Time for another debate?

posted at 8:40 am on March 21, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Mitt Romney sailed to an easy win over Rick Santorum last night in Illinois, winning by twelve points in a primary that unfolded just about how pollsters predicted — unlike in Mississippi a week earlier.  The 47% plurality won by Romney may have been the lowest winning percentage in Illinois in 100 years as Smart Politics points out, but it’s also the first time in decades that an Illinois primary meant anything to Republicans, too.  Romney took the lion’s share of the delegates — at least 41 of the 54 at stake last night, with three delegate races still outstanding.  It was an impressive win:

With a decisive win in the Illinois presidential primary, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sets his sights on the bayou where Louisiana holds the next Republican primary.

“We thank the people of Illinois for this extraordinary victory,” Romney told supporters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. “Elections are about choices. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois joined millions of people in this country in this cause.”

With 99% of precincts reporting, Romney led former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum by a 47%-to-35% margin. Texas Rep. Ron Paul was running third at 9%, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 8%.

With the victory, Romney was poised to win at least 41 of the 54 delegates up for grabs in the state, giving him a total of 562, according to CNN’s estimate. Santorum is second with 249, Gingrich third with 137 and Paul last with 69.

Next comes Louisiana, where Santorum expects to do well in a proportional primary on Saturday.  He’ll need a win to keep the race from hitting a tipping point and Republicans from coalescing around Romney.  If Romney wins in Louisiana, he’ll add a Southern state to his regional claims and head into the 10-day break with momentum and a favorable primary schedule in April.  Santorum has to last out April to get to a more favorable primary schedule in May, with five southern states and two in the Midwest.  Romney wants a knockout, and fast; Santorum needs a gamechanger.

You know what might work for both of them?  Another debate.  In my column for The Week, I lay out why both men might be inclined to see a debate between Louisiana’s primary and the four contests on April 3rd as an opportunity for their own strategic purposes, as long as it was a real, one-on-one debate:

Santorum might feel that the potential reward of another debate would be worth risking another mediocre showing. Santorum has won two primaries and a caucus since the last debate, and he has a fair shot at winning Louisiana’s primaries on Saturday, while Tuesday’s primary in Illinois looks likely to break for Romney. Starting in April, though, the primary schedule looks a lot less friendly for the Pennsylvanian. Eight states will hold primaries — four on April 3, and five more on the 21st — and Santorum probably only has a significant chance of winning in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. If he can gain traction and catch up in the delegate hunt, May looks more promising, with seven of the eight states in the South or Midwest. But by the time Santorum gets there, his strength may have faded if he can’t keep up with Romney in April. Santorum has managed to outmaneuver Gingrich to become Romney’s most significant competitor, but without real wins to close the delegate gap, his credibility will evaporate. He needs a game-changer.

Would Romney agree to a debate? Conventional wisdom would dictate that a frontrunner avoid getting tangled in another debate. However, Romney may also need a game-changer — not to win the nomination, but to win it more quickly. Thanks to rule changes made by the RNC after John McCain won the nomination before most of the country got a chance to vote, Romney has to outlast everyone else and hope that he gets enough delegates to clinch a convention majority. While his opponents continue to campaign, the delegate splits at least give the impression that Romney won’t be able to close the deal, leaving the possibility open for a brokered convention. A big debate win for Romney, or even just another defensive and distracted performance from Santorum, might be enough to derail Santorum and produce the tipping point that Romney needs to get voters to climb onto his bandwagon.

More importantly, though, voters in the upcoming states could use a fresh debate, as long as it doesn’t use the game-show format we’ve seen thus far — and with only two candidates on stage, the need for that format disappears:

The most important question is whether the voters need another debate — and perhaps the answer is yes, given the right conditions. None of the previous debates used a format that produced real insight into policy or governing temperament, owing mainly to the number of candidates on stage and the media’s insistence on using game-show techniques. With only the two frontrunning candidates on stage, the time pressure on answers created by the need to get to seven, eight, or nine candidates evaporates. Romney and Santorum would have more time for substantive answers to substantive questions — presuming the moderator focused on issues that matter most to voters, and not silly questions about underwear and personal squabbles. In a revamped format that perhaps could take its cues from the Gingrich-Herman Cain debate, one last face-off might produce significant value for voters still choosing which candidate to support.

I’d guess that the likelihood of another debate would be low.  Both candidates probably want to focus on raising money in the ten-day break, and neither would leap at the chance to put themselves at risk.  However, voters never got a real debate with the leading candidates, and one at this stage — with almost half of the states remaining to cast ballots — might be a very good idea for them.


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It’s a good idea. Ron Paul people would howl but so far the only thing he’s won is the straw vote in the Virgin Islands Caucus (though Mitt got the delegates.) Newt Gingrich wouldn’t like it either. Earlier in the contest, I’d think such a debate was arbitrary. But voters have narrowed the field.

Problem is that Ann Romney has said if her husband attends another debate, he’ll be in the audience.

Though I think there are only 3 contests on the 3rd-Wisconsin, D.C., and Maryland. Am I missing one?

adamsweb on March 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I’d guess that the likelihood of another debate would be low. Both candidates probably want to focus on raising money in the ten-day break, and neither would leap at the chance to put themselves at risk.

Not to mention how do you hold a debate with just the two viable candidates? Paul has a history of being an annoying pest when he isn’t invited to debates. I’m certain that Gingrich would also throw one of his signature hissy fits.

