Super Tuesday didn't settle much. Mitt Romney won six states, but...? Well, that's the way political watchers see it. Winning Ohio was like winning Michigan. Romney got a few delegates more than Santorum, but Santorum's still at his heels.
Ohio took everyone's attention until well past midnight, but the payoff didn't match the hype. Ohio was a proportional distribution state, meaning that a close vote gave neither candidate a significant leg up. At the same time, Santorum spoiled Newt Gingrich's "southern strategy." Gingrich had hoped to finish in second place in southern states other than Georgia, and to win Georgia handily. However, Santorum busied himself keeping up with Romney, denying him a win that would lock up the future. Not only that, but while he was at it, he also took time to drop in on Oklahoma and Tennessee from time to time and persuade enough Republicans there to vote for him to garner wins in both states, denying Gingrich all but Georgia.
Republican Primary Super Tuesday States - 2012
Super Tuesday was a lot less super than it needed to be. No one "stepped up," "took control," or "ran away with it." The "destructive," "corrosive" days of this never-ending Republican Primary campaign continue. Romney has requested his rivals abandon the field, but all have refused. Romney hasn't gained enough distance to say no one could catch him, Gingrich seems to be looking for a brokered convention, Santorum keeps suggesting he can actually catch and beat Romney (but he'd best stop alienating Catholic women if he hopes to do thatÂ—he lost them in droves in Ohio), and Ron Paul has evidently got his Don Quixote on.
Small skirmishes will be fought as they race their little clown car from low-delegate count state to low-delegate count state, until the big states of New York, California, New Jersey, etc. come on line. For some of the candidates, just keeping their names alive until then may be a challenge. As of now, the delegate count score is (numbers in elipses are from Real Clear Politics)... Romney 415 (404), Santorum, 176 (161), Gingrich 105, and Paul 47 (61); needed for nomination... 1144, nearly three times Romney's present total.
This long, drawn-out snipe-fest is backing all but the most devoted fans of each candidate away. Another two months of it, and there won't be an independent, mainstream Republican or Blue-Dog Democrat who will vote for any of them. They keep leapfrogging each other to the right, citing mean-spiritedness as conservatism and ad hominum attacks on each other as debate.
Their speeches are becoming more strident and more filled with misdirection and half-truths by the day. Gingrich, for instance, has said that George Bush brought America $1.89 gasoline, and Obama got it raised to $4.00. The truth is, the economic crash brought July 2008's $4.09 gas down to $1.89 shortly before the election, and the price returned upward as the market saw the economy improving.
Romney's response to questions about his Massachusetts health plan borders on "What health plan?" Santorum promises to take America back to 1952, and make contraception, never mind abortion, illegal. He couldn't, but he thinks the promise is helping him (it's not... ask the Catholic women who abandoned him). Ron Paul, by now irrelevant in this contest, still spreads his isolationist doctrine and promises a new gold standard.
This Mediocre Tuesday, 10-state, Republican Primary 2012 gave President Obama little to worry about. It's hard to see any of the future activities in this stumbling, staggering excuse for a primary rectifying that. No one except the farthest right Republican "base" members are likely to follow anyone in this crowd into oblivion.