Signs the Santorum Campaign Is Over
March 27, 2012

I'm not sure this is sign number one, but it definitely makes my top ten list. Over at National Review, Charlotte Hays sides with New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny in his now-notorious exchange with the former Pennsylvania senator: On the video of Rick Santorum’s lashing out at Times reporter Jeff Zeleny, Zeleny appears to be trying to do something we wish more reporters would do: ask the follow-up question. He wants to make sure he heard right: Did Santorum really say that Mitt Romney is the “worst Republican in the country” to go up against Obama?

I Did the Delegate Math—And It's Over
March 21, 2012

There are three ways to look at the GOP nominating contest now that Mitt Romney has won Illinois. The first is summarized by Alex Massie in a headline earlier today: “Illinois Votes; Mitt Romney Wins; Race Still Over.” A second is to insist that, while Romney is on track to win the nomination, it’s unwise to assume anything until he has mathematically won a majority of delegates.

Is The South Too Republican For Republicans?
March 12, 2012

The year before his 2010 retirement from the Senate, Ohio Republican George Voinovich offered one of the more candid and colorful recent assessments of what had happened to his party. Asked by The Columbus Dispatch what his party's biggest problem was, he answered: "We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. It's the southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners.

Idaho's Mormons, Vermont's 17-Year-Olds, North Dakota's Dirty Tricks: A Super Tuesday Primer
February 29, 2012

Ohio Delegates at stake: 66 The Buckeye State is considered by many to be Super Tuesday’s most important prize. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Polling Institute, said that Ohio matters so much “because it is so representative of the rest of the country.” A Feb. 27 Quinnipiac poll had Santorum up over Romney 36-29 in the state, but the former Pennsylvania senator failed to qualify for the ballot in three of Ohio’s 16 Congressional districts, which will automatically deny him the nine delegates to be won from those districts.

TNR Contest: Grade One of Rick Santorum’s College Papers
February 28, 2012

[Guest post by Molly Redden] In the course of my reporting on Rick Santorum’s college years, a political science professor of his, Bob O’Connor, gave me a copy of a 17-page term paper he co-wrote for an independent study his senior year, “Political Action Committees in Pennsylvania: A Survey of Their Structure and Effects.” The essay summarizes the operations and influence of business, union, and ideological PACs in the Keystone State’s politics. Obviously, this calls for a reader contest: Grade Rick Santorum’s paper!

A College Paper by Rick Santorum—And What It Says About His Political Evolution
February 28, 2012

This past weekend, Rick Santorum briefly elevated his college years to a focal point of his campaign. “I went through it at Penn State,” he said Sunday. “You talk to most kids who go to college who are conservatives, and you are singled out, you are ridiculed.” He added that he “went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views.” As it turned out, I had spent much of the past week talking to people from Santorum’s past, including several of his college friends and professors.

Santorum: Who Needs Public Education?
February 20, 2012

At a weekend appearance in Ohio, Rick Santorum said this about public education, according to the New York Times: [T]he idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools [italics mine], is anachronistic. It goes back to the time of industrialization of America when people came off the farms where they did home-school or have the little neighborhood school, and into these big factories, so we built equal factories called public schools.

Romney Is Attacking Santorum for Being Pro-Union. How Absurd.
February 17, 2012

In the run-up to the Michigan primary, Mitt Romney has been on an anti-union tear. Partly this has consisted of broad (and curiously anachronistic) castigations of “stooges” and “bosses.” But Romney has also trained his anti-labor ire on Rick Santorum, the current frontrunner in the state primary. On Wednesday, his campaign released a fact-sheet titled “Big Labor’s Favorite Senator” seeking to blunt Santorum’s self-proclaimed appeal to working class voters. But if Santorum is Big Labor’s favorite anything, Big Labor has a strange way of showing it.

Why Obama Would Be Glad If the Culture War Is a Major Election Issue
February 11, 2012

The furor over the Obama administration’s contraception coverage decision has generated a spate of articles proclaiming the return of the social issues in the 2012 campaign. But while they’re being discussed more, I doubt that they’ll prove decisive. Unless something drastic happens between now and November, trends in employment and real income will determine the result. Now comes the traditional “to be sure” paragraph. To be sure, it’s possible to sketch a scenario in which the social issues matter a lot.