As I write this in the late hours of January 3, 2012, I am happy. Mitt Romney is not winning the Iowa Caucus and Rick Santorum is – though only 34 votes separate them. Now that the results are in, I think we should look at exactly what those results mean to we the voters as well as the campaigns. And for some campaigns, it won’t be pretty.
The top five campaigns are Santorum, Romney, Paul, Gingrich, and Perry. These campaigns have, for the most part, the ability to continue into New Hampshire for the first primary vote of the election cycle. I have some doubts about Santorum, but his extremely good placing in tonight’s caucus means he will get a boost in funding and support that he critically needs. I think what he really needs to do here is to have a minimal presense in New Hampshire and go directly to South Carolina. South Carolina will be extremely important to Santorum, Gingrich, Paul and Perry as it will probably be their make-or-break state. Coming in at first, second or third here will define how the rest of the primary season goes. This is especially true for the Gingrich, Paul and Perry campaigns. Paul is good on only one thing: the economy. His isolationist foreign policy is a mess. If he by some strange chance were to become the GOP nominee, I think Obama would win re-election by an undeniable majority – perhaps as high as 70 percent, though my personal belief is that it will be more like 60 percent.
Perry’s campaign has to show right now that it can hunker down and campaign better than it has to this point. Have they gotten better than they were at the start? Only somewhat. They need to up their game and understand, really understand, that he is not running for governor of Texas, but for President of the United States of America. They need to bring out the big guns now in New Hampshire and South Carolina because otherwise he won’t be around for the Nominating Convention.
Newt Gingrich has to effectively cut Romney off at the knees in South Carolina and he has to do it mercilessly as Mitt did in the negative ads of the past month. It is the only chance Newt has at getting the nomination. People don’t want Mr. Nice Guy as President, they want someone who can go for the jugular and tear apart an enemy of our country (something Obama has already shown he can do). If he can pull an upset here, alongside the other campaigns, he can probably stay alive through Super Tuesday and have a decent chance at stopping Romney.
Santorum is the Wild Card. I’ve already stated what I think he needs to do. Maybe he can do both NH and SC, but I doubt it. I think he must sacrifice NH and go straight to SC.
News just coming in as I was watching the results in Iowa: John McCain will supposedly give his endorsement to Mitt Romney tomorrow. I can only say that I hope this will mean the Kiss of Death to Romney. I would not want McCain anywhere close to endorsing me if I were running for President.
On to the bottom rung of candidates. Michelle Bachmann has already stated that she will go on to New Hampshire despite her poor showing in the Caucus. At this point, she’s just acting like a spoil sport. She should bow out now while she still has some shred of dignity.
Jon Huntsman did even worse, garnering only .6%. He should also drop out now. He may do better than this, but it is very unlikely at this point.
All this means for we voters is that we have a chance to really shape things in this primary. We are able to pick not from pre-selected “electable” candidates, but from those who actually reflect Republican beliefs and values. We have the ability, for the first time in a while, to not pick a RINO. So let’s pick the best electable candidate because it certainly is not Mitt Romney.