I admit it. Trying to absorb, digest and analyze every twist & turn of this race can take a slight toll on the body. Wednesday night, monitoring the returns from Colorado, Minnesota & Missouri...my eyes glazed over, head nodded and suddenly I was out.
When I came to, the numbers were all in and my phone full of ‘Breaking News’ alerts. As I like to dub it, I just awoke to a “Sweep-torum”!
Now, I did tell the 11 p.m. producer before leaving for the day to expect wins for Santorum in MO & MN but my crystal ball failed me (and most pundits) horribly on Colorado.
I’m not sure even Santorum himself predicted the trifecta. Here’s what he said Wednesday morning while speaking at a church in Texas:
While you may not think Santorum can go the distance, you’d better acknowledge that his victories are having a significant impact on this race. How? The dialogue. Suddenly, the not-so-soft whispers that Mitt Romney can’t energize the base enough to beat Mr. Obama are getting glass-shattering loud.
The critics and naysayers who scoff at the idea a so-called ultra-wealthy, moderate leading them back to the White House are suddenly in full-on panic mode.
While I would caution those GOP faithful that it’s still early February and we need look no further back than 2008 to see that divided primaries are hardly dooming, I will return to my argument on how it does change the political landscape.
Romney’s team is probably craving another caucus or primary to rebound but now has to wait all the way until the 28th when Michigan & Arizona vote.
That’s a lifetime on the trail. And that means, for the next couple of weeks the dialogue will be dominated by those questioning Romney’s potential and wondering if they should back another horse. That leads to another challenge: money. Romney, his supporters and his Super PACs are flush with cash but will some people find it harder to open the purse strings when they look at the scoreboard?
Remember, after Tuesday’s “Sweep-torum” (yes, I’ve used it twice now, I know…I can’t help myself) the ‘State Wins Scoreboard’ reads as follows:
Tell me you would have predicted those exact numbers and I’ll let you pick my lotto tickets every week for a year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, few things in politics matter as much as optics and those particular visuals right now show Santorum on top.
Now I’m not counting anybody out right now…especially Romney. But for just a moment, even if fleeting, we have to wonder aloud what a Santorum ticket could do and how his big night has once again thrown this race into a state of flux.
Oh yeah, and back to the optics. The picture at the top is of Santorum in that same church Wednesday as the congregation gathered around to lay hands on him and pray for his continued success. Looks a lot like an anointing to me.
I wonder how big that circle will be in 2 weeks.