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Right Turn
Posted at 04:42 PM ET, 03/22/2012

Santorum overstays his welcome

The pressure on Rick Santorum to get out of the race is building. After getting shellacked in Puerto Rico and Illinois, virtually all politicos outside Santorum’s team acknowledge that he is not going to be the nominee. To bring that message home, and to try to move from the primary to the general election, the Romney camp is turning up the heat.

The Romney team released this statement from conservative icon Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who met with Romney:

I can tell conservatives from my perspective is that, I’m not only comfortable with Romney, I’m excited about the possibility of him possibly being our nominee. … His leadership skills, the fact that he hasn’t lived his life in Washington. There’s a lot to like there. … I don’t have any immediate plans to do an endorsement but I think we all need to look at this presidential primary and encourage the candidates to do a little self-reflection here - what’s good for our country. The sooner we can make a decision, I think the sooner we can focus on the real problem which is Obama. … They can drag it out to the convention if they want, but I think if some of them look at where they are the best thing they can do is maybe look at throwing their support behind the one who might be our nominee and that’s beginning to look like Romney.

That’s not an “endorsement,” per se, but it has the same effect.

The Romney team also put out a memo describing the state of the delegate race, which read:

Governor Romney’s resounding victories in Illinois and Puerto Rico this past week have offered even greater clarity about where the race stands today. Here are a few takeaways:
Of the 74 delegates awarded in the past week, Governor Romney won all but 13 (100% of the delegates in Puerto Rico and 75% of the delegates at stake in Illinois).
Now leading by more than 300 delegates, Governor Romney continues to double Senator Santorum’s delegate total.
Governor Romney has now secured more than 50% of the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.
In order for Senator Santorum to secure the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination, he must win 70% of all remaining delegates.[...]
In the 11 contests that followed Super Tuesday, Senator Santorum not only failed to make up any ground on Governor Romney’s delegate lead, he actually fell behind by 61 more delegates.
The remaining contests offer no path to 1,144 for Senator Santorum, a fact which even he has acknowledged. Each day Senator Santorum continues to march up this steep hill of improbability is a day we lose to unite in our effort as Republicans to defeat President Obama. So as Senator Santorum continues to drag out this already expensive, negative campaign it is clear that he is becoming the most valuable player on President Obama’s team.

The AP’s numbers are not quite that high for Romney, but close. According to their count, Romney has 563 delegates, almost halfway to 1144. Santorum needs over 69 % of the remaining delegates. So the Romney memo math is about right.

The dig at Santorum, referencing his “take one for the team” excuse for voting for No Child Left Behind recalls Santorum’s Senate reputation as a pugnacious grandstander. It asks the perrfectly appropriate question: Why is he still in the race?

Conservatives are echoing that question, as a consensus builds that Santorum’s continued presence may be a benefit to his future book sales, but not to the party. As John Podhoretz put it, “They’re trying to induce an unprecedented party crisis — which is supposed to be an opportunity for them and the GOP. But their reasoning is cracked, to say the least.” In a bizarre way, Santorum’s juvenile conduct yesterday in carrying around a child’s toy brought home the point: Nothing constructive is being accomplished by his continued presence in the race.

In Texas today, Santorum had this disjointed comment: “Republicans and conservatives were so worried about, you know, getting control back that we have to win. And so we have to nominate someone who, you know, can appeal to … No! You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If they’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the etch-a-sketch candidate for the future.”

Not surprisingly, Romney jumped on his cavalier attitude about winning back the White House. “I am in this race to defeat Barack Obama and restore America’s promise. I was disappointed to hear that Rick Santorum would rather have Barack Obama as president than a Republican. This election is more important than any one person. It is about the future of America. Any of the Republicans running would be better than President Obama and his record of failure.”

Romney is right, and rather than being meek mice, it is time for elected officials and RNC officials to say the same. Do they want to win this thing or not?

By  |  04:42 PM ET, 03/22/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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