All over big cities across this great nation of ours Establishment Republicans (ERs) are breathing again because Mitt Romney won both Michigan and Arizona. And Michigan.
Establishment Democrats (EDs - I know, I know) had been breaking out the kazoos and confetti to celebrate running against Rick Santorum in the Fall had he won in Michigan.
There was some serious (a Mary Matalin-ism) projectile sweat from the ERs through yesterday afternoon that Rick Santorum might actually win Michigan, one of Romney's many home states. What would they do?
Santorum? Anti-Satan Santorum? Anti-Contraception Santorum? Pro-Theocracy Santorum? Senator Santorum who lost his seat by 134 percentage points?
THAT Santorum was going to be the GOP nominee?
omg. OMG. O*M*G!
What would happen if Santorum won? Would they be able to induce someone else to get into the race? Bush? Christie? Daniels? Ryan? Crosby? Stills? Nash? Young?
And that was just the Republicans. The Democrats - as represented by the national press corps - were equally giddy.
No, that's not fair. They were not giddy, but they were very interested in presenting with breathless head-bobs the ever-growing difficulties the GOP was going to have beating the Beloved Barack if Rick Santorum were to win in Michigan.
But, they didn't have to get a new person into the race because Romney won in Michigan.
Mighty Casey may not have hit a grand slam, but he punched a solid double into the right-center field gap.
The Beloved Barak, his own self, came to Michigan on what George W. used to call "Votin' Day" to do a full-blown campaign rally with union-types beating up on Republicans generally and Romney in particular because he, Obama, had saved the U.S. auto industry and (not counting Ann Romney's two Cadillacs) Republicans drive Mercedes and BMWs.
Four years ago Mitt Romney won Michigan with 39 percent of the vote (John McCain came in second with about 30 percent). Last night he won with more than 40 percent (Santorum came in second with about 36 percent).
At 9:58 CNN's Wolf Blitzer and John King agreed that Santorum couldn't make up a 22,000 vote deficit. Dana Bash had tweeted about five minutes earlier:
"Update from inside Oakland County election center: 81 percent reported Romney 49% 50,817 votes; Santorum 30% 31,133 votes"
But those votes hadn't yet been included in the official CNN results.
CNN finally called Michigan for Romney at 10:18 with Romney leading by almost 30,000 votes, breaking into Santorum's victory speech to do it.
Two minutes earlier the AP had run a story headlined, "Romney narrowly wins Michigan GOP primary" thus
Santorum was dealt an unfair blow when the Iowa GOP couldn't get the count right and he didn't get appropriate credit for having won the caucuses there on January 3. He did get appropriate credit for going three-for-three in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.
He claimed credit for coming in second in Michigan, but two weeks ago he was ahead by 15 percentage points but couldn't hang on and went oh-for-two in Arizona and Michigan last night.
Rick Santorum's campaign believed he won in Colorado because Evangelical Conservatives over-preformed after the contraception rule was announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about five days earlier.
If that was the case, then Santorum might have been able to win Michigan by shifting to a full-time social message to energize Conservatives there.
He couldn't. And he didn't.
What about Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul?
Paul came in with about 12 percent of the vote. About what he has been getting in the national polls.
Gingrich got only 7 percent in Michigan. He didn't campaign there, but single digits is not good. Gingrich hasn't even been close since South Carolina, and he wasn't close before South Carolina.
He will probably do well next Tuesday in Georgia. If he doesn't win his home state then, at long last, the reports of the death of his campaign will be timely.
So, the Republican greybeards can go back to the steakhouse, take a deep breath, have another glass of Cabernet, enjoy that prime rib, begin thinking about who Mitt Romney should choose as his Vice Presidential running mate.
And, breath a huge sigh of relief.
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