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Santorum Consolidating Conservatives -- Media Demands Rush to the Center

In the aftermath of the Santorum/Romney clash in Michigan, the establishment media has begun dissecting the reasons for the results. Predictably, they have opined that if only Rick Santorum had not taken principled conservative stands on the issues, he would have done better.

Not only does this advice -- that candidates should lie and pretend to be something they are not to win -- show the complete moral bankruptcy of the establishment media, it also reveals how out-of-touch they are with the Republican electorate.

According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, only 38 percent of “very conservative” Americans now express favorable views of Mitt Romney. That’s his lowest mark of the campaign among staunch conservatives, and is down 16 percentage points over the past two weeks (in other words, precisely the time the Michigan primary was heating up).

Far from taking the establishment media’s advice to run to the middle, Mitt Romney abandoned his content-free campaign in the last few days before the Michigan primary to try to run as a conservative. In addition to spending millions of dollars tearing down Rick Santorum, Romney did his best to present himself as a conservative: talking about immigration and wrapping himself in parts of the conservative agenda that have heretofore been almost entirely absent from his campaign.

Splitting the Michigan vote in the face of being outspent by millions of dollars was certainly a moral victory for Santorum. Consolidating the conservative vote, staying on message and rejecting the establishment media’s advice to run to the middle will pay even greater dividends for Santorum on Super Tuesday.

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