Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Some people ...

Today's POS award goes to a Niagara Falls girl just overheard on the scanner telling police that she was worried about her 7-year-old brother, who she believed was home alone. According to the scanner chatter, when the police officer questioned her about it, she said "never mind" and walked away. The boys in blue, of course, did mind the fact that a 7-year-old was home by himself and followed the girl to interview her more, after which she told them that there is no brother. She just wanted a ride home.

Some people ...

'Santorum' has new definition

Rick Santorum has a fighting chance.
Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota really don't have much in common.

One characteristic they all share, however, is they love Rick Santorum. A lot.

The conservative pretty-boy candidate for 2012 won the primary contests in those three states rather handily on Tuesday, knocking the "inevitability" card cleanly out of Mitt Romney's hands.

Following Santorum's shocking showing in Iowa (a recount later showed he actually won the state), he went somewhat dormant, doing poorly in New Hampshire, Florida, South Carolina and Nevada. But looking at Tuesday night's numbers, you'd be hard-pressed to realize that he isn't the "inevitable" Republican nominee.

Are you worried yet, Mitt?
The GOP seems underwhelmed with Mitt. Although he's won three of the eight primaries so far, there always seems to be a "but" after his win. And if you're simply counting wins, he now trails Santorum, whose campaign was considered DOA just a couple months ago. Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.

There are three weeks until the next contests in Michigan and Arizona — and four weeks until Super Tuesday, which will see GOP voting in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. It could essentially wrap up the nomination. 

Four weeks is about equal to a million years in a presidential campaign and polling numbers could very easily swing wildly between now and then. I would expect that Romney will spend heavily in Michigan and Arizona in an effort to make Santorum look bad, in hopes of regaining his momentum and convincing Super Tuesday voters that they might as well vote for him since his victory was predetermined.

This week's convention could matter.
A lot.
But before Mitt, Rick et al can get to Super Tuesday - or even mediocre Tuesday the week before - they have to get past the CPAC convention which kicks off on Thursday in D.C. The CPAC crowd can be really tough on a guy like Romney, who many "true conservatives" feel is milquetoast. And Tuesday's wins could give Santorum just the right kick heading into the convention to rally the conservative base around his campaign and shed the likes of Mitt Romney for good. Operative word in the last sentence is could.

When I worked in radio, I was invited to the CPAC convention repeatedly to sit in (and broadcast from) radio row. It always pained me that I couldn't convince my boss to let me go, but such is life. Boy how I'd love to be there this year — to see how it all plays out.

In just three days, we may be looking at Rick Santorum in a whole new light — as the "come-from-behind" kid in the 2012 campaign.

Let's not forget that there are two other candidates involved here. I know it's easy to forget Texas Congressman Ron Paul — considering the media fails to acknowledge his existence at times. And I know a lot of people want to forget former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. But both men are still in the campaign ... for now.

I'm not sure 2012 is your year ...
I have to imagine that Newt's days are numbered. He only garnered about 10 percent of the vote in Minnesota and Colorado. (he wasn't on the ballot in Missouri). Gingrich has 32 pledged delegates thus far, compared with 45 for Santorum and 107 for Romney. (source: WSJ) While this doesn't make it appear that Newt is really that far behind Santorum, he is — especially after Tuesday's contests. The pounding he took from Romney's millions were very effective. Just wait. By the evening news, people are going to be saying, "Newt who?" And by next Monday, Newt will be talking about "spending more time with (his) family."

Dr. Paul, meanwhile is not going anywhere. Although he only has nine delegates, he appears to have plans to stay in the campaign until the end. I'm not sure if he's hoping for a brokered convention ... or if he's delusional ... or what. (disclaimer, I wrote in Ron Paul in 2008 and I probably will again in 2012). Tuesday night, he sent out an email saying he only trailed front-runner Romney by eight points. I'm not sure what kind of strategy has you proclaiming that you're trailing a guy who just got his ass handed to him in three different states by eight points, but ... Ron Paul did.

Also something to consider: The Republican nominee is still going to have to face President Obama in November. And despite the turmoil in the country right now, I don't see any of these men beating Obama. 

Random thoughts: 

• Might there still be a candidate from the outside? If results keep going back and forth as they are right now, we could seriously see a brokered convention. Donald Trump? Sarah Palin? Ugh, let's not go there. Hopefully a clear path to the nomination will be revealed soon.

Biden (noun) Bi.den - One-term V.P., A political liability.
• Bye-Bye Biden? Although Obama's position will gradually strengthen heading into July, I foresee a new VP for his second term. Biden won't be able to win on his own in 2016 and I think the Dems know that, so they'll want to pick someone slightly younger (who has their wits about them) to serve as Obama's protege for four years, avoiding the Dick Cheney (un-winnable) scenario from 2008, which ultimately handed the election to Obama. If Obama is Ronald Reagan, who could be his George H.W. Bush?