Romney Wins CPAC And Maine

A good night for Mitt

(Washington Times) Mitt Romney won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll on Saturday, and also nipped Rick Santorum as the top choice of conservatives nationwide, according to a new version of the poll conducted for the first time this year that suggests Mr. Romney retains strong support among self-identified conservatives.

Mr. Romney won 38 percent of the straw poll, which counted the votes of 3,408 activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference, which ran from Thursday through Saturday at a hotel in Washington.

Mr. Santorum was second with 31 percent, Newt Gingrich was third with 15 percent and Rep. Ron Paul was fourth with 12 percent – far below his showing the last two years, when he won with 31 in 2010 and 30 percent in 2011.

One has to give credit to Team Santorum, who was considered to be pretty much out of it just a few months ago, yet came in second at CPAC. Of course, this straw poll doesn’t provide any delegates or votes during the Primary season, though it does suggest where conservatives are leaning. The big losers were Newt and Paul, according to Politico

Though his national campaign headquarters was only a few miles away, Gingrich hardly had a visible presence. Few carried around his signs or wore his stickers, a major oversight for a candidate trying to remain relevant and convince voters that he’s the conservative alternative to Romney.

Either way, the weak straw poll showing was the latest demonstration of the limits of Paul’s support among conservatives.

Paul also declined to speak at CPAC, which probably accounted for their being less Paulbots available to spam the vote. Instead of speaking to the base of the Republican party at one of the most important Conservative gatherings of the year, Paul decided to head to Maine to campaign

In Maine, Romney squeaked out a tight win over Texas Rep. Ron Paul in that state’s Republican presidential caucuses, taking 39% of the vote to Paul’s 36%. He had gone 0-for-3 in Tuesday’s contests in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, which all went to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

It was a good second place finish for Paul, but, neither Santorum nor Gingrich campaigned in Maine. And Paul showed again what his strategy is, and it doesn’t involve the phrase “winning the nomination”

“Just remember, the revolution is only beginning,” Paul told cheering supporters after the results were announced. “The momentum is going to continue, we’re not going away. We’re going to be in all these places where we’re going to pick up, continue to pick up the delegates, for one good reason — we have the message that America needs at this particular time.”

He has said his strategy is to compete in states like Maine, where he can be competitive, and gather up delegates while bypassing others to save time and money. Ultimately, he says, that will keep him in the race until the Republican National Convention in August.

All Paul is trying to do is be relevant and, more importantly, muck up the process. He has a total of 19 delegates so far. One gets the feeling that Paul is no longer attempting to win, just stamp his brand of crazy on the process.

Santorum is obviously the other big winner. He’s shown that he is not the “flavor of the week”, but a force to be reckoned with. Of course, there aren’t as many players left in the horse race. Rick hasn’t made the big gaffe yet, and seems to be pushing an economic message. The fact that he is a front runner is shown by media outlets going after him, like ABC’s shot about Santorum voting for Sotomayor.

One thing to remember: no candidate is perfect. They all have flaws, because….they’re politicians! Ronald Reagan would have earned the ire of today’s conservatives vis a vis his amnesty for illegal aliens. What it typically comes down to with politics is “which one best represents the values and positions of our party? Which one is most electable?” The object is to make Obama a one term president. He’s done quite enough damage to America. Do you want 4 more years of reducing America’s prestige, economic stagnation, class warfare, implementing ObamaCare and rules that are implemented at the will of the head of HHS (remember, ObamaCare gave that person enormous power to pretty much do whateverthehell they want). Do you want Obama to be around to pick the next few Supreme Court judges? There’s a good chance Ginsberg will retire in the next year or two (liberals are begging her to retire now, so Obama can pick now). Perhaps one or two others. Which would be better? A Republican picking, or Obama picking?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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