Santorum Trifecta Angers Romney's GOP Supporters

Not many Conservatives believe Santorum has a chance at defeating Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, but losing in Colorado has them wringing their hands in frustration at the chosen one. For a man that has devoted his life to becoming the first

Not many Conservatives believe Santorum has a chance at defeating Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, but losing in Colorado has them wringing their hands in frustration at the chosen one. For a man that has devoted his life to becoming the first Mormon president to constantly step on his own messaging is making GOP leaders publicly challenge Mittens to step it up.

“During Senator Santorum’s time in Washington, the government grew by 80 percent and he voted to raise the debt ceiling five times,” Mr. Romney said Wednesday at an Atlanta rally. “If we’re going to see change in Washington, we’re going to have to see some new faces.”

But top congressional Republicans and some veteran conservatives say that won’t cut it.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Romney’s chief congressional liaison, made clear he was unhappy with the spin from Boston that the over 250,000 votes cast by Republicans in his home state were irrelevant.

“Whether they count or not, I frankly think it’s not helpful to say elections don’t matter,” Blunt said.
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Kyl, who like DeMint has not endorsed in the 2012 race, launched into a sharp critique Wednesday on the matter, saying Romney’s support for indexing the minimum wage to inflation is something that “every conservative knows [is] a bad idea.”

And that’s the crux of the concern over Romney – that he’s simply not conservative by instinct and therefore has inherent difficulties with the right.

“People instinctively can sense how fervently you believe in things by the way you talk about them, by what you choose to talk about,” Kyl said. “And I think to some extent, Mitt can do a little better job to responding to that political fact. Second, he has stepped on his message so many times.”

Kyl added: “Every time he defends his health care action in Massachusetts and every time he says something like [indexing minimum wage], conservatives wonder whether he has the instincts to usually take the conservative position on issues. You don’t just want a transactional president, you want one with a very fixed view of what’s right or wrong, what the good solutions to problems are — and while you always have to end up making accommodations to get things done in politics, you at least instinctively know what direction you ought to be headed in. I think conservatives need to be persuaded that Mitt has a pretty firm fix on where the conservative lodestar is.”

Romney needed to pump in millions of dollars of negative ads in Florida to help turn the tide against Newtie, but GOPers are getting sick of his slash and burn tactics and his flat messaging. They are trying to make the case that Dems went down to the wire in their 2008 primary, but that analogy falls on its face since there were two strong candidates at the time. Santorum's hat trick is a smack-down to Romney by the voters because he is hated by the conservative base, and all the endorsements by the supposedly true Conservatives like Ann Coulter are doing nothing to convince them otherwise.

Even before Tuesday’s results, prominent conservatives such as Karl Rove, The Wall Street Journal editorial page and veteran Weekly Standard reporter Fred Barnes were urging Romney to shift his focus from a message that mixes red-white-and-blue paeans to Americana and fierce attacks on his rivals to a more forward-looking, ideas-oriented pitch.

Those voices grew more blunt after Santorum’s sweep.

“Mitt Romney has money, organization, good looks, nice wife,” Barnes tweeted Wednesday. “He lacks a compelling conservative message. He’d better get one soon.”

Many Republicans are already fixing their gaze at this weekend’s CPAC gathering in Washington to see how Romney, and his rivals, make the case to the right.

And he seems tone deaf to politics with half the statements he makes to the press. This John McCain quote is astounding.

“The thing that bothered me was saying that John McCain lost 19 states in 2008,” said one senator who backs Romney, alluding to the pre-emptive talking points the campaign put out Tuesday. “Well, John McCain didn’t win the general election. I just think that’s a mistake. You have to go out there and act like this all matters.”

It's quite remarkable that the GOP has to go on record with campaign tips at this point of the game, but lurking in the background are those SuperPAC millions which will be poised to try and bail him out with waves of negativity against his opponents. But who ever would have thought that Rick Santorum would have won more states in the GOP primary than Romney has after Colorado? And you know Newt is not going to throw in the towel and be a good little GOPer for the greater good.

It's been tough for the progressive base to have to sit through this Republican circus as it marches on towards the general election because of the staggering amount of extreme wingnuttery we are being subjected to. But if we are stuck covering it at least there is some entertainment to be had.

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