strength in Iowa makes him the more likely candidate for movement conservatives to get behind.

Iowa Faith and Family Leader Bob Vander Plaats, a leading voice among evangelicals, had already issued a personal endorsement  of Rick Santorum before the Iowa Caucus but now, in its wake, he called on Newt Gingrich to reassess his candidacy, in hopes of mobilizing conservatives to rally behind Santorum.  Gingrich came in ahead of Perry but Vander Plaats’ plea to Gingrich came before Perry surprised everyone by his decision to stay in the race.  Had it been known that he intended to remain in the race, Vander Plaats would have certainly requested the same of Perry that he requested of Newt Gingrich.

So it would be hard to imaging that evangelicals leaders would choose to get behind Perry instead of Santorum, but either way, it would seem that Rick Perry is counting on some kind of divine intervention to turn things around for him.  And as for those evangelical leaders, I have a word of advice.  It took God seven days to create the earth but with less time than that remaining before New Hampshire, if their main goal is stop to Mitt Romney, they better get moving fast.

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Iowa Recap

Romney won, Bachmann quit, Santorum is rising, Paul is maintaining his status quo, Newt is struggling, Perry has faith, and Huntsman….who?  Iowa recapped:

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney won in Iowa. Honestly?  No big deal. Romney will gain momentum from winning, but when people look at the numbers they will realize that if Michele Bachmann wasn’t in the race, Santorum would have won comfortably.  If Santorum wasn’t in the race, Newt and Perry probably would have both outpolled Romney.  In Iowa, he got his fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives split the rest.  But it’s not all bad for Romney.  In fact, while Romney may have come to a predictable finish, he won by choosing his opponent.  Gingrich was a shoe in to win Iowa barely more than a week ago.  Instead, Santorum now has the social conservative momentum and Romney should easily win New Hampshire and could win South Carolina.  So Romney’s win is:

Good for: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum      Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman

Rick Santorum

A shocking surprise to some, a mild surprise for others, Santorum has Huckabee’d Iowa.  With a great ground game, time, hard work, and the luck of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by Romney, Inc, Michele Bachmann, and the Republican establishment, Santorum is finally getting his shot at vetting.  Already, he is being called a war monger and “big government conservative”.  But Santorum’s rise may be too late in the game for a vetting process to destroy him.  Many social conservatives have been waiting for a reason to believe that Santorum could win.  From the day he started running the narrative has been that Santorum is simply unelectable on a national scale.  So, Santorum’s second place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney   Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann

Ron Paul

Paul’s third place finish is certainly not what the Paul camp was hoping for.  Ron Paul came very close to breaking free from his libertarian ceiling, but in the end social conservatives showed they would rather take a gamble on the unvetted Rick Santorum instead of giving Ron Paul the ‘turn’ he was starting to experience.  Paul has been passed over as the anti-Romney.  He may be able to turn things around in New Hampshire, but a third or worse finish in New Hampshire should be a clear signal to Paul that the revolution is over.  Paul’s third place finish is:

Good for: Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney  Bad for: Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich

Even if Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann dropped out of the race and split their votes on a pro rata share, Newt would still not have passed Mitt Romney.  The fact is, Romney ran an incredible, strategic dismantling of Newt without even breaking a sweat.  In the meantime, Newt refused to go dishonestly negative, but managed plenty of headlines saying “Newt Goes on the Attack”.  Newt is realizing in time for New Hampshire, he won’t win with a positive campaign.  Can he win with a negative one?  New Hampshire will probably go Romney’s way.  But Newt needs South Carolina.  Without South Carolina, he won’t have the momentum to take Florida and Florida is the key.  So Newt’s dismal fourth place finish is:

Good for: Mitt Romney   Bad for: Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann

Rick Perry

Perry’s fifth place win got him to re-think his campaign.  But with Michele Bachmann choosing to drop out, perhaps Perry thinks he still has hope.  He should have decided to stay in Texas.  Perry’s placing is:

Bad for: Rick Perry

Michele Bachmann

Bachmann barely registered.  Iowa was her last hope to connect with social and evangelical conservatives and she failed.  Fortunately, this provided the wake up call she needed to see the end of the race.  Bachmann has decided to drop out of the race and return to Minnesota.  Unfortunately for Bachmann, she has not built the cult following that Sarah Palin did.  Hopefully she will continue to be a strong voice for the TEA party.

Good for: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry   Bad for: Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney

As for the other contender, Jon Huntsman’s disrespectful snub of Iowa, especially in light of Romney’s stronger finish in the state and momentum, seals Huntsman’s irrelevancy.

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