Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate open primaries after Michigan mischief, robo calls
What do you think about the GOP primaries thus far and the candidates' campaigning tactics?
February 29th, 2012
05:01 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate open primaries after Michigan mischief, robo calls

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Readers are talking about the tactics of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum after the Michigan and Arizona primaries. Meanwhile, Democrats have been explaining some mischief as well. Readers compared the candidates and debated open vs. closed primaries.

Santorum flips on Dems voting in GOP primaries

Santorum's robo call encouraging Democrats to vote for him as a hit against Romney drew lots of ire.

Dan J: "Had it been a general election-style robo call, where Santorum highlighted his strengths and why he should be president (not just the Republican nominee), then it can be defended as attempting to attract all Americans, not just Republicans. That's fine. It wasn't that. Not even close. That makes him a hypocritical sellout sleazebag that clearly puts self before party, and self before country."

Another reader came to Santorum's defense.

CBS: "Santorum is asking Democrats who do not intend to vote for Obama (do you think there might be a few of those?) to become Republican and choose their candidate. He is not asking them to vote Republican so they can choose the weaker candidate so Obama has a better chance."

But some said Romney can't play innocent.

Dave: "Poor little Mitt. I'm no fan of Santorum, but Mitt has ran a filthy campaign and now that Santorum is hitting back with some tricks of his own, Mitt is whining like a freakin' baby. Get a clue, Mitt. It's this kind of bratty whining that turn people off to you. Being a serial flip-flopper and a spoiled brat doesn't help either."

Some said Santorum is in trouble.

DParke: "Pathetic! Santorum is desperate for votes. He is actually begging votes from Democrats after decrying the practice! Unbelievable! He is the king of the Flip-Flop. Romney flipped his stance 20 years ago. Santorum flipped his stance from 20 days ago just to win! If he needs Democrats to win an election, he will never be able to beat Obama!"

But why wouldn't Santorum attack?

rgcheek: "There is no reason for Santorum to not use Romney's tactics against him. It is only fair to fight fire with fire, so why so much hate directed at Santorum for doing the smart thing here? If you dont like Dems voting in GOP primaries then change the rules across the board and stop whining about Rick finally returning fire. By the way, Romney is a total loser and a fraud. He has no chance against Obama and the GOP racketeers know it."

Still others thought Romney has the edge.

Dave: "Say what you will about Romney, but I guarantee you that he would never, ever, remotely consider pandering to liberal democrats for their primary vote. He may run negative ads against his opponents records and positions but you'll never find him jumping to the other side to gather votes ... never. Santorum clearly has no principles and he's made it crystal clear it's all about 'win at all costs.' How much do voters need to see before they (recognize a) 'take one for the team.' Santorum and Gingrich are precisely the 'Insider Washington Machine Politicians' we're desperately trying to get rid of. If Michael Moore campaigning for his followers to come out today and vote for Santorum doesn't tell you something, then you're hopelessly naive."

This person also used the "taking one for the team" metaphor, alluding to Santorum's remarks during the Arizona GOP debate, in talking about strategic voting.

Scott J: "In my state, Utah, the Republican primary is closed because a few years ago, Democrats crossed to line to vote for the weaker candidate, and he won the primary and lost the general, so the Dems won easily. I am not registered in either party, but allowed to vote in the primary for a Democrat where I voted Hillary knowing full well that Obama was going to take us down the drain if he won. Sadly Obama won my state and my predictions in the 2004 presidential election when I told my wife that Obama would be the next president after Bush's second term. Santorum is taking one for his team!"

But this reader pointed out that open primaries have their benefits, too.

beevee: "I think the primaries should be open for everyone, not just Republicans or Democrats in presidential primaries. The person who gets into the office of president is chief of the country, and it speople regardless of their party affiliation and not just of the people of his party. In congressional and senatorial candidate elections, maybe it is important. Only Republicans and Democratic-leaning people should be voting in choosing their party candidates."

This reader took aim at Santorum's "woman problem."

Tex71: "The funniest part was watching Santorum squirm through his transparent attempt to flatter the women in his life, hoping all the American women he has offended will just forget about it! Kind of like the guy who beats his wife, then comes home with flowers the next day. Not going to work. Most American women understand all too well what Santorum would like their lives to be."

