Playing With Fire

When Michigan Democrat Crystal Larson voted today in Dearborn Heights, she told CNN it “felt like I made a deal with the devil.” The devil, in this case, is Rick Santorum, whose quest to upset Mitt Romney in his native state is getting a boost from Operation Hilarity, the Daily Kos effort to convince Democrats like Larson to throw a wrench into the GOP campaign. “Do you want this primary season to be over, or do you want this primary season to be hilarious?” asks a cheeky video at Kos, recommending a vote for the former Pennsylvania senator. With its open primaries, Michigan has a long tradition of crossover voting designed to trip up the other party—including yuk-fests that helped Democrat George Wallace win the state in 1972, and helped Republican John McCain temporarily slow George W. Bush’s momentum in 2000. In the latter primary, Democrats made up 17 percent of the vote. Today, the numbers aren’t expected to be so high—despite Santorum’s own robo-call urging Democrats to support him —but with polls showing a deadlock among Republicans, Democrats could put Santorum over the top and send the Washington GOP establishment into a full-tilt tizzy.

Big fun, right? Sure, except that general-election polls belie the liberal assumption that Santorum couldn’t possibly beat President Obama—which supposedly makes a vote for Santorum “safe.” While President Obama is looking stronger, there is no shortage of potential catastrophes ahead—namely Israel, Iran, and gas prices. With his history of agitating for regime change in Tehran, Santorum could take political advantage of a Middle East blow-up. And economic turmoil is always deadly for the incumbent. For liberals behind this campaign, the peril of the prank is obvious: They’ll be the ones who feel like “throwing up” in November if president-elect Santorum, celebrating his ultimate upset victory, takes a moment to thank Kos and his “Democratic friends in Michigan” for paving his road to the White House.


So They Say

“Yes. Next question.”

Mitt Romney, asked this morning if he realized that comments accentuating his wealth were hurting his campaign


Daily Meme: Who You Got in Michigan?

  • Nate Silver says it's too close to call. 
  • But Romney (surprise!) predicts he will win a close contest… 
  • …as does Donald Trump.
  • The New Yorker’s John Cassidy thinks Santorum will win "in a squeaker"…
  • …and the Santorum campaign (another surprise!) agrees.
  • If Santorum does win, Romney will blame his "dirty tricks."
  • Or hey, maybe everybody wins!
  • But whoever wins, what will the results mean


What We're Writing

  • Jamelle Bouie writes of Romney: “Republican voters aren’t looking for a consultant-in-chief; they want someone who can communicate their values.”
  • Harold Meyerson exposes Americans’ “anti-government hypocrisy.”


What We're Reading

  • The Obama campaign is sneakily undermining the GOP in Michigan.
  • How Michigan breaks down, county by county.
  • Even the Washington Times is giving Santorum grief for his “ignorance” about Kennedy and church-state separation.
  • From the archives: Santorum's love for PACs goes all the way back to college.
  • What happens in Iran—or doesn’t—could turn the general election.
  • Is Santorum running on fumes?


Poll of the Day

New general-election polls show that Romney has—at least for now—lost his “electability” edge over Santorum.

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