Here's my takeaway from Mississippi, Alabama, and Hawaii yesterday. Santorum surprised me by taking both of the states in the south, but that race in Ole Miss was SO close between Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney that they came away with similar numbers of delegates from that contest. Meaning, Romney's lead isn't going anywhere, and since he took Hawaii he continues to have more delegates than all the others combined. He is still the clear front-runner, and I expect he'll stay there. For a Mormon to be competitive in the South is a big deal.
Here's what's confusing to me and probably to others: apparently the GOP party leaders change the rules from time to time, which is why we keep having these divided contests now instead of winner-takes-all-delegates. Yesterday I saw a quote from Michael Steele, former head of the party, who said that the rules were designed to keep the contest going deliberately to force a brokered convention. What is the point of that, I wonder? Sure, it is more fair that candidates get delegates proportionally to how many people voted for them. But to make 1100 delegates the target in this system? Is this the establishment trying to wrest away the votes of the majority of party members by slipping in their own preferred candidate in the convention? It better not be! If the candidate chosen at the open convention (assuming that is what happens) is not one of the candidates who have been running all along, there will be hell to pay for party leaders. And I mean that in the most literal and least provocative way possible. We want a vetted candidate! We want our votes to count! That is our right as American citizens.
Any of our candidates, Romney and Santorum more than Gingrich or Paul, have the wherewithal to take down Obama. Obama can't run on his record - he has to run away from it! I am confident that any of the four remaining candidates would keep the focus on Obama's many failures in office during a general election campaign. Obama's diversions of contraception and presumed GOP idiocy are falling flat (he's only got 41% approval now) and voters remained preoccupied with our dismal economy and gas prices. Imagine that! Voters care more about the real issues of the day than being swayed by Obama through liberal media.