All three of the contests last night were beauty contests where none of the four remaining candidates invested significant resources. No wonder turnout was low. That said, supporters of one candidate were particularly enthusiastic and Rick Santorum scored big, sweeping all three.
More than anything, this suggests a longing among conservatives for a standard bearer in this contest. And with Newt Gingrich having melted down in Florida and Nevada, Rick Santorum, barely vetted in the aftermath of his Iowa showing, fits the bill.
The real story, as John Fund put it last night in the National Review, is that Mitt Romey
. . . has failed to close the deal with conservatives, who dominate the Republican party more than they did in 2008. Romney drew the ire of conservative icons Steve Forbes and Dick Armey this week when he endorsed inflation-indexed minimum-wage increases — something every free-market economist worth his chops knows would make it harder for people to get entry-level jobs. . . .
Romney would help himself and his party if he realized that he will have a much higher chance of winning the general election if he reaches out to conservatives and convinces them to be enthusiastic. It’s one thing to win the vote of every anti-Obama voter in the country, but on his current trajectory Romney will fail to convince many of them to make that extra effort to get their friends and neighbors to the polls.
Via HotAir. Romney might have won a couple of last night’s contests had he put more effort into getting his supporters to the polls, but that they didn’t show up of their own accord suggests a lack of enthusiasm for their man.
If the former Bay State governor wants to win the nomination — and the general election — he should follow the lead of Paul Ryan and go bold. He needs to rally conservatives to his cause.
The next few days will really test Romney’s mettle. He needs this time not to detail his opponent’s flaws, but to highlight his strengths, detail the conservative reforms he supports and remind people of his ability to execute them.