Twitter

In The Iowa Caucuses, It's Mitt Romney By Only 8 Votes!

Crazy.

So, I have to admit that I did not stay up to watch the final votes tallied. Four years ago, I would have stayed with all of the cable network coverage well into the morning, but that was when I was a stay-at-home-dad. Nowadays, I have a "real" job.

That said, I watched as the first votes were counted and very early on it was clear who the front-runners were going to be; Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum.

I went to bed thinking that my prediction would hold true all night long. I was wrong. Ouch.

As you can plainly see by the neat-o Des Moine Register cover up there (click to embiggen), Mitt Romney won the Iowa caucus by beating Rick Santorum (yes, that Rick Santorum) by a mere eight votes. Not eight points folks. Eight VOTES. That's a pretty remarkable thing.

SO I wake up this morning and the new meme is that Romney and Santorum essentially tied. While that is true, I cannot believe that Santorum is now suddenly an actual contender for the GOP nomination. Oh sure, he got the Evangelical voters to back him up -- and that is a definite strength for him going into states like South Carolina. BUT, that was also the conventional wisdom in Mike Huckabee's candidacy in 2008.

My guess is that by the time I post this, there will have already been a dozen or more writers comparing the 2012 Santorum campaign with the 2008 Huckabee campaign -- but it bears repeating. The parallels are uncanny; both Huck and Rick are social conservatives coupled with 'big-government' (neo) conservatism. Both Huck and Rick courted and successfully won much of the Evangelical vote. Both Huck and Rick came out of obscurity to win the Iowa caucuses (insert "Santorum comes from behind" + Google joke here).

But, the similarities will not end there. Like Mike Huckabee before him, the sweater-vest-clad candidate will head to New Hampshire and get pummeled by Mitt Romney. Then it will be on to South Carolina, where Santorum may have a strong showing, but his coffers, and his fundraising apparatus, will not be able to compete with Romney's.

As it was with Michele Bachmann, it is only a matter of time for Rick Santorum, before he drops out.