Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday G-O-TEA Primary Liveblog

OK, I just can't help it. I have to watch another night of this train wreck. Let's see what's happening.

4:10 PM-

All we know now is that Newton has lived to campaign another day. He won Georgia... And so far, he's the only one who's officially won any Super Tuesday contest.

Stay tuned here as we get more info on what's happening tonight... And why we should care. ;-)

4:25 PM-

So far in looking at MSNBC's Georgia exit poll, I'm thinking Newton Leroy Gingrich will carry his home state with about 45%, with Willard "Mr. 1%" Romney coming in second with about 27%. It should be a big win for him...

But the other big prize tonight will soon be reporting results. I'll be back as soon as Ohio comes online.

4:30 PM-

OK. Here we go! MSNBC projects Ohio to be "Too Close to Call". Expect another long, grueling night. Meanwhile, Virginia is expected to go to Mitt Romney... But Ron Paul is outperforming the pre-election polls in early returns so far. And Fox already projected Vermont for Romney, but MSNBC still calls it "Too Early to Call". Romney is leading so far in Vermont, albeit only by single digits over Rick Santorum.

4:40 PM-

So far looking at MSNBC's Ohio exit poll, their numbers suggest something like a 39-35 Romney win over Santorum. Will Mittens finally emerge as "the clear frontrummer" and reemerge as "the inevitable one" tonight? It will probably be incredibly difficult for Santorum to keep campaigning after tonight if Romney takes Ohio. But then again, can Romney keep spending oodles and oodles of money just to eke out wins in states he was originally expected to run away with?

4:50 PM-

Once again, is "the skinny guy with the funny name" (who happens to now live in The White House) the real "big winner" of Super Tuesday? I'm thinking perhaps so.

And as I hinted at earlier today, a certain REPUBLICAN Senator from Alaska just added more evidence to suggest this.

Shortly after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) admitted to her home-state paper that she regrets voting for the GOP’s Blunt amendment, which was aimed at rolling back President Obama’s contraception rule, she explained to TPM why the issue has weighed heavily on her — and why she thinks it’s damaging her party.

“I heard a lot [from my constituents] because it was in the news this weekend,” Murkowski told TPM Tuesday afternoon after attending a weekly GOP policy lunch. “I will tell you, it’s not so much just the discussion about contraception that the Blunt amendment precipitated. There’s just an awful lot that’s been going on. There have been some comments made by some of our presidential candidates. There was the incendiary comments made by Rush Limbaugh.”

Her remarks reflect a more widely shared sense among some conservatives and GOP lawmakers that leadership led the party astray in this fight — and that the appetite for pressing ahead with it is diminishing.

Murkowski, a high-ranked senator and former leadership member herself, worries that the sequence of events since GOP leaders twisted arms for Thursday’s losing vote has left her party on the wrong side of the issue, and that the public is taking note.

“I think [these incidents] are just adding to this sense that women’s health rights are being attacked — that in 2012 we’re having a conversation about whether or not contraception should be allowed,” Murkowski told TPM. “I think most thought that we were done with those discussions decades ago. So it’s been kind of an interesting week for women’s health issues.”

Again, "TEH CUL'CHUR WARZZZ!!!" are doing nothing to help Republicans attract swing voters. They just look like kooky prudes straight out of some corny 1950s sitcom. And again, because "Frothy" Ricky and Newton have forced Mittens to lurch so far to the right that they're all joining in on Rush Limbaugh's war on America's women, the entire G-O-TEA looks sexist and stupid.

And because Republicans are again obsessing over "CUL'CHUR WARZZZ!!!" instead of how to create more good American jobs, they're alienating not just women. They're alienating all sane, rational American voters. No wonder why President Obama's numbers keep getting better and better and better...

5:00 PM-

Now MSNBC is projecting Mitt Romney to win Massachusetts, while Tennessee and Oklahoma are too early to call. There are still no results yet from North Dakota.

5:05 PM-

MSNBC just revised its Ohio exit poll results... And Santorum seems to benefit from it. After doing a little "in head math", I found that Romney's projected lead shrunk from about 4% to only 1.5%. Hmmmm...

Mittens must be hoping MSNBC won't have to revise its exit poll results again. Apparently the polls had to be kept open a little late in some areas. Will this prove to be the ultimate last minute surprise?

5:20 PM-

So tonight is supposed to be Mitt Romney's "big night" of "big wins". So how is it panning out so far? TPM has an interesting take.

One potential sign of trouble for Romney is in Georgia, which networks called for Newt Gingrich almost immediately, suggesting a strong performance. While it’s not surprising Gingrich won given his close ties to the state, which he represented in Congress, the victory is a crucial jolt to a campaign that had fallen into dire straits. After a huge surge with a win in South Carolina last month, he’s been largely sidelined as Santorum’s taken over as the leading anti-Romney candidate. But don’t be surprised to see Gingrich make a play — yet again — for that title in the coming days thanks to a friendly schedule. March includes races in Southern states like Alabama and Missippi (March 13) and Louisiana (March 24) where he has the potential to make a run. Especially if Santorum has a weak night and Romney still struggles to win working class voters and ultra-conservative voters, Gingrich has plenty of potential for another comeback.

But if ever there was a show of the limitations of Gingrich and Santorum it’s Virginia, where neither qualified for the ballot. This was especially embarrassing for Gingrich, who currently lives in the state. Romney romped to an easy win there, with networks calling it as soon as polls closed. Santorum faces similar problems in the night’s biggest prize, Ohio, having failed to get delegates on the ballot in several Congressional districts. Romney erased a polling lead in the final days in that state as well as Tennessee, another favorable state to Santorum, giving him an opportunity to blunt his momentum much as he did with Gingrich in Florida.

