I'll have to double check this in my Big Book of Nonsensical Punditry, but I believe that Mitt Romney is got to be the first presidential candidate to lose the Iowa caucuses while technically winning them. (Is anybody out there lauding Romney for his eight-vote victory?)
So, if Romney lost, then clearly Rick Santorum won. And he did it the old fashioned way, with handshake grease and sweater vests and xenophobia. Right?
Eeeeeerrrr… I'm not so sure. Red State's Erick Erickson — believe it or not — makes, I think, the definitive point about Santorum's success…
[A]nyone who says "this was a victory for retail politics" should be beaten with an Iowan cattle prod. Rick Santorum's "victory" — and it was a victory in every sense but those 8 votes — was because he has run one of the most God awful disastrous retail campaign operations of any candidate with enough popularity to get on the debate stage.
Santorum visited all 99 Iowan counties, some of them repeatedly. His "successful" campaign never, ever caught on with Iowa voters despite all that retail time in Iowa. It only became successful when every single other candidate had been vetted and imploded and there was absolutely no other person familiar to the voters who could stand as the non-Romney candidate.
Had Santorum run a successful retail campaign and caught fire on his own accord, he’d have been vetted by now and probably also succumbed to the Romney machine. His campaign was not successful, it's just all the others sucked so bad.
Essentially, this has more to do with the music stopping while Santorum was in front of the winner chair than anything he actually did.
Has anybody checked on Tim Pawlenty lately? Are we all super sure he's not hanging from a crossbeam in his basement?
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Mitt Romney, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum