You know how everybody keeps thinking the Rush Limbaugh, Sandra Fluke business is has totally turned Obama’s anti-religious mandate into a winning issue for Democrats:

I know the pundits think this is a terrific issue for Democrats. They hope we keep talking about forcing Catholics to pay for birth control and “day-after” pills ’til November.

But do you know who doesn’t?

Democrats who actually need Catholics to vote for them in November. People like Elizabeth Warren.

What? Do you mean to say in the bluest of blue states Elizabeth Warren, darling of the left is not finding this a winning issue? Could this actually be?

Democratic consultant Dan Payne agrees: “Recently, issues that have been raised — whether to provide contraception as part of the health care reform and whether women should serve in the front lines of combat — have been on Brown’s turf,” Payne told the Globe.

I guess this explains why we haven’t seen Former Obama Administration Official Elizabeth Warren the intellectual force behind the occupy movement on front of this issue.

Virginia has very strict requirements for getting on the primary ballot: ten thousand certified signatures by an early deadline.  Well-funded campaigns manage; others do not.  The only two candidates on the ballot were Romney and Ron Paul.

You would think that having no opposition except for a guy who has pulled down about 10% of the vote would mean that you would sweep, right? Ron Paul, in the “Not Romney” protest vote, obtained forty percent of Virginia’s vote.  It’s not like he was buoyed up by young people, either; fully 71% of primary voters are over the age of 45.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that Romney can beat Obama in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and a host of other states that the GOP needs to swing back to the red column?

That might sound counter intuitive but looking at the results of last night it is the logical conclusion and the explanation is pretty simple:

Yesterday Mitt Romney won five states, maybe six. He did this with a powerful organization, the full weight of the GOP establishment behind him and with a war chest that allowed him to outspend Rick Santorum in a must win state 16-1 (4-1 excluding superpac money)

Rick Santorum won 3 states, and came in at least 2nd in the field of four in every state except Vermont. He has nowhere near the money of Mitt Romney, doesn’t have the backing of the party elites and doesn’t have anything resembling a national organization.

Now lets look at the general election what will be different for each candidate:

If Mitt Romney is the nominee everything changes for the worse for him

Mitt Romney will still have an organization, but instead of being vastly superior it will be inferior to Obama.

He will still have the GOP party apparatus behind him, but he’ll not only face an opponent with the party apparatus unlike in Iowa and Maine that party won’t be in a position to make “judgement calls” on caucus counts or re-counts.

It means he will have to deal, for the first time, the MSM hitting him as “extremist” his religion will be hit as “extreme” and he will have the full “Racist, sexist, homophobe” meme thrown both at him and at his Mormon religion and the MSM will do it without fear or worry.

And it goes without saying Mitt Romney won’t have the ability to outspend Obama, in fact every indication is he will be outspent by Obama.

In other words, Romney will have to win without the advantages that made his current victories possible.

If Rick Santorum is the nominee, everything changes for him, but for the better.

Suddenly as the nominee he will have organization behind him, an organization better than he has had at any time during this campaign able to do things that he could not do before.

Suddenly he will have the full power of a party, the GOP behind him. That means he will have party surrogates on every network making the case for his election in every city, state and county of the country. It means that in there will be national lawyers ready to pounce if the left tries anything untoward.

It means that when the MSM attacks his religion, his beliefs and tries to paint him as some kind of extremist they will have to do it with care. Obama will need every vote he can manage in 2012 and if they go too heavy on hitting the Catholic Church they risk upsetting a swing demographic in swing states.

Finally it will mean money, more money that he has had at any time during this campaign, money to do the things that simply weren’t possible for him to do on a national level at any time before. It means instead of a shoestring campaign it will be a solid campaign able to make the best possible case against a powerful opponent.

Bottom line, Romney is at the absolute peak of his electoral power right now, from the moment he gets the nomination he will be on a sliding scale he will have to run as an underdog. As demonstrated against John McCain, he didn’t do well in that situation.

Rick Santorum however is nowhere near the peak of his strength, from the moment he gets the nomination he will be working on a growing scale with every advantage he didn’t have before. He’d still be the underdog vs Obama, but has a lot of experience in being the underdog. Ask the folks in Minnesota, Colorado or Iowa if Santorum can win election as an underdog.

The best chance to win in 2012 is Rick Santorum and the GOP doesn’t have a lot of time to figure this out.

Update: The results in Mississippi and Alabama makes this even more true.

One of the things that you notice when you do this long enough are the more subtle methods of persuasion and suggestion that the media uses.

Yesterday was Super Tuesday and there was a myriad of results. Gingrich taking Georgia, Santorum taking North Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee, Romney taking Vermont, Massachusetts, Alaska, Idaho and Virginia

And then there is Ohio where Romney is being declared the “apparent winner” with a few percent still to count.