Happy Nomad on March 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Talk about beating a dead horse. The only person they should consider debating at this point is Obama.

gaius on March 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM

The differences in the candidates was crystal clear last night. Santorum’s speech was a clunker… really bad.

Romney’s speech was great-

MITT ROMNEY DELIVERS REMARKS IN ILLINOIS

Boston, MA – Mitt Romney today delivered remarks in Schaumburg, Illinois. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Illinois! What a great night!

I’d like to congratulate my fellow candidates on a hard-fought contest. I’d like to thank our volunteers and our friends for their hard work and unwavering support. And, tonight, we thank the people of Illinois for their vote – and for this incredible victory.

Elections are about choices. And today hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters have joined millions across the country in our cause.

We began this movement on a small farm in New Hampshire on a sunny June day, surrounded by a small group of friends, family, and supporters. We shared a conviction that the America we loved was in trouble and adrift without strong leadership. Three years of Barack Obama had brought us fewer jobs and shrinking paychecks, but many of us believed we were in danger of losing something more than the value of homes and 401(k)s.

After the years of too many apologies and not enough jobs, historic drops in income and historic highs in gas prices, of a President who doesn’t hesitate to use all means necessary to force Obamacare on the American public but leads from behind in world affairs, it’s time to say, “Enough!”

We know our future is better and brighter than these troubled times. We still believe in America – and we deserve a President who believes in us.

Yesterday I gave a speech at the University of Chicago, not far from here and where Professor Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law. It was a speech on economic freedom and as I was writing it, I thought back to the lifetime of experiences I’ve had learning the unique genius of the American free enterprise system. It started when I was just a kid, and my dad, who never graduated from college, would tell me about his dad, who was a contractor and never quite made it but never gave up.

Later I helped start companies that began just as an idea and somehow made it through all the inevitable difficulties to create thousands of jobs. Those jobs helped families buy their first homes, put kids through school, live better lives, dream a little bigger.

For 25 years, I lived and breathed jobs, business, and the economy. I had successes and failures but each step of the way, I learned a little more about what it is that makes our American system so powerful.

You can’t learn that teaching Constitutional law. You can’t learn that as a community organizer. The simple truth is that this President just doesn’t understand the genius of America’s economy – or the secret of our success.

The American economy is fueled by freedom. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in lifting people out of poverty. It is the only principle that has ever created sustained prosperity.

But, over the last three years, this administration has been engaged in an assault on our freedom.

Under President Obama, bureaucrats prevent drilling rigs from going to work in the Gulf. They keep coal from being mined. They impede the reliable supply of natural gas. They even tell farmers what their 15-year-old sons and daughters can and can’t do on the family farm.

The administration’s assault on freedom has kept this so-called recovery from meeting their projections, let alone our expectations.

And now, the President is trying to erase his record with rhetoric. Just the other day, he said, “We are inventors. We are builders. We are makers of things. We are Thomas Edison. We are the Wright Brothers. We are Bill Gates. We are Steve Jobs.”

That’s true. But the problem is: he’s still Barack Obama. And under this President, those pioneers would have faced an uphill battle to innovate, invent, and create.

Under Dodd-Frank, they would have struggled to get a loan from their community bank.

A regulator would have shut down the Wright Brothers for their “dust pollution.”

And the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh, that’s right. They just did.

The real cost of these misguided policies are the ideas that are never pursued and the dreams that are never realized.

For centuries, the American Dream has meant the opportunity to build something new. Some of America’s greatest success stories are people who started out with nothing but a good idea and a corner in their garage. But today, Americans who want to start a new business or launch a new venture don’t see promise and opportunity. They see government standing in their way.

We once built the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Today, we can’t even build a pipeline.

We once led the world in manufacturing, exports, and infrastructure investment. Today, we lead the world in lawsuits.

When we replace a law professor with a businessman, that will end.

Every great innovation, every world-changing business breakthrough begins with a dream. And nothing is more fragile than a dream. The genius of America is that we nurture these dreams and the dreamers. We honor them, and, yes, we reward them.

That’s part of what is uniquely brilliant about America. But day by day, job-killing regulation by job-killing regulation, bureaucrat by bureaucrat, this President is crushing the dream and the dreamers.

The proof is in this weak recovery. This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small. The truth is our economy is struggling because the government is too big.

You and I know what President Obama still has not learned, even after three years and hundreds of billions of dollars in spending: The government does not create prosperity; prosperity is the product of free markets and free people.

This November, we face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality. This election will be about principle. Our economic freedom will be on the ballot.

I am offering a real choice and a new beginning. I am running for President because I have the experience and the vision to get us out of this mess. We know what Barack Obama’s vision of America is – we’ve all lived it the last three years. Mine is very different.

I see an America where we know the prospects for our children will be better than our own; where the pursuit of success unites us, not divides us; when a government finally understands that it’s better for more to pay less in taxes than for a few to pay more; where the values we pass on to our children are greater than the debts we leave them; where poverty is defeated by opportunity, not enabled a government check.

I see an America that is humble but never humbled, that leads but is never led.

Today we took an important step toward that America. Tomorrow, we take another. Each day we move closer not just to victory but to a better America. Join us. Together, we will ensure that America’s greatest days are still ahead.

Thank you and God bless America.

