With Michael Moore telling Rachel Maddow that some of his “Democratic friends will vote for [Rick] Santorum in something they are calling Operation Hilarity“, we have some evidence that the DailyKos is having some success in their efforts to make mischief in the Republican primary, by getting their supporters to vote for Rick Santorum.
Indeed, one poll shows Romney leading among “actual Republican voters, 43-38,” but Santorum “up 47-10 with Democratic voters”. And now Rick Santorum’s campaign has been robo-calling Democrats, urging them to vote for the former Pennyslvania Senator in the Michigan Republican primary.
In an e-mail to reporters and appearance this morning on Fox and Friends, Romney Spokeswoman Andrea Saul and the candidate himself, respectively, took Santorum to task for the calls, with the latter calling them “a terrible, dirty trick.” Romney even accused his opponent of “trying to ‘kidnap our primary process‘”. Santorum supporter Ed Morrissey disagrees, saying it’s hardly a “dirty trick” and “certainly not ‘kidnapping’ a primary that’s already open to Democratic voters.”
Jennifer Rubin, a blogress sympathetic to the former Massachusetts Governor, contends that
Romney’s offensive serves two purposes: cushion the blow if he loses in Michigan; and jab at Santorum for hiding his contrasts with Democrats and trying to round up liberal help to beat the guy he says isn’t conservative enough.
I would add a third purpose. This race has shown a lot of back-and-forth, indicating that there are a lot of wavering Republican voters in the Wolverine state. Romney might be attempting to reach out to those voters — and other undecided Republicans, less likely to support the Republican being helped by the Democrats.
Polls have been showing Romney leading among Republicans.
The race looks like it’s too close to call, with the conventional wisdom being that a Romney loss all but precludes his nomination.
Morrissey, however, believes that it is “perhaps more important for Santorum to win“:
A close second place won’t win Santorum any momentum, not after building large leads before the last debate and raising expectations for a big win in Michigan.