Political Animal


March 05, 2012 5:53 PM Rush’s Gift to Romney?

By Ed Kilgore

In an update to his Super Tuesday projections, 538’s Nate Silver discussed Rick Santorum’s sagging position in many polls (aside from Romney’s gains against him in Ohio and elsewhere, Newt Gingrich, who’s having yet another final spasm of momentum, could skunk him in Georgia and knock him out of the top spot in Tennesse) and made this rather interesting observation:

Mr. Santorum’s campaign — unlike Mr. Romney’s and to a lesser extent Mr. Gingrich’s — has lacked the muscle to turn the narrative around after some rough patches. This would have been a good week for Mr. Santorum to roll out endorsements, or to focus a line of attack upon Mr. Romney, but little of that has been apparent.
Instead, the past week has been relatively light for horse-race coverage, with much of the political world instead focused on the Rush Limbaugh controversy. With no debates — and Mr. Santorum’s loss in Washington representing the major story — there has been nothing to stop his downward trajectory.

It would be ironic if Limbaugh, who has on occasion channeled conservative mistrust of Romney, managed to help him win crucial Super Tuesday victories by hogging the attention of the chattering classes. For all we know, Mitt’s made a few more gaffes about his personal wealth or dissed conservative legislation, and nobody noticed. If so, no wonder Romney’s gone so easy on the old bully in his hour of need.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • left reach on March 05, 2012 6:48 PM:

    Previewing your Comment
    Good observations, Ed.
    Here's something else with the chattering classes:

    Did any see this on The Daily Show--Jon Stewart captures the right arm of the Republican Party, Fox News, revealing that the Republican National Committee delivers emails they actually call "Pundit Prep" --to Fox talk hosts. And what an unintended revelation on the "Fox and Friends" morning show, as Steve Doocy's on his laptop, on camera, and tells viewers these pundit prep details are sent to Fox from the RNC--and he then begins as instructed by the email to start those talking points--- one, two, three. And there's co-host Gretchen Carlson--horror-struck, aghast and making "big eyes" at both Doocy and someone off screen--great find by Stewart and his team. Wow--secret's out, the emails come to them, and there they go, right on cue, bringing stuff to a fever pitch, working up the masses that tune in. Yeah, we may have suspected this--but there it was-- told to us on camera that it does happen.

  • liam foote on March 05, 2012 8:37 PM:

    There are a significant number of undecided voters in Ohio, many of whom didn't much like Romney (note the high number of auto workers, for example) and would find casting a vote for Santorum (from a neighboring state) to be at least tolerable.

    But those who find Limbaugh's toxic rants to be disgusting would associate him far more with Santorum than they would with Romney. This may allow Romney to squeak through in Ohio. At least he isn't someone who we equate with Limbaugh, while Santorum ... well ...

  • beejeez on March 05, 2012 9:11 PM:

    Enjoy it while you can, y'all, but Rush's sponsors are going to get back in line as soon as the MSM settle on another squirrel to chase. I give it three days for the first to come back, and the last about two weeks.

  • thebewilderness on March 05, 2012 9:43 PM:

    It isn't just that Limbaugh sucked all the oxygen out of the room. It is also that he said exactly the same thing Santorum has been saying only using different words.

    Limbaugh isn't only losing sponsors, he is losing stations. And Ricky is losing votes.
    There have been over a thousand pieces of legislation put forward in this country in the past twelve months by the Republican Party to restrict the rights of women. In the real world women make up over half the population. And they are pissed!

  • Cha on March 06, 2012 12:44 AM:

    rush limpdick's sponsors are going to come back to that oxycotin riddled big mouthed asshole? Whatever.