BobScuba on March 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Wishful thinking. No way Newt or RP would agree to being excluded from a debate between Santorum and Romney.

Syzygy on March 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Though I think there are only 3 contests on the 3rd-Wisconsin, D.C., and Maryland. Am I missing one?

adamsweb on March 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Two states and a city where Republicans will not win the general election.

Happy Nomad on March 21, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Another debate has far more upside for Santorum than for Romney. Last night, Romney’s speech sounded like stump speech of the Republican stnadard bearer….Santorum’s like the guy who’s still attacking his GOP rivals. Understandable, but Santorum is not going to have many chances to sound presidential, if he has to stay on the attack, and another debate would give him a another chance and on a national stage.

Priscilla on March 21, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Debate?……….how about getting Cameron and Obama to debate?

Obama:
“Dave, do you need a binky with your night night?”

Dave:
“No Daddy, but can you tuck me in?”.

Obama:
“Sure, sleep tight big boy”.

Could someone ask in the next gop debate if they will be tucking in foreign leaders like President Whistle-all-the-time and PM Cameron?

PappyD61 on March 21, 2012 at 8:55 AM

This piece reads like satire — the “lowest winning percentage” stuff is a joke.

Ed, give it up already.

Romney is the only one who can actually win this primary before the convention, and holding out for Santorum is illogical and can only lead to disaster if he somehow manages to keep Romney from 1144.

There’s no way he flips enough Romney delegates to win the nomination and this only strengthens Obama. Get a grip, please.

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM

The Rominator spanked EgoNewt pretty hard in the last debate. No way he would do that to Santo and risk being labeled ruthless, again. Looking for a gotcha sound bite at this point in the race is sad and desperate. Even more pathetic than having 2 clowns still muddying the water and pulling votes away from the real contenders.

FlaMurph on March 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM

First, all IL counts for this year is its GOP primary. Everyone knows the state will go heavily for Odumbo.

As far as having another debate–I’d only agree to it (no matter which camp I was in) if it was a FNC-run debate, or some other group that gives the right a fair shake. The debate would have to be about the economy and Obama’s horrible job, and what the candidate proposed to do about it.

BobScuba on March 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM

I only saw the last half of the speech. I thought it was pretty good. Pretty darn good. (But, I don’t put a lot of stock in politicians’ speeches.)

RedCrow on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Romney cruised to an easy win? Is that what we’re calling the lowest turnout in Illinois history?

The only joke about this primary is that it illustrates that some delegates are more equal than others. As of right now, Illionois delegates are much more valuable.

Since Illinois is very unlikely to go GOP in November, the bigger issue is whether any primary should be held at all. It looks like Mittens is going to get most of his delegates from states where he cannot win in November.

Proportional primaries are not good for the party.

platypus on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Sorry, but it’s not very likely Santorum is going to get a “do-over debate”.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

The only debate should be between Romney and Obama.

Enough of this stupidity.

Good Lt on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

debate?

Mittens already won

DHChron on March 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM

They don’t need to torture us with another debate. It is pointless. Santorum is done. His speech last night was rambling and whining and went on so long that networks cut away from him. He never knows when to shut up. This race is over, and all the talk is just to keep the news media in business for the next several months.

lhuffman34 on March 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Oh pleawse Ed, what do you expect to learn that you haven’t learned in 20 debates? The answer is nothing. You’re just hoping for a “game changer” because your guy is losing the game. Chaning the rules to avoid a loss is typical of losers. Would you be advocating for another “chance” for Romney to “change the game” had he lost in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and other states that more closely resemble a cross-section of the national electorate?

rhombus on March 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Did you even read the rest of what Ed wrote? He goes on to say that it was the lowest plurality because it was the first time in quite some time that the Illinois primary meant something and then he calls it an “impressive win.”

GOPRanknFile on March 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Romney/Santorum? Right. Like either one of them has the guts to debate and take a chance on more truths coming out ie their records and constant gaffes.

Newt and Paul should still be included anyway. Oh wait, Newt might make them look like the amateurs they are. Can’t have that.

IndeCon on March 21, 2012 at 9:00 AM

No, it’s time to accept Mitt is the nominee, get behind him, and hope he picks Rubio as his Veep. :-)

Punchenko on March 21, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Romney cruised to an easy win? Is that what we’re calling the lowest turnout in Illinois history?

platypus on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

This is actually inaccurate. There was a higher turnout this time than in 2008.

GOPRanknFile on March 21, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Again- two hours of Sherriff Rick rolling his eyes, acting exasperated, and lecturing us on his superiority? No thanks. If all four are involved, I’m in, otherwise no.

BettyRuth on March 21, 2012 at 9:03 AM

You know what might work for both of them? Another debate.

Why does another debate help Romney? I’m no fan of his, but he’s got this thing won. To the extent he can, all he has to do is run out the clock.

YYZ on March 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM

The 47% plurality won by Romney may have been the lowest winning percentage in Illinois in 100 years as Smart Politics points out, but it’s also the first time in decades that an Illinois primary meant anything to Republicans, too.

Funny how when Romney gets higher raw vote totals than in previous years, Santorum supporters like Ed Morrissey point out vote percentages. And, when Romney gets higher vote percentages than previous nominees, Santorum supporters like Ed Morrissey focus on raw vote totals.

