The Fight for Michigan: Santorum Takes the Fight to Romney's 'Home' Turf

The awkwardness of modern politics
The awkwardness of modern politics

To get a sense of how badly Mitt Romney and his supporters want him to win in his home state of Michigan, you need only look at two figures that were obtained by Big Government: $42,443 and $2,209,197.

The first number is how much money Rick Santorum and his Super PAC will spend statewide in Michigan on television advertisements purchases. The second is how much money Mitt Romney and his Super PAC will spend on television ad buys.

And yet, Mitt Romney is trailing Rick Santorum in Romney’s home state of Michigan, by an average of 8.2% according to Real Clear Politics. This isn’t supposed to happen, and yet it is.


“Michigan’s been my home, and this is personal,” Romney  says in a recent TV ad and yet Michigan hasn’t been his home since the ’60s. He, like so many former residents of Motor City, has fled for brighter pastures. According to a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling, only 26 percent of Republicans in the state now consider Romney a Michigander, while 62 percent do not.

Ironically, Mitt Romney’s total domination of the airwaves with the Super PACs reveals the diminishing inefficacy of money in politics. Voters don’t like being bought with ad money. It’s message, not money, that matters most. The voters seem to be listening to Justice Scalia who said that if free speech on TV bothers you, turn off your TV.

But are the voters also turning off Mitt Romney?

It sure seems that way. The pro-Romney Super PAC has spent seventeen million–more than any other PAC–and fifteen million of it has gone to the firm of Larry McCarthy, a notorious negative campaigner in Washington D.C.  McCarthy is the political ad man behind the highly effective Willie Horton adaccording to a recent profile of him in The New Yorker.

But money can’t buy you love (or votes). In every state Romney has won, as George F. Will notes, he is less popular than when he won.

Romney will have to do a lot more than frame the race as  a contrast with his opponents. He’ll have to make the case that he stands for something other than his own election.


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