Skip to comments.GOP bid down to Southern 'do or die' - Santorum, Gingrich face long odds with Tues. loss
Posted on 03/12/2012 7:02:43 PM PDT by SmithL
WASHINGTON -- Mississippi has not been "used to mattering" in presidential politics, according to one close observer.
But on the heels of hosting 2008's most important presidential debate, along comes Tuesday's Republican presidential primary with the potential to alter the course of the 2012 race for the White House.
Along with Alabama, Tuesday's primaries in the Deep South are "do or die" contests for both former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House speaker Newt Gingrich and should shape the race as either a three-way long slog into summer or a two-person contest going forward.
Few expect front-runner former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney or regular fourth-place trailer Texas Congressman Ron Paul to do well Tuesday, and some are anything but subtle about why.
"This is going to be very controversial but I'll tell you what I think," said Vivian Berryhill, 58, of Olive Branch, the wife of a Baptist preacher and a 2004 delegate to the Republican National Convention.
"I think that for the conservative faithful -- the people who are really diehard Christians and diehard evangelicals -- there's a question about the Mormonism. People aren't going to say that, but it really is a question. It shouldn't be, and people shouldn't look at a person's religion but, realistically, they do," she said.
Romney's religion matters in a region where many voters, especially those most enlivened to participate this year, are Southern Baptists or conservative evangelicals. That the two chief alternatives are Roman Catholics seems less an issue, observers say.
Berryhill will be voting for Gingrich, whom she considers a friend. She attended his rally at the Landers Center in Southaven on Thursday night and was impressed at the crowd that came out, braving the downpours.
"Real friendships mean a lot where we come from," she said.
"Realistically," she added, "Tuesday is do or die for Newt or Santorum. Both of them are going to have to carry both states or look at turning over their delegates to the other."
For Curtis Wilkie, a former national political reporter for The Boston Globe and a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, the contests are Santorum's or Gingrich's to lose, with most voters "not being too hospitable to a former Massachusetts governor." Romney himself conceded the region's contests felt like "a bit of an away game" last week.
Several observers, including Wilkie, expected Texas Gov. Rick Perry to still be in the race at this juncture, and expected him to win Mississippi.
State Sen. Merle Flowers, R-Southaven, said he hoped former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour would commit to the race, then backed Perry, and now supports Romney.
Romney may have the endorsements lined up, including from current and former governors -- as he did, to little effect, in South Carolina and Tennessee -- but "endorsements historically don't mean much outside a place like Chicago," Wilkie said.
Like others, Wilkie said: "Mississippi is enjoying getting a little attention for the first time in years."
Caucuses are also taking place in Hawaii and American Samoa on Tuesday.
There's been a Ron Paul for President tent on the Mississippi State campus in Starkville for weeks and students "risked life and limb" to see him speak last fall as tornadoes threatened in the area, said political science professor W. Martin Wiseman. But what he called "almost a groupie-like thing" and a "college campus phenomenon" probably won't matter much Tuesday, he said.
Wiseman said he expects voters to pick Gingrich, in part because of his 30 years representing a congressional district in nearby Georgia. He said he hesitates to call Gingrich a Southerner -- he was born in Pennsylvania -- but that he has more claim to the distinction than Romney or Santorum.
Wiseman, too, noted that Romney has picked up significant, high-level endorsements and has Barbour behind the scenes "pulling lots of strings." But he said that's more for Magnolia State leaders "to identify with ... what looks like will be the nominee" and won't have much impact on voters.
Mormonism will be a major negative for Romney, Wiseman agreed. Romney is not only "a patrician New Englander . . . but then you throw in the Mormon thing, which is much more than a passing curiosity in this part of the world, (and) you're asking a lot of very conservative Southern Baptists and independent evangelicals to vote for somebody that they believe is a non-Christian, that's asking a lot of their faith."
Wiseman said Mississippi is "Gingrich's to lose, and it looks like he might lose it." But he said if Santorum wins both Alabama and Mississippi and Gingrich is persuaded to drop out, "the rank-and-file in the Republican Party may see him (Santorum) as an alternative and it may get very problematic for Romney.