Romney got more votes in this year’s Illinois Primary than McCain got in 2008:

2012 Illinois Primary:
Romney 428,434
Santorum 321,079

2008 Illinois Primary:
John McCain 424,071

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Since Illinois is very unlikely to go GOP in November, the bigger issue is whether any primary should be held at all. It looks like Mittens is going to get most of his delegates from states where he cannot win in November.

Ergo, the Republicans in those states don’t count in choosing our nominee. Go with that.

And it still hasn’t occurred to a lot of people that the fact that Romney is not from the South, and doesn’t make his entire campaign revolve around the social issues, means that he’s going to be competitive in places we haven’t been competitive in recently.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Romney cruised to an easy win? Is that what we’re calling the lowest turnout in Illinois history?

platypus on March 21, 2012 at 8:58 AM

What else do you call a double digit victory that was called within a half hour of the polls closing? Stop moving the goal posts already.

And no, this is not the time for another debate. We’ve had enough of them.

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Screw the alphabet media talking heads, let them busy themselves with what they do best, namely knobjobbing Obooba. How about a Tea Party moderated debate? Both candidates have a LOT of ground to bridge between themselves and the conservative base (fiscal for Santorum, social for Romney) – let’s give them an opportunity to do so while bashing Zero instead of each other.

Archivarix on March 21, 2012 at 9:07 AM

ATTN: ED MORRISSEY

No more debates! This thing is over. You should be calling for Rick Santorum to drop out of the race for the good of the party and the good of the country.

There is no believable way for Santorum to win the 1144 delegates.

The only thing we have left to debate is whether Rick Santorum should give his concession speech this week or next week.

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:07 AM

@GOPRanknFile – Yes, I did read the whole thing. He admits it’s impressive because he has to, it was. He starts the piece with this BS because he can’t help himself but find a way to cut the victory down before acknowledging the obvious.

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.

It’s over.

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Time for another debate?

Stuck meet rut.

Dusty on March 21, 2012 at 9:10 AM

not going to happen… why give santorum anymore free air time? He’s already co-hosting Fox’s entire lineup.

gatorboy on March 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

As long as Paul doesn’t sic his eyebrow on anyone, then yeah, have another debate.

Bishop on March 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

In the picture we get for the thread, both have their fist with the thumb pointing up, and the elbows are bent…what are they saying? I think if we knew, they could get banned on here!

KOOLAID2 on March 21, 2012 at 9:13 AM

not going to happen… why give santorum anymore free air time? He’s already co-hosting Fox’s entire lineup.

gatorboy on March 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

As long as Paul doesn’t sic his eyebrow on anyone, then yeah, have another debate.

Bishop on March 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Lol

Priscilla on March 21, 2012 at 9:14 AM

In the picture we get for the thread, both have their fist with the thumb pointing up, and the elbows are bent…what are they saying? I think if we knew, they could get banned on here!

KOOLAID2 on March 21, 2012 at 9:13 AM

They’re discussing the best way to sit on your own thumb and twirl instead of going after PBHO hammer and tongs.

Bishop on March 21, 2012 at 9:14 AM

sounds like the new meme for the delusional is that unless your state has a chance to go GOP in the fall, you shouldn’t be allowed to voice your preference in the primary. Good grief people – get a grip.

gatorboy on March 21, 2012 at 9:14 AM

How about someone ask about this in the next debate……

Progressive Mitt Romney would probably be in favor of more of this.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/08/garbage-police-webcam-in-trashcan-checks-recycling-performance/

Five households have signed up for a Newcastle University program announced Wednesday that puts photographs of every item placed in a garbage can on Facebook in a bid to raise consciousness about recycling efforts.

It uses a sensor and a camera phone to record the image each time the garbage can lid is shut. The person who does that is not photographed.

Households that participate will be rated on how efficiently they recycle.

“Normally when you throw something away and the lid goes down you forget about it — out of sight out of mind — and that’s the end of it,” said Anja Thieme, one of the postgraduate students in charge of the project. “But the reality could not be further from the truth. Waste has a massive environmental impact.”

She said the program is not designed to humiliate people who recycle poorly but to make people reflect on how they dispose of waste.

Early results are encouraging, researchers said, as the amount of garbage thrown away and not recycled has diminished in the weeks since the program began.

But the privacy advocacy group Big Brother Watch is raising concerns about the pilot project.

“This sounds like an elaborate joke — except it isn’t,” said director Daniel Hamilton. “Encouraging recycling is fine but publicly humiliating those who choose not to is outrageous.”

He said he would not be surprised if some local councils in England start similar programs.

The project is aimed at young people whose attitudes about sustainability are still being formed.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/06/08/garbage-police-webcam-in-trashcan-checks-recycling-performance/#ixzz1pkyZQ7LZ

PappyD61 on March 21, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.

It’s over.

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I feel the same way. At least Ed Morrissey had more decency than fellow Santorum supporter Michelle Malkin, whose material I used to enjoy, until it all started seeming like the work of a perpetually sour person, and whose uncharacteristically muted reaction to the huge Romney Illinois win included an unnecessary inclusion of a gloating tweet from a Romney supporter. Malkin just couldn’t help herself in attempting to sow animosity towards Romney supporters.

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:15 AM

@GOPRanknFile – Yes, I did read the whole thing. He admits it’s impressive because he has to, it was. He starts the piece with this BS because he can’t help himself but find a way to cut the victory down before acknowledging the obvious.

