A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Santorum Clutches At Straws -- Wants To Change Texas' Delegate Selection Process

Things are looking pretty grim for Rick Santorum (aka Mr. Frothy) these days. Willard Mitt Romney (aka Wall Street Willie) won three more states last Tuesday, and it looks like he will take four or five of the states that vote on April 24th (with the possible exception being Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania). That wouldn't give Romney enough delegates to clinch the nomination, but it would give him a huge lead and fix it so that none of his opponents could get enough delegates to win.

That has Santorum clutching at straws, and trying to come up with some kind of game-changing move that could at least force a brokered convention (which is starting to look like his only chance to win the nomination). Rumor has it that he and Gingrich have had several conversations lately -- probably to try and come up with some kind of co-ordinated strategy to stop Romney. I doubt that will happen though, since Gingrich's ego is far too big (and that strategy would help Santorum far more than Gingrich).

Here in Texas, where Santorum is currently leading, he is trying a different tack. Santorum is encouraging his followers to change the delegate selection process. Currently Texas apportions its delegates according to the percentages each candidate wins in the state primary. That means that even if he loses the primary, Romney could still grab a healthy portion of the 152 delegates at stake. But Santorum and his supporters want to change the rules to make Texas a "winner take all" state. That would most likely mean Santorum would get all 152 delegates.

On a Pennsylvania radio show last Wednesday Santorum said of the proposed change in Texas, "Now that is a game-changer for us. . .all of a sudden this race doesn't become as long a shot as the media would tend to dictate." But as much as Santorum would like for this to happen, it is very unlikely to happen.

It takes 15 members of the party's State Executive Committee to ask for an emergency meeting. There are enough Santorum supporters on the committee to accomplish that, but at that meeting it would take a two-thirds vote to change the rule. That would be hard to achieve, since the Romney members would oppose it (and I really can't see Paul and Gingrich willingly giving up their delegates for Santorum). Even if Santorum were somehow to pull that off, there would still be a big obstacle.

The change would then have to be approved by the Republican National Committee. And that isn't going to happen. The party leaders are already embarrassed over this campaign and how its helping to destroy the party brand. They want it to end, and letting Texas change the rules at this late date would just drag things out further. Party leaders also view Romney as the stronger candidate.

I don't expect Santorum (or Gingrich or Paul) to quit right now, but it is time for them to face reality. The race may not be officially over yet, but trying to do something as sneaky as trying to change the rules in the middle of the game is not going to help. This just makes Santorum look desparate (and more than a little unethical).

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