BY THE MIDNIGHT MAN
After a late night tracking the polls, the Midnight Man returns to break down what Super Tuesday meant for the four remaining GOP candidates.
1. Strong and steady will win the race. Once again, Mitt Romney performed strongly, winning in Ohio, Vermont, Virginia, Idaho, Alaska and his true home state of Massachusetts. While these results are anything but shocking, the theme of any primary race is that delegates matter, and Romney continues to gain delegates at a faster pace than any other candidate. He unofficially now has 404 pledged delegates, a substantial 239 delegate lead over his closest competitor, Rick Santorum. Perhaps even more important than his wins, however, are his second place finishes in Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma. His rival candidates, along with the liberal media, have continually labeled Romney as being incapable of winning in the South. They have proclaimed that he is too far to the center to appeal to the strong, conservative base in what have been traditionally red states. Well, the strong results in these states demonstrate that Romney has a foundation in the deep South that he will certainly build upon if nominated. Romney’s campaign has to view last night as a success and will look to perform well and strengthen his position as the Republican frontrunner heading into next week’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
2. A big night for Slick Rick. Is it just me or did former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum remind you during his speech last night of a slick, used-car salesman, with his comb-over and generic metaphors? Yet, despite his questionable appeal and boring speech, Santorum had a successful evening in his own right, claiming much-needed victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. As Santorum stressed during his speech, his campaign’s financial resources are tight, and these victories may provide the necessary proof his supporters needed to provide his campaign with additional funds. The wins also demonstrate that Santorum truly is the Republican conservative’s alternative to the more moderate Romney. Newt Gingrich may claim to be the alternative, but in reality, the large losses to Santorum in Tennessee and Oklahoma prove that the conservative masses are more attracted to Santorum’s message. If Newt were to exit the race in the upcoming weeks, the Santorum campaign might yet put a serious scare in the Romney camp.
But despite all of last night’s success, Santorum’s night is marred by one unforgiveable mistake and one huge failure. In Virginia, Santorum (as well as Gingrich) failed to meet the deadline that allows a candidate to be placed on the ballot. This is a terrible oversight in a race where gaining delegates is the most important goal. By allowing Romney to go head-to-head with Ron Paul, Santorum’s campaign fell short of what is expected of a presidential campaign. If he is going to win the nomination and eventually defeat President Barack Obama, these mistakes cannot and should not be tolerated. Further, Santorum’s close loss in Ohio should not be spun as a moral victory, but a huge failure. Until a week ago, Santorum had a double-digit lead in the polls over Romney. Ohio, along with Florida, is quite possibly the most important state in a national election and Santorum’s inability to carry it last night does not bode well for his ability to beat not only Romney, but also President Obama.
3. The self-proclaimed “tortoise” needs to gain speed. During his speech last night, former Speaker Gingrich called himself the tortoise in a race filled with bunnies, and proclaimed that come August’s finish line in Tampa, Fla., the tortoise will win the Republican Primary, too. Well, with all due respect Mr. Speaker, keep dreaming. Yes, you won in your home state of Georiga, but what else did you and your campaign accomplish last night? A review of the results shows that outside of your victory, you finished in third or fourth in the other nine state primaries and caucuses. While you hope for strong results in the upcoming primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, the results in Tennessee and Oklahoma demonstrate that your likely finish is in third place, behind the well-funded, well-organized Romney and the outspoken social conservative Santorum. Two-dollar and 50 cent gas sounds nice and would certainly help many Americans struggling to live daily, but your bold vision and large ideas are not resonating as loudly with the Republican base as you might believe. Congratulations on your victory in Georgia, but expect disappointment in the near future.
4. Goodnight Grandpa Paul. Texas Congressman Ron Paul is now zero for 23 in the Republican primaries and caucuses. There is not much more to say. Thank you Rep. Paul for a spirited campaign, but your time as a presidential candidate is effectively over. While your base is strong and free-market message clear, the Republican Party clearly does not believe you should be the Republican nominee in 2012. The Midnight Man kindly asks that you step down and endorse whoever you believe is the strongest candidate going forward. Your message has been heard, but it is time to leave the race and let Romney, Santorum and Gingrich fight it out for the Republican nomination.
The Midnight Man is a contributing writer to Yi!, focusing on politics as well as golf, hockey and Bucknell basketball.