By Mark Rhoads -
Yesterday Rick Pearson at the Chicago Tribune wrote yet another article about how much money Mitt Romney will spend in the Chicago media market to save his faltering frontrunner status. As we said when we were kids in in Pig Latin, Igbay Ealday. I wrote an email to Pearson just to remind him of how Jane Byrne had only $100,000 to beat the machine in 1979 but could not save herself only four years later with ten million dollars in the bank.
It is not the number of ads you buy, it is the message you communicate. Romney has already had four years to introduce himself and is still wasting his money.
During his Alabama victory speech, Rick Santorum said that the one thing people often say to his family members is that "We are praying for you." That is a huge practical campaign asset but no one who works for Neilsen or Arbitron can measure gross ratings points for the power of prayers and therefore political reporters cannot write about that.
I was a Reagan delegate from Illinois at the 1980 GOP National Convention in Detroit and I am struck by the fact that Santorum today, like Reagan back then, so often benefits when media and professional pols underestimate him. Back in 1980 the Establishment GOP candidate and presumptive nominee was supposed to be former Texas Gov. John B. Connolly who had all the money and all the establishment GOP endorsements includinig Gov. Jim Thompson in the Illinois primary. Reagan was according to the media too conservative to win and could never be nominated. Connolly's campaign spent around one million dollars for every delegate he picked up and it was Reagan who was still standing in Detroit after his establishment competitors had fallen away.
Rick Santorum will never have enough money to level the playing field with Romney but he will have the power of prayer. It might be hard to measure but the power is still very real.