Rick Santorum is the New Newt

Andisheh NouraeeComments

While Rick Santorum will never have Newt Gingrich’s way with words – I’m sorry, I meant Rick Santorum will literally fundamentally never have Newt Gingrich’s transformational way with words – it does look as if Santorum has once again replaced Newt as the GOP’s anti-Mitt of the moment.

GOP primary voters are divided into three main categories: Mitt Romney fans, Ron Paul fans, and fans of a rotating cast of anti-Mitts. The anti-Mitts are Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. If you’ve heard political commentators say this GOP contest is “volatile,” they’re referring to the rapid rise and fall in the polls of anti-Mitts since last summer. Anti-Mitts keep surging in popularity, then flaming out.

Newt surged in November of last year, then flamed out in December. Santorum surged in late December, won the Iowa Caucus, then floundered.  Newt surged again in South Carolina, then flamed out again in Florida and Nevada.

Now Santorum is back again. Last night, Santorum won three contests in Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado. He didn’t just win them. He won them big.

Does this mean he’s gonna supplant Mitt Romney as the frontrunner? I don’t think so. But it means the media’s attention will be focused on the Rick vs. Mitt contest, rather than the Newt vs. Mitt contest. Because Newt doesn’t have Romney’s ad budget, he literally depends heavily on this sort of press attention to get his transformational, fundamental message to the public.

In the immediate short-term, Rick’s big win’s last night mean less air time for Newt.