Like the ghost of Banquo, Rick Santorum appears to have rejoined the boys at the table. At least in some eyes, although the truth of the matter is, despite winning caucuses in Colorado, Minnesota, and state wide voting in Missouri he didn't gain a single delegate, at least not yet. Like Iowa, the delegates in Colorado and Minnesota will actually be chosen later, although the results of the caucus polls are pretty indicative of how things will shake out. Missouri was strictly a beauty contest. It has nothing at all to do with the picking of delegates.
No the real joy in the Santorum camp has to rest with the knowledge that large numbers of republicans are still utterly appalled with the idea of Mitt Romney being the nominee. When Romney doesn't spend huge amounts of time and more money than Sheldon by God Adelson in a state he doesn't fare well.
Through eight contests Santorum has won four, although Iowa was, for all practical purposes, a push. Romney has won three, Newt won in South Carolina and Dr. Ron Paul has been shut out. The current delegate count heavily favors the Mittster however. He leads with 91, while Santorum has locked up only 44, one less than the uncommitted delegates. Gingrich is sitting at 29 and the hapless, yet determined, Paul has 8.
Perhaps the most alarming news for every candidate concerned is the decrease in interest in all three states. The turnout in Colorado was down 6.7% from 2008. In Minnesota it was down 24% and in Missouri a staggering 134%. In other words there were a ton of people who voted for "none of the above." It is not a particularly encouraging sign for the party as a whole.
The national press has immediately begun to squawk loudly about Romney being on the ropes, once again. Next up are Arizona and Michigan on the 28th. Romney should be the odds on favorite in both places. Arizona has a large Mormon presence and Michigan is a home state of sorts for him. His father ran American Motors there and was governor. Of course it could be said Mitt should have won both Colorado and Minnesota. Although Minnesota voters sometimes tend to go off their collective nut. How else do you explain former Governor, Jessie "The Body" Ventura.
No, the one in real trouble here is Gingrich. He finished third in Colorado, fourth in Minnesota, and didn't even make the ballot in Missouri. Worse, it appears Sheldon and Miriam are becoming edgy. Adelson has all ready approached Romney with promises of support "if" he is the nominee. Adelson probably won't dump Gingrich until the dust settles completely, but it has to be disheartening to his campaign people knowing that their cash cow is starting to belly up to the bar with the other guy.
The painful fact is that none of these guys can sustain a roll. None of them have the message, or the personality that can separate them from the rest of the pack. And as the economy continues its slow but steady improvement the argument for retaining Barak Obama becomes stronger and stronger. After all it was a republican who nearly destroyed it, why trust someone from the same party, with the same philosophies to implement a recovery that is all ready happening.
Those, "He saved GM and Killed Bin Laden" bumper stickers are probably heating up presses as I type. As the last four republicans standing continue to duke it out the president can hone his rhetoric and continue to raise funds for the campaign against the eventual winner. A winner, that no matter who it is, will not have the whole hearted support of the entire spectrum of GOP voters and certainly not of the independents.
Look for large shipments of Maalox and Valium to be delivered on a daily basis to the campaign headquarters of those still involved in this circus the rest of the way. Desperation is quickly becoming the norm. Everyone is starting to sweat.