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.

It’s over.

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I guess it’s a matter of perception. I’m a Romney guy and I didn’t see it the way you did. I found Ed to be very gracious even though his guy has even more of a narrow path to victory now.

GOPRanknFile on March 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM

The latest Gallup Nationwide Poll showed ROmney up 34-30. We can talk getting out when Romney’s getting a majority or close to it. Why do you hate the states haven’t voted? You think good conservatives in North Carolina, Arkansas and Kentucky should have bow their heads to the moderate sycophants who voted in Illinois. Give me a break. Let everyone have their say.

adamsweb on March 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM

The very last thing we need right now is yet another pretense that this race is seriously contested any more. Unless the most boring, clean-livin’ GOP presidential candidate in history has a closet full of skeletons we don’t know about, this race is over.

Like the satirical BuzzFeed story about Romney “losing Illinois by winning it,” another debate would serve only to muddy waters that are finally clearing up. Romney’s the nominee, so folks may as well make their peace with that.

I sympathize with people who have their heart set on someone else. But Romney actually put the work in to win this. Had conservatives done a better job recruiting a quality candidate, Romney might have been beaten easily. I would advise those folks either to work on pushing Romney rightward, or start seriously grooming a candidate like Rubio for a future slam-dunk presidential bid.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM

You know what might work for both of them? Another debate.

Total BS. Romney just floored Santy. Santy needs a lifeline. It’s not Romney’s responsibility to throw him one.

cicerone on March 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM

DHChron
hey buddy, your still here, I got worried!
Hows Texas?

angrymike on March 21, 2012 at 9:18 AM

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.
It’s over.
pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I’m hoping he can save himself from following Erick Erickson’s embarrassing fate at RedState. Long after Perry was beyond any hope, Erickson was still trying to resuscitate that dead campaign. When you find yourself constantly having to claim that a campaign is just “pining for the fjords“, it should dawn on you that there’s a big, big problem.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

They don’t need to torture us with another debate. It is pointless. Santorum is done. His speech last night was rambling and whining and went on so long that networks cut away from him. He never knows when to shut up. This race is over, and all the talk is just to keep the news media in business for the next several months.

lhuffman34 on March 21, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Are you not seeing the brilliance of his strategy? Santorum’s goal is to keep himself front and center in this race, boring us all to death with his, “I am smarter than you” lectures, (um, “speeches”) and THEN, once he’s destroyed Romney’s, (and his own) reputation, and he drags his sorry butt to the convention, you will then admire his tenacity, and realize that he is the only candidate worthy of this nomination. And if you don’t accept him, then you’re probably just a rich Mormon lover who’s going to hell anyway.

BettyRuth on March 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Bluegrill
I can understand if all mittbots were like you, know one would like your hero!

angrymike on March 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM

Another debate? How many sequels to that movie do we need? No thanks.

lynncgb on March 21, 2012 at 9:22 AM

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.

It’s over.

pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I feel the same way. At least Ed Morrissey had more decency than fellow Santorum supporter Michelle Malkin, whose material I used to enjoy, until it all started seeming like the work of a perpetually sour person, and whose uncharacteristically muted reaction to the huge Romney Illinois win included an unnecessary inclusion of a gloating tweet from a Romney supporter. Malkin just couldn’t help herself in attempting to sow animosity towards Romney supporters.

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:15 AM

I agree with you both. I’m still shaking my head at the ridiculous concept that there “was no winner” on Super Tuesday. But yes, at least Ed has been upfront about his support for Santorum. That’s more honorable than the perpetual sniping from others who won’t even tell us who they think is a better choice than Romney.

cicerone on March 21, 2012 at 9:23 AM

“…it’s also the first time in decades that an Illinois primary meant anything to Republicans…”

Uh, the fact that a majority of Illinois Republican voted for Romney (on top of the tragically low turnout), proves that Republicans have given up on defeating obama – apparently, the Illinois primary meant nothing to Republican voters.

Romney is a disaster. Seriously, did Republicans not learn anything from 2008? A progressive like Romney cannot beat obama. A vote for Romney is a vote for surrender.

Pork-Chop on March 21, 2012 at 9:23 AM

“With a decisive win in the Illinois presidential primary, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sets his sights on the bayou where Louisiana holds the next Republican primary.”

Good luck with that. “Southern man don’t need him around anyhow”.
Has Gov. Jindal endorsed anyone yet?
(if he’s smart, he’ll keep his powder dry)

Wishful thinking. No way Newt or RP would agree to being excluded from a debate between Santorum and Romney.

Syzygy on March 21, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Can’t say that I blame them. Both Mittens and Saint Rick are odious POTUS candidates.
(read: LOSER)
Roll over for the Establish if y’all want to, sing the praises of either zealot, and we’ll see four more miserable, leaderless years until Slappy is finally sent packing.
Ya …
Let’s have another debate – this time, make it fact-based.

NOTE: Mittens might want to move up to Great Clips. His wife gives a lousy haircut.

Newt / Perry 2012

§§§§§§§§§ ~(Ä)~ §§§§§§§§§
GOP Attack Squad Since 1972

Karl Magnus on March 21, 2012 at 9:27 AM

No, it’s time to accept Mitt is the nominee, get behind him, and hope he picks Rubio as his Veep. :-)
Punchenko on March 21, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Good advice, even if it comes from someone who has stated he is voting for Obama.

