Two Ricks Entered Iowa…

…and only one came out. I just stole that from Jim Geraghty this morning, but it seems to be the headline of the day. Rick Perry is effectively out, and Rick Santorum is the so-co anti-Mitt now. I don’t see him doing well in New Hampshire, so the question will be whether he maintains any of the “surge” into other states. He could end up being in the same position as the Huckabeast in 2008, in that he largely ends up being a protest vote by more socially conservative states down the line, but won’t take the nomination. He did so well, in part, because he spent so much time on the ground in Iowa. There simply aren’t enough days between primaries to do that in many other states. Consider that out of all of the candidates in Iowa, only two are even on the ballot in Virginia.

By the way, when Santorum runs on the fact that he’s the only candidate to have won a swing state like Pennsylvania before, feel free to remind people that he also lost Pennsylvania to a guy whose own staff doesn’t know if he’s alive.

I will also steal this bit of commentary from him to put it in context of why Iowa shouldn’t be any more relevant than any other small state:

The Hawkeye State killed off the chances of a perfectly good candidate, Tim Pawlenty, in favor of his Minnesota rival Michele Bachmann, only to drop her like seventh-period Spanish by the time the actual caucuses rolled around. The caucuses weren’t even over when the Fox News Decision Desk could project, with confidence, that she would finish sixth out of six major candidates in the caucus. As of this writing, she is set to finish 5 percentage points ahead of Jon Huntsman, who effectively conceded the state.

For all the surges we’ve seen of potential “anti-Romneys,” Pawlenty likely would be the best one.

Some of you might think that Ron Paul’s third place showing is the story of the night, but it isn’t. Here’s an interesting tidbit as to why that momentum won’t hold as we head into races where people who actually vote for Republicans have a chance to vote:

According to the entrance polls, 38 percent of caucus-goers had never voted in a GOP caucus before; of those, by far the largest share, 37 percent, voted for Ron Paul. Among the registered so-called independents who took part in the caucus, 48 percent voted for Ron Paul, way ahead of anyone else. Next highest was Romney with 16 percent.

Closed primaries in future states will largely keep this number down as we progress through the primary calendar. The exception to that being Virginia where he will be the only protest vote against Mitt available, save for write-ins.

UPDATE: Well, I admit that I’m wrong. It looks like two Ricks stay in the race. That’s wise for Perry. Iowa shouldn’t be in a position to coronate any candidate, and he could do well in South Carolina.

UPDATE II: I stand corrected on write-ins in Virginia primary in the comments. Also, I take back what I said about Perry. He may still have a campaign going, but apparently he plans to take a couple of days off. Ummm…let’s see, NH is next week, and South Carolina shortly after that. I don’t think he can afford days off right now. So while there might be a campaign that exists, I don’t think this bodes well for the future vitality of it.

21 thoughts on “Two Ricks Entered Iowa…”

  1. It seems to me that the Republicans should want someone who is actually a fiscal conservative and pulls in young people and independents to the party. Instead it seems like they want a Big Government Social conservative. Mainline Republicans that is. All this talk of lower taxes and less spending seems to just be talk from the other candidates based on their past records (both Newt, Santorum, and Romney all seem to be big government Republicans).

    1. Let’s face it, Establishment Republicans are no different from Democrats. You can slap a ‘D’ next to Romney’s name, and it wouldn’t even be a surprise.

      The Republican party is a weird social conservative, big gov’t crowd, that taxes like they were a small gov’t crowd. They talk the conservative talk, but hardly walk it.

      1. You seem to not realize that “the Republican Party” is a coalition of different groups. The social conservatives are one faction (and one that largely moved in from the Democratic Party in the 1970s and 1980s); the country club Republicans are another faction, and tend to be somewhat libertarian on morality and pretty corruptible on interfering with free markets; the “cut taxes first, worry about spending later” faction are what are sometimes called “enterprisers” but tend to be libertarian.

        Assuming that any of these factions agrees with the others on everything is incorrect. The social conservatives tend to be supporters of cutting taxes and spending; it doesn’t cost anything to refuse to recognize gay marriage. The enterprisers are generally not social conservatives. The country club sorts don’t believe in free markets particularly, and do not generally care strongly about abortion, gay marriage, and similar questions, as long as they get back in charge of doling out money to their preferred corporate interest.

