Iowa shows Romney’s weaknesses — and how he won ugly

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He may have won by eight votes, but Paul Begala argues “I would have never guessed Rick Santorum would be so happy about two men being tied up together. The former senator tangled with Romney atop the Iowa caucuses by following the Frank Finkel strategy. Finkel was the only man in George Custer’s C Company to survive the Battle of Little Bighorn. He survived not because he was especially crafty or brave. It was just that his horse couldn’t get him to the battle on time. Following the Finkel strategy, Santorum avoided the media crossfire, arriving at the battle too late to be killed. But fear not, dear reader, there are many battles to come.”

“So while the winner of Iowa in terms of expectations is Santorum, the story is the man he basically tied: Mitt Romney. Not to put too fine a point on it, but when you can’t beat the Man-on-Dog guy, who lost his home state by 18 percent, you stink. You really stink.”

Meanwhile, Nate Silver thinks: “What Mr. Romney did not do, in either a literal or a figurative sense, was wrap up the nomination. A resounding victory in Iowa might have come closer to accomplishing that, but not one with these aesthetics. Here comes the ugly stat sheet: an eight-vote margin of victory, a vote share lower than Mr. Romney attained in 2008, a failure to beat Mr. Santorum among registered Republicans and the lowest-ever winning percentage in the Iowa caucus… There is certainly the chance that he wins the nomination without really capturing Republican voters’ hearts and minds, and that might have an impact on Republican turnout at the margin in November. But few candidates capture the party nomination, or the presidency, without ‘winning ugly’ at some stage.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.