Basilsbest on March 21, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Romney is a disaster. Seriously, did Republicans not learn anything from 2008? A progressive like Romney cannot beat obama. A vote for Romney is a vote for surrender.

Pork-Chop on March 21, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Problem is, Santorum is at least as progressive as Romney. As usual, we’re supposed to choose between Giant Douche and Turd Sandwich.

Archivarix on March 21, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Can someone please explain to me why people are trying to undercut Romney’s big Illinois win by talking about voter turnout levels, when in reality Romney got more votes this year than McCain got 4 years ago?

2012 Illinois Primary:
Romney 428,434

Santorum 321,079

2008 Illinois Primary:
John McCain 424,071

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Schedule the debate with Obama. It’s done.

Philly on March 21, 2012 at 9:30 AM

I give Ed credit for openly proclaiming his bias. And he has every right to publicly support his candidate, but he’s straining to find a dark cloud in a silver lining with the lead to this post.
It’s over.
pjaromin on March 21, 2012 at 9:08 AM

I think Ed’s done a terrific job of (mostly) sticking to analysis over blatant advocacy, though I’m sure the latter is very tempting. I also appreciate that he let it be known whom he was pulling for, versus those who claim not to be supporting anyone yet continue to train most of their passive aggressive shots at a particular candidate over the others (*cough*Tina*cough*).

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Were there a lot more registered Republicans in Illinois this year than there were 4 years ago?

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Im wary of Mitt but he did give a great speech last night compared to Santorum and he has done better overall in the debates. At this point he needs to act like the nominee and continue in the same manner he did last night. Keep hammering the economy. Dont see him doing another debate. If Santorum cant win LA very decisively he needs to leave. Newt is embarrasing himself and I liked Newt.

ldbgcoleman on March 21, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Hey, for those who are positively sure Romney is going to lose, I suggest you start working on 2016 NOW. I’ve been listening to the same whining since 2008 but what did the whiners do to recruit a quality candidate who can beat the dreaded RINO moderates? NOT A DAMN THING but whine! So you reap what you sow. May I remind people that Reagan ran in three primaries before winning. It takes hard work to win a primary and the Great Conservative pumpkin isn’t going to magically appear on a platter. So get to work instead of plotting to pee in the Tampa punchbowl.

rhombus on March 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Malkin sowing animosity? Hahaha. Coming from you, that’s hilarious. Trust me; you and a few other Romney supporters create all the animosity for yourselves. You don’t need any help from Michelle.

adamsweb on March 21, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Thank you.

pannw on March 21, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Were there a lot more registered Republicans in Illinois this year than there were 4 years ago?

bluegill on March 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Yes…

right2bright on March 21, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Buddy Roemer wants it too. Lets invite all the “also rans” not just Santorum.

swamp_yankee on March 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM

If we’re going to anoint Romney the guy, it would be nice to see him win a majority–not a plurality–with robust turnout, in more primary states where the GOP actually has a shot in November.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

If we’re going to anoint Romney the guy, it would be nice to see him win a majority–not a plurality–with robust turnout, in more primary states where the GOP actually has a shot in November.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

Goalposts: moved.

Good Lt on March 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Good advice, even if it comes from someone who has stated he is voting for Obama.

Basilsbest on March 21, 2012 at 9:27 AM

I was just venting, Basil. Your childish obnoxiousness — along with a few other hardcore Mitt folks — sometimes drives those of us who are sane, conservative, and painfully aware of Mitt’s flaws to say, well, unfortunate things. Now that is all but certain, I support Romney 100% now that he is the nominee and am hoping he can pull it off come November (even if that does mean having to share a phonebank with someone like you.)

:-)

Punchenko on March 21, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Goalposts: moved.

Good Lt on March 21, 2012 at 9:48 AM

You Romney folks have the thinnest skin imaginable. My point is legitimate. Who really cares how strong Mitt is in Illinois? He’s not winning there in November. I want to beat Obama. You folks say Mitt’s the only one who can do it. Great. Show me. Show me he has the ability to connect and resonate with voters in places where we have a real shot at taking down this dictator-in-chief in November.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

You know what might work for both of them? Another debate.

In other words, noted Santorum supporter Ed Morrissey desperately looking for any life preserver to save drowning Santorum campaign.

Sorry, Ed. Time for the Anybody-But-Romneys to recognize that Mitt’s inevitable.

Vyce on March 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Can someone please explain to me why people are trying to undercut Romney’s big Illinois win by talking about voter turnout levels, when in reality Romney got more votes this year than McCain got 4 years ago?

2012 Illinois Primary:
Romney 428,434
Santorum 321,079

2008 Illinois Primary:
John McCain 424,071

And how’d McCain fare in Illinois in the general election in 2008?

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

You Romney folks have the thinnest skin imaginable. My point is legitimate. Who really cares how strong Mitt is in Illinois? He’s not winning there in November. I want to beat Obama. You folks say Mitt’s the only one who can do it. Great. Show me. Show me he has the ability to connect and resonate with voters in places where we have a real shot at taking down this dictator-in-chief in November.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

He’s not going to set his hair on fire.

That’s not good enough for a lot of people.

