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South Carolina: Where the remaining candidates stand and the significance of the Palmetto State’s primary

South Carolina: Where the remaining candidates stand and the significance of the Palmetto State’s primary

With much of the political punditry all but declaring Mitt Romney the 2012 Republican nominee, I decided to take a brief look at each of the remaining candidates to see what, if any, are the chances of them actually achieving the nomination as we move deeper into the primaries. I’ve coupled the campaign fundraising totals with the overall support of each candidate to portray a kind of “candidacy vitality profile.”

Rick Santorum

Politico recently reported that “Rick Santorum raised just over $1 million in the 24 hours after his eight-vote loss in the caucuses.” While this is welcome news for a campaign that has had nearly no money throughout this entire process, I find myself doubting the longevity of this new found support. Santorum’s “feel-good” near-win in Iowa was a nice story, but the fact is that he has no national organization and very little money on hand, despite the recent donations. Keeping in mind his overall message, its not surprising that he fell way down the candidate line in New Hampshire so his performance in South Carolina will determine his campaign’s future . Not only will Santorum need a thoroughly surprising win or strong second place showing in South Carolina, but he will also need a huge influx of donors in order to justify his campaign continuing the race much longer.

Ron Paul

As is to be expected, Ron Paul’s donations have stayed strong. Raking in another $13 million in Q4, he has actually surpassed his Q3 donations by roughly $5 million. This essentially means that the candidates who remain past South Carolina should get used to his presence because he certainly has the ability to ride his strong, yet limited support deep into the primary contests.

Newt Gingrich

Buoyed by his move to the top of the pack which occurred right in the middle of Q4, Gingrich’s numbers are fairly strong, pulling in nearly $10 million according to some reports. In December, Gingrich’s numbers began to decline and presumably, so too did his donations. It is likely that the bulk of his money came in early on in the quarter. This tells me that Gingrich supporters are willing to “pony up the dough”, but unlike the steadfast Paul supporters, they are going to need to see the possibility of a return on their investment. Gingrich is currently polling in a solid second in South Carolina and he’ll need to remain in that top-tier if he wants to see the money start coming in again. Another 4th place finish would be a nearly insurmountable hurdle for his campaign to take on.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney had yet another strong quarter. Reports have him coming in at over $20 million for the final leg of the 2011 earnings report, which is going to go a long way in helping him build his national organization. He’s already begun a fairly significant amount of campaigning in Florida, but Mitt would do well not to neglect South Carolina. Recent polls suggest that Newt Gingrich is hot on his tail in the Palmetto State, and in some he’s even within the statistical margin of error. Although Romney doesn’t need South Carolina to win the nomination, if one of the other conservative candidates (namely Gingrich) pulls off a win there, it could create a much stronger opponent to Romney in Florida and beyond.

Rick Perry

Most reports have Perry coming in at just under $5 million for Q4. His brief hesitation following the Iowa caucuses hasn’t garnered him much faith among his supporters as he tries to cling to the comparative few who are still donating to his fledgling campaign. Judging by the sharp decline in donations from Q3 to Q4, coupled with disappointing results in Iowa and New Hampshire, Perry’s campaign is all but out of the race and will need nothing short of miracle in South Carolina to justify continuing on.

Jon Huntsman

There isn’t much out there on Jon Huntsman’s fundraising numbers for Q4 but it can be assumed that they won’t be placing him among the top-tier candidates. Huntsman had a fairly good showing in New Hampshire, but this was due in large part to the huge volume of “independents” who came out to vote in the nation’s first primary. Garnering only a third place finish with 17% of the vote after forgoing the Iowa caucuses to campaign more in New Hampshire serves only to confirm what we already know, Huntsman will not be the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.

Although Romney has won both Republican contests thus far, his nomination isn’t quite sealed up yet. I think that a win or a close second for Gingrich in South Carolina could pose a problem for the Romney campaign. Gingrich has already signaled that he intends to turn up the heat on Romney next week in Florida, and what’s more is that he actually has the money to do so. A good showing for him in South Carolina could really slow the momentum Romney has built up over the last few weeks. Other than that, it doesn’t appear likely that any of the other candidates can legitimately challenge Romney. While Ron Paul has the money to do so, he lacks the breadth of support necessary. While Santorum might end up with a decent amount of support, he lacks the money and national organization required to broaden that support. Rick Perry is clearly on his way out, and Jon Huntsman never really got in.

The most important thing that conservatives need to take away from this is that they must work to coalesce around a single candidate, and they need to do so quickly. The fractured conservative voting bloc is playing right into the Romney campaign’s hands. If conservatives want to challenge Romney, they’re going to need to come together in South Carolina.


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Hey Prof, if Romney wins will you support him in the general election?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to imfine. | January 15, 2012 at 10:20 am


      Ahhhh, this is welcome news and I hope that it will serve as an example of what the GOP in general must do.

      The object is to eject Obama ‘n crowd from DC.

        Me too…but if last night’s card game is even a small example of the GOP eating itself into oblivion I fear that the professor’s words will fall on deaf ears.

      That is welcome news. I will support Newt, Santorum or Perry if any of them win the nomination (though I think Romney pretty much has it).

      Prof, I respect your opinion, but I myself will not vot for Romney. It would be like voting fr Obama except with a republican label. With Obama we get liberal policies but e destroys the dens. With Romney we will liberal policies but he’ll destroy our party. I know that with a strong republican congress Obama will be hamstrung. With Romney, the libs will have full control, and then we’re really screwed. So despite the supreme court being in the balance, I prefer Obama to Romney as we will likely end up with a very solid republican congress in 2014, which is more important in my view.

