Last night, Rick Santorum swept into victory in three states. The least funded candidate won decisively among a field of four.
There are those who look at Romney's money and organization and see a juggernaut. Last night, that notion was tucked into bed and the lights were turned out.
Newt Gingrich has money, went negative, and flaunted his grandiose big government ideas, but despite his gift of gab and a recent influx of big money into his Super PAC, he was nowhere near the top of the pile.
Ron Paul - that vaunted organization of his... it didn't do well.
The guy who came in first? He has neither organization nor money.
So why did he win?
It's very simple, and those of you on the left who read this blog won't understand a thing of what I'm about to say, to your detriment.
In early 2010, I bet a very liberal guy named Bruce Stone $20 that Marco Rubio would win the senate seat in Florida. This was before he was nationally known, and before Charlie Crist had lost the primary and before it became a three-man race.
I believed Rubio would win for a single reason: the Tea Party.
When you take a candidate who is a solid family man, believes the right things, states them in well-spoken terms, he has a good shot. When that man has a sizable grassroots organization underneath him, he'll likely win.
Marco Rubio didn't own or organize his organization that catapulted him to victory - and by the way, he beat Crist and the Democrat combined. Instead, the organization decided to get behind him and - ta-da - he won.
After Rubio's victory, I told Bruce (who throughout the campaign gave me silly statistics he had at his fingertips that proved not even close to correct) that his ridicule and lack of understanding of the Tea Party was his Achilles Heel. But he was all full of conventional wisdom and best practices - and he was wrong.
Santorum won last night, for only a single reason: in the last three years, the conservatives of the country, the ones who can muster hundreds of thousands to Washington for Tea Party rallies, figured out that rallies are fun and interesting, but mostly ineffective. So we instead went very quietly under the radar to start running for local offices and to get into the central committees and to support the candidates of our choice. But we've been organizing, make no mistake, in an almost undetectable way.
When a conservative candidate finally came out swinging for capitalism and against Romneycare, for limited government without the trappings of big government solutions, the Tea Party, a very organized group, communicated their approval to each other. That organization showed up last night in three states.
Money in politics is nice, but it's only a means to an end. The end, of course, is to get out the vote, and getting out the vote is all about one thing: bodies and ballots. At the end of the day, you can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have the bodies or the ballots, you lose.
Romney has been trying to win without the base. He's been running a general election campaign since he started because he felt that he was the presumed winner. Sorry pal - you still need us in the cheap seats to carry you over the line. I have yet to meet a Tea Partier who strongly supports Mitt. (And no, Ann Coulter is not a Tea Partier. She's an Ann Partier.)
Mitt might still win it. But the reason Santorum won last night is that the stealth-organized Tea Party believed him, just like they believed Marco Rubio. Against conventional wisdom, Santorum could win this, if he, like Rubio, remains true to his beliefs and his supporters throughout the campaign.
I watch the left and the elite media folks, neither of whom ever tried to really understand the Tea Party, sit in shock today at the results. But every Tea Partier I know looks at the race today and understands Santorum's victory and how he won it.
And we smile.
I have my disagreements with Rick, but he's a full-throated capitalist, and I know where he stands. Good for him and for his acquired organization that lifted him to victory.
ETC: I found this later in a thread at HotAir, from a person in Colorado, and it cinches what I'm saying.
This shook up the GOP establishment in Colorado, make no mistake. So again, for those who think the Tea Party is dead, you just keep thinking that. It works to our advantage.
Its pretty simple: The state GOP apparatus, with former McCain people and all the Romney people, supported Romney. Large numbers of LDS voters here as a pool to draw on. Lots of money spent on direct mail, and he was basically the only one making robo-calls – some folks got 4 of them plus a live call! On top of that, Romney won Colorado in 2008. Romney had everything going his way in CO - yet despite all those advantages, Romney still didn't get more than 35%, and got beat by a guy on a shoestring budget. Why? Message, Obamacare, and state/local politics.
We don't trust the so-called GOP elites here anymore. And we are now angry enough to get out and do something. The rest of us, the "grass roots" GOP members, especially the newly active Tea Party types, got trained in how to do caucuses and precinct elections, and showed up in larger numbers than the establishment expected. And Santorum was the beneficiary. At our precincts, Gingrich was seen as an untrustworthy beltway bandit, Romney as the ultimate sell-out establishment guy, and many of us were simply tired of both of those types of GOP "elites". So we voted for the only other viable conservative choice we had: Santorum. He has flaws, but they are probably the most easily mendable.
But the big thing is that we put our people in as delegates to the county and state instead of the usual people who have been there for decades in some cases - we will be making changes to the bosses; we are out to kick in the door of the old boy network personified by the Owens clique, Dick Wadhams et al, who have been running the GOP in Colorado for nearly a decade, and who have blown every election cycle since 2004.
We aim to misbehave.