7:30 PM: And that's it. Awesome Slog commenter passionate jus points out that President Obama beat all the Republican candidates combined in the Cook County suburbs in this primary, and he beat them all by a five-to-one margin in the Chicago city limits. In addition, passionate jus points out that Republican turnout is down from 2008, and Romney won by less than McCain in 2008. It looks like Romney's win over Santorum is somewhere in the low double digits. Rick Santorum is vowing to press on. Newt Gingrich, hilariously, is refusing to drop out. Ron Paul still exists. The next state is Louisiana, where Santorum is currently up by double digits. Absolutely nothing has changed. See you Saturday!
Haw Haw Haw Haw Haw
6:58 PM: With 61% of the polls reporting, Ron Paul is ahead of Newt Gingrich, 9.1% to 7.7%. I hope Newt Gingrich is crying like a newborn baby right now.
Live-Slogging the Rick Santorum Address, in Gettysburg
Starting at 6:07 PM: Surprise! Even though it was announced that Romney would be speaking at 6 PM Seattle time, it looks as though Santorum is going to give his speech first. (The Romney party is still mostly empty, whereas Santorum, who is speaking in Gettysburg, PA, might have to give a second speech to the couple thousand people waiting for him outside the ballroom in which he's speaking tonight. That's the home field advantage, which is, I think, a sports reference.) Now it is all pale, inbred-looking people milling around on the CNN livestream, waiting for something to start. Get a load of that banner, though: "FREEDOM," with a screaming Santorum Eagle flying through the O. Makes you proud to be an American.
Okay. Romney's speech just happened, so the Santorum speech is probably about to happen. A talk radio host is leading the crowd in cheers of "We want Rick! We want Rick!" Finally! "It is great to be back in Pennsylvania," Santorum says. "We have about a thousand, 1500 people who could not get in here," he boasts. His Puerto Rico tan is turning into a sickly sherbet color. "So many memories come to mind," Santorum says, "Across the street" is where Abraham Lincoln finished the Gettysburg Address. He says this is the most important election since "the election of 1860," where we decided if we wanted to be "THE United States." He says "the cause of the other maladies that we're," long pause, "feeling." The problem is, we do not have FREEDOM. "I'm proud that Governor Romney is adopting that theme," Santorum says to derisive laughs in the audience.
Santorum says "the government is trying to order us around, trampling our freedoms" by "creating a dependency" on government. "After Obamacare is implemented, every single American will be dependent on the government," Santorum continues. "We don't need a manager," we need someone who can "pull up" problems "by the roots." He says, "it's great to have Wall Street experience. I don't have Wall Street experience." That'll make a great soundbite, Rick. "I see people. People in work clothes. Folks with children who are maybe not getting the educational opportunities they hoped for so they could climb the ladder of success." Like homeschooling? He says he has "a long track record of deep convictions" who you can trust. He points out that he doesn't "happen to have a teleprompter tonight," and the crowd applauds. I still can't fucking believe that's a talking point that works, by the way. "Your control" over your own health care is what's most important, he says. The room boos global warming, too. It's like a Santorum rally broke out at a Mensa meeting. Pennsylvania, you're beautiful tonight. "Just like in health care, Governor Romney and Speaker Gingrich went along for the ride," Santorum says, and they said global warming was real. He's never said global warming was real, which makes him the better candidate. Naturally.
At Gettysburg, people fought for "big things," Santorum says. No, at Gettysburg, they fought for Reagan's "shining city on the hill." Um, was Rick Santorum home-schooled? He says his voters "know in their gut" that "big things are adrift and" long pause "at stake in this election." He wants his followers "to saddle up like Reagan did in those cowboy movies." "We're gonna pick up a whole boatload of delegates" in Louisiana and Pennsylvania, "and close this gap and then on to victory," Santorum says. And that's it. Wow. This calls for a Slog poll, I think.
Oh, for Fuck's Sake: Now Romney's Talking First, and I'm Live-Slogging It
Starting at 6:15 PM: Jesus Fucking Christ. It's time to play the who's-got-the-biggest peepee between Romney and Santorum, and I guess Romney wins this round: He's speaking first tonight. Right now, Ann Romney is thanking a long list of Friends of Romney. And here's the Mitt of the hour! "So many great friends in this room and across Illinois," Mitt says. He congratulates his "fellow candidates," which I expect to be the only time he mentions them tonight. "The America we love was in trouble and adrift" thanks to "weak leadership" from Barack Obama," Mitt says, that has consisted of "Too many apologies and not enough jobs." "Enough. We have had enough," Mitt says. A woman in the audience erupted into something like an orgasmic choke when MItt said "enough" the first time, before the audience applause covered it up. The crowd booed Romney's mention of "Professor Barack Obama," who gave a speech—get this—on "economic freedom." That Marxist! How dare he lead the stock market to record heights!
