I was expecting this.
Gov. Rick Snyder has been quiet about endorsements, but a key presidential primary that may swing the balance of the nomination is at stake, and it’s inevitable. You’ve got to pick somebody.
So as Gov. Snyder picks Mitt, it’s not that surprising. Moderate conservatives and populist conservatives side with the money. It’s a business thing, as well as a logical decision. But for primaries, especially those fueled by emotion, spirit and enthusiasm, this endorsement is as exciting as a wet piece of toast.
I’m not dogging the governor here on the endorsement, because he is essentially the MI version of MA’s Mitt Romney, a conservative with moderate underpinnings. So when Mitt tries to sell his conservatism “severely,” you can see why people just don’t take to Mitt Romney any time he opens his mouth. If Mitt took the Snyder approach, he’d be better off at this stage in the race.
MRG released a poll Tuesday (pdf), showing Rick Santorum maintaining a 10-point lead. WDIV/DetNews shows a slimmer 4-point lead, but a 4.38% margin-of-error means Rick is pretty much in control of the race at this point. Also, if Santorum does win Michigan, it could be a real thumping.
It’s also like a City Mouse vs. Country Mouse situation here. As Romney’s base is the area code of 248, of suburbia strongholds, Santorum’s base runs deep just about everywhere else. The suburbs might be the margin of victory/loss, which means Oakland County becomes the front line for the state’s delegates.
Just like El Paso County in Colorado, Oakland County might be the one place where enthusiasm counts for Mitt, and really the only place that will make up for multiple county losses to Santorum’s blue-collar Homerisms. For Mitt to win back the state, he has some feats of strength to accomplish, and it won’t be easy. Super Tuesday may hang in the balance, as Michigan is definitely a defining state for the national race.
1. The OC.
Sew up Oakland County voters, possibly with at least 60%, especially if turnout is lower than predicted. Mitt’s strongest and clearest support begins here, and these numbers mean everything. Adding Rick Snyder’s endorsement, more business-minded individuals will likely swing back to Romney, but they might already be in his court. It’s not exciting, and that’s something Mitt really needs right now, as well as some lateral expansion of his base.
2. Overcome Michigan mischief.
If turnout is high, mischief is likely. In fact, low turnout is double-edged, because it allows mischief to flourish. But I don’t expect too much malfeasance when enthusiasm among the Dems seems to be growing. A lower turnout might actually favor Mitt if outside counties don’t come out, and his suburbs do. Dems who favor chaos will do the math and focus on Oakland County. And if you remember Fake Tea, it’s not out-of-bounds to think about it. I’m pro-open primary, for full disclosure.
3. Survive the debate.
You can expect both Newt and Rick to team up on Romney. Mitt has to finish a debate for once without having his surrogates try to explain his answers, or give the media some room to blow up an innocuous response. That means playing tight, and unfortunately, there’s no way to stretch his voter base as a result. If Mitt swings for the fences, he’s risking not only Michigan, but also Arizona if he flubs something serious. But if he connects, he’s got both states. Personally, I say swing away. A severe conservative (hehe) would ignore the bunt sign, and he needs to do something to remind voters that 2012 is still in reach.
4. Spend time in Michigan.
Today, Romney and his wife are spread across the state, shoring up the establishment MIGOP and associated political interests. However, he’s off to Ohio tonight, then Idaho on Friday, and his wife is bearing the load of holding the state until the Detroit Economic Club on 2/24. Props to Ann, but Mitt’s commitment to the state seems as fleeting as his polling. If he’s really a Michigander, spend some freakin’ time in the state, eh?
5. Watch Newt and the media.
Yes, Newt’s still out there. And he’s very, very quiet. He’s fishing for dollars, and this upcoming debate is his last shot to gain momentum before Super Tuesday. If he doesn’t get going next Wednesday, he won’t have enough time to gain any benefit from it. So Mitt has to hope for Newt to go nuclear on Santorum before it becomes a two-man race. Newt also needs the media covering him, and I’m sure he’s got something fun planned as the wild card.
And speaking of fun, something political from the internets that just happened to pop up in the due course of wasteful browsing (P-P-P-Powerbook led me here).
Seems Rick Santorum was pranked by some enterprising people when they posed as a kid and asked for each senator’s favorite joke. Some are pretty good. And in honor of Rick Santorum’s current lead, and possibly future White House residency, I thought it’d be interesting to repost his favorite joke.
See? It’s everything you expected from a guy who wears fuzzy vests.