Good Lt on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Let’s stipulate that we need yet another debate added to the nearly 2 dozen debates already in the can. So…what do you want to talk about? What is there left to say? What topic hasn’t been raised? Contraception? Dogs on the car roof?

Please God, let there not be another debate. And if this plea is too much to ask, then at least give me the strength to bear the unbearable.

rogaineguy on March 21, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Who really cares how strong Mitt is in Illinois? He’s not winning there in November. I want to beat Obama.
Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

So, naturally, we should go with someone who is losing to Mitt instead.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

He’s not going to set his hair on fire.

That’s not good enough for a lot of people.

Good Lt on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

“Setting his hair on fire” was Mitt’s straw man, not what any of us asked him to do.
Just show a real literacy and understanding of conservatism, something beyond “I saved the Olympics” and platitudes like “let’s make America great again.” I don’t question Mitt’s love for this country. That makes him infinitely preferable to Obama to me.
But you can yell at, insult and condescend to Romney skeptics all you want–and none of that is going to enable him to connect with would-be voters one bit more than he is now.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM

If we’re going to anoint Romney the guy, it would be nice to see him win a majority–not a plurality–with robust turnout, in more primary states where the GOP actually has a shot in November.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

What difference does it make if the state he won will go for Obama in November? There are still Republicans there. I don’t get how winning in blue states somehow makes his victories illegitimate…to flip it around, the GOP nominee is guaranteed to take those traditional red states in November regardless, so why would you want a nominee who ONLY wins those in the primary? Mitt has won very red states, (i.e. ID), battlegrounds (OH, FL), and blue ones.

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:12 AM

And how’d McCain fare in Illinois in the general election in 2008?

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

That’s got to be one of the most irrelevant rejoinders I think I’ve ever read.

I honestly can’t fathom how many people believe that performing well in blue and purple states is a liability and not an asset to a candidate who has to win them later.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

So, naturally, we should go with someone who is losing to Mitt instead.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

You know what? The most “convincing” refrain Romney supporters can ever come up with in support of their guy is that “the other guy is worse.”
That inspires not a whit of confidence.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

That’s got to be one of the most irrelevant rejoinders I think I’ve ever read.

I honestly can’t fathom how many people believe that performing well in blue and purple states is a liability and not an asset to a candidate who has to win them later.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

No more irrelevant than winning a state like Illinois is in a GOP primary.
Performing well in a purple state is important. Illinois isn’t purple.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

The last debate was primarily Santorum vs Romney, as Paul and Gingrich didn’t much time. Personally, I’d like to see another debate, but only if all four were included. I wouldn’t watch a debate that was exclusively Romney vs Santorum.

NbyNW on March 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

And how’d McCain fare in Illinois in the general election in 2008?
Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

That’s got to be one of the most irrelevant rejoinders I think I’ve ever read.
I honestly can’t fathom how many people believe that performing well in blue and purple states is a liability and not an asset to a candidate who has to win them later.
KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Yeah, it is indeed a puzzler when doing great and making advances in “enemy territory” is considered a bad thing.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The game is over…time for these guys to bow out.

rubberneck on March 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM

Yeah, it is indeed a puzzler when doing great and making advances in “enemy territory” is considered a bad thing.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

53 percent of a small turnout of GOP voters voted against Romney in a matchup against other GOP candidates in a blue state.

1) How is that doing great?

2) How is that any kind of encouragement that he could be competitive against Obama in his home state?

The Crimson Tide “did great” in the SEC too. Does that make them any more likely to go beat the Patriots in Foxboro?

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Talk about beating a dead horse. The only person they should consider debating at this point is Obama.

gaius on March 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM

We don’t need to give the media or DNC any more set up sound bites to use against the Republican party or nominee.

2012 Illinois Primary:
Romney 428,434
Santorum 321,079

2008 Illinois Primary:
John McCain 424,071
And how’d McCain fare in Illinois in the general election in 2008?

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Better then the other Republican candidates, who weren’t on the ballot, obviously. If you’re trying to make a case that we should go with the Republican with the second highest vote counts (Santorum) because he has a better chance of getting more votes in the general, I’m not seeing the logic.

Also, overall voter turnout in the Republican primary was higher than in 2008. It was Democrat turnout that was lower- the link is on Drudge.

Maybe Romney won’t be able to beat Obama. It’s going to be very difficult with the full force of the media behind Obama. But based on the voting thus far, he looks to be the best shot at removing Obama from the Oval office this election.

talkingpoints on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

It probably doesn’t need saying, but just so it’s clear:

Mano a mano does not mean “man to man”, but “hand to hand”.

You can drive el trucko or read el booko, but you can’t just stick -o on the end of everything!

Tzetzes on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

So, naturally, we should go with someone who is losing to Mitt instead.
whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:11 AM

You know what? The most “convincing” refrain Romney supporters can ever come up with in support of their guy is that “the other guy is worse.”
That inspires not a whit of confidence.
Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Wrong “refrain”. The only refrain here is that others just aren’t getting the votes. No team goes into the SuperBowl with it’s 3rd string QB as starter. You’re welcome to file an AA complaint, though, of course.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

No more irrelevant than winning a state like Illinois is in a GOP primary.
Performing well in a purple state is important. Illinois isn’t purple.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

If our nominee has appeal and can make inroads in places that Republicans haven’t seriously contested in decades, we’re changing the electoral calculus. That’s why winning big cities and suburbs is critically important.