BurkeanBadger | January 15, 2012 at 9:41 am

Hmm, polls seem to be conflicting. Up until today, it certainly looked like South Carolina was a dead heat between Romney and Gingrich. And then Reuters comes out with this:

An outlier? Or has Gingrich’s hyper-negative campaign hurt him? We’ll need to wait a few days as more polls come in to see if there’s a trend here.

    You might want to double-check the methodology of that online poll. Also consider the fact that ~40% of the respondents identified as Democrats.

    Not a sound poll at all IMO.

    Details here.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Dynamism. | January 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

      That poll:

      Asked who they would choose if the nomination contest were solely between Romney and Gingrich, 62 percent of Republicans picked Romney and 30 percent went for Gingrich.

      That’s interesting as the point the Professor has made is that the ‘more conservative’ Pubs have to unite around a single standard-bearer to stop Romney. If that single candidate is Gringrich, it looks as if SC Pubs, a fairly conservative bunch, prefer Romney. I had not predicted that.

        Snorkdoodle Whizbang in reply to stevewhitemd. | January 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

        “If that single candidate is Gringrich, it looks as if SC Pubs, a fairly conservative bunch, prefer Romney.”

        Given the skewed methodology and sampling of that particular poll, I’d hesitate to draw any conclusions at all from it. To call it an ‘outlier’ is putting kindly to say the least. That isn’t a poll… its PR.

Likely an outlier. There hang been anything out in the last 48 hours that would shift momentum so much

Never been a conspiracy theorist–but which Democrat mastermind arranged for all the Republicans to take their eyes off Obamacare(and its Marxist author) while vying for the “Nicest Capitalist” award. Will we ever see the likes of a Reagan again?

I guess we’ll all get refocused once we have a nominee.

In other words–I’ll take throat slashing venture capitalism over socialism any day of the week, even ifs it’s my throat that gets slashed. I love freedom. And I love the movie “wall Street”. Greed is good—real good. Greed is the skeleton of history that all the meat hangs from.

    imfine in reply to garfman. | January 15, 2012 at 10:15 am

    My feeling is ht Romney is a throat slashing socialist. Romneycare is unforgiveable

      Dynamism in reply to imfine. | January 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Romney is a multi-faceted cluster of liabilities in this election, considering:

      1) Upcoming “racist Mormon church” narrative.
      2) Upcoming “Wall St. corporate raider” narrative.
      3) Liberal governing record in MA will turn off conservative voters.
      4) RomneyCare… ’nuff said. Will look extremely hypocritical.
      5) Weak charisma, no force of personality.

      I’d strongly urge any Mitt supporters reading this to reconsider backing this guy, as I fear he will easily give Obama another 4 years. I’d like to believe otherwise.

        punfundit in reply to Dynamism. | January 15, 2012 at 11:19 am

        If Romney does turn out to be The Inevitable One, those who cannot in good conscience support him need to focus on worthwhile Congressional, state, and local elections, as well as spreading the word about Obama’s real record (insofar as we’re allowed access to it).

        In the meantime, keep on keeping on.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Dynamism. | January 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

        A nice encapsulation of the Romney vulnerabilities, but missing one critical, likely fatal, problem.

        A truism formed by hard experience is that in any election you first energize your base and then try to pick off independents. Historical examples of this are found with Obama’s 2008 campaign, and especially Reagan’s 1980 campaign, wherein he was so successful with the ‘pick off’ aspect a new demographic was identified: Reagan Democrats.

        In 2012, the GOP, via the insider-appointed, liberal-moderate Romney, has abandoned the base first, indies second formula, in fact, has reversed it. They do so apparently believing two dubious facts:

        – That Obama is so weak they needn’t risk a conservative candidate, especially when no apparent Reagan is available. (That a conservative candidate constitutes a ‘risk’ is a whole ‘nuther bit of problematic nonsense).

        – That irate and disappointed conservative voters will have no choice but to fall in line behind Romney based on ABO fever.

        As to the first point, with the advantages afforded by incumbency, incredible campaign funding numbers, and the firewall of an adoring, protective media even more willing to lie and distort than they were in 2007-08, and considering we have an incumbent perfectly willing to manufacture crises to exploit for politicl gain, Obama is no where near as weak as supposed, despite an abysmal record of performance.

        As to the second, due to the factors listed by Dynamism, the GOP base of conservative voters – who’ve tolerated one ho-hum, unconservative, lesser evil candidate after another since Reagan: Bush 1, Bob Dole, Bush 2, John NovaCain – are now asked to tolerate yet another, Mitt Romney. In fact, Romney is the least conservative, least charismatic, most likely to lose of the entire run, offered up at a time when we can least afford to lose. Enthusiasm is *already* tanking, turn out will suffer, and the GOP will lose with Romney.

        Obama 52%, Romney 48%. Bank on it.

          punfundit in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

          Which is why we conservatives/libertarians need to get out and spread the Operation Counterweight word. If we cannot support Romney, we have an even greater obligation to promote and support worthwhile conservative/libertarian Congressional, state, and local candidates… all the way down to Dog Catcher. Every man and woman among us must become a precinct captain, using the knowledge and tools at our disposal to whip up support and enthusiasm. It will be the greatest test of the Tea Party Movement yet.

          We must install government bodies willing and able to either vigorously oppose a re-elected Obama or to hold a Republican president’s feet to the fire. That requires a veto-proof Congress and re-energized state and local governments to keep pressure on the federal government.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

          Thanks Mitt. This really helps – repeatedly stating that the Obama economy is improving! What a maroon.