Before the polls even closed, Team Santorum told reporters that their guy is staying in until the convention. Gingrich’s big (but not surprising) win in Georgia means you can expect him to stick around, too.

The narrative is basically written now: Romney is almost certainly going to be his party’s nominee. But with Santorum and Gingrich around, another narrative will also be close at hand: Romney’s an extremely weak frontrunner.

Let me add this. Look at Virginia right now. The only reason why Romney's winning is because Ron Paul is his only competition there... Yet he can't even clear 60% against "CRAZY!!!" Ron Paul! I thought Ron Paul was totally unacceptable to the G-O-TEA base. So why is he getting over 40% of the vote in Virginia with about 80% of precincts reporting?

And why can't Romney win any contest where he can't claim a "home field advantage" (MA, VT) and/or spend many millions to stomp his opponents (MI, FL)? Think about that. This is why Romney is such a weak "front runner".

5:30 PM-

I just looked at the Tennessee exit poll, and it suggests a 35-28 win for Santorum (with Romney claiming that 28% second place finish). At least he should be able to claim one big win tonight. However, don't completely discount Gingrich here. The exit poll suggests he'll finish a fairly close third with 23%. For someone who didn't do much outside Georgia and was left for dead (yet again) just two weeks ago, Newton seems to be coming back yet again.

I wouldn't be surprised if Newton goes on to campaign in more states, frustrate Santorum's campaign some more (by preventing him from coalescing "the anti-Romney vote"), and irritate Romney's campaign some more (by prevening him from wrapping up the primary fight this month).

5:45 PM-

Ha ha ha ha ha! This is why Newton will live to campaign another day. He knows how to throw the "red meat" to the G-O-TEA base like no one else. He's attacking the media, attacking President Obama, attacking his Republican rivals, attacking "the elites", and talking crazy with his nonsensical "big ideas". Yes, we may think he's a fruit cake... But the teabaggers love it.

We may think Gingrich's "big ideas" make no sense, but the "tea party" can't get enough of them. They may say they hate "BIG GUV'MINT!!!", they they love it when they think they're about to get more government money funneling their way. Oh yes, and they really love it when big government steps in to promote their "faith and moral values". Oh yes, this is why Newton will live to campaign another day.

5:50 PM-

Now Santorum is officially projected to win Oklahoma and Tennessee. He won't go away empty handed, far from it. We just have to wait and see what happens in Ohio. Oh, Ohio...

6:35 PM-

Sorry I missed Santorum's "victory speech", but I had to take a conference call. So far, it seems like my intuition was onto something. He's now leading 39-36 over Romney in Ohio. Now with only 40% of returns in, there's still plenty of time for Ohio to flip back to Romney. But if he keeps building up what's now a 14,000+ raw vote lead, Santorum may yet pull off what can now be described as a mild upset. So yet again, Mittens may be denied a "big win", and the G-O-TEA primary game is about to go into "reset mode" again.

This bumper car ride is just too fun to ignore... ;-)

7:20 PM-

OK. I'm looking at the Ohio results map right now. On one hand, Romney probably has plenty more votes coming his way in Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland and the inner ring Cleveland suburbs are. But on the other hand, Santorum probably still has more votes coming his way in a number of rural and small "rust belt town" counties. Santorum now has a 15,048 vote lead... Or 38% to 36% for Romney with 70% of precincts now accounted for.

This should be quite the long and exciting night... Which is NOT what Mittens had wanted. Hehe.

7:30 PM-

Now Santorum can claim another win under his belt... And this was a bit of a surprise. He got North Dakota. It isn't much, but it's still another embarrassment for Mittens.

7:35 PM-

Chuck Todd just announced on MSNBC that he doesn't think they'll be able to project a winner tonight. Why? At least two of their models show a finish around the 0.25% margin that requires an automatic recount. If that happens, it may be weeks before we know who wins the Ohio Republican Primary. That probably doesn't help either candidate tonight, but it's probably especially bad news for Romney, since he was expecting momentum from winning Ohio.

Again, this primary season WILL indeed go on... Even after several media pundits declared that "Super Tuesday" would crown an eventual nominee.

8:00 PM-

OK. This is likely my final update for tonight. Santorum has been clinging to a 2,000+ vote lead in Ohio for the last 30 minutes or so. Last I checked, it's back up to about 3,200 votes, or about 1%. Yes, it's really that close right now.

There's plenty of spin on how Romney will try to claim the final results as some kind of "win". But as I've been saying all night, the results from across the country suggests he does NOT have the G-O-TEA nomination as "wrapped up" as he wants us to believe. The base still can't stand him.

And again, this prolonged nomination process continues to reveal the G-O-TEA brand for the empty rhetoric that's really there. Really, what do they have? Crazy opposition to birth control? Nonsensical rants against Islam? More irrational drum beats for a horrific war on Iran? More hating on gay married couples? More insane "billionaire bailouts" they want to throw into the federal tax code?

Throughout this insanely ridiculous primary/caucus process, the G-O-TEA has been proving why it's become such an EPIC FAIL. And as I've been saying constantly over here, this is why the G-O-TEA is paving the way for its own defeat in November regardless of who gets to be its nominee. Don't believe me? Believe these numbers. They're not lying.

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