With 30,015 votes (6 shy of his tally four years ago), Mitt Romney edged out Rick Santorum by 8 votes to win the Iowa caucuses last night. Seems that late deciders broke for the former Pennsylvania Senator. Ron Paul came in third, roughly 4,000 votes behind the frontrunners. Newt Gingrich who once led polls in the Hawkeye State ran nearly 10,000 votes behind Paul.
One questions why the former Speaker is remaining in the campaign. The erstwhile frontrunner is an also run. No wonder his was the most negative of the speeches of the top six GOP finishers, he the most ready to attack a fellow Republican. How shall we put this delicately? It’s over for Newt.
Despite his narrow loss, Santorum still remains the story. And now he’ll be subject to something to which he had previously been spared: scrutiny. His record shows that he’s no Tea Party conservative, not to mention some of the strange things he’s said about gay people.
Commenting to my post on Santorum’s surge, our reader Dave B, without mincing words, takes on some of the media “spin” certain to come about the shape of this race:
Why are we falling for the Left’s [notion] about an “anti-Romney” candidate? Have we took a single second to identify what that means? It means we want a candidate that is anti-Israel, anti-allies, pro-abortion, anti-Christian, anti-military, big government, more taxes, and someone that doesn’t care about foreign affairs especially in Iran. The LEFT created that term and we have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. And Romney is the “establishment” candidate? What the hell does that mean? Ann Coulter, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Senator Thune, and Christine O’Donnell have suddently become “establishment”?
This is perhaps not the clear victory Romney had hoped for. But, one should also note that not until recently did the former Massachusetts governor lead in any Iowa polls. In some cases, he was a distant second. A win is a win, this one not a rousing endorsement, but a minor accomplishment.
UPDATE: Confirming a point I made in my concluding paragraph, Nate Silver, in post over at fivethirtyeight, reminds us that “a poll conducted as recently as Dec. 12 actually had Mr. Perry ahead of Mr. Romney”. Silver also offers a criticism in line with that of many conservatives:
There is certainly the chance that [Romney] wins the nomination without really capturing Republican voters’ hearts and minds, and that might have an impact on Republican turnout at the margin in November.
That said, Silver’s
bottom line is that Mr. Romney’s chances of becoming president are a little higher than they were 24 hours ago, quite a bit higher than they were 24 days ago, and much higher than they were 24 months ago, when he was one of among dozens of potential aspirants to the nomination. If Mr. Romney achieves his goal, he will have some more aesthetically-pleasing victories along the way.