Here’s the current stand (mostly because it’s kind of fun to see how it all changes).
First, I have to take a strong step back from my half-hearted prediction that Santorum and Gingrich might team up. What a laughable thought at this point. Second, I have to take an even stronger step back for ever even wishing for a Romney-Gingrich ticket. Gingrich is scum.
Here’s my current stand on the six remaining candidates, including my thoughts on where they go from here. The order, by the way, is least likely to win to most likely.
Why is he still even running? A disappointing finish in Iowa, a non-existent finish in New Hampshire, and polling at the bottom for South Carolina. Add in that he is now joining Gingrich in committing the unpardonable sin of bashing a fellow Republican on Capitalism and we find Perry at the bottom of the dung heap.
So why is he still running? One word: Money. He has it, most of his competitors don’t.
Perry’s future is pretty simple: He’s obviously jumped in with Gingrich hoping that Romney attacks will lead to votes for him. The only problem is that any votes pulled from Romney will go to Gingrich, not Perry. Perry is nothing more than one of those little yappie dogs at this point. If he’s smart, he’ll pull the plug after SC. If not, I fully expect him to keep pushing forward until he exhausts every penny in his fairly solid war chest.
The only reason he doesn’t take the bottom spot is Perry. Huntsman had a reasonable showing in New Hampshire, but I’m admittedly surprised he didn’t stop there. If you’re going to put all your eggs in one basket and then admit that you’ve done that, you need to pull out a win, not a very distant third-place (think Santorum in Iowa).
Hunstman’s time in the sun is diminishing at this point, and I honestly think he’s pushing now for the gains to his name and fame. His hope, I’m sure, is a run for 2016, which he’ll have improved position. However, if he really wants to play this smart, he’ll pull early like Romney did in 2008 and focus on building the party instead of dragging this nomination out like Huckabee did.
I think he pushes forward, but South Carolina should be the end for him.
I simply do not believe that Santorum will maintain much beyond this point. He’s benefiting, I think he is anyway, from Perry’s attacks on Romney only because the logical jump from Perry is Santorum. But since Perry didn’t have anyone really voting for him anyway….
Santorum had his moment in the sun (Iowa), and while he does have some support, there simply isn’t enough support in his key demographics to go around. Now if some other people drop out earlier rather than later, Santorum’s stock will go up considerably. If it’s later, Santorum simply does not have the funds to carry this campaign long enough to wait for that moment.
I think Santorum will push past Florida but won’t survive up until Super Tuesday (March 6th this year). Even if he did survive until Super Tuesday, he lacks the funding necessary to make any serious headway in such a broad election.
Oh how I despise this man right now. I watched his When Mitt Romney Came to Town video, and I was amazed at how inaccurate the film was. Grossly inaccurate.
Better yet, the truth is so obviously out there and many bloggers and news sites are displaying the inaccuracies. Here’s an excellent example that pretty much sums it up.
At this point, it really does seem that Gingrich’s primary purpose is to damage Romney, not win. And if that weren’t enough to despise him, he’s completely stepped back from him Positive Campaign promise and revealed himself for what he’s always been.
But the thing that frustrates me the most was that I was taken in. Yes, I actually thought he was a changed man. Different. Calmer. More patient and more willing to play nice. By the rules.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Shame on me.
I desperately hope his attack ads backfire in South Carolina and force him out. And after that, I want him to go away. No endorsement, no comment, just go.
Sadly, I think Gingrich, like Perry, is in it until the money runs dry. Given his broader support, that means the long-haul.
I go up and down on Paul. I think Santorum said it perfectly when he stated that Paul would be unable to enact all the things the broader party wanted and able to enact all the things the party didn’t want done. It’s a position that I have yet to see adequately defended.
At the same time, I do like Paul. I really do.
His base and support pretty much guarantee a long but Romney-neutral campaign out of Paul, and I think he actually adds to the long-term election by differentiating the field and doing so respectfully.
He won’t win the nomination because of the closed primary system, but I do like him.
Not surprising, Romney still takes the top spot. This is still his to lose, though I do wonder the effect of the Gingrich/Perry attack ads.
If those ads cost him the top spot in South Carolina, we’re right back into the thick of a long nomination process. If he wins, I think Florida will be the contest that cuts out most of the second and third tier candidates.
At this point, my attention is turned to who Romney might pick as the VP. I’ll admit that I don’t really follow this much, but I will say that I have a certain fondness for Christie. 🙂