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Pundits declare: The party’s over

April 6, 2012
Eric Thayer for the New York Times

“The fat lady’s singing. No matter how you put it, it’s over. There’s no way he’s going to be able to stop Romney at this point.”

That’s Howard Dean’s former campaign manager, Joe Trippi, talking about Republican candidate Rick Santorum after the front-runner, Mitt Romney, won primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia this week.

Trippi was in the graphic box in the middle on Fox News, with Karl Rove, the architect of George W. Bush’s successful reelection campaign, on his left (that’s the only way you’d ever get Rove to take a position on the left) and Ed Rollins, Republican strategist and campaign director for Reagan-Bush in 1984, on the right, and they agreed with Joe.

Rollins said of Santorum: “Now is the time (for him) to step aside.” And Rove chimed in: “Romney needs to win only 40 per cent of delegates between now and the end to get the magic number of one thousand one hundred and forty-four. Rick Santorum as of tonight needs to win 74 per cent of the delegates who are left up for grabs to win the nomination … By the end of the month, with New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Pennsylvania voting, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Romney’s 400 vote delegate lead extended to close to 600.”

Columnist Gail Collins echoed their remarks in The New York Times: “… I’m certainly prepared to call a halt. Be gone, Rick Santorum. Wisconsin speaks. The nation listens.” http://nyti.ms/HcVbsB

For the record, Romney now has 658 delegates, Santorum 281, former House Speaker and Conservative, Newt Gingrich, 135 and Texas Congressman and libertarian, Ron Paul, only 51.

So is it time for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and the other Republicans to step aside and end what is getting to be a boring campaign? Well, as a Democratic friend and former journalist in Washington, told me yesterday: “No, let’s keep it going.  Then there are more clips of them bashing each other for Obama to run as ads. Let’s have them spend their money now.”

That makes so much sense (remember the ALP attacking itself in the recent leadership battle) you wonder why the Republican Party committee and campaign managers don’t get together and try to talk the candidates into doing just that: call a halt to the name-calling and concentrate on bashing Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney did that yesterday in his victory speech in Wisconsin (New York Times photo above), ignoring his Republican rivals to mock the President for thinking he’s doing a good job: “It’s enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you that you’re great and you’re doing a great job, it’s enough to make you think that you might become a little out of touch.”

And the President responded to Romney’s big lead, by mentioning him by name for the first time in the campaign and having a go at Romney supporter, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, the architect of the Republican House budget … a budget Obama said would deepen the inequality in American society: “He (Romney) said that he’s ‘very supportive’ of this new budget, And he even called it ‘marvellous,’ which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget; it’s a word you don’t hear generally.” (The New York Times on the Romney v Obama battle: http://nyti.ms/HLrU97

Generally speaking, Rick Santorum believes it’s only halftime in the primary campaign, especially with his home state of Pennsylvania voting on April 24. I’ve already voted for Barack Obama in my Pa. absentee ballot (I have dual citizenship). Ironically, he and the four Republicans were listed as candidates for President of the United States. It wasn’t a difficult decision for me: Barack Obama versus Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich (like voting for the Brownlow with the Swans Adam Goodes pitted against four reserves for the GWS Giants).  And I think it wouldn’t be a hard choice for Pennsylvania Republicans if they wanted to demonstrate their frustration with their squabbling candidates. But Santorum is leading in the polls in Pennsylvania http://nyti.ms/HJoG4E so maybe the voters in his home state figure it’s better the devil – or in this case, the conservative Catholic – you know rather than the Mormon Mitt Romney! There are a lot of Catholics in Pennsylvania.

I promise not to write anything on the Republican primary campaign until April 25, Anzac Day, when the results of the big primaries in Pennsylvania and New York, with 167 delegates between them, are announced. Anzac Day, of course, is more important.

And before I sign off, the latest on my war against clichés and ugly words. On the Channel Nine news in Sydney last night, there was an exclusive story on Janet Fraser, the prominent advocate of unassisted home births, or free births, as they are called. An inquest is being held into the death of her third child, Roisin, after a free birth at her home without a midwife in attendance in 2009. She had established a website, Joyous Birth, after she had a traumatic caesarean section in a Melbourne hospital in 2003. She told Channel Nine she now admits “a number of (her) articles are intemperate perhaps propagandous in nature,” which she intends to remove from her website. Without stepping into the minefield of free births (and the inquest is continuing), I would also hope Janet Fraser removes the word “propagandous” from any future statements. I have checked The Macquarie Dictionary, The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, and there is no such word. The adjective is propagandist, a much more mellifluous word than the one she used. The only place I could find propagandous was in the online Urban Dictionary, which is where it should remain, unused.

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2 Comments
  1. Bill mc mackin permalink

    Tom … Nice item … The most recent poll in Pa has Romney ahead …. This should be the end for Santorum and the others if they are willing to give up the lime light .. !!!

    • Hi Bill, Thanks for that good news. I had used the New York Times poll from two days ago, but just checked the Philly papers which had Romney ahead http://bit.ly/Hkh24M after reading your comment. I also saw another article suggesting Santorum was just as unpopular in Pa as he was in 2006 when voters kicked him out of the Senate! But he’s not giving up, still campaigning in Pennsylvania, saying he has strong support in the State. As my mate said, though, the longer he stays in the race, the more the Republicans will bash themselves and give Obama more ammunition in the real campaign! Cheers.

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