Will Republicans Have To Look For An Anti-Santorum?

Tonight’s Michigan primary is widely regarded as make or break time for Mitt Romney, where some opinion polls have him only 1% ahead of his rival Rick Santorum in Romney’s home state. the battle is over whether economics or social issues dominate the Republican gestalt – and signs are that few Republicans are happy with having to choose between those two, with turnouts so far predicted as being generally low.

But if Santorum should come out ahead or split the vote, even while taking an expected drubbing in Arizona then, as GOP strategist Matthew Dowd told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos today:

“it’s the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it’s going to shake Republican establishment it’s just going to shake things to their very core. And I think what you’re going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race”.

Andrew Sullivan agrees, writing that Romney has shot himself in the foot by showing the Republican base that “he believes conservative rhetoric is just boob bait for the bubbas”,

I suspect Romney may have lost this campaign in the past two weeks. The GOP’s far right anti-bodies have rejected the transplant, and haven’t yet figured out how toxic Santorum is to the wider public. And the candidate’s simply unbelievable foot-in-mouth disease must also have unnerved those simply interested in, you know, winning. He makes John Kerry look like a pro.

The question is – who can be the anti-Santorum?

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

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