Now that actual humans have had their say on the Republican field, where does the campaign go from here?
- Michele Bachmann has called it quits. I must say I will not miss her in the debates where every factual statement she made had me wondering if it were true.
- Rick Perry is apparently going on. I read a piece recently that described the campaign strife between his Texas advisers and those with experience in national elections. According to Bill Nichols of Politico.com, the latter told Perry it was time to leave but the former are pushing him on. He has money in the bank and continuing gives him a chance to recover from a legacy that now stands as one of the biggest flops ever in presidential politics.
- Newt Gingich has fire in his eyes and, I’m guessing, a score to settle with Mitt Romney. Romney’s super-PAC (oh, I forgot that there cannot be contact between the super-PACs and a candidate) did a number on Gingrich through negative advertising. Gingrich has actually called Romney a liar for denying a connection with the super-PAC as well as for the content of the ads. Now, I haven’t seen any of the ads, and I know that Romney has no qualms about prevaricating, but why would you have to lie about Gingrich with his substantial — and known — baggage? Gingrich had basically declared himself the likely nominee within the past month, so I think we are going to see a scorched earth approach against the guy responsible for him not becoming President.
- Ron Paul continues to surprise me, but he is obviously hitting a chord with a chunk of voters, and may be in the fight for the long haul.
- In Rick Santorum’s last foray into electoral politics, he lost his Senate seat by 18 points. Now there is certainly precedent for losing a state-wide election and coming back to become President (see Nixon, Richard), but an incumbent losing by that margin is remarkable. Not much attention has been paid to Santorum because he had been polling in the low single-digits, but losing by just 8 votes will change all that. Now we get to hear about equating gay sex with man-on-dog sex and his opposition to funding for contraception.
- Mitt Romney cannot be happy. He had started acting like the winner before the first vote was cast, even saying he expected to win. His winning percentage of 24.5 percent is the lowest in the history of the caucuses, and actually smaller than he achieved four years ago. Although he had earlier professed to not making a big effort in Iowa, he spent about $4.5 million (including the super-PAC), an amount topped only by the hapless Perry campaign. (These figures are from buzzfeed.com.)
- Whither the enthusiasm gap? The conventional assumptions have been that Obama would be hurt by disenchantment among his left-leaning supporters, but that Republicans could barely contain themselves in their desire to oust him. So why did fewer Republican voters show up in 2012 than in 2008? While more Iowans voted in the 2012 GOP caucuses, there were larger numbers of Democrats and independents. According to David Weigel’s figures at Slate.com, 92,000 Republicans caucused in 2012 compared with 103,000 in 2008.
- Herman Cain is back. Just when you thought things might start to settle down, the Hermanator announced a bus tour to promote his “9-9-9” tax plan. I can understand why he may feel the “desire” for a road trip, but I am not aware of any serious support for his signature campaign issue.