          Agree with your major points for the most part. However, if Romney gets the nomination much of this insider bantering will disappear under the weight of the reality of the situation. Romney at least doesn’t bash this country and to bring up an old political cliche I truly believe there is a “silent majority” that started to stir in Nov. 2010 and coupled with “Obama fatigue” we will see a turnout significantly higher than your prediction. Millions vote in the general that pay scant attention to primaries and they are ready to change back. Millions who voted out of white guilt see the folly of race being a prerequisite for anything. 2008 was America’s first presidential affirmative action quota election.

          Dynamism in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 15, 2012 at 8:16 pm

          Yup, good rundown, Henry Hawkins.

          As for garfman’s suggestion that, “if Romney gets the nomination much of this insider bantering will disappear under the weight of the reality of the situation” — I have to thoroughly disagree with that. 2008 already demonstrated that large corners of the voting base can and will retract into apathy.

          We know why this happened: Because the GOP failed to reorganize itself in the twilight of the George W. Bush era and stand affirmatively around a coherent message.

          This ideological decoherence lingers in 2012—the GOP remains systematically fractured with no prevailing message to affirm what it stands for, and galvanize it into concerted action.

          Obama or not, it’s very difficult to wage a successful campaign premised around the excuse of, “well, at least I’m not that guy!”

        Voyager in reply to Dynamism. | January 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

        Well, on #1, having finally read up on what actually went on with all of that, I expect the response will be to have one of the black Mormon bishops do the talking heads circuit.

        Preferably one with a very dry sense of humor.

      garfman in reply to imfine. | January 15, 2012 at 10:40 am

      I agree. The irony of Romney being accused of confluence in the political and economic ideologies of socialism and capitalism is indicative of his tactful abilities to play both sides. First Clinton, then Obama and now we have an even more brilliant politician.

      Milwaukee in reply to imfine. | January 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      My worry is that the “problem fixer” Romney won’t really get rid of 0bamacare, he’ll just “make it work”, which would be even worse.

      Tell me again, which Democratic seats are in play, and how do we wrestle to get control of the Senate? A Senate which won’t approve crazy eyed Supreme Court justices? Or even “wise Latina” ones? Since Romney likes Sunnunu, and Sununnu gave us Souter, how much safety is there in Romney?

Professor, you had a hat tip in Hillyer’s column in American Spectator!

Shift focus to Operaion Counterweight

Noticed that the God Squad came out and endorsed Santorum yesterday. As always too little, too late, in my opinion.

    Karen Sacandy in reply to damocles. | January 15, 2012 at 10:56 am

    It is too little too late. Funny, I’m religiously agnostic/atheist, but I agree with the “God Squad” on quite a bit. Living 53 years will do that to you, when you see the carnage the “Anti-God Squad” embraces and encourages.

I watched the Fox “interview of the candidates” in Charleston, SC last night where undecided voters questioned them one-on-one. One of the rules were that no candidate could attack any of the the other candidates.

All of them did pretty well but one of them began an attack on one of the others which in turn was stopped in its tracks by Huckabee who was the moderator.

Overall, a worthwhile event..

Conservative leaders meeting this weekend in Texas back Santorum:

I’m paying more attention to the mechanics of this presidential race than I have before, due to a confluence of facts on the ground. And I have to say, the front-end loading exacerbated by Florida’s decision to bump up its primary really makes me unhappy. The contest will be over before it’s even started.

The whole winner-takes-all aspect. What was the thinking behind that? I really don’t get it.

    The thinking behind that was for Mitt to win early, otherwise we might have nominated someone good!

    Florida, and a number of other states front loaded, because it often seems as though the nomination is wrapped up by the third state.

    If Romney takes South Caroline, after both Iowa and NH, do you8 think that the nomination would still be in contention by the time it gets to Florida, Texas, etc?

scottinwisconsin | January 15, 2012 at 11:04 am

“I’ve coupled the campaign fundraising totals with the overall support of each candidate to portray a kind of “candidacy vitality profile.”

If only it were a fair profile.

Ron Paul is number #2 in total votes cast, #2 in delegates, #2 it would seem in contributions, and the only other candidate with a good showing in both of the first 2 states.

But do you acknowledge that solid performance, and admit he is the closest challenger to Mitt? Do you take his run seriously? Nope.

The other candidates must simply get used to seeing him, and his “strong yet limited support.”

Limited YOU say. 21% in Iowa. 23% in NH. Looks growing and unlimited to me.

Gingrich can’t get over 15%, but you don’t call HIS support limited.

Ron Paul actually WON 19 counties in Iowa. He one a county with 37% of the vote! Romney won 18 counties. Newt won ZERO counties.

But Newt’s still a serious candidate. Go Newt. Dr. Paul has “limited support.” But the sky is the limit for Newt.

Your biased analysis is straight out of the MSM. I hope for more here. Stop dismissing the #2 candidate.

Watch the contributions flow in at $1M a day, and keep calling his support limited:

    scottinwisconsin, what you don’t mention is that the Iowa caucus, and the NH primary, were both open to any voter and not strictly to registered Republicans. In Iowa, anyone who had consistantly voted Democrat could register for the Republican caucus right then and there.

    Paul’s storm troopers flooded both the Iowa caucus and the NH primary but these are not registered Republicans. Also, Paul’s cult like members will not vote in the general elections if Paul is not on the ticket.

    Ron Paul has zero chance of taking the nomination and at this point, only serves as a spoiler, taking votes away from conservative candidates that actually have a record to back up their conservative claims, unlike Dr. Paul who has NEVER put his philosophies into practice. Securing passage of only ONE piece of legislation written by Paul in 23 years is not a record that anyone should be hailing.

      valleyforge in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      @retire05 Go look at the entrance/exit polls in Iowa and NH. Self-identified Democrats were practically non-existent, and they went to Huntsman. Paul won Independents, a good thing if you want to win the general, but Paul was also second among Republicans in NH and third in Iowa, same as his overall standing. He actually did better among conservatives than among Republicans, indicating most of those independents he’s winning are conservatives. Exactly the people we should be bringing back into the party.

    I believe the past two primaries are open which means a lot of “young skulls full of mush” are duly exercising their right to vote. Maybe a large percentage consider themselves Independents, Libertarians and even Democrats and these are the likely voters going to Paul. Open primaries are like micro-general elections and this is one reason we are not seeing a Conservative winning.

    Ron Paul will not win the nomination because we live in a post 9/11 world and to my own personal disgust I just stumbled onto an apparent positive about 9/11. The sad irony is that in Ron Paul’s mind and others, the tragically portentous events on 9/11 were caused by our nasty little propensity to stick our nose where it doesn’t belong–and thus we must withdraw from around the world to preclude or ameliorate the future ambitions of 9/11 style rebukes.

    That’s like saying if Israel would just cease to exist, Israeli and Iranian relations would greatly improve.

      garfman in reply to garfman. | January 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

      But all you Paulites will end up insuring he runs as a third party Independent and that will be very interesting because for the first time votes will be lost probably nearly equally by Obama and the “Republican” nominee.

First some data on past SC outcomes:

1980: Ronald Reagan won with 55%, defeating runner-up John Connally.
1984: Uncontested (Reagan was the incumbent president and was re-nominated).
1988: George H. W. Bush won with 49%, defeating runner-up Bob Dole.
1992: George H. W. Bush won with 67%, defeating runner-up Pat Buchanan.
1996: Bob Dole won with 45%, defeating runner-up Pat Buchanan.
2000: George W. Bush won with 53%, defeating runner-up John McCain.
2004: Uncontested (Bush was the incumbent president and was re-nominated).
2008: John McCain won with 33%, defeating runner-up Mike Huckabee

I add that information as a way of validating the relative accuracy of the SC event.
It strikes me that the SC event is a good predictor of who goes on to be the eventual nominee.
I also notice that a relative weak showing in SC may suggest to some degree..eventual national November success.

If I were a Republican strategist or some party big wig, I might wonder if (via history) if Romney seems to be another McCain as their numbers seem somewhat similar. In other words, if SC is really indicative of future, a 30% win hasnt been successful in November, whereas a 55% or better seems to indicate..SC is on to something. I also recognize each race is different…with its own granular aspects.
But Id still be wondering aobut a guaranteed Romney win in November if he ends up at perhaps 30%.
Maybe folks will rethink electability so far as Ronmey is concerned.
Can we imagine a scenerio where Paul forces combine with Gingrich? As the anti Romney? I have.
But hey..Im just a casual observer for now.

In 2008, conservative voters didn’t really like many of the candidates, but when McCain was selected as the nominee, we could at least, to a degree, get behind him. Although his record in the Senate was more pole vaulter, jumping across the aisle to work with the likes of Ted Kennedy, than conservative, we at least had his military record to hang on to. He endured greatly for this nation, we told ourselves.

This time, we have no such ability to say that the now presumed nominee can give us even that much consolation. We have been forced fed how wonderful Mitt Romney is by all the NY/DC beltway elites who wear the mantilla of conservative. But it has been a shell game. Don’t look under this shell, look under that one.

Romney chose to run on his business history, not his history as the governor of an important state. There was a reason for that (and no, it wasn’t because of our national economic problems). It was because to really look into how he governed would have eliminated him with every TEA Partier and true fiscal conservative in the nation. With every excuse that Romney has offered as to why he governed as a liberal, the talking head have accepted his “My hands were tied” excuse without pointing out that not being able to govern as a conservative in Massachusetts showed how weak he was as governor and that the decisions that were strictly his purview were, in fact, on the liberal side of political philosophy.

There has been very little talk about Romney as governor, and even the ones who claimed to be such die hard conservatives, like Ann Coulter who slammed Romney for months, has now jumped into his wagon. Instead, the man who lost to the candidate from the last go-round, that was deemed to be the next in line, has now been deemed the next in line by the pundits who claim they support the things voters in flyover country support.

Every aspect of Newt Gingrich’s tenure as an elected official has been examined under the microscope of a protologist. From accounts at Tiffany’s to his family records (leaked divorce records), on and on. The left, and yes, even some on the right, have dug into the death of a baby, under rocks in an isolated part of Texas, and any other minutia that would deflect examination of their chosen candidate. Yet, we have not seen any such examination of Romney’s gubernatorial records. There is a reason for that.

So the choice for informed voters is left wanning. No longer do we look at the governance records of those who are running, we have reverted back to 1960 when it is visuals that we are told is the sole criteria for selecting a nominee.

When John Kennedy decided to run for president, and took the nomination of his party, it was decided by his campaign to do the first televised debate in U.S. history. Joe Kennedy had hired the finest campaign staff money could buy, and that staff understood that visuals were 90% of the battle. So they teamed a young, handsome war hero against a seasoned, shorter, older looking Washington insider. Records didn’t matter, acheivements didn’t matter. What mattered was the stark visual contrast in the two men. The fix was in.

And again it is in 2012. Terms like sophisticated, capable, presidential have been throw out about Mitt Romney. The other candidates, not so much. Angry, desparate, bumbling, too rigid, any negative perjorative that you can think of has been thrown at the not-Mitt candidates.

While Newt is not my first choice, since I believe that he had the opportunity to change some of the things that now plague our nation when he was Speaker of the House, and he didn’t, I do not think he, or any of the other candidates for that matter, have gotten a fair shake. And there has never been but two candidates who have really backed up their conservative claims with actual actions, and those two are Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.