  2. The VA primary doesn’t allow for write-in votes. You vote for one of the choices on the ballot, or not at all.

    1. Ah, thanks for that. I guess it’s been too long since I voted in a VA GOP primary. Actually, come to think of it, I almost always voted absentee in Virginia. When I lived there, I did early voting, and that was only a couple of times in person. The more I think about it now, I’m not sure I ever voted GOP primary in Virginia. I think I always pulled the Democratic ballot.

      1. Well, this latest primary regime (which also just happens to be the hardest to qualify for in the nation) is according to an item I read brand new as of November.

        The strong impression I got when I live in Virginia is that local politics are tightly controlled by the establishment, with off year statewide elections and caucuses instead of primaries for most of the time I was there. That they’d now play New York style “keep them off the ballet” games is not at all surprising.

  3. Both of the previous comments sound like people who aren’t trying to wiggle their way into the coalition that makes up any political party. Some people who have a tendency to vote the same party won’t have the same beliefs. They will accept more compromises on different fronts. That doesn’t make them an enemy or someone in the way of you getting your way. It makes them someone with whom you might find some common ground at some point if you would talk to them. If you agree with that person on 60% of the issues, that’s still more than someone with whom you only agree 35%. It’s not a fit, but it’s called being part of a coalition, and the best solution for increasing that agreement percentage is to remain involved instead of crying foul when your favorite doesn’t win.

    I may have more on this later since we had related issues come up in 2010, and I think the likely outcome in 2012 may actually be better for liberty-minded folks who want to make a real impact.

    1. Problem for me is… what is there to agree on with the GOP anymore? Or their ‘established’ candidates?

      What is Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum going to give us that is different from 8 years of GW Bush? I feel like neither of those guys are gonna help us on the Gun Rights front (def. not Romney), and they may even stand in the way of some changes based on some of their ‘Big Gov’t’ Beliefs.

      With the GOP Establishment, it’s an ugly mix of social conservatism (which is plain dumb) and fiscal witchcraft (big gov’t with small gov’t taxes). Not to mention the same old crap regarding our failed foreign policy… where every solution is simply to send as many bombs at our opponents as possible, then waste American lives trying to establish a democracy where it is ill-suited to exist.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is… we tried it (the Establishment Way) when we elected GW Bush. That was a pretty miserable time for this nation and guys like Romney and Santorum simply signal a return to that. So why bother?

      1. The bad news is that the “fiscal witchcraft” is probably now unavoidable in the U.S., until we completely collapse. The corruption of special interest money precludes any serious reduction in shoveling money into the trough for the pigs, and yet voters do not want tax increases…especially because they do not seem terribly effective at solving deficits.

        You think social conservatism is “plain dumb” but even in California, same-sex marriage went down to defeat in an election where Democrats walked all over establishment Republicans (who mostly were not social conservatives).

  4. OK, you don’t like Rick Santorum, I hear that. But he did very well! Yes he lost here to a guy (Casey)that everyone in PA thought was his father, but that is a reflection of the general stupidity of the voters here, not on Santorum himself. He is a true conservative. I think he could win PA on his passed here.
    Fiscally, and socially. His kids were home schooled, so he won’t get one teacher vote, he is against abortion, so he loses the majority of woman. But he is the best candidate to move/push/codddle/nudge Romney more right, would you agree with that? More than Gingrich, more than Perry.
    I agree with other posters that a Massachusetts Republican is a Democrat in most other States, but we all must remember that Reagan was a California Republican, and kicked the gun lobby hard when we were down. With momentum on our side, and with a strong showing in 2012, using our 4.5 million members to vote for one man, we might have a good next 4 years.
    BUT… I would rather have Santorum picking my next 2 Supreme Court selections, rather than Romney.

    1. I definitely think those are reasonable arguments in favor of Santorum. The fact is that he performed well above expectations, and I believe it was Kellyanne Conway in one of the links in the story who noted that this is an indication that Mitt has a cap. (I hate sounding like I’m a Mitt supporter; I’m not.) That should be a very real concern for him since there are still plenty of states where he could lose.

