Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Putting the Coronation on Hold

Seems the inevitability of Mr. Romney hit a little bit of a bump in the road in the form of Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Now it can be argued that these contests are not all that important. After all the Missouri “primary” is only a beauty contest. It has no impact on how the delegates for the state are divided up. That will happen in a caucus in March.

So one could just write these three contests off:

Romney’s campaign did a good job of setting expectations in the run up to its loss in Missouri and the other states Tuesday, noting that there were no delegates at stake in Missouri and the caucus in Minnesota doesn’t directly lead to delegate allocation either. Because of this, many reporters and analysts declared before Tuesday’s elections that they were effectively meaningless.

That’s an entirely fair argument. After all, if Romney were to have mobilized his full campaign in Missouri, we likely would have seen a far different outcome. But he didn’t.

Thus, his campaign has a headache on its hands — especially given that he lost by 30 full points in Missouri and close to that amount in Minnesota.

At this point in the presidential race, it’s about expectations and momentum. And the perceptions of both have changed post-Missouri at least somewhat.

But the problem is that Romney lost badly in two of the contests Missouri by 30%, Minnesota 28% (he came in behind Paul for goodness sakes) and in Colorado 6%. It gives rise to once again the notion, real or imagined, that Romney is not acceptable to the Republican base. Romney still has more money than any other candidate. A better organization and more super PACs on his side. But he still seems unable to close the deal.

Santorum will be getting a great deal of free publicity with his wins. He also will probably get a boost in cash coming his way. Another important point is that there aren’t any another contests until Arizona and Michigan which are on Feb. 28. So the focus will be on how Santorum won and how Romney lost.

Not the story line the Romney campaign wants.

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