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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

They Hate Mitt

Rick Santorum's sweep of Tuesday's vote Republican voting brings into sharp relief the key trend so far this season -- GOP conservatives would rather go down with the ship than embrace Mitt Romney.

And that's just among the folks even wiling to get out of the house and vote. Prior to last night's Santorum's victory in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, turnout had been lagging in important GOP states like South Carolina, Florida and Nevada.

To think that Santorum, who lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in a landslide to conservative Democrat Robert Casey Jr., would be ahead on total states won at this point is nothing short of stunning.

Unless you think about how far to the right the GOP vote has shifted among the true believers who have won the battle for the soul and the votes of the party, leaving those who disagree with the lurch to either wring their hands or sit on them on Election Day.

It had been fashionable in political circles to speak about the enthusiasm gap Barack Obama is facing among those disillusioned over the gap between his soaring 2008 rhetoric and the realities of life in a hostile political world where he oppositions places party ahead of country.

Yet it appears we are seeing an enthusiasm gulch among Republicans, aimed squarely at a likely nominee with chameleon ways who nonetheless represents the only legitimate mainstream challenge to Obama.

Last night's results are still unlikely to change Romney's inevitable march to the nomination and could conceivably even strengthen him for a general election by allowing him to claim he really is a moderate.

But the dents and dings he has accumulated -- and will continue to do because Newt Gingrich has lost any incentive to stop his scorched earth campaign -- have only helped to sharpen the focus of a newly capitalized Obama campaign.

As the GOP continues to emulate its 1964 ritual suicide, we may really be looking at a repeat of 2004, when an incumbent who generated strong animosity among a wide swath of voters still managed to beat out a Democrat who failed to stir the faithful's heart strings.

And Romney should take note that the 2004 loser, who also hailed from Massachusetts, did not generate anywhere near the animus among true believers than he does.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might call the turnout much worse than lagging, particularly in the face of the argument that Republicans are supposed to be viscerally motivated to get rid of Barack Obama. It seems that the actual voter turnout among registered Republican voters in the recent Nevada caucus, the site of Romney's "smash victory", was merely 6%, meaning that Romney's 50% of the vote was actually only 3% of the Registered Republican voters. What does that say besides "I was the best of a sorry slate of candidates". I'm not sure I would want my name attached to results like that, although it did earn him the delegates. What does it say about the candidate who has spent 6+ years and millions of dollars campaigning that this is the best he could do? What does it say about the alleged energized Republican base that this is the turnout that they produce. If this keeps up, their best hope is going to be a brokered convention.

February 08, 2012 7:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The racist south shall rise again.

Not sure why the media just won't call it as it is. Evangelicals will not vote for a Mormon. Catholics are bad enough, but Mormons are not even christian in their eyes.

Santorum also is of a sect of Catholicism that Evangelicals think Catholics should adherer to.

February 08, 2012 8:51 AM  

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