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Mid-February GOP Winners and Losers

Four Candidates Left
The Final Four

Posted on February 11, 2012

It is hard to gauge the difference in the winners and losers of the GOP. Romney is leading in the delegate count, but is one state behind in the winner column. Santorum has captured 4 states in comparison to Romney’s three. Ron Paul is holding steady with around 10% + of the voters.

But in the battle for hearts and minds, Santorum seems to have an edge that will at least assure him of being a prominent contributor at the upcoming Republican Convention. The surge by Santorum is attributed to his steadfast conservative message and staying out of the food fight between Romney and Gingrich. Santorum’s tri-fecta win in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota has made him a target of the wealthy political machine of Mitt Romney and his powerful super-pact.

It is early in the attacks against Santorum, but from all appearances Santorum will reflect those attacks effectively. Unlike Newt, who allowed the Romney attacks to get to him, Santorum seems to take them in stride and stay on message. Newt’s stature was reduced when he resorted to the same type of attacks that were rained down upon him. Those attacks included half-truths, lies, innuendo, and out of context remarks. Even Newt’s personal life was not spared as the press rolled out one of Newts ex-wives only days before the South Carolina primary. Newt’s reputation of a person with a high intellect, good ideas, and as a historian was damaged by his use of those same tactics in retaliation.

Newt’s retaliatory actions exposed a weakness of temper while under stress that is ugly. His retaliatory actions were vindictive and petty – very much beneath a person who would be president. I admire his willingness to defend himself, but it was his choice of defense that was disappointing. I want a president who is unflappable and not susceptible to common ruses that tests one’s patience. Santorum seems to have that quality.

Personally, I distrust Mitt Romney for the same reason. He has been intent upon the destruction of his adversaries using those unsavory techniques. His excuses of not having control of the super-pacts are nothing short of astounding. He may be limited by law for the content of those irresponsible ads, but nothing would have prevented him from denouncing what was being aired. His silence about those types of attacks speaks volumes about Mitt Romney. He wants it both ways. He wants to be the lily-white innocent while condoning and allowing others to do his dirty work. Make no mistake; Romney has that ‘blame someone else’ syndrome just as bad as Obama – maybe even be worse.

Romney’s blind trust is another one of his big excuses – especially for the foreign bank accounts and other items of interest found in his tax return. When a blind trust is set up, a person may not direct exactly where the money is invested, but does have say in the parameters of the trust. For instance, if you are a dedicated non-smoker, you could direct your trustee to not get you invested in tobacco oriented companies. Romney had the same power of setting the parameters for his trust and could have instructed the trustee to not allow foreign bank accounts. Yes, even with blind trusts, you can set the parameters for the investments.

Lastly, Ron Paul has to be put into the picture. Ron Paul represents a full ten percent of the Republican voters and maybe a lot of young Democrats. His stances on social issues ingratiate Ron Paul to the young voters. Those issues are not restricted to his stand on drugs, but also on defense and not getting our military involved in foreign conflicts without formal declarations of war. It is easy to pooh-pooh the issues of Ron Paul as fringe and kooky but ten-percent of the electorate cannot be ignored… provided our goal is to unseat Obama. I leave this for you to contemplate. If we choose to ignore Ron Paul, that action would have the same effect as having Ron Paul run as a third party candidate. No, we don’t have to accept all of Ron Paul’s issues but clearly, negotiations with Ron Paul will be necessary to secure his voters.

Here is my take on the GOP field to date.
Overall Winner: Rick Santorum
Neutral: Ron Paul
Losers: Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney

None of our candidates can be counted out and I don’t want to leave that impression. This is just a snapshot of how things stand in mid-February.

The contraception flap: This is part of Obama Care. It should have been included in the lawsuits to have Obama Care declared unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear the arguments over the question of requiring citizens to buy healthcare – but I am not sure if the issue over religious freedom is a part of that lawsuit.


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