Put another way: if Mitt Romney makes Barack Obama spend money to defend Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon, or New Jersey, we’ve already won the presidential race. End of story.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

No more irrelevant than winning a state like Illinois is in a GOP primary.
Performing well in a purple state is important. Illinois isn’t purple.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Do you not understand that there are Republicans who live there, too? Why is their voice irrelevant to the process of picking a GOP nominee?

Not to mention, of course, that Mitt has won red states, too. Good lord.

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Another debate? I thought both Romney and Santorum were done with debating each other?

Another debate? Let’s see. Oh, I get it. More hits and more newsreads for the MSM. Anything to keep the primary going.

bumsteaddithers on March 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Yeah, it is indeed a puzzler when doing great and making advances in “enemy territory” is considered a bad thing.
whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:19 AM

53 percent of a small turnout of GOP voters voted against Romney in a matchup against other GOP candidates in a blue state.
Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Again, as folks have pointed out here, there’s just no logical line to your reasoning. This is underlined by that fact that even more voters “have voted against” all the other candidates.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

If they have another debate would anyone watch it?

CorporatePiggy on March 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM

If they have another debate would anyone watch it?
CorporatePiggy on March 21, 2012 at 10:31 AM

I suspect even the candidates would refuse to watch.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Ugh. So it’s pretty much gonna be Romney. Such a prospect — we get to vote for a Progressive-Stalinist or a Progressive-Lite. Time to go into hibernation. Wake me up in Spring 2016, that is, if we still have a country.

Scriptor on March 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Do you not understand that there are Republicans who live there, too? Why is their voice irrelevant to the process of picking a GOP nominee?

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Well, obviously, because Republicans outside of Dixie aren’t authentic Republicans. Especially if they happen to live in the suburbs of a city larger in population than Savannah, Georgia. Then, they’re just traitors to the conservative cause.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Not to mention, of course, that Mitt has won red states, too. Good lord.

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Condescension. The most valued weapon in the arsenal of the Romney acolyte.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Well, obviously, because Republicans outside of Dixie aren’t authentic Republicans. Especially if they happen to live in the suburbs of a city larger in population than Savannah, Georgia. Then, they’re just traitors to the conservative cause.

KingGold on March 21, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Oh, so you think I live in the South. Well you’re only off by a thousand miles or so. But, as your man likes to say in his debates, “nice try.”

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:41 AM

C’mon Ed, Santorum is toast. We all might as well come to terms with Romney, Santorum included, and negotiate the best possible platform plank deal. Judges too, if Romney will agree to talk about those.

Calling for a debate is just plain dumb. It won’t happen, and it shouldn’t happen. The election is over.

Lets recognize reality, nominate Romney, and move on to beat Obama. To protect ourselves lets make sure the Congress gets more and more conservative, forcing Romney away from his “reset” tendancies.

MTF on March 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Evidently your thick skull can’t be reasoned with. That’s fine. Ed is making a fool out of himself with these posts…join him.

rubberneck on March 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Do you not understand that there are Republicans who live there, too? Why is their voice irrelevant to the process of picking a GOP nominee?
Not to mention, of course, that Mitt has won red states, too. Good lord.
changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I’m beginning to suspect the new user is a lib Moby-troller looking to stir up infighting. I mean, nobody could be so totally lacking in basic logic and reason.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM

Condescension. The most valued weapon in the arsenal of the Romney acolyte.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Flawed reasoning. All the ABR crowd has left (as they argue that winning in blue states is a bad thing…)

changer1701 on March 21, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The delegate math is too much in one candidate’s favor.

The only time for a Romney VS Santorum debate would be if the nomination is over, and neither got the necessary amount of delegates. Under those circumstances, a debate would be useful, just as a way to give delegates more information, and to possibly try to create a sudden surge of support for one of the candidates prior to the nominating convention.

Mister Mets on March 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Evidently your thick skull can’t be reasoned with. That’s fine. Ed is making a fool out of himself with these posts…join him.

rubberneck on March 21, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Ah, yes, we should listen to beacons of reason and decorum like yourself, who impugn those who dare to criticize the inevitable one as “fools” or “thick-skulled.”
Did you ever notice that a disproportionate percentage of the name-calling and insults on these threads come from Romney supporters?
Did you ever think that the condescending, dismissive attitude you assault any dissenters with just hardens people’s resistance to your candidate? It certainly doesn’t coalesce support around your candidate?
No, of course you don’t. Because you don’t think. I think the rubber extends well above your neck, there, rubberneck.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I’m beginning to suspect the new user is a lib Moby-troller looking to stir up infighting. I mean, nobody could be so totally lacking in basic logic and reason.

whatcat on March 21, 2012 at 10:48 AM

A lib troller? LOL. I’ve probably voted Republican in a lot more elections than you have.
Yeah, go through the hundreds of posts I’ve made and find any evidence of a leftist slant.
Difference between me and you is I’ll vote for Romney if he’s the nominee.
You wouldn’t vote for either Santorum or Gingrich if they were. You’d either stay home or vote for Obama, like you probably did in 2008.
Amazing how many of you RomBots assume the language, the talking points and the tactics of the far Left–including projection.

I’ll leave you sore winners to your echo chamber now.

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 11:25 AM

So many Romney supporters loathe conservatives a lot more than they loathe liberals. What does that say about them?

Right Mover on March 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM

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