Here's the blunt truth. Today's polls show a virtual deadlock in Michigan between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The only way Mitt Romney "wins" Michigan is if he beats Santorum handily. That doesn't look like it's going to happen. So you know what? Here's how the narrative plays out on Wednesday.
(below the squiggle)
SANTORUM CAMPThat will essentially be the speech Santorum delivers, whether Mitt wins by 2 or 3 points or whether he loses by 2 or 3 points. And you know what? It's true for the most part!
"We were outspent 3-to-1. We were beset on all sides. The other team spread awful untruths about us and yet, we weren't knocked out of this thing. Your voices have been heard and you've registered your desire to have me, a true consistent conservative, represent our party and beat Barack Obama."
Unless Mitt can pull off a decisive victory (say, 6-8+ points), he loses.
The media will run with Santorum's narrative. They LOVE a horse race and more primaries means more money. So if it's even close, even if Mitt "wins", expect that the media will embrace Santorum's "come-from-behind" (sorry) David Vs. Goliath narrative.
Yes, Mitt's team will feign confidence and composure - the air of inevitability will return. But the GOP poo-bahs will wonder, behind the scenes, what to do about a candidate who barely ekes out a win in his "home state", spending 3-to-1, against an underfunded, woefully unorganized, utterly bat-shit crazy lunatic. They will still have the same doubts they'd have had if Santorum had actually won. I can't say I blame them.
And that, my friends, is a WINNER for Team Blue.