Even though he’s on temporary assignment to the North Pole to monitor polar ice levels, our host Ed Morrissey still checked in on the Super Tuesday results via his regular column at CNN. In a similar theme with some other underwhelmed observers, Ed saw the results as A Night With No Winners.
Going into the Super Tuesday contests, the goals of each candidate were clear. Mitt Romney needed to beat Rick Santorum in Ohio and Tennessee to knock him out of the race. Santorum needed to win more primaries than Newt Gingrich to knock him out of the race. Gingrich needed to win something, and so did Ron Paul. So did they achieve their goals?
For the most part … no…
Santorum’s surprisingly strong win in Tennessee (and an expectedly strong win in Oklahoma) delayed Romney’s triumph but didn’t necessarily advance his own nomination hopes. He also stunned Ron Paul in North Dakota’s nonbinding caucus, where Paul had pinned his hopes for a game-changing triumph.
However, Santorum has now lost a second Rust Belt, blue-collar state to Romney after leading by double digits in pre-primary polls in Ohio, and even Santorum’s Tennessee win won’t overshadow losing a state that he needed to win to make the claim that he connects better with working-class voters.
But… but.. but… Ed! What about Ron Paul!?!?!?
As for Paul, he only became a factor in Virginia, where a surprisingly strong second-place finish netted him three delegates, as it did in Vermont, where his second-place finish was more disappointing. In North Dakota, Paul trailed Santorum by 12 points and only finished ahead of Romney by 4 despite having personally campaigned in the state during the caucuses themselves. Paul may get headlines, but he’s not winning enough delegates to matter — and fumbling the expectations game will cost him even more media credibility.
Well, that’s rather harsh, isn’t it? No matter… you guys know the drill after long years of doing this. Read the whole thing.