Bob Moser

Bob Moser is senior editor at National Journal and author of Blue Dixie: Awakening the South's Democratic Majority (Times Books). He is the former editor of The Texas Observer, senior editor/writer at The Nation, and executive editor of The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Santorum Soars, Romney Scrapes By

Four years ago in Iowa, Barack Obama had a terrific night in the Democratic caucuses. Four years later, he had another one in the Republican caucuses. Mitt Romney had hoped to swoop into Iowa, fatally kneecap Newt Gingrich, initiate a clean sweep of the early Republican contests—and then start repositioning himself back toward the middle for a general-election battle with the president. To quote Rick Perry, who suspended his campaign after a fifth-place finish yesterday: “Oops.” Romney won Iowa, all right—by a grand total of eight votes. Rick Santorum, rising from the grave, led until most people fell asleep last night. Once it was done, Santorum delivered the most powerful and effective victory speech since Obama won Iowa in 2008. Blending family values with a passionate appeal to the working class, Santorum was frighteningly eloquent. He was gutty and real. He was speaking to the economic moment in America. He was, in other words, everything that Romney is not. Santorum’s...

Shiny Happy Romney

Since when did Mitt Romney turn into a jovial, wise-cracking sort? Well, ever since it became apparent that his chief rivals in the Iowa caucuses would almost surely be Congressman Ron Paul and former Senator Rick Santorum, who probably stand about the same chance as Kim Kardashian or Dominique Strauss-Kahn of winning the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, the only two candidates Romney’s people have worried about, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, could be left in the shadows after tomorrow night, relegated to making their final stands in South Carolina on January 21. At least that’s what the latest polls from Iowa say . Santorum, with his final-week blast of momentum , could win tomorrow night, no matter how out-organized he may be by Perry, Romney and Paul. But he has little time to scare up a viable campaign in New Hampshire or South Carolina. Only the profoundest of upsets could prevent Romney from coming out of Iowa smelling like a rose. Which...

Third-Place Race

With Michele Bachmann’s campaign dying in one last burst of flames, and Newt Gingrich literally being reduced to tears as his poll numbers plummet, the most important question in Iowa might be who comes in third next Tuesday behind likely frontrunners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. A new NBC-Marist poll (see below) has Gingrich and the Ricks, Santorum and Perry, bunched together at around 15 percent. The one who performs best next week will be positioned to soldier on as the conservative alternative to Romney. With Santorum’s numbers rising quickly, and Perry’s creeping up slowly, the two have spent the last two days trading potshots . Perry’s efforts have been boosted by influential RedState pundit Erick Erickson, who today unloaded on Santorum’s record in Congress, calling him a “pro-life statist,” a “big-government conservative” and (ouch!) an “earmarxist.” For his part, Gingrich’s closing argument has been about a return to Reaganomics , underscored by the presence of Arthur Laffer,...

Santormentum

Rick Santorum might have lost his most famous battles—not just for re-election as senator from Pennsylvania in 2006, but also against Dan Savage’s icky re-definition of his name . But he could be winning the contest to become the GOP’s right-wing alternative to Mitt Romney. In yesterday’s Time/CNN poll , the social-values crusader registered 16 percent in Iowa, vaulting him ahead of Governor Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. For a money-strapped candidate whose most notable moment thus far was his failure to chide audience members who booed a gay soldier, this might seem inexplicable. But Santorum has run a dogged, Jimmy Carter-style shoeleather campaign in Iowa, hitting all 99 counties, and he won the endorsement of the state’s most influential evangelical leader, Bob Vander Plaats. In the surest sign that Santorum is rising, Perry has begun to attack him, airing a faux game-show ad hosted by “Wink Taxandspend” that says Santorum “is proud of feeding at the earmark trough.” Also, Erick...

Ringside Seat: Lucky Mitt

Will the operatic sturm und dran g of the Republican presidential race end with a whimper of anti-climatic predictability? With one week to go before the Iowa caucuses, Newt Gingrich is flailing (see below) and Ron Paul is mishandling the controversy over his racist newsletters (ditto), while Rick Santorum and Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are still squabbling over the same Christian Right turf—leading folks like Nate Silver to ask : "How Can Romney Lose?" Even Mike Huckabee, who famously said in 2008 that Romney looks like "the guy who laid you off," is predicting he'll be the nominee. Meanwhile, a Boston Globe poll shows Romney winning 44 percent of Tea Partiers' support in New Hampshire. If the former Massachusetts governor can overcome Ron Paul's fragile edge in the Iowa polls, he could be looking like a shoo-in for the nomination next Wednesday morning. As John Heilman writes , chronicling Romney's December comeback, maybe it really is "better to be lucky than loved." So they...

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