Thursday, February 16, 2012

WORST BUDDY COMEDY EVER

If the "Santorum is more popular but Romney wins the nomination" scenario envisioned by Jonathan Bernstein plays out, it has the potential to make McGovern-Eagleton look like a minor stumble -- and to be utterly hilarious if you're not a Republican:

... Santorum's campaign [is] badly lagging in organization. This could mean he doesn't reap all the delegates that might be his due.... In most GOP caucus states, the voting is not strictly connected to delegate selection. If Santorum's voters don’t understand the procedures, it's very possible he could win the vote and yet pick up only a handful of delegates. Indeed, that may have already happened in caucus states he's won, like Iowa, Colorado, and Minnesota.

... Romney will apparently win Arizona's winner-take-all primary even if Santorum does hang on for a Michigan win, where the delegates are apportioned in a complex mix of rules. It's very possible that Romney and Santorum could split the two states, giving Santorum great headlines, while Romney cleans up in delegates.

... the popularity contest could leave Santorum as the clear, unambiguous winner, while Romney becomes the clear, unambiguous nominee. Imagine Santorum finishing with a five point edge or more in votes -- even as Romney gets crowned the GOP candidate for president.

If that happens, it's hard to see rank-and-file Republicans accepting the outcome as legitimate....


Yikes. And it's easy to imagine Mitt the Machine trying to argue that the math requires everyone to just accept his victory -- even as the inflamed right-wing mobs are howling for his head.

At that point, I think the party elders would put the proverbial horse's head in his bed and force him to accept the only solution that could possibly mollify the base: Rick Santorum as the #2 on the ticket. (In fact, Mitt hasn't ruled A Romney/Santorum ticket out.)

Now, the world of politics seems to be divided into three camps: people who think Santorum is an awful candidate, people who think Romney is a worse candidate than Santorum (hey, it's not just me -- BooMan thinks Romney is worse), and people who can't agree on which one is more awful. But if this scenario pans out, I think -- under extreme duress, and after much intra-party brawling -- we're going to get two for the price of one.

Can you contain your excitement?

8 comments:

BH said...

It couldn't happen to a nicer political party. Heavy on the duress & intraparty brawling, please, as public and venomous as possible.

c u n d gulag said...

"Malleable" Mitt, and "Torquemada" Rick!

Now that's a match that'll capture the bases heart!

And kick the rest of the country in the wallet and gonads.

ploeg said...

Well, we've had three contested primaries so far (NH, SC, and FL), and Santorum hasn't won a single one. The highest that Santorum has placed in a contested primary is third with 17% of the vote (in SC).

Santorum does better in caucuses, but even there, he's won only three of five (maybe four of six if you think that the results of the nonbinding primary in MO will carry over to the binding caucus next month). And the big states have primaries, not caucuses.

So Romney has won at least as many states as Santorum so far, and Romney has more votes.

Even with the upcoming MI primary, if Romney loses, it seems likely that Romney can claim with reason that it's because MI has an open primary, and there were a bunch of mischief-making Democrats who crossed over to vote for Santorum. That would likely be the signal for Santorum's financial backers to cut him loose, and that'll be it for him.

Tom Hilton said...

...the popularity contest could leave Santorum as the clear, unambiguous winner, while Romney becomes the clear, unambiguous nominee.

I think this is one of the two most likely scenarios right now. The other has Romney crushing Santorum with help from a fuckton of nastily negative advertising.

Neither scenario is great for the GOP.

I'm still not sure Santorum winds up on the ticket (apart from possibly assuaging his supporters' butthurt, I don't think he adds much), but if he does it would be hilarious. In kind of a painful kind of way.

: smintheus :: said...

Obnoxious, stupid, or bizarre running mates don't seem to hurt presidential candidates very much (see GHW Bush and Quayle). Even the preposterously unqualified Sarah Palin didn't sink McCain until he scuttled his own campaign with his own weird antics late in 2008. As for McGovern, it was his own pathetic reaction to the revelations about Eagelton that doomed him.

I think the public would largely give Santorum's brand of stupidity a pass, as irrelevant, if he's Romney's running mate.

Never Ben Better said...

I disagree on Palin's harm to McCain, at least anecdotally; a solidly Republican woman acquaintance of mine, upon getting a good look at the Wasilla Wonder, flipped out in horrified outrage and declared she couldn't possibly vote for the GOP ticket with that unqualified incompetent on it.

: smintheus :: said...

Palin certainly harmed McCain, but she didn't sink him immediately (as she should have done; within one week her roll out she had shown what a fool and a nasty clown she was).

Hard to say whether eventually she could have sunk McCain all on her own, because he bore up long enough to sink himself.

Barry said...

OTOH, Santorum has spent the last couple of months making sure that people know him. He won't have Palin's initial advantage of being a pure unknown. And if he hangs on through the rest of the primaries, his reputation will be bigger and worse.

"At that point, I think the party elders would put the proverbial horse's head in his bed and force him to accept the only solution that could possibly mollify the base: Rick Santorum as the #2 on the ticket. "

That gives all of the disadvantages of both candidates.