But this reader said the party itself is to blame.

sbssue1: "I blame the Republican Party for this situation; It is ashame they are allowing it to continue, because they are the ones who will lose in the end. I would think they would want someone with higher quality than Santorum in office. Why is the party allowing such action by this individual. If this is the way they conduct business, I vote Democratic as will many of the citizens of this fine country. It's disgusting, what is going on today in politics."

Or maybe it's the system.

Publius Novus: "So-called 'open' primaries are, in a word, ridiculous. Why should non-party members have a say on a party's nominees? Political parties are essentially private organizations. They should be able to regulate their membership, within the bounds of the law. Next up: Protestants and Jews will be allowed to vote for the Pope. Boy Scouts will be allowed to elect Girl Scout leaders. Members of the VFW will vote in open elections for officers of the Rotary Club. Why not? That said, Santorum is flip-flopping on this. On the other hand, you have to play by the rules, even if you don't like them and they are stupid."

Now, tell us what you think. Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. HisbabybradleytrustedFACE

    N.R.A. > the leadership? are they not the true people of the land? Did they not "police" the process? TRUE patriots?

    Who to trust? Right Sarah Palin... your boy... this Bradley face?

    February 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    Welcome back, nsaidi, we've missed you, trust me!

    A few thoughts to Publius Novus:
    Why should there be any labels at ALL?
    It's open because there are many, MANY Americans who don't have a party affiliation, and would rather keep it that way.
    I don't see a problem with that.
    I understand it, as I really don't want to HAVE to vote for somebody because I'm a member of their party.

    The Pope was never elected by the Cathlic public at large, and never will be.
    Useless analogy.
    Boy Scout and Girl Scouts don't elect their leaders; one voluteers to be a BS or a GS leader.
    Useless analogy.
    VFW and Rotary are two separate and completely different organizations,when they merge, you might have something there.
    Under your premise, we should have a Republican and a Democrat duo Presidency; last time we had two Presidents....well....didn't work out so well....

    February 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • nsaidi

      Hi there banasy, it's good to be back! Thanks for stopping by.

      February 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Greek American

    I live in Michigan and don't usually vote in any primary in which I am not going to vote for said individual anyway. They are making a big deal about this really, when in reality our Democrats here hardly even get out to vote in real elections. Romney won anyway so.....

    February 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. citizen

    Look, Romney cares only about himself and his richie friends. He also wants the presidency badly. You would think his desire would motivate him to walk in others shoes. A little empathy for the folks who do the work in this country would be a good start.
    But no; you can only be who you are. Romney is a goofy, pos, dork. That ain't gonna change.
    To him, the American people are wage slaves . Meant to toil all the days of their lives, in subhuman conditions, for the good of capital. With no health care and not enough food if you are lucky enough to have minimum wage staples job.
    Also, women are to be kept barefoot and pregnant. Except for the women of capital who may drive two Cadillacs.
    Isn't caddie a GM product?
    Do political parties mean anything?

    February 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tally

    Rick Santorum taking one for Obama's team = “Operation Hilarity” indeed.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    Other open primary states are: Alabama, Arkanas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennesee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    I first heard of this when President Obama was running for president from a republican in Missouri.

    March 1, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. JD

    Both Santorum and Romney are two faced liars and dangerous for our country.

    March 1, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. val

    lets face it, we all know who pulls the "PUPPET" strings, LOL ......... the Republican race narrows considerably, one hard working, stead-fast, intelligent, thoughtful, "REAL" American doctor ........ and well, now only three chiksa(s) left 🙂
    it's your vote .... LOL

    March 1, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  10. clarke

    I feel the robo calls were wrong and I feel the Dems who went to the polls were also wrong. It is what it is and It seems it is allowed in Michigan.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  11. duncansonandrew

    We all know that Santorum is Sarah Palin without balls. This act of voter manipulation is deplorable according to Mitt Romney. It sure is. This is Romney's method of voting. He used this tactic when ever Ted Kennedy was on the ballot in his state. Don't do what I do do what