At the start of the 2008 primaries Obama was portrayed as unelectable, and understandably so.
He was a Chicagoan thug who was in the midst of his first term as Senator and had ties with extreme radicals. It was no wonder that he polled low in the polls with a Hillary in the race. In fact, conservatives were so convinced Obama wouldn’t be able to win, they even urged Republicans to vote for Obama over Hillary in the open primary states.
Despite Obama’s low polling, he exceeded expectations in Iowa and won the state. His victory didn’t change too many opinions about his electability and Republicans were further encouraged to promote Obama over Hillary. As we now all know, Obama not only won the primary, but also won the general election. He was underestimated and therefore shocked everyone when he over-performed.
It is now 2012 and we are experiencing a similar situation albeit within the opposing party of politics. Rick Santorum has been branded as unelectable and unable to win.
The Iowa caucuses though proved an entirely different story. All the candidates had come in yesterday lower than they had polled. Everyone, that is, besides Rick Santorum – who had surged to first place minus eight votes!
And what do we hear from the conservative pundits? The same electability nonsense! If they were wrong about Iowa – having predicted for months that Santorum will be history the morning after Iowa, why do they continue down the same failed path?
What must Santorum do for them to realize he has an equally great shot and possibly even better shot than some of the others? When will they decide to stop repeating his handful of negatives over and over again, and instead take a look at the many positives that he brings to the table? He has already surprised them and over-performed in Iowa.
Are these predictors so desperate to repeat their mistake from 2008?
Santorum may or may not win the Republican nomination, and he may or may not become the next president of the USA. What is necessary to happen, though, that prediction-lovers and electability arguers should realize that their claims aren’t worth anything?
We had here a guy who went from nowhere to the top! All the many excuses they are now using to explain the Santorum Surprise will pale in comparison to the explanations they’ll have to create come November 2012, and throughout the entire primary process, when the results don’t match their predictions.
As for electability, I can play that game too. Not to predict, since predictions aren’t worth much, but to shed light on an overlooked point.
Mikeymike143 has written a great diary on Red State this morning where he pointed out that Florida Conservatives and Tea Partiers have focusus primarily on two aspects in the past: national security and social issues. That’s right, they haven’t thrown traditional values under the bus despite some party leaders pretending that everyone has dumped them. These are precisely the two issues where no one is as strong and experienced as Santorum.
Yes, the economy will surely matter to many as well. Not to worry. Santorum, too has a great economic record and sound proposals for the future – especially when compared to Romney who is seen as the biggest contender in Florida.
The point I’m trying to make is not whether Santorum will or won’t win the elections, because no one can foretell what the future holds. It’s to bring awareness that despite the tremendous weight given to the opinions of political experts, their predictions are as wild as anyone else’s and are proven wrong more often than right. Since these experts won’t be going away anytime soon or admitting to their inability to see the future, it is up to us to remember how much meaning their words should have when we decide who to vote for.