1. I agree with Peter and Bob in the below thread. I especially like where Bob says “Rick must draw the fat, slow moving Mitt into battle at a site of his choosing, where he can chew up his advancing columns, render his supports moot by clever raids” That is to say that Santorum has to pick his fights (and especially his rhetorical fights) carefully and not let himself get bogged down into arguments where, even if he wins the point (yeah Rick, earmarks were part of life, we get it) it doesn’t really make people want to vote for him. I’ve seen no evidence that Santorum can sustain that kind of discipline for very long when the pressure is on. Maybe he will go a week or maybe even two, but it will be something else. And I wouldn’t call Romney’s operation slow moving exactly. They’ve turned around what looked like losing situations in Florida and Michigan twice and each time in about two weeks.
2. I saw the first part of Santorum’s speech yesterday. He was going the full Bob McDonnell. When the Virginia Democrats found an old McDonnell graduate paper that seemed to cast him as an opponent of women working, McDonnell talked about the women in his family (especially his daughter) as accomplished and professional. Santorum tried the same thing yesterday with his talk about his mother’s college education and career. I don’t remember what he said after that. At least Santorum realizes that he lost the thread of his argument over the last week. Maybe he will remember to control himself better for a while.
3. The big winner yesterday was Romney, but I’m not sure the big loser was Santorum. The big loser was the possibility of a contested convention. If Romney had lost yesterday, it is quite possible that a lot of people are talking about a post-Romney/stop-Santorum candidate getting into the race. Romney’s support is below 50% in most places, but I think even that support is soft. He could still get nominated (it’s the way to bet), but a couple of rough weeks and he could appear far weaker than he does now.
4. Henry Olsen writes that Santorum won very conservative voters in Michigan, but that group isn’t large enough to win him the nomination and Santorum needs to do better with the “somewhat conservative” fraction of Republican primary voters. These are voters who want authentic conservatism and competence and would prefer a candidate who has both, but if they had to choose, they would pick a competent inauthentic candidate to an authentically conservative incompetent. And that’s just the choice that Romney wants to present to them.
5. I didn’t see Romney’s speech yesterday. I’ve read some good reviews. Anyone have an opinion?