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The Lessons of Super Tuesday

The Lessons of Super Tuesday

This is an article I wrote for my blog on Stir as part of the Moms Matter initiative I am taking part in…

What are the lessons of Super Tuesday? I’m a newcomer to all this myself but it seems to me, it’s a little bit like a pit stop at a race track, where a candidate can see what’s dragging him or her down, tweak and re-launch. And if he does it right, that re-entry might give the candidates exactly the momentum he or she needs to clinch it. 

Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney, who won the largest number of delegates by a pretty good margin, was probably wishing that delegates were still awarded on a winner take all basis. Because they’re not, Rick Santorum is actually going to get a big chunk of the delegates even in states he didn’t win. What he didn’t get was a big chunk of Catholic votes. Catholic voters, one of the biggest groups of swing voters, have consistently voted for Romney in state after state. According to CNN’s exit polls, Romney took 43% of Ohio Catholics on Super Tuesday, compared to 31% for Rick Santorum. ( Why is this? Because Catholics, not unlike Republicans, have more depth and individualism than many people assume. And Santorum’s reaching out to social conservatives may be turning some Catholics off who care more about job creation than rewriting creation.  

 Super Tuesday is like a snap shot that shows a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses with different kinds of voters in different parts of the country. While Romney’s loss in some southern states is a concern, the good news is by winning Ohio, he proved he could win another big industrial state. Michigan was the first. 

 For sure, it’s time for Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul to bow out gracefully. Yes, Newt, Georgia thinks you’re a peach. Now, would you please step aside and help stop the creeping rot that is hurting the whole crop!  As for Rick Santorum, somebody needs to get a bucket of water and douse the religious fire. An admirable crusader, he is unfortunately leading the troops straight towards a cliff. There’s no doubt that Romney stands head and shoulders above Santorum when it comes to all matters related to the economy. And when voters say their biggest concern is job creation or taming the deficit, Santorum’s religious sanitizing of the Republican party seems a little, well, off-topic.

 I just read a great article by Major Garrett in the National Journal  about the division in the Republican party and the split between what the writer calls, “The Rationals” and “The Notionals.” ( It has nothing to do with rational versus irrational thinking. Instead the Notionals are the Republicans who have a notion that there is someone out there who is better than Romney. And they have been flipping back and forth for a year and a half about who that may be.

To build on this thought, I would say I guess it is Rick Santorum’s good fortune that the Notionals have discovered him at this stage of the game. But does someone, who soundly lost a re-election bid as Senator in his home state, have what it takes to defeat President Barack Obama in what is going to be a tough general election driven in large part by voters concerns about the economy? 

According to Garrett, the Notionals are the grass roots activists who are trying to effect change by staying longer and talking louder. They are the Tea Party-ers, the Bachmann and Palin fans, the Donald Trump fans, the Rush Limbaughs, who get a lot of attention but do not speak for most Republicans I know.  The Notionals are the ones who said in polls that it is important that a candidate share their religion. 

 I would add that the Rationals are the people who recognize the range of social opinions within the party when they hear George Bush’s daughter advocating gay marriage. They care when someone they trust, like Barbara Bush, says they’ve known the Romneys for years and they really are good people. The  Rationals are the same people who can take an objective look at Mitt Romney’s resume and see a pretty compelling match between his skills and our country’s most pressing needs right now.   

 One obvious target Romney could reach out to to bolster himself in the final months leading up to the nomination is moderate Republican women. According to CNN, half of Republican voters are women and two-thirds of new small businesses are started by women. We’re here and we tend to vote Republican. And we really like Barbara Bush. In fact, we’re waiting for her to come up with another zinger like, “It rhymes with rich.”

What would she say about this current hard right/then hard left/now hard right turn into the bedroom and the ensuing flap on birth control? Hmmm.  If anyone can put it in perspective, she can! And God knows, Republican women could use a good laugh right now! 

By the way, Romney took Vermont, too. According to CNN’s Super Tuesday polls, Vermont is the only state where the majority of Republican voters heading to the polls on Super Tuesday identified themselves as Moderates. I believe the majority of Republicans are moderates who view the social conservatives with suspicion. They’re just waiting for the reasonable Republican to be revered the way the social conservative is now feared.  That is what it is going to take to re-engage them and get them to the polls!  I guess it’s clear who I am voting for – the Rational! Or Mitt Romney. 

