The Spectacle Blog

Weekend Political Wrap-Up

By on 2.26.12 | 2:05PM

1. If a governor's endorsement was sufficient to guarantee victory in that state, Nikki Haley would have delivered the South Carolina primary to Mitt Romney. That said, Rick Santorum needed something to turn around his fortunes ahead of Tuesday's contests. He could have used an endorsement from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer now that he is down by double digits in the state. Romney got Brewer's endorsement instead. Just days ago a Santorum upset in Arizona seemed likely.

2. Santorum had an off night in the debate this week. But his line that he took one for the team when he voted for No Child Left Behind, an unconstitutional and unpopular federal power grab in education, will come back to haunt him. Part of Santorum's appeal is that he puts principle above party or politics, and Romney was flailing around to find some sin against conservatism that Santorum committed of which he and his supporters were not themselves guilty. Santorum has handed team Romney a bludgeon with which to beat him. This is especially helpful because Romney can't overtly run against Santorum on social issues.

3. What started as a one-off Washington Post report at the beginning of the month has become the conventional wisdom: Romney and Ron Paul are colluding. Jennifer Rubin argued Friday that there is no conspiracy; Paul just dislikes Santorum and Gingrich. Paul has denied any tactical alliance. But there's a simpler explanation: there are states where Romney and Paul face a common foe (Gingrich in Iowa, Santorum in Michigan); there will be many caucus states, like Maine most recently, where Paul and Romney must go head-to-head.

4. Normally I would say that if Romney wins Arizona and Michigan Tuesday, he is well on his way to winning the nomination. But given the way the race has gone so far, I will not say that. And obviously there is no guarantee he will win Tuesday.

5. The public response to President Obama's apology to Afghanistan after the Koran burnings was muted. Expect it to become a bigger political issue down the line.

6. Nevertheless, Republicans are going to have a tougher time running against Obama on foreign policy than they imagine. Most Americans wanted out of Iraq, want out of Afghanistan, and approve of the killing of bin Laden.

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