The Spectacle Blog

Does Santorum Winning Iowa Matter?

By on 1.19.12 | 11:17AM

So it turns out that Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucus after all. By 34 votes.

But does that matter 48 hours before the South Carolina Primary?

Unless there is a swift backlash against Newt Gingrich over the ABC interview with his ex-wife, I doubt it. I suspect that most Republican primary voters will see a) a woman who has a score to settle and b) a liberal network that views Mitt Romney as an easier opponent for President Obama than Newt and thus wants to torpedo Newt's candidacy.

O.K., but what if we knew sixteen days ago what we know now?

Again, if Santorum had been declared the winner in the early morning of January 4th, I don't think it changes all that much. As I wrote very early that morning as the votes were still being tabulated, Santorum won Iowa regardless of the result. But five days before the vote, I wrote that even if Santorum won Iowa his social conservatism wouldn't serve him well in New Hampshire and that while he would be more warmly received in South Carolina he would be most viable alternative to Romney if Bachmann, Perry and Newt were out of the picture.

Well, Santorum didn't do well in New Hampshire. While Bachmann and Perry are both out of the picture, Newt got a second wind and Romney is feeling a heavy breeze while Santorum's sails have stilled. Of course, the 2012 GOP race has been a lot like the weather. Wait around five minutes. If Santorum finds a way to connect with the debate audience tonight, Newt stumbles, Romney babbles while Paul does his impersonation of a Taliban spokesman, it could change yet again. But those are big ifs.

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