The aftermath: Pack a lunch and a flashlight

Say, do you remember that time when Mitt Romney waded into the battle on Super Tuesday and knocked out his foes with an inspiring, decisive victory? Yeah… me neither. Last night had to be pretty much of a disappointment no matter who you happen to support. Allahpundit was covering it live, of course, but once all of the “victory party” hangovers have begun to fade, the results were less than impressive. We can justifiably say that Mitt “won” by racking up victories in Ohio, Massachusetts, Idaho, Virginia, Vermont and Alaska, along with a fairly impressive haul of delegates. But the Buckeye State victory came by a margin that wouldn’t fill up a decent college football game audience.

Rick Santorum pulled out some wins people didn’t expect in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota, which gives him more than ample reason to continue the long slog. (Newt took his home state which he apparently feels is reason enough to do the same.) Unfortunately, several analysts this morning have been running the numbers and, in order to reach the magic number, Santorum will need to take somewhere between 64 and 70 percent of the remaining delegates. How likely does that sound given the current climate?

Still, Jim Geraghty sees dark clouds on the horizon for Mr. Romney.

The losses in Georgia, Tennessee, and Oklahoma themselves aren’t bad, but Romney’s share of the vote is pretty disappointing: 26 percent in Georgia, 28 percent in Oklahoma, 28 percent in Tennessee. Throw in 24 percent in North Dakota.

I suppose he and his team can boast that they won Idaho (62 percent, even more than in Virginia) and Alaska (32 percent, 3 percentage points over Santorum).

But after last week’s big wins in Michigan and Arizona, we were supposed to see signs of the party starting to unify around Romney. Instead, the frontrunner has a problem with the Midwest and South that is keeping him at less than 3 in 10 right now. That was good enough for second place in most of these states, but that’s still setting a low bar – beat out Ron Paul and in most cases, Newt, who is becoming an afterthought. (More on this below.) Sure, Romney had a great night in terms of delegates. I stand by my assessment that his road to the nomination is the hardest, except for all of the others. But he’s still got glaring weaknesses in connecting with people.

When I was younger, back shortly after the invention of dinosaurs, guys would occasionally trade barbs with their friends, announcing that they were going to “kick their butt” over some joke or another. One of my favorite responses was, “you’d better pack a lunch and a flashlight, ’cause that’s gonna take all day and half the night.” I hope Mitt has brought along plenty to eat and adequate lighting, because even if he is going to win this thing eventually, Rick Santorum doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere any time soon.

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