Jennifer Rubin writes of Santorum:
His ability to take mainstream conservative views (opposition to extreme environmentalism) and voice them in radical and intemperate rhetoric is essentially a model of “how to alienate skeptical voters.” If you accuse the president of having a “phony theology” you better be prepared to be taken for a religious zealot. And if he wants to play think tank scholar (in this case, talking about the secular substitution of various value systems in place of religion) he should get off the trail and speak much more precisely. (He often sounds like a man who’s read some smart conservative scholars but hasn’t the depth of understanding nor the finesse to express the ideas he’s read without sounding nutty.)CNN reports:
"There is something called agenda control," said one unaffiliated GOP strategist. "Santorum does not have it. Instead of talking about the economy, he's been going down rabbit holes for the last four or five days."
Santorum's emphasis on cultural issues may intensify his conservative and evangelical support and help him win the nomination or at least differentiate himself from Newt Gingrich. The fear is he may also be narrowing his support in a general election population.
And Santorum's surging candidacy is not the only concern for senior Republicans. Mitt Romney's inability to close the deal has also raised eyebrows - and angst. And the anxiety will only intensify should Romney lose his home state of Michigan in the primary on February 28, several senior Republicans told CNN.
"Michigan is the whole shooting match," said one senior GOP strategist not aligned with a campaign. Says another: "If Romney loses Michigan, all hell breaks loose.
Given that real possibility, one knowledgeable GOP source confirms that some Republicans are circulating the deadlines and the basic math that would allow another candidate to get into the nomination fight and take it all the way to the convention. More than a half dozen states' filing deadlines have yet to pass. A majority of the delegates to the national convention are still up for grabs. One more factor to be considered: many states are choosing their delegates proportionally, which makes it easier for a candidate pick up delegates without outright winning a state.At NRO, Daniel Foster quotes Karl Rove:
“This proves mental illness is transmittable by contact, personal contact. You’ve been talking to all these people and — look, let’s go. . . . Let’s take that list that you just threw up, and let’s add in one more big state just for the heck of it, Texas. . . . There are 554 delegates up in those states that you talked about, plus Texas; 222 of them awarded, winner take all; 332 of them awarded proportionately.
“So in other words, even if the candidate gets in and wins the big states with winner take all, and wins half of the states with proportional, wins half of those delegates, we’re talking about 350 out of over 2,000 delegates. And that may be enough to toss it into a convention that gets — that gets decided at the convention, but that is different than . . . brokering a convention.The deadlock secnario is “remote as life on Pluto, ” said Rove. “We have got a nationwide, at least in the punditry class, a call of premature electionitis,” said Rove. “We have got 54 contest in this thing. And we concluded five of them.”