Earlier today, I linked to Goldy’s piece about caucusing for Santorum. While I think that there’s a case to be made that the negative campaign and the extended primary hurt the GOP, I’m not as sold on that as he is. And Goldy is hardly unique among commentators who think that it’ll be bad for them.
In general though, I think primaries are good for the party that holds them. The continued free media for Romney and the GOP’s ideas (such as they are) are not what I’d consider wonderful. And it’ll give them time to test their messaging and build their organization in various states.
That’s more or less how it played out in 2008. I remember Democrats fretting that if Hillary Clinton didn’t drop out that the nasty campaign would destroy Obama. That obviously didn’t happen. So take it with a grain of salt when those same people talk with assurance about what a primary will do to the GOP.
The biggest thing about the 2008 primary was it got a lot of people excited about Obama or Clinton. And that excitement stayed through the election. But that really hasn’t happened in 2012 so far. I see for example that fewer people are showing up for the GOP contests, and given that the only action is on the GOP side this year, that bodes quite ill for them. I mean, who the hell is excited for Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum?