Some thoughts on the South Carolina primary

1.) The Palmetto State’s evangelical Christian conservatives overwhelmingly supported Newt Gingrich, a thrice-married, self-admitted adulterer accused of having wanted an open marriage; who spent exorbitantly at Tiffany’s; and is the only House Speaker in U.S. history disciplined for ethics violations – yet the story is that Mitt Romney wasn’t conservative enough for them? I think we need to admit that they just won’t vote for a Mormon under any circumstances so long as there’s another Republican in the race. When it’s down to Romney v. Obama – as I still believe it will be – will Romney have trouble getting such voters to the polls in the swing states?

2.) Rick who? Time to pack it in, Santorum – your 15 minutes started and ended in Iowa, even if nobody realized you actually won there.

3.) So now all eyes in this presidential election are on Florida… whoa. That’s some freaky déjà vu right there.

4.) Herman Cain got more votes than Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann combined. COLBERT 2012!

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Lars54

    These “Super Pacs” running these attack ad’s for Romney and Gingrinch just make you sick. You’ve got these shadow groups raising big money from wealthy donors to put on these mis-leading commercials on TV . Rick Santorumn, in contrast, ran a campaign on a shoestring. The press ignored him early on, focusing instead on other campaigns, like Herman Cain’s – who turned out to be a bufoon, or Michelle Bachman, who is an obvious air-head. Despite being ignored by the press and wealthy campaign donors Santorumn actually ran pretty good, way better than anybody thought he would. I don’t share his political views – wouldn’t vote for him, but I was impressed with his grassroots, under funded campaign for President. The pundits and the money people scoffed at his candidacy, but he actually got a lot of votes – he won a primary, and even pick up 17% in South Carolina. I think he should stay in race, why not? I don’t think it’s a good thing for the field to be reduced to Romney-Gingrich and these barfo Super-Pac’s”

  • Common Tater

    Dear Mr. Romney,

    It should now be clear to you that you will *never* get above 30 – 35 percent of the Republican vote. Santorum and Ron Paul’s votes would break 80/20 in Newt Gingrich’s favor. I don’t know who the eventual nominee will be, but it will not be you.

    Time to hang it up.

  • Truthclubber

    @1 — Yo, yo, Lars54 — two words: Spell check.

    So we should equate your BFF’s (aka Swalwell’s) grassroots, beggar-for-funding campaign methods to that of Santorum’s? You really wanna go THERE?

  • Elwood

    Can someone please enlighten me?

    With a Catholic president you get the Pope in the White House.

    With a Mormon what do you get?

  • Elwood

    @ Lars54

    You feeling OK?

    You forgot to say anything about the shining wonderfulness of Eric Swalwell.

  • John W

    Re: #4

    You get the President of the Mormon church, a rather secular-sounding title. He is considered to be God’s spokesman to the world, which must be a disturbing thought to His Holiness in Rome. Also, with Romney, you get the former Boston Bishop of the church.

  • John W

    I agree with Josh that “not conservative enough” was code for anti-Mormon for many voters in South Carolina. We’ll likely see that again in the other Confederate states. I doubt it will be that much of a factor in Florida, except in the Panhandle area. I’ll bet Romney creams Newt in FL. The Mormon factor should be a plus for Romney not only in Utah but also in Idaho, Nevada and Arizona. Should the nomination contest make it as far as California (unlikely), the Prop. 8 battle showed there are lots of Mormon voters in California. Would love to see this thing stretch out to a brokered convention, but I suspect Romney will start racking up the delegates in April, once the contest moves into the winner-take-all states.

  • John W

    Gingrich leads in Florida: According to Realclearpolitics.com, an Insider Advantage Poll taken the day after the South Carolina primary shows Gingrich up by 8 points in FL — 34% versus 26% for Romney; 13% for Paul and 11% for Santorum. The poll surveyed 557 likely voters (seems like a pretty small sample) with a margin of error + or – 4%. I’m skeptical, but this could get fun. Is it too late for Donald Trump to get in?

  • AnyMouse69

    Nice. Claiming that conservatives won’t vote for Romney just because he’s Mormon is how liberal bigots project their own prejudices on people they disagree with.

    Claiming that he is “not conservative enough” is actually code for believing that the author of RomneyCare will be unwilling to undo ObamaCare.

  • Josh Richman

    re #9: Exit polls said nearly two-thirds of South Carolina voters self-identified as evangelical or born-again Christians, and three quarters of those said it mattered to them that a candidate share their religious beliefs. Within those populations, the exit polls said, Romney got only one-fifth of the evangelical vote, and only about one-tenth among those who said sharing a candidate’s religious beliefs mattered to them a great deal.

    That said, I know Romney has flipped to appear more conservative on abortion, healthcare, assault weapons, climate change, etc. I guess my point was that, for me, it’s just a marvel that “conservatives” flock to support Gingrich – who has lived an anything-but-conservative personal life, and in many ways is a paragon of the Beltway elite he’s so quick to pillory – instead of someone who actually has a chance of winning by satisfying the GOP base on some major issues (fiscal policy, immigration, etc.) while also bringing in independent votes. But I guess this shouldn’t surprise me – if Newt’s bomb-throwing, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do record reminds me of anyone, it’s Rush Limbaugh, who for years was arguably the nation’s most revered conservative.

  • AnyMouse69

    Thanks for responding. There is plenty to dislike with all the candidates. But then, California Conservatives are very used to choosing the lesser evil.

  • Elwood

    South Carolina is the buckle on the Bible belt.

    It is in no way indicative of how rational people will vote.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    RE 4: With a Mormon in the White House you get a lot of photogenic family members.

  • John W

    Re: #9

    “…is how liberal bigots project their own prejudices on people they disagree with…”

    That’s a stretch. Josh’s statistics pretty much demolish your theory. But nice try. Very Newtonian!

  • For Liberty
  • For Liberty

    John King, CNN: “You make your case there passionately for President Obama. But also understand that this is a tough reelection climate for any president, Democrat or Republican in this economy. Because of your history with Speaker Gingrich, what goes through your mind when you think of the possibility, which is more real today than it was a week or a month ago, that he would be the Republican nominee and that you could come back here next January or next February with a President Gingrich?”

    Rep. Nancy Pelosi: “Let me just say this. That will never happen.”

    King: “Why?”

    Pelosi: “He’s not going to be President of the United States. That’s not going to happen. Let me just make my prediction and stand by it, it isn’t going to happen.”

    King: “Why are you so sure?”

    Pelosi: “There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that’s their prerogative. I don’t even think that’s going to happen.”

  • Elwood

    Pelosi: “There is something I know.–”

    Does it involve sheep?