      It could well come down to a delegate count as opposed to “who won what state.” If that happens, even Pennsylvania might be of interest to candidates. Considering that there were 8 candidates in the Democratic primary at this point in 2008 (7 somewhat serious, 3 who actually put up delegates), we could be in for a repeat on the GOP side.

  5. Given the volatility we’ve seen in the electorate so far, Tim Pawlenty has no one to blame but himself for dropping out after the ridiculous straw poll that no one ever took seriously. Sadly, one prerequisite for being president is to want it above everything else and to never say never. Pawlenty coulda been a contenda, but he chose not to even stay in the fight. Perhaps that proves he’s a better person, but it won’t put him in the White House.

  6. Isn’t this all just shadow puppetry of the Establishment anyhow? (Heh- Some #OccupyIowa dork with a MA in Puppetry and $60k student-debt could be pulling strings and giant paper-mache heads via an anarchistic Marxist-Canadian Ad-Agency.)
    My only hope is that Sanitarium will move Designated-Mittens to the right, with Paul giving an added elbow and shove.

  7. If Santorum wins, the left/right war will become even more heated in years to come. He is soooo far right on things like abortion, gays, “no right to privacy in the home if you’re doing gay sexual acts,” etc. Santorum is the “Religious Right guy trying to cram his Bible thumping down our throats” that the left really, really not only dislikes, but fears. Instead of finding any common ground, they will fight tooth and nail against him.

    1. You might want to actually read what Santorum said. He pointed out that what Lawrence decided, if applied consistently, would wipe out lots of other laws as well, many of which enjoy widespread (sometimes universal) support. The notion of a “right to privacy” is a pretty recently created idea, starting with Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). I think the law in question was dumb, but states have been passing laws like that since the founding of the Republic (and before), and dumb does not necessarily mean unconstitutional.

      1. I’ve read what he said. If you think people aren’t going to take issue with Santorum saying there is no right to privacy in your home and linking it with making gay sex acts in your home illegal, then hey.

        1. I am not disputing what will happen. Santorum is a weak candidate for that reason. But he was saying something completely valid and truthful. This is not an effective path to high public office.

  8. Thoughts…

    Mitt Romney, a damn good candidate and nominee for the Democrat Party. If I was a Democrat, I’d vote for him. Nor do I think he’d appoint conservative judges (but I could be wrong on that). Is there any history in Mass regarding that?

    Santorum, I am a right-wing evangelical Christian. And one a number of issues can stir some feathers. But a lot of issues, I handle with a Libertarian streak. (ie: Homosexuality, it’s your home do what you want. Why does anyone need a license from .gov to be married. But likewise, don’t expect us to force people to support your lifestyle.) Homeschool support would be nice. Vouchers too. But I feel that a lot of non-biblical conservative issues get pushed in wrong ways. And all it does is tarnish the message of Christ.

    Ron Paul – I think the man has a lot right. Maybe a few skeletons in the closet. But frankly, who doesn’t. The fact that after 5 years the media has only dug up a few. And hell, the media treats KKK members with gloves if they’re Democrat. Why can’t say he’s grown since then…

    Regarding the moderate/independent votes. Bitter, you’re missing the big ball game. Ron Paul may have drawn his strength from independents. But the shocking statistic for me was that he had something like 50% of the 17-29 year old vote. That means, with the young he has a lot more strength. I don’t expect Ron Paul to win. Heck, I don’t expect a Republican to win. And doubt Romney could pull it off. About the only ticket I think might pull it off is NOMINEE WINNER + RON PAUL. (Which would be a very contentious internal administration.) What I expect to see is 2016 Rand Paul run…

    Perry – I’m the super-tea party candidate. But I’ll violate your personal liberties repeatedly.

    Hermain Cain – dang it, why couldn’t you have kept it in your pants. Would have loved to see you at least as the VP candidate. (Which I believe he would have become if not for the scandals.)

    Who’d I miss…

    Oh yeah, “She turned me into a Newt!” (I got better)

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