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Romney wins Iowa (by 8 votes), Newt far behind

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:15 am - January 4, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

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.



  1. I think what is meant by an “Anti-Romney” candidate is a candidate who is reliably conservative and genuine. Not someone who seems like an opportunistic political windsock, who doesn’t reveal his core but simply responds with robotic talking points.

    Comment by V the K — January 4, 2012 @ 8:43 am - January 4, 2012

  2. V, I wouldn’t call that kind of guy an anti-Romney candidate, but the ideal GOP candidate. But, then again, i your second sentence, you do address the former Massachusetts governor’s major flaws.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 4, 2012 @ 8:48 am - January 4, 2012

  3. I repeat, Romney is not a conservative. He is a northeast liberal republican who equals the slow road to a marxist America in place of the fast road to a marxist America prefered by democrats.

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 4, 2012 @ 9:19 am - January 4, 2012

  4. Dan, my critique of Romney has never been that his stated policy positions are bad, only that they are timid compared with the bolder reforms proposed by Perry, Santorum, Gingrich, and even Huntsman. It’s not that his stated policies aren’t conservative, it’s more that he seems to lack the conviction and courage to see them through.

    Romney is set to cruise to the nomination, which is unfortunate. A harder-fought race might have provoked him to some much-needed boldness and honesty.

    Comment by V the K — January 4, 2012 @ 9:33 am - January 4, 2012

  5. […] This morning on CNBC, Steve Forbes who made a bid for the GOP nomination in 1996 offered perhaps the best concise criticism of Mitt Romney (well, except for that of a regular reader V the K, “an opportunistic political windsock, who doesn’t reveal his core but simply responds with robotic …“.) […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Time for Romney to Put Forward Bold Economic Plan — January 4, 2012 @ 9:36 am - January 4, 2012

  6. Three lessons came out of the Iowa caucus last night:
    1. Every vote COUNTS

    2. Mitt just keeps on, keeping on. There is something to be said about consistency. You know what you are getting with him and I think there is comfort in that fact for a segment of voters during these times of uncertainty.

    3. Santorum showed once again that this is a unique and amazing country. What other country would afford a relative unknown this opportunity? There is none. Santorum shows everyone that if you have a deep conviction, work your tail off and persevere that good things can result. Yet another example of the American dream.

    Comment by NebraskaPatriot — January 4, 2012 @ 9:42 am - January 4, 2012

  7. V, seems like you anticipated my latest post (in which I quote you)!

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 4, 2012 @ 9:42 am - January 4, 2012

  8. With all the Romney-bashing here, does this imply that we-here can live with Santorum as the 2012 candidate? **shudder** Romney’s no peach and Dr. Paul’s your crazy uncle who believes in UFO conspiracies…but Santorum?

    I despair….

    Being in the Philadelphia media market all my life, I’ve seen plenty of Santorum and his politics close-up. He’s like the Biblical Antichrist…a pleasing, smiling countenance who will lead the whole world to an apocalypse.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 4, 2012 @ 9:47 am - January 4, 2012

  9. Thanks for the tip, Dan.

    Comment by V the K — January 4, 2012 @ 9:51 am - January 4, 2012

  10. Santorum’s much maligned and mischaracterized comments on teh gheys don’t bother me nearly as much as his endorsement of Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, or his support of Medicare Part D.

    Comment by V the K — January 4, 2012 @ 9:52 am - January 4, 2012

  11. Santorum’s much maligned and mischaracterized comments on teh gheys don’t bother me nearly as much as his endorsement of Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, or his support of Medicare Part D.

    Same here. Santorum isn’t exactly conservative, but he’s moreso than Romney. And he is more principled than Romney. But my major concern with him would be the media inevitably painting him as some sort of far-right fascist theocrat.

    (PS, I used to comment using the handle “Naamloos” but I will henceforth use the handle “Rattlesnake”, and I’ll say this a few times just to be completely transparent.)

    Comment by Rattlesnake — January 4, 2012 @ 6:15 pm - January 4, 2012

  12. And, Rattlesnake, Santorum’s inability to laugh off that characterization as Ronald Reagan could have done.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — January 5, 2012 @ 5:35 pm - January 5, 2012

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