Each election cycle, the candidates accuse the media of making the race into a game to be followed rather than focusing on issues that affect the country and the world.
Of course, the political parties do exactly the same thing, rooting for one opposing candidate over the other because one is more or less electable when going up against a candidate from their own party. Many accounts had it that when Newt Gingrich was enjoying his moment in the sun during the Republican primaries, Democrats in high places were delighted, because they considered him an easy one from President Obama to beat later this year.
Rick Santorum may have “lost” by something like eight votes last night, but he clearly was a big winner, since he did so well against all the other candidates, and his win was part of why Michelle Bachmann called it quits.
Conventional wisdom has it that the reason he did so well is that no one likes Mitt Romney, despite his reputation for being the most “electable.”
I think something else might be going on. Last time around, Republicans put McCain out in front, even though it was tough to get enthusiastic about him. And where did it get them? Dems, on the other hand, passed on the more “electable” Hillary Clinton in favor of someone who could motivate more people to get to the polls.
Could Santorum be that person this time around? Tough to know. Although his positions certainly excite the Republican base, he’s hardly a barnburner when it comes to the stump speech.
And who should I be rooting for, being on the other side? The “electable” one who no one likes (and is thus less likely to get the votes out) or the “un-electable” one who tickles the right-wing’s fancy, but may prove to be, well, un-electable?
Maybe that’s the lesson of this whole exercise, that it’s not a game, not a horserace. That you should support the person who you think would be better for the country. So I guess if somehow the President doesn’t get re-elected, it would be better for Romney to win than Santorum. I’ll put my chips in with Romney. Or I would, if this were a game.