So the decision is now to be made. Will we hold our noses, once again, and vote for the candidate that has been picked for us by the media, or will we stand by our conservative values and say “Not again.” And please, don’t give me the line that it is ABO when a Romney presidency will give us virtually no change in the machinations of Washington, D.C. Romney’s gubernatorial record proves that. We can’t even count on him to select conservatives for the bench, paramount to seeing more conservative values instilled in this nation.

I contend there is not a nickels worth of difference between Obama and Romney; unconstitutional individual mandates, one on a federal level, one on a state level; increased taxation, greater debt, federal and state; greater public per capita debt; liberal nominees to the bench; promotion of gay marriage. Folks, records don’t lie.
And with our nation on a trajectory for total demise of the vision held by the Founders, is it better for the death gasp be under a Democrat, or a Democrat Lite?

    Karen Sacandy in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    How anyone could say ONLY Gringrich and Perry have conservative records here, when Santorum authored/marshalled both Welform Reform and Partial Birth Abortion Ban through the Senate, I cannot imagine.

    Santorum is conservative.

    A shame people have such short memories.

    But agreed, Romney and Obama are too similar.

    I can’t even figure out why Romney wants to be president,since he doesn’t seem to believe in anything. It seems, he just wants to be president. Not a good reason to make him president.

      I can’t even figure out why Romney wants to be president,since he doesn’t seem to believe in anything. It seems, he just wants to be president. Not a good reason to make him president.

      The very same can be said of Obama, Michelle/Valerie wanted the power–but she would never be elected; Soros wants the power–too old, foreign born; the Democrat wanted someone bright and shiny–experience not necessary. Romney is the bright and shiny savior for the Republicans. Ugh!

        retire05 in reply to herm2416. | January 15, 2012 at 11:34 am

        herm2416, Romney wants to be president to prove that a Romney can be president. His father ran, and was miserably defeated in the primaries. How his father, born in Mexico, could even be eligible to run in the first place is a serious question.

        Romney is also out to prove that a Morman can take the nomination. Sad, but true.

      Karen Sacandy, I suggest you dig a little deeper into not only what Santorum has said, bashing the TEA Party, but his actual record, not just the record he tells you about. He voted to increase the national debt limit, not once, but four times. He voted to keep the law that says anyone who works as a government contractor must be union. He voted for No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D, both disasterous bills.

      I can say that Gingrich and Perry have conservative records because they do and that is learned by actually looking at their records, not relying on what they tell you, as you have with Santorum.

      Rick Santorum was not an effective legislator. His Border security bill was spot on, but he couldn’t even get it out of committee, and being a hypocrite, he attacked Rick Perry who has basically adopted Santorum’s own border security bill.

        logos in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        Although Santorum isn’t my first choice, I could easily vote for him.

        I haven’t checked this commenter’s data, but , if correct, Santorum appears to have conservative bona fides.

        “Rick Santorum received very high ratings from mainstream conservative groups during his time in the House (two terms) and the Senate (two terms):

        American Conservative Union — 88%
        National Right to Life Committee — 100%
        Americans for Tax Reform — 95%
        National Tax Limitation Committee — 92%
        U.S. Chamber of Commerce — 88%
        League of Private Property Voters — 94%

        Also, look at the Club for Growth’s (CFG’s) white paper on Santorum. The CFG tends to be a bit overly critical and rigid. Plus, they are ardent supporters of things like NAFTA, which many conservatives hardly view as conservative. With that in mind, it’s encouraging to read their analysis of Santorum’s record: Overall they give him a good rating.…sec=137&id=902

        Santorum had an average CFG rating of 77% for the last two years of his tenure in the Senate, compared to an average of 73% for all Senate Republicans for the same period. So his conservative performance was 4 percentage points better than the Senate Republican average for the same time span, according to the CFG.

        Santorum had an average rating of 76% from the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which was 5 percentage points higher than the average NTU rating for all Republicans during the same period (71%).

        For the ultras and the purists who attack/reject Santorum because he endorsed Specter in the 2004 GOP primary and Scozzafava in 2010, here’s a good dose of reality and perspective:”…scozzafava-etc

          punfundit in reply to logos. | January 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

          Interesting data. More from Project Vote Smart (Interest Group Ratings):

          Newt Gingrich
          – American Conservative Union — 100%
          – National Right to Life Committee — 100%
          – Americans for Tax Reform — (not scored)
          – U.S. Chamber of Commerce — 100%
          – League of Private Property Voters — 100%

          For tax comparisons, Gingrich scored 100% from the National Tax Limitation Committee (Positions Score), where Santorum scored 95%.

          Rick Perry was evaluated almost exclusively by the libertarian Cato Institute, where his scores hover around 60%.

          Ron Paul is all over the map.

          Mitt Romney… has no grade point average.

          As for NumbersUSA’s grades on the candidates, everyone gets a D. Ron Paul gets an F. Just what, pray tell, constitutes an A in their eyes?

          punfundit in reply to logos. | January 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

          While we’re at it:

          Barack Obama
          – American Conservative Union — 17%
          – National Right to Life Committee — 0%
          – Americans for Tax Reform — 5%
          – National Tax Limitation Committee — 14%
          – U.S. Chamber of Commerce — 32%
          – League of Private Property Voters — 11%

          punfundit in reply to logos. | January 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

          Oh, and NumbersUSA gave Obama the same score as Ron Paul.