Turns out, Romney "lived and breathed" business in the private sector. "You can't learn that teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. You can't even learn that as a community organizer." Big laughs, a lá Sarah Palin. The economy, Romney says, "is fueled by freedom." He accuses Obama of "an all-out assault on our freedom." He says the recovery has not met our expectations. Now he's reading one of Barack Obama's speeches, where he says "We're Thomas Edison, we're the Wright Brothers...we're Bill Gates, we're still jobs—wait, I missed that, we're Steve Jobs." The problem is, Romney says, is "he's still Barack Obama," and Obama would have stopped the Wright brothers from flying due to their "dust pollution." Romney says inventors aren't doing their jobs because they see "government standing in the way."
This seems to be a new stump speech, slightly adjusted to account for the recovery by amping up the Libertarianism a bit. "Day by day, job-killing regulation by job-killing regulation," Romney says, the Obama administration is killing America and he's going to "make sure it ends." He says the proof of Obama's failure is "how tepid this recovery is." Romney says he stands for "free markets and free people." "Tonight was a primary, but November will be the stu-ha-uh, the general election, uh..." Romney seems to be stumbling over the new bits of this speech. "I see an America where the values we pass on to our children are greater than the debts we leave them," he says. "I see an amehhh...I see an America that is humbled, uh, excuse me, that is humble but is never humbled." Today is the first step, Romney says, and tomorrow is another. "Join us," he says, and it's on to that fucking Kid Rock song. And that's it. That was not an inspiring speech the way it was delivered, although once he polishes it up, it should become a strong red meat-fest to throw to friendly audiences. It's worth noting that Romney didn't make any suggestions that his opponents back out. As a Republican blue-blood, it's important to him that he not look too imperious when it comes to seizing control of the party like it's owed to him. So, it's steady as she goes, which could be the name of the Mitt Romney biopic.
I Can't Believe This Doesn't Exist Already
6:07 PM: Superstar Slog commenter Gern Blanston writes in the comments to this post:
Somebody needs to Photoshop Rick Santorum as Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
I just did a quick Google search, and I'm so disappointed in the human race that nobody has done this, already.
Romney Isn't Running His Campaign the Way He Says He'd Run This Country
5:46 PM: Right after the news of Fox News calling it for Romney, the Romney campaign released their financial information. The campaign ended February with about $7.2 million onhand, which is pretty solid. In March, the Romney campaign spent more than they brought in, with $11.9 million in and $12.3 million out. Romney is expected to speak in about fifteen minutes, with Santorum probably giving his big Gettysburg Address soon after. No speeches are expected from Newt Gingrich and/or Ron Paul.
Fox News Calls it for Romney
5:35 PM: Fox News is projecting Mitt Romney to win Illinois. Having fastidiously gone over the totals, The Stranger is forced to grudgingly agree with Fox News in this one case. Romney will win.
Rick Santorum won in Illinois Tuesday among voters who never attended college, the only education level he won from Mitt Romney, according to exit polls.
Santorum is also still losing Catholics big-time to Romney, which has to sting.
The Odds Are in Romney's Favor
5:09 PM: The polls have closed in Illinois and nobody's calling it for Romney, but CNN's exit polls are showing "Romney with 45%, Santorum with 35%, Gingrich 12%, Paul 8%." In the meantime, Santorum has a 13-point lead in Saturday's Louisiana contest, according to the newest polls. Even if Romney wins tonight in a blow-out, this isn't over yet. (Perhaps the most alarming news of the night is this bit of information from exit polls that say Santorum isn't conservative enough for 15% of Republican voters.)
Let's Play Compare-the-Speeches
5:01 PM: As I mentioned below, Rick Santorum is speaking from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania tonight. He is obviously trying to draw parallels between himself and that other great American orator, Abraham Lincoln. The media tomorrow will spend a lot of time comparing Santorum's speech with the Gettysburg Address, so let's take a moment to refresh our memories on what Santorum is competing with:
I hear tell that Santorum will be speaking in front of a huge banner that reads "FREEDOM." This means he will probably continue his idiotic messaging that Mitt Romney is an enemy of "Reagan freedom." This is probably because Rick Santorum wouldn't know a smart campaign message if it leaked out of his own anus.
It's Pronounced "Ill-in-wah," Motherfucker
4:55 PM: Welcome to my nightmare: A midwestern primary with Mitt Romney favored to win by double-digits. This could be the most boring primary night yet, folks! Or santorum could fall out of Santorum as Santorum delivers the Gettysburg Address, Part II: The Santoruming. Either way: Stay tuned! We'll be refreshing newer posts on the top, in chronological order.
(This post's title, obviously, is an homage to/outright theft from Sufjan Stevens.)