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March 9, 2012

Super Tuesday is Over: Did Anything Change?

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Written for: Communicado Magazine
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Super Tuesday is over and we’re no closer to a proper Republican candidate than we were Monday. Not a surprise.

The results: Romney wins six states; Santorum wins 3 states; Gingrich wins 1. But, the contest with which the pundits and commentators were hanging this race was Ohio. I’m not sure if they got what they wanted out of that because, while Mitt Romney won Ohio officially, it was by less than one percent. We’re gonna call that a psychological win.

I think we have to re-group on this whole race. Some things have happened that keep throwing off the expectation. I’ll start with the things that came expectedly – The home field advantage.

Gingrich won his home state of Georgia; Romney won Michigan. We won’t know if Santorum wins Pennsylvania until April 24th, but, if the former races are any indication, he’ll win. But, he could have won Michigan.

I previously said Santorum will win Michigan, and if he hadn’t sabotaged his momentum, he would have won. Two weeks before Super Tuesday, Santorum had done and said all the right things to appeal to the anti-Romney voter. Then he decided or someone told him he needed to show more fire and he said two things: The separation of church and state should not be absolute and going to college is for snobs.

Stupid remark #1: The separation of church and state is referenced in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Why would he choose to challenge the Constitution? Then he insulted a speech by one of the country’s most beloved Presidents. No matter JFK’s personal failings, he is still regarded as one of out greatest Presidents.

While a strong faith is a good indication of one’s character, it’s not a reason to select a President. Running the government is different than running a church and different than running a private business. We’re looking for the person who’s the best at RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT! And I’m not sure we want a President that won’t uphold the Constitution.

Then Santorum said the President’s remarks about finding ways to make higher education more affordable for everyone makes him a snob. Stupid remark #2. I don’t know a single parent – not a single one – who doesn’t want their child to be as highly educated as possible. Even people who may not aspire to go to college aspire to be highly knowledgeable about something – which requires study. It’s how you get better jobs no matter the job or the subject matter.

Rick Santorum should have found a better way to advocate for everyone based on their career and knowledge choices, not turning admirable and encouraging remarks into something caustic. Stupid remarks #1 and #2 are what lost him Michigan.

But, I’m also not letting the people of Michigan off the hook. WTF. You prefer a man who’s a millionaire, has three homes in other states but doesn’t keep a home in the state where he grew up? It’s a slap in the face. You let him slap you in the face. He’s now on his way back to one of his actual homes in other states. You should feel so used. He’s got enough money to have a fourth in YOUR state people…

Either way, the contests in several states have been too-close-to-call, which suggests that Romney’s campaign money isn’t winning the race. Santorum is staying on Romney’s heels without considerable resources, but, he’s not taking advantage of it.
Now to the delegate count…

The total delegates needed to automatically win the nomination is 1,144. At one point, at the beginning of the month, I saw a different number from every news and information outlet. But it is confirmed, the number is 1,144. So far, Mitt Romney has 454, Santorum has 217 and Gingrich has 107. Romney may be clearly ahead, but, he still has to get another 690 delegates. I believe that means he has to win 70% of the remaining delegates. Like President Obama said of Romney’s campaign on Super Tuesday, “Good luck tonight… Really.”

I know this – The country is still filled with what I call Romney head-scratchers. These are the voters who just can’t figure him out or can’t connect with him on any level. He’s too rich; He’s too white; He’s too uptight. There’s always a reason to not like Mitt Romney. Voters don’t seem to be able to find a reason to like him.

Even the Republicans who are endorsing him don’t seem convinced. It’s as if they’re doing it for the sake of the party. Again, not a good reason. And we’re back to the people who are in this contest to beat President Obama instead of identifying and getting behind a candidate who they think is a great candidate. But, it’s not just Romney – most voters who get interviewed say they’re underwhelmed with the field in general.

The approach is just negative. Would it be so difficult to have a peaceful challenge to reveal the best candidate? What would it look like if the candidates agreed that they were all on the same team, all had great Republican ideas, but, spent their individual time talking about what they want to do and why they’re the best candidate? All the while smiling and patting each other on the back. (Insert picture of deer in headlights here)

We currently have Republicans being compared to each other so their ideas don’t seem so divergent. Once there are clear lines of opposition, I think voters will be in a better position to take a side. The differences will be much more stark. We need to get to that sooner than later before we completely turn into a society of blurred lines.
But, for the moment, we all still have to suffer through this battle of mediocrity. Stay tuned – the antics do continue – they never fail to deliver new material…