      Santorum’s voting record is actually pretty bad, and he expresses a philosophy that sounds uncomfortably like a collectivist, big government, wealth redistributing statist:

      “This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone.” [Source]

      “What was my vision? I came to the uncomfortable realization that conservatives were not only reluctant to spend government dollars on the poor, they hadn’t even thought much about what might work better. I often describe my conservative colleagues during this time as simply ‘cheap liberals.’ My own economically modest personal background and my faith had taught me to care for those who are less fortunate, but I too had not yet given much thought to the proper role of government in this mission.” –Rick Santorum, p. IX It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good (2005)

      “I suspect some will dismiss my ideas as just an extended version of ‘compassionate conservatism.’ Some will reject what I have said as a kind of ‘Big Government Conservatism.’ Some will say that what I’ve tried to argue isn’t conservatism at all. But I believe what I’ve been presenting is the genuine conservatism our Founders envisioned. One that fosters the opportunity for all Americans to live as we are called to live, in selfless families that contribute to the general welfare, the common good.” –Rick Santorum, p. 421 It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good (2005)

      Dunno about you, but I’m quite a fan of individualism, and I don’t appreciate people who dictate tyrannical utilitarianism about the so-called “common good.” It’s as silly a notion as Rousseau’s “general will.”

    scottinwisconsin in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Your analysis of our predicament is exactly why I can’t support Newt or Mitt or either Rick.

    IF Newt or Mitt or Rick becomes president in 2012, it’s still all going to fall apart.

    We’re still going to face financial collapse, and endless deficits and ultimately hyper-inflation. Massive unemployment, and civil unrest.

    Then, in 2016, what do we do? The Dem will be even worse, but would likely win, and would rush us headlong into the abyss.

    Hoover was the Romney of the 1920s, and believed in government. That resulted in 20 years of Democrats in the White House, and entrenched Socialism. Sweet.

    So If we can’t elect Ron Paul, and actually turn this boat around, I’d rather it sink under an Obama. THEN, we can be the alternative. Then people might wake up.

    IF the boat sinks under Newt Romney, America will likely elect a Hugo Chavez in 2016, and it’s all over . . . time to man the barricades.

      I’m a Libertarian who likes Ron Paul a lot, but I don’t buy into the “Ron Paul is our only hope!” shtick. There are reasonable alternatives to Ron Paul.

      Newt has pretty solid limited government credentials, and a highly-informed philosophy which is consistent with that. He just likely won’t get the isolationist voting bloc.

      scottinwisconsin, economics is not our ONLY problem. Just as we were told what a wonderful turn of events it was when Fidel Castro overthrew the power in Cuba, we have been told, by a deceptive administration, the wonders of the Arab Spring. Unfortunately, the Arab Spring, at least in Egypt, has turned into the Middle East nightmare with the Muslim Brotherhood, violently anti-American, taking 65% of the recent elections there.

      A President Paul would have to deal with world unrest and not just be able to stick his head in the sand. He is totally out of touch in foreign affairs, and that would be to our detriment.

      Ron Paul still holds to the fallacy that the U.S. is protected by massive expanses of water (the oceans) but he is wrong, and that is a dangerous mindset.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to scottinwisconsin. | January 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

      “So If we can’t elect Ron Paul, and actually turn this boat around, I’d rather it sink under an Obama. THEN, we can be the alternative. Then people might wake up.”

      So, if Ron Paul doesn’t win the GOP nomination, you and the rest of the Paulbots will support Obama to set up an 80 yr old Ron Paul in 2016? LOL.

      Let me explain to you how this is all going to work out for Ron Paul and his supporters. Paul can afford to stay in until the GOP convention. He will not have accrued sufficient delegates to force himself onto the podium to push his agenda. He will not be allowed to speak at the GOP convention unless he promises not to bring up The Crazy Stuff. After the GOP convention he will fade into history.

      Don’t worry, Paulbots. As you grow up you’ll find new heroes and new causes: Lady Gaga, pastafarianism, geek fantasy leagues, etc. Something will emerge and your real life experiences will hone your critical thinking skills so you will no longer fall for movements-without-actions that cater to youthful idealism and utopian dreams.

        scottinwisconsin in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

        Gee, Henry, let me explain to YOU how this is going to work.

        Newt Romney will get the nomination, and lose to the Obamanation, without any 3rd party run by Dr. Paul.

        The economy will crash, we’ll have run-away inflation, and the rest of the world will go bankrupt and fascistic.

        America will then have the chance, in 2016, to elect Rand Paul, or yet another government loving fascist, and will choose the fascist.

        Then it’s all over. 1936 Germany. 1919 Russia. 1951 China. 1957 Cuba. 1999 Venezuala. 2001 Argentina.

        And I’m all grown up, very rich, and retired for a decade.

        I’m not looking for a hero, I’m looking for fellow citizens who are tired of serfdom, and aren’t happy in their slavery.

        Unlike you.

        You think you’re clever and bright and can see the future. Yet all you want is more of the past. More government — with YOUR thugs in charge, rather than the current thugs.

        I’m prepared for it all to fall apart. You aren’t. You’re fucked.

          scottinwisconsin, actually it is YOU that is predicting the future, not Henry. We’ve already had an economy that crashed, runaway inflation, and a bankrucpt western world. We survived all of those.

          And while our economy crashed again in Sept./Oct. 2007, we are still here. And we have not turned into the Weimar Republic, as you seem to think we will.

          You base so much of your support on Ron Paul, not on what he has actually acheived, but what he says. Words do not equate actions. Perhaps you can give a solid, hard core example of what Paul proposes in real terms? Show us where what he spouts off about has ever worked.

          But you can’t. Because Paul’s talking points are all hypothetical. We do this, this happens. It quite one thing to say your ideas will work, it’s quite another to give case examples. Paul can’t do that.

          Oooh! The little boy breaks out the “f” word! That’s a convincing argument.

          Henry Hawkins in reply to scottinwisconsin. | January 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm

          Scott, if you’re a day over 21 you ought to be deeply, deeply embarrassed.