Now we won’t go deeply into Ohio until the rest of the vote is in, but I will say this: If the current numbers hold up that means that it took a 16-1 cash advantage to beat Rick Santorum in a key state where Mitt Romney had an organization that is strong and supported by the republican establishment. An organization that, as Chuck Todd put it:

“looks sharp because Santorum and Gingrich don’t have operations”

That’s a bit of on overstatement but not much. Both Santorum and Gingrich are running shoestring organizations.

The real interesting thing however is not that, what is interesting is what was happening in the 7 a.m. hour on Morning Joe.

Nicole “Yeah I know how to run a winning GOP campaign” Wallace was a guest and showed exactly why she has a job with MSNBC.

It is not a secret that if you are a republican who will hit the GOP base that you will always have a job on MSNBC but Nicole Wallace was on TV today advising Mitt Romney to attack Rush Limbaugh with the entire table nodding in agreement.

  • No mention of the background of the business and the phony testimony of Fluke.
  • No mention of the Miss Fluke’s “interesting” positions on forced coverage of sex changes
  • No mention of the actual issue which is religious liberty
  • in fact no mention even of Rush’s apology or that this story is now a full seven days old.

Nope it’s just “Mitt Romney needs to denounce Rush Limbaugh”

Now lets remember what the left has always said about Rush, that’s he’s just an entertainer, that he doesn’t matter that he’s an empty suit.

Yet one week later they are still attacking on this issue. Why? The answer is very simple.

It is clearly understood by the left, no matter how much they say otherwise that Barack Obama is in horrible shape for re-election. They understand that all four of the GOP candidates can and should beat him. No president has won re-election with this kind of economy since FDR and Obama is no FDR.

With democrats disenchanted with Obama (quick find me a dem in a tough race willing to appear on a stage with him) The only chance that Obama has is to depress the GOP turnout, a GOP that is absolutely DYING to vote for someone other than Obama.

That’s where people like Nicole Wallace come in.

Romney has the weakest connection to the base of the GOP than any of the other candidates. If a Nicole Wallace can convince Mitt’s team that he has to attack Rush Limbaugh, a host that has 20 million listeners, that will convince a base that doesn’t trust him to begin with, that he is not with them.

Mind you they don’t even have to convince Romney to actually do this…they simply need to convince the base that he will.

Let’s be blunt, if Romney is the general election candidate the left and the media will be going whole hog on the “Mormons are creepy” business and they will be playing it in the south in an attempt to depress the GOP vote while trying to excite Black voters, particularly in the south (remember the African American’s for Obama business) in the hopes of stealing a state or two.

They will also be pushing the “Americans Elect” BS in the hope of pulling off GOP voters. If Romney is the nominee don’t be surprised to see Americans Elect suddenly find themselves embracing a more conservative ticket

The bottom line is this: The left will always tell you who they fear, they fear Rush Limbaugh, they fear the GOP base and they fear most of all, that if Romney wins the nomination Limbaugh and the base will follow Andrew Breitbart’s advice and support Romney for all his faults.

The target of Nicole Wallace’s and the Morning Joe crowds words were not Mitt Romney, (although they will be happy if he is stupid enough to follow his advice). If you are the base of the GOP then the target is you.

Update: Jennifer Rubin sort of gets it

I am struck by how far afield from anything relevant the Obama team and liberal media must go to attack the likely Republican presidential nominee who is supposedly so weak. Really, Rush Limbaugh is the best the Dems can do?…

…Yesterday, Obama committed Michael Kinsley gaffe (caught telling the truth, namely his support for Israel is as substantive as cotton candy). The administration rolled out an incoherent and useless housing plan. The president’s lead-from-behind Syria policy revealed itself to be embarrassingly late and half-hearted. No wonder the left wants to talk about Rush Limbaugh.

Romney when asked about this should be blunt: The president has 8.3-percent unemployment, a huge debt, no entitlement reform plans and a floundering foreign policy. All he knows and wants to talk about are gimmicks. Shame on him.

Frankly if Romney is stupid enough to fall for this then he doesn’t deserve to win.

Update 2: speaking of outrage over bad words

Cohen writes this in sneering about the death of a father of four.

He concludes,

A public man should be judged by his public acts. And in Breitbart I can find nothing of value. He thought politics was like war.

What would it take for any editor over there to say, “You know, Richard, maybe you want to take another crack at this one”? Or, “There’s probably a way to make the point you want to make without calling a man ‘revolting and unethical’ — I mean, he did just die suddenly, leaving his wife a widow, his children fatherless, and his friends mourning.” Or, “The man’s funeral is scheduled for today, do we really want to conclude one of our columns with the declaration that his life’s work offered nothing of value”?

But no, that was too much to ask. Just as it was too much to ask for any of the numerous lefties on Twitter to hold their tongues and fingers and just write something like, “I disagreed with him, but RIP.”

But hey, Rush used a mean word, so let’s throw a hissy fit about that for a week.

I never had a lot of respect for Cohen, today I have less