(Providence, Rhode Island) – NASA will make political history today. I’ll have more on that in a moment; but it’s April Fool’s Day, and we are talking politics. That’s the punch line; you can make your own jokes! Politics have given us all plenty of laughs in the past year! Here are a few observations for the week ahead:
“On, Wisconsin!” – The fight song for the Badger State is a good theme for this week, with primaries on the agenda for Tuesday in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The Republican Party in Maryland and D.C. is comprised mostly of moderates, so those contests should be easy wins for Mitt Romney. Wisconsin could be tougher, although Romney is currently leading Rick Santorum in the latest Real Clear Politics Composite Poll 40 to 33 percent.
“Polling, Schmolling!” - Polling in my home state often has been inaccurate, with more conservative voters outside of Milwaukee and with Madison usually being under-represented in polls. In 1976 there was a famous Dewey-Defeats-Truman type headline in the "Milwaukee Sentinel," declaring that Mo Udall was the winner of the Wisconsin Primary. However, by dawn, when all the ballots had been counted, Jimmy Carter had actually won. Then in 1978, Congressman Bob Kasten was polling way ahead of a little-known professor named Lee Dreyfus for the Republican nomination for Governor. Dreyfus won! The bottom line: Santorum could make it a closer race than is currently being predicted.
“Newt Gets the Boot?” – Newt Gingrich was hoping for a big boost in Wisconsin, as his wife Callista is from there. The two have spent a lot of time in her home state, but it’s not paying off. The latest Real Clear Politics Composite Poll has Gingrich with just six percent of the Wisconsin vote, even trailing Ron Paul’s nine percent. You have to wonder if this might be the end for Gingrich.
“It’s All About the Delegates” – All three primaries this Tuesday are winner-take-all contests, meaning that if Romney sweeps the day, he gets 98 more delegates and the other candidates get zero. Romney currently has 566 delegates, followed by Santorum with 263, Gingrich with 140, and Ron Paul with 67. The delegate total needed for nomination is 1,144. The math continues to favor Romney!
“Spring Break” – After Tuesday we will have our longest inactive stretch of campaign 2012, with three weeks off. On Tuesday, April 24, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania will hold primaries. That could be Santorum’s last big chance, with 72 delegates up for grabs in his home state of Pennsylvania. New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut are all considered to be in the moderate wing of the party - the “Rockefeller Republicans," if you will; and those states are likely to go solidly for Romney.
“To the Moon!” – And finally today, Newt Gingrich may claim he is no longer a Washington, D.C., insider; but he surely helped his wife Callista land a nice new gig with a six-figure salary and full government benefits. It seems Callista is going to work at NASA, where her famous hairdo will be used as a prototype for the next generation of space helmets (photo above). Wow! Callista as a modern-day Jane Jetson! So, even though Newt’s campaign pledge to put a permanent U.S. colony on the moon may never happen, at least his campaign will play a small part in NASA history! Congratulations to Newt and Calista! And April Fools!
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