"If Romney can survive till the end of March, he has clear sailing," Wiseman said.
But if Mississippi shakes things up, other calculations will have to be made.
"Mississippi is not used to mattering," Wiseman said. "We're used to being spectators and watching what the rest of the world does. All of a sudden, we get to cast the vote that counts."
Mississippians and Alabamans and Southerners gerally would consider voting for a conservative, pro-life, pro Second Amendment, pro-family Mormon. Bishop Willard on the other hand has a proven track record of left wing activism, and anti-reproduction policies.
You said it all. Willard does not govern by conservatism he governs by expediency and his left wing heart.
No “do or die” about it. They will “do” until the money runs out, period.
Mississippians and Alabamans and Southerners gerally would consider voting for a conservative, pro-life, pro Second Amendment, pro-family Mormon.
In the General Election, yes, because he’s better than Obama. But, NOT in the Primary
Do I hear a "second"?
(especially from an internecine Newt Gingrich supporter).
Was in a long discussion while deployed early 80s. Had indicated to an individual who turned out to be a Mormon deacon, that I was interested in becoming a Mormon. This turned on the word spigot and I learned that as a Mormon male I could do anything I wanted legal or not for several life times. If not living your life correctly, it has to be repeated until you get it right. After having fun then live the way your supposed to and then you become a god with your own planet to rule, where again you can do anything you want. Your wife or wives can be invited to join you, not as gods, and if not invited have to remain out side in the dark. I have glossed over and cleaned up a lot of that mans hard sell. I don’t believe his religion constitutes Christianity.
That part about the women being left out speaks volumes. Hillary Clinton came out asking why women are always attacked? Why is there no respect for women? See how this is being set up? A vote for Romney is a vote for a man who will become a God but his wife, or wives, will have to wait outside. The dems are setting this up to be all about how women are mistreated by the republicans. And a mormon at the top of the GOP ticket plays right into their hands.
Funny thing is Dick Morris came out tonight on Hannity endorsing Romney, but then also endorsed Orrin Hatch’s primary opponent, and went on to cite liberal votes by Hatch.
I’ll give credit to these Missippians realizing that either Newt or Rick must drop out in order to stop Romney from being the nominee. If one or the other loses to Romney tomorrow by giving him a plurality in these of all states, then they should finally realize the reality of what they’re doing.
The problem is that Santorum supporters are more like Romeny supporters, so if Rick were to drop out, Romney would get the pending Santoirum supporter votes. That is not true of Newt supporters because they are true conservatives not faux conservatives ... if Newt drops out, we write in persons like Jim Robinson rather than vote for a lying shill for the new world order.
There isn’t a single path to the nomination for either Newt or Rick if they don’t team up. If they wait until the convention to team up, they’re going to probably leave Romney with enough delegates to let Ron Paul put him over the top. If they team up now and one drops out, but acts as a surrogate, then they can end up with enough delegates at the convention to combine and beat Romney + Paul if they coalesce their votes against Romney in winner-take-all types of states. Would a Santorum or Newt supporter really vote for Romney over their own guy as V.P.?
“if Newt drops out, we write in persons like Jim Robinson rather than vote for a lying shill for the new world order”
Precisely. Although I am more inclined to just vote Constitution Party rather then write in a name. An Obama versus Ropmney ticket screams for an independent challenge, so there may actually be someone palatable to vote for if Willard does become, along with Murkowski, the face of the contemporary GOP.
I dont believe his religion constitutes Christianity.It's not a religion, it's a cult. It's an early-day scientology. Joseph Smith was an L Ron Hubbard, making sh*t up as he went along.
then you become a god with your own planet to ruleI've heard some people describe it as "then you become a god with your own universe to rule".
Which is it, a planet or a universe? Not that it matters, of course. It's a zany cult either way. But I'm just curious.
If only they weren’t splitting the vote. If the winner gets over 50% they would get all the delegates. Even if he comes in third Romney is gonna get delegates today.