Posted by Michael Bryan
If you have been following this topsy-turvey GOP primary contest, you might already know that Mitt Romney won Iowa... until he didn't.
The night of the caucus, despite incomplete results and an incredibly narrow lead for Romney, the Iowa GOP chairment went ahead and called it Romney. Yay, Romney wins... and goes on to win New Hampsire. An unprecedented feat for any GOP candidate other than a sitting President! Great! Romney is the man to beat Obama!
Then the leadership of the Iowa GOP hemmed and hawed about the result in Iowa being too close to call... oh, no one will ever know who won... oh, maybe Santorum actually won... oh, I guess Santorum actually did win a little. Ooops.
The Iowa GOP's establishment's unusal actions essentially handed Romney a win he did not earn, and did not deserve, but which kept the "prohibitive front-runner" narrative on which Romney's wounded nomination bid requires. They undermined the critical momentum of the Santorum campaign at a critical time in the nominating process.
Someone of a suspicious cast of mind might suspect this was intentional.
Now, with Newt being up, and then being down, Santorum is looking ever stronger after three straight wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri. Surely, Romney needs another win to off-set the narrative of a Santorum surge (eww...). So where is such a victory against the CW going to come from?
With the old gold bug and Rupplestiltskin impersonator Ron Paul facing a media narrative of his own (that he hasn't, and can't, win a single state primary outright), he camps out in Maine to grind out a victory in this decidely independent-minded and retail politics-friendly backwater. Surely, if he's going to win anywhere, it has to be here.
But no. Romney pulls out another impossibly close victory in Maine against Paul.
And soon perhaps, the Chairman of the Maine GOP resigns in disgrace?
Once again the Maine GOP establishment jumped the gun on incomplete data and an incredibly thin margin to hand victory to Romney. Just like in Iowa, perhaps... Noticing a pattern? Noticing how it benefits one particular candidate? Again, suspicious minds might conjecture...
But this time is different. This time, the GOP establishment actually actively ignored results from some areas, reporting them as no votes in order to preserve Romney's lead. This time, there are votes out there still be cast as some county caucuses were delayed due to weather. It may yet be that Maine will be flipped to Ron Paul.
So, my suspicious mind sees a pattern. Maybe your doesn't. But consider this...
Romney is on the ropes. He is expected to win in Michigan, because he is something of a favorite-son there. He is expected to win in Arizona, because our politics are dominated by the East Valley Mormons. So what if he doesn't win here?
That would be bad. Very bad for Romney. And it looks like Santorum is surging across Arizona (again, eww...). Santorum is approaching a statistical dead heat with Romney here. We could have another sqeaker. And you know what that means... or at least you do if you have a suspicious mind.
The GOP establishment here is strongly Mormon. The GOP establishment everywhere wants Romney, not Santorum, to run against Obama. The GOP establishment in Arizona has the same opportunities to finesse the results of a close race as the GOP establishment in Iowa and Maine availed themselves of to wrongly (corruptly?) hand a close race to Romney.
Could it happen here, too?
I'm just saying... I have a suspicious mind. And if you are a Santorum lover (again, eww...), perhaps you should be suspicious, too. And be vigilant. And hold your Party's leaders feet to the fire to ensure that no 'pre-mature' announcements, or 'overlooked' votes, or 'clerical errors' happen here, too.