The Rick Santorum camp is claiming huge victories in the contests last night, with their incremental victories in Alabama and Mississippi. Mr. Santorum does indeed succeed in the bastions of traditional Religious Right-Wingery, in those Bible-belt places where snakes speak in tongues and folks bow to Mecca five times a day, or whatever it is they do. Mitt Romney, the cultist Mormon, does not fare so well in those fabulous lands. But he doesn’t fare too badly, either, and he still managed to rack up more delegates last night than Rick Santorum.
In Alabama and Mississippi, Mr. Santorum picked up a total of 32 delegates – Mr. Romney, 23. (11-delegate lead, Santorum.) But we also had voting in American Samoa and Hawaii last night. In Samoa, Romney picked up all 9 delegates. In Hawaii, he scored 8 delegates to Mr. Santorum’s 3 delegates. Overall for the night, Mr. Romney racked up 3 delegates more than Mr. Santorum.
So – on a poor night for Mr. Romney, he still won. Inevitability, thy name is Mitt.
The Santorum camp will argue that Mr. Romney only performs well in places that are inconsequential, either to the nation as a whole (Samoa, the Marianas islands) or to the GOP in particular: Hawaii, Berkeley, New York – you know, where the voters aren’t real Americans. (Being a real American requires believing President Obama is a Muslim, the planet is 6,500 years old, and the polar ice caps aren’t melting.)
Newt Gingrich managed to pick up 25 delegates last night, just enough for him to justify sticking around and playing little boy games with the new Secret Service action figures who are now shadowing him. It must be a dream come true. If only he could ride Air Force One with them. Neat!
Ron Paul, meanwhile, scored zero delegates. He will no doubt find a way to claim a great victory for the cause of liberty.
In short, the status quo remains in place, and it increasingly looks as though the Republicans will have no clear victor before the convention in August. After the Turmoil in Tampa, we suspect they will settle – inevitably – on Mr. Romney. Then the GOP’s hard-praying, gun-fetishizing base will have to pretend it truly loved that non-Christian cultist all along.