DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is gleeful this morning, convinced that Mitt Romney’s narrow win of the Iowa caucuses actually amounts to a loss for him — and a boon for Democrats.
“When is a win a loss?” DWS asked in an interview with Gretchen Carlson on Fox News this morning. “When you spent six years and more than $4 million running for the second time trying to win the state of Iowa and you spent the most and only beat the guy who spent the least in the state by eight votes.”
But that’s a bit misleading. As Byron York pointed out (and Ed cited), Romney might have spent more than Santorum — but only because he had more to spend. Romney concentrated far fewer of his total resources on Iowa than did Santorum. Compare Santorum’s 350 Iowa campaign events in 105 days with Romney’s 38 campaign events in a mere 19 days.
Insofar as such a close race indicates that Republican voters in Iowa were still not excited to vote overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney, last night hints at how far the GOP has to go to be prepared for the general. No candidate is yet a rallying point for conservatives, moderates, independents and disaffected Democrats alike. But that still doesn’t make last night “a great night” for Democrats. The GOP base, at least, will be eager to vote against Obama almost no matter who the nominee is. Even if that nominee doesn’t attract disappointed former Obama supporters, that doesn’t mean Obama won’t have his work cut out for him to actually turn enough supporters out at the polls.
Then, too, conventional wisdom and common sense now suggest that the nominee will almost certainly be Romney — and, if that’s not necessarily good news for full-spectrum conservatives (my latest concern is Romney’s loose support for a value-added tax), it’s also really not good news for the Dems, as Carlson pointed out repeatedly to DWS this morning. Romney consistently gives Obama a run for his money in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, and the latest Rasmussen poll to pit the former Massachusetts governor against the incumbent president shows Romney ahead by six points, 45 to 39. Most importantly, in an election that will be dominated by jobs and the economy, Romney has a much stronger record of job creation than the president. The DNC fear of Romney has been demonstrated repeatedly by their insistent attacks on him — but DWS suggests Romney has earned that scrutiny by repeatedly calling out Obama.
If anything, DWS’ spin of last night and the entire nomination process might eventually do what no Republican campaign has yet been able to do successfully: Incense Republicans enough to vehemently rally around whatever candidate prevails in the primary. Certainly, she makes me feel defensive of Romney — and nobody else has been able to do that.