Ahead of yesterday’s epic loss in Illinois, the campaign of Rick Santorum held a telephone call with media outlets that, according to at least one major international paper, was characterized by “a lot of bluster, tortured logic and creative thinking but precious few hard numbers.”
Apparently it wasn’t a pretty performance, Save Jerseyans.
Santorum’s folks dispute popularly-circulated delegate totals as artificially inflating Romney’s lead. That same paper also reported that the campaign all-but conceeded it’s only path to victory is through a brokered or “open” August convention:
Even if this is correct, however, and their man also swept states like Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, Texas and California, Santorum advisers acknowledged that this would not be enough to reach the magic 1,144 delegates needed to secure the nomination.
In fact, although they stated there was “a path for us to get 1,144” they all but conceded that their only real hope of winning the nomination was to prevent Romney reaching the magic number and then somehow overturn his lead on the floor of the GOP convention in Tampa in August.
Central to their strategy, they said, was to overturn the rules relating to Florida and Arizona, which allocated their delegates on a statewide winner-takes-all basis. That, said John Yob, Santorum’s national delegate director, “would obviously have a fairly dramatic impact on the Romney vote count”.
So they’re pinning Santorum’s hopes on legal challenges and convention maneuvers? THAT will help the party beat Barack Obama?
Gingrich continues to be no less unrealistic:
To defeat Barack Obama, Republicans can’t nominate a candidate who relies on outspending his opponents 7-1. Instead, we need a nominee who offers powerful solutions that hold the president accountable for his failures. Over the past few weeks, my $2.50 gas plan has shown how America could have cheaper gas, more jobs and greater national security while putting the White House on the defense over their anti-American energy policies. This is the type of leadership I can offer as the nominee, and this campaign will spend between now and when the delegates vote in Tampa relentlessly taking the fight to President Obama to make this case.”
Isn’t he asking the wrong question in this statement? Reverse it: I want to know HOW we can nominate a candidate who can’t compete with a superiorly-funded opponent. Obama will outspend Romney in the general. Not by as much as some folks think, but it will happen. Clearly, Santorum and Gingrich don’t possess a “message” or, alternatively, the vehicle for their respective messages proven capable of motivating a plurality – not even a bare majority – of relatively tuned-in base voters.
Forget Mitt Romney’s virtues and flaws for a moment. Given their marginal primary performances, how do Gingrich and Santorum expect to successfully message to less-engaged indies who only vote once every four years? The math isn’t there.
Both Santorum and Gingrich are flirting with disaster by pushing for an open convention, Save Jerseyans. The history is clear: even if they manage to pull off a stunning convention upset, brokered candidates almost never succeed, especially now that running for president requires hundreds of millions of dollars and a well-tuned national GOTV machine. No one can build such an operation and heal gaping intraparty wounds in just two months.
For all of these reasons and more, it’s high-time for every Republican involved to grow up, set personal animus aside, and do what’s best for the country. Hillary Clinton endorsed Barack Obama on June 7, 2008. This year, the GOP has a much tougher lift running against an incumbent armed with record resources and a historical aura. We’re running out of time and cannot drag this contest out much longer and still hope to preserve a serious chance of victory.
We’re running out of time to avert a disaster.