It's tempting to say that Rick Santorum's surprising wins in last night's troika of GOP contests means the Republican nomination is up for grabs. The media certainly would hope so as would the Obama campaign. However, Mitt Romney still has huge advantages over his rivals. The Republican campaigns (with the exceptions of Romney and Paul) have been seat of the pants, amateur hour productions.
Newt Gingrich couldn't even get on Missouri's ballot last night and he won't be on Virginia's either. You know, Virginia, that important swing state? Santorum is not on the Virginia ballot either and just missed the Indiana ballot. You know, Indiana, the state Obama stole from the Republicans in '08? These candidates had over a year to organize a few people to get their names on the ballots in these states. It is the amateur hour. Winning campaigns are juggernauts. Bush in '00 and '04 and Obama in '08. Hillary Clinton may have been just as formidable a candidate as Obama but she had an arrogant ass-backwards campaign team that failed to organize in key caucus states but, hey at least Hillary was on all the ballots.
Santorum's biggest problem now is that barring a coronary episode Gingrich will be in it until the bitter end. His other problem was evident last night. On what should have been his biggest night so far he gave an impromptu, rambling speech. He did dig out one great line calling himself the "conservative alternative to Barack Obama." It only took about 10 months for that one.
I wonder why Santorum has had to rely so much on sugar daddy Foster Friess (who was standing right behind the candidate on the stage in Misssouri). Aren't there hundreds of thousands of evangelicals and conservative Catholics with $50 to spare for Rick? I mean, except for his Wall Street money in '07, Obama relied most heavily on the small donations from millions of NOT rich people. Is the right in America exactly what its caricatured as--a top-down operation with the rich guys calling the shots? Santorum did finally give his website address for donations during his speech. Don't they hate Obama enough to give some money? We certainly hated Bush/Cheney enough to give and give a lot.
How can Santorum get Gingrich out? Perhaps they should make Arizona the semifinal of this election cycle on February 28. It is a state in the far west with no ties to either man and it's Republican Party is to the right of Robert Welch. They have Jan Brewer the gin-soaked governor and grand dame of Tea Party America who promises to give the media plenty in terms of a sideshow. If I were Santorum I would go camp out for the next two weeks in Arizona and finish off Gingrich there.