The Year of the Crab Crawl

The Year of the Crab Crawl

 There’s an expression on Wall Street to describe sideways movement in the markets during the time period between a crash and a recovery.  In article after article, financial pundits have labeled 2011 “The Year of the Crab,” because of the way crabs walk sideways across the sand. I would say it was the “Year of the Crab” in politics as well.  Republican voters moved side to side, reacting as one candidate after the other “popped” in polls, but voters stopped and shuffled instead of locking in on any one of these flavors of the month. At the end of the day, all roads seem to have led back to Romney, who is leading in the Iowa polls, one day before the caucuses there.  Of all the candidates, Romney was originally the most Moderate.  I just wish he hadn’t signed on to the anti-embryonic stem cell research movement that swept the party when he was Governor of Massachusetts, which is when Romney officially switched from being pro-choice to pro-life. Even if he wins in Iowa, the question is whether Romney can punch through the 25% ceiling in polling to make him a formidable opponent to Obama. Looking beyond this Tuesday, Newt Gingrich plans to make hay out of Romney’s earlier support for Planned Parenthood to try to reverse his own fortunes in New Hampshire.  It will be interesting to see what role abortion plays in New Hampshire, where Huntsman has focused much of his energy and efforts.  While Huntsman remains a favorite because of his record of job creation in Utah, his knowledge of foreign affairs and his creative ideas for reversing our economic misfortunes, he is the only candidate calling for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.  He doesn’t talk about it much these days and our hope is he will stop talking about it all together or better yet, change his own mind! In the meantime, we socially liberal Republicans may have to agree this isn’t the year to get bogged down on single issues.  But it would be nice if Romney were elected, if he evolved again, and at least agreed not to overturn any laws on a woman’s right to choose.





























Romney leads in Iowa polls with Santorum rising

Gingrich complains he has been Romney-boated

Santorum needs to reach more than evangelicals

Is Newt the Grinch who stole Mitt's Christmas?

Is Newt the Grinch who stole Mitt’s Christmas?

He is definitely trying to steal New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney is well liked because he governed the state next door and has a house there. Ann Romney may not like politics but she likes the guy she married at 20 an awful lot.  And she’d like to let us know he is not a one dimensional cut out of a Presidential candidate but a goofy, sweet, fun date after all these years.  He sings to her on horseback, was a doting caregiver when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and laps up peanut butter like a 12 year old boy.  The timing of Ann Romney’s appearance on the campaign trail is no accident.  It’s an effort to counteract Newt Gingrich’s sudden rise in the polls.  Because while Newt Gingrich is funny, creative and very smart, he isn’t a role model for marriage.  And women voters care about those things.  So do evangelicals. 

I have pulled together a bunch of recent articles that you might want to read to learn more about Gingrich. Romney and the race for the front of the Republican field.

Click here for latest headlines as of 11/14

 Will the Supreme Court of the United States make a final ruling on legality of  Obama’s healthcare plan? /

Is Newt Gingrich back? /

Can super committee agree on debt reduction in the next 10 days /



Click here for headlines as of 11/9

 Michigan a bleak backdrop for tonight’s Republican debates 
 / 60 Minutes to air investigation into conflict of interest by Nancy Pelosi / White House quiet on whether Iran is making nuclear weapons

Are you dialing in to the debates?

According to CNN, 3.6 million people watched the Tea Party Express Republican Presidential Debate on CNN last night, 1.1 million of them in the coveted age bracket between 25 and 54.  What is interesting to me is that means 2.5 million of them were either under 25 (unlikely) or over 54.  My guess is it was the over 54 crowd that tuned in in a big way to hear about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  Social Security was one of the dominant topics.  While Gov. Rick Perry has referred to it as a Ponzi scheme in the past, he said Monday night that it will be there for anyone who has paid in.  Mitt Romney gets the bold stroke award for having the guts to come out and say it will be there for those now drawing benefits but it probably won’t be there in its current form for those in their 50s and young people just starting to pay into the system.  Don’t forget the Congressional Budget Office has already said Social Security will be paying out more than it gets by 2016. 

In the meantime, I thought I would highlight some of the better quotes from the debate.

Newt Gingrich quoting Ronald Reagan, “Turn up the light for the people so they can turn the heat up on Congress.”

Jon Huntsman on Mitt Romney on Social Security, “Gov. Romney called it a fraud.  Don’t know if that was written by Kurt Cobain.”  Kurt Cobain?  As in Nirvana?  Hmmm.

Michelle Bachmann, “It’s easy to turn around this economy.”  You don’t really think that, do you?

Jon Huntsman, “We have a heroin like addiction to foreign oil.”

Newt Gingrich, “We can balance the Federal Budget.  Be smart rather than cheap and actually modernize the Federal Government.”