      Question for you. Would you go into personal financial debt if a fire was about to engulf your family and home if the Firemen required a large payment before they would turn on the water?

        retire05 in reply to garfman. | January 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

        What are you asking? Are you saying that you have no personal responsibility to support the local fire department that will respond to a fire on your property but they have a personal responsibility to protect the property you chose not to?

        So I am trying to understand your logic. You have no “inherent” right to the services of others, be they firefighters or doctors.

          garfman in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 1:49 pm

          I was trying to point out the fallacious reasoning of Ron Paul supporters that ostensibly think matters of our national economy are more (or even equally) important to matters of national security. It is logically impossible for the two issues to be equal in weight even though they are not mutually exclusive. A superpower nation can have both a strong national economy and national security simultaneously but can not have only a strong or balanced budget. I would go into debt to save my family from destruction just as our nation should spend whatever necessary to maintain security and sovereignty. Yet I do believe that with proper reforms and priority we can have the best of both worlds. Under Ron Paul’s leadership our house will surely burn down.

So cast your vote today and take the year off. If after everything the GOP has done to war against conservatives in general and the Tea Party specifically, your vote is already in the bag? With so much time left to do something before the convention, what traction do you think you have to change their minds? Like an abused wife, you have just signaled to them that you love them and will be there for them no matter what. And so the abuse will continue. There just is no risk for the GOP to be trashing conservatives so long as we pledge to vote for them no matter what they do to our candidates.

As unappealing as it might be for me and many others, Ron Paul is now the only game in town if you want to change the GOP this year. He is the Lesser of Three Evils. (Who made the rule that nose holding is limited to two choices anyway?) He is the only one who can be trusted to slash government spending, get the Fed under control and restore constitutional law. That means our individual rights are strengthened and so we are more likely to fight the things about him we don’t like. The alternative is????? Everyone else is pledging to reduce the rate of acceleration of spending and debt. Over the cliff we go.

    If Ron Paul is the “limited government” savior, what the hell has he been doing for the last 23 years except loading up the pork barrel for his district? If he is such a convincing fellow, show me his record of actually putting his philosophies into a bill that he garnered support for and actually got passed.

    And please, don’t insult our intelligence by telling us that Ron Paul was the only true conservative in the entire Congress so that is why he never could get any support for any legislation he wrote.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Ron Paul has sponsored hundreds of bills, but has managed to get only one out of committee and up for a vote. One. After decades in congress. One.

      I have asked repeatedly for Paulists to provide just one example of a successful Ron Paul-led major effort to limit government and/or cut spending, that I may be better able to form an opinion on Ron Paul’s likely performance as a president. Just one.

      None offered, because there isn’t one to offer.

      Ron Paul is NOT a candidate for the presidency. Ron Paul, who himself admits he can’t see himself ever in the White House, is using faux presidential runs to further the libertarian agenda – a noble cause, but ignobly served.

    There are reasonable alternatives to Ron Paul for purposes of achieving fiscal restraint—however, those alternatives don’t include Romney, who says he’s only going to pursue “reasonable” cuts of $500 billion over 5 years.

Looks like we are all screwed no matter who wins in 2012. Yesterday on Fox News, “Cavuto on Business”, Dagen McDowell who is one of Neil’s regulars said that democrat or republican, they are all politicians first and foremost [paraphrasing]. Lock and load.

Newt Gingrich has grown, both in and out of office. He’s creative, too, and willing to do the hard work of actually reading, talking, and thinking through the very real problems this country faces.

His personal life is a mess, and with his old baggage, I had hoped he could fill a role as a strong VP instead of President. Both of my favorites aren’t running. Rick Perry, who is, in my view, very well qualified and a likely winner, simply hasn’t gained the traction I would have hoped.

Like the anointed front-runner, Newt strikes me as flawed: but he also strikes me as honest, hard-working, thoughtful, and solution-oriented. I think he actually would make a good and capable President.

PS. I’m no Conservative. I’m a Liberal, and I tell you all, that Conservatives should not fear to select a Conservative candidate. The Republican Party exists for the purpose of presenting an alternative to the other side. The Democratic Party at the national level has broken faith with the American people by ignoring the input of the Republicans. They need to go, for that reason.

I’d like to see Gingrinch run, in part because he could break the media liars.

    Dynamism in reply to Valerie. | January 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Ironically, I believe Newt could actually bring conservatives and liberals together on many key issues. Such as, for instance, ferreting out and deconstructing the corporate welfare complex of backdoor socialism that’s infested American government.

    This is something OWS and Tea Party folks tend to see eye to eye on.

      punfundit in reply to Dynamism. | January 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      And damned near the *only* thing we see eye-to-eye on, excepting solutions and ultimate goals.

        punfundit in reply to punfundit. | January 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

        Wow I did not parse that very well. Take two:

        …and damned near the *only* thing we see eye-to-eye on, except of course the Occutards (does Ron Paul still support them?) seek Marxist solutions and goals where we do not.

So let me get this straight…

According to Mr. Jacobson, Santorum and Perry need X in order to “justify” continuing their campaigns. And yet I notice Mr. Jacobson doesn’t speak of Newt having to “justify” anything to remain in the race.

No one has to justify anything, so please drop the whole “everyone else needs to drop out for poor ol’ Newt” meme. As I’ve said before, if you’re so intent on people dropping out to prevent a Romney win, why don’t you lead through example and start pressuring your guy to drop out? Thanks.

    Karen Sacandy in reply to Astroman. | January 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Tut-tut-tut. The good professor didn’t write it.

    Bryan Jacoutot did.

    But I agree, that analysis is BAD.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Astroman. | January 15, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Gingrich is either in a statistical tie for the lead in SC currently, or a close second, within the margin of error. Perry and Santorum, both fine candidates, are not.

