Friday, February 3, 2012

The Curse Of Winning A Republican Primary/Caucus in 2012 And Other Curiosities

There is a curious phenomenon happening in the Republican contest
for the party’s nomination in 2012. No sooner has someone won an
early caucus or primary than something bad happens, and someone else
wins the next one.

Rick Santorum surprisingly tied Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucus, the
opening voting event in this four year cycle, and in fact, several days later,
following a recount of the ballots, was declared the winner. He did receive
a great deal of media attention as a result of this, and an increase in
campaign cash contributions, but came in a distant third or fourth in New
Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida the next three weeks. He has
has no current prospects of winning another primary or caucus, including
his home state of Pennsylvania in April.

The winner of the first primary, the next week, was long-time frontrunner
Mitt Romney who had almost tied Mr. Santorum in Iowa, and won by a
large margin in the Granite State. Leading in the polls in the next primary,
in South Carolina, many pundits began talking of his quickly sewing up the
nomination in Florida. But before he got there, Newt Gingrich, who had
not done well in Iowa or New Hampshire, made a sudden surge and won
South Carolina by 13 points.

This was now reversed in Florida when Gingrich, who initially had been
leading there by a large margin, faded under a media ad blitz by Romney
and his fellow rivals (as he had in Iowa), and lost the Sunshine State to
Romney by 15 points.

Once again, many pundits declared that frontrunner Romney was now back
on track to sew up the nomination early despite statements by Gingrich,
Santorum and Ron Paul that they would remain in the race. Too late, these
pundits declared, Romney was back on top and heading for more victories.

But then Mr. Romney gave an interview stating he “did not worry about the
very poor because they had a safety net.” This was both taken out of context
and carelessly stated, but regarded as further proof of Romney’s political
insensitivity and the positive aftermath of his victory in Florida was
quickly supplanted by this controversy.

This may not be quite as sensational as the “Curse of Tutankhamen” (the
series of misfortunes which befell those who discovered and opened the
legendary pharaoh’s pyramid tomb in the 1920’s), but it is a curious pattern.
Will it continue? Can Newt Gingrich make still another comeback? Can
Rick Santorum finally win a significant primary or caucus and supplant
Gingrich as Romney’s main challenger?

Mr. Romney is now expected to win Nevada easily. The votes in Missouri
and Minnesota are non-binding to delegates. Michigan is considered
virtually Romney’s home state, so the next real test will be Super Tuesday
in early March where a number of states, including southern ones (where
Gingrich, as he did in South Carolina, may win). Mr. Romney clearly now
has the advantage, but it is not clear if the “curse of winning a primary in
2012” will continue.

Speaking of the curious, which may also be a form of political outrage,
the latest unemployment figures claim that the number of unemployment
in the workforce is down a bit to 8.3%. At the same time, 1.2 million
persons who were out of work were declared non-existent because they
were so disheartened that they were no longer “seeking” employment.
This unilateral gambit is so transparent that it borders on the absurd.
Yet most in the media, all of the Democrats, and even many Republicans
made no effort at objection at this statistical fraud. That includes most of
the Republican aspirants for president. If it weren’t for the Congressional
Budget Office, Robert Samuelson and Rush Limbaugh, most would not
even know this outrage was taking place.

If the Obama administration can get away with making the public believe
real unemployment (somewhere between 10% and 12%) is only 8.3%, they
will soon be declaring there is no deficit.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman
All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Sir:
    Gov. Romney's comment was reported widely in context and, as you correctly note, he is taking a lot of heat from both left and right (and center) for being oblivious to the many holes in our tattered safety net (which he would further shred if his stated positions on domestic spending were put into place) and for generally being out of touch with regular folks. (You'll recall how the first president Bush was bashed for not knowing the price of a half-gallon of milk...) This is an ongoing issue for the front-runner, one he will have to address much more effectively in the weeks ahead.

    Regarding the latest unemployment figures, I believe you were remiss in not pointing out the fact that every administration (Republican and Democrat) skews these numbers for political gain. Indeed, to label this latest massaging of statistics as "a political outrage" is the sort of theatrical response one would expect from Limbaugh and his ilk -- not from a respected political commentator like yourself.