Ask, and ye shall receive! Last Thursday, I gleefully wished out loud for Ron Paul to get his moment in the GOP spotlight:
And how ’bout that Ron Paul at 18%!?! Most of the other nutberger candidates have had their fling with the pole position…Ron Paul should get his shot, too. And to top the whole thing off like a layer of creamy chocolate frosting, we should get Rick Santorum [the] next week.
And looky here:
Newt Gingrich’s campaign is rapidly imploding, and Ron Paul has now taken the lead in Iowa. He’s at 23% to 20% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Gingrich….
Paul’s ascendancy is a sign that perhaps campaigns do matter at least a little, in a year where there has been a lot of discussion about whether they still do in Iowa. 22% of voters think he’s run the best campaign in the state compared to only 8% for Gingrich and 5% for Romney.
Romney is so unlikable that GOP voters can’t give him credit for running a persistent, reasonably professional, and not overly negative campaign in Iowa?!? Huh.
I’ll sure miss Newt as the front-runner. His reckless quirkiness, monster ego, and his deliciously rich past make him a dream opponent for Obama. Ron Paul makes a dream opponent, as well, but he has zero chance of becoming the Republican nominee. Seriously…if Newt crashes and burns, Mitt Romney is the only plausible alternative, and a lot of Republicans will be holding their noses supporting him.
(Seeing all the nose-holding, Mitt will, no doubt, assume they soiled themselves, throw ’em on the roof of the car, hose them down, and drive boldly onward to the general election.)
Yeah, I’ll miss Newt, for sure. But a Ron Paul win in Iowa has an acute payoff: GOP Mayhem! Don’t believe me? Let’s ask the Washington Examiner’s Timothy Carney, who recalls Pat Buchanan’s 1996 victory in the New Hampshire primary:
“It was awful,” Buchanan told me this week when I asked him about his few days as the nominal GOP front-runner. “They come down on you with both feet.”
The GOP establishment that week rallied to squash Buchanan. Just after New Hampshire, Gingrich’s hand-picked group of GOP leaders, known as the Speaker’s Advisory Group, met with one thing on their minds, according to a contemporaneous Newsweek report: “How to deal with Buchanan.”
No doubt, Ron Paul will be pummeled by his own party. In fact, I wouldn’t put it past them to start first thing Monday morning to head off any threat of a Ron Paul win in Iowa.
The most intriguing possibility out of all this is that Rick Santorum might get a brief stint as the next not-Mitt Romney. That would be awesome for a couple of reasons. First, every time the Republicans rally around a new not-Mitt Romney only to experience an abrupt case of buyer’s remorse, it diminishes the Republican primary process and, in particular, the Romney campaign’s credibility. That’s right…Republicans are engaging in an internal battle that can be described as (if I’m allowed to engage in a bit of hyperbole) mutual assured destruction.
A Santorum rally could also be awesome because of the timing of the Iowa caucuses. If the Republicans take out Paul before the Iowa caucuses, and Santorum hits the wave just right, he could actually take Iowa. And that would be an exquisite New Year’s gift.
I don’t know about you, but I’m just about out…so it’s off to the store tomorrow to stock up on more popcorn.