    I don’t speak for Mr. Jacobson, of course, but unless I miss my guess, he will have no problem advising Gingrich give it up if there appears no path to victory and/or his continuance is detrimental to the oust-Obama cause.

    Personally, I think Santorum and Perry ought to stay in – this race is so full of mines there’s no telling who might survive.

In addition to this website, the below article should be required reading:

    Towson Lawyer, to put the article into practicality, let me tell you my own story:

    I have a ranch and wild pigs, due to their ability to quickly reproduce and the number of piglets they have, have become a serious problem in Texas. I had a mama pig take up residence on my ranch and after her litter got big enough, they were posing a real problem. They would dig up my crops, knocking down my corn crop and eating it faster than I could stop them. Fences? Bah-humbug, didn’t even slow them down. They left destruction everywhere they went.

    I decided to talk to the rancher next to me and he told me how to rid myself of the pests.

    I built a pen that had an electronic gate that would slam shut. Everyday I went out an threw out feed for the pigs, which they would eat, but with each day, I moved the feed closer to the pen. Eventually, the feed was at the entrance to the pen but the pigs were a bit shy about the enclosure, so I continued to put the feed at the entrance of the pen until they became secure that they were not going to be harmed. It took about 10 days, but eventually I could put the feed inside the pen and they would go in.

    When it got to the point that mama and all her [now rapidly growing] babies would go to the back of the pen to eat, I set the trap door to close on them. Since I don’t like wild meat, I called Parks and Wildlife and they came and got the pigs. But I was rid of them.

    People are like pigs. If you are willing to feed them, they are willing to give up their freedom to you.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to retire05. | January 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Just out of curiosity, does your ranch receive any federal or state subsidies?

        retire05 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | January 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

        Nope. While I am eligible for them (soil erosion, crop subsidities like corn for ethanol, etc) I have turned them down. I, and only I, will decided what I do with my ranch land, not the federal government. And due to the severe drought that Texas suffered last year, I was eligible for federal funding for a hay crop I didn’t even grow. To me, that’s just legalized theft of taxpayer dollars.

        Being a farmer/ranchers is a crap shoot. And you don’t get to negotiate with God for rain or good weather, so why should I put the burden on the taxpayer when I knew the risks going in?

      Was it federal or state parks and wildlife? If it was federal, how much red tape was there? Same question for state. I can’t imagine that you were not quizzed on how you came to possess these wild animals, if you were licensed to have wild animals in your possession, if you properly cared for them, etc.

    punfundit in reply to Towson Lawyer. | January 15, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    So who is claiming to represent the 1%-ers?

Since this post is supposed to be an objective analysis based on fundraising and support in polls and the early contests, here are the facts so you can decide for yourself (ties given where difference is not meaningful):

Q4 fundraising:
Candidate A – $20 million
Candidate B – $13 million
Candidate C – $10 million
Candidate D – $ 5 million
Candidate E – less than $1 million
Candidate F – less than $1 million

Super PAC spending
1st – Candidate A
2nd – Candidate C
3rd – Candidate B
4th – Candidate E
none active for Candidate D and Candidate F

Iowa ranking:
1st (tie) – Candidate A
1st (tie) – Candidate E
3rd – Candidate B
4th – Candidate C
5th – Candidate D
7th – Candidate F

NH ranking:
1st – Candidate A
2nd – Candidate B
3rd – Candidate F
4th (tie) – Candidate C
4th (tie) – Candidate E
5th – Candidate D

Post-NH National Polls:
1st – Candidate A
2nd (tie) – Candidate B
2nd (tie) – Candidate C
2nd (tie) – Candidate E
5th – Candidate D
6th – Candidate F

Post-NH South Carolina Polls:
1st – Candidate A
2nd – Candidate C
3rd (tie) – Candidate B
3rd (tie) – Candidate E
5th – Candidate D
6th – Candidate F

Post-SC organization (qualitative based on media reports)
Extensive – Candidate A, Candidate B
Moderate – Candidate D
Very limited – Candidate C, Candidate E, Candidate F

Ballots missed
Candidate A – none
Candidate B – none
Candidate C – Virginia
Candidate D – Virginia
Candidate E – Virginia
Candidate F – Virginia, Illinois

Candidate A is clearly the frontrunner, leading in every category.

Candidate B is consistently in the top 2 or 3 and has resources and organization beyond SC/FL.

Candidates C and E have a couple bright spots but the overall picture is inconsistent and long-term fundamentals are weak.

Candidates D and F rank consistently low except for one middling rating each.

Money, organization, and early contest results aren’t everything, but historically they reveal the true contenders who go on to later primaries.

Effectively your choice is Candidate A or Candidate B.

Whether Romney wins the nomination or Gingrich or Santorum or anyone else, the facts of this matter are that while Obama can be beaten, Obama could win, Or, perhaps, Romney as the nominee wins the election and will then become the 45th president.

Either of those two cases should point out the most obvious that we’ll need a strong GOP dominated Congress, in both houses. That GOP control will be absolutely necessary to protect our country from any further attempts by a re-elected President Obama from really changing us into a Marxist run society, Conversely, GOP control absolutely would ensure that a President Romney stays on a straight and narrow Conservative agenda,

Yeah, most of everyone reading here would tend to agree with these two arguments yet we’re fighting over how many angels fit on a pin head. Keep the frigging goal in mind.

BannedbytheGuardian | January 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

When Sherman rode through Atlanta the population was silent. One yelled out -‘why don’t you go do this to South Carolina. They started it.”

150 years later SC will determine the course of the 2012 election which will determine the course of the USA.

I hope the race is open until the last minute . Only then will voters know what sort of world it will be-what sort of forces & momentums are in play.

The 2012 General will be an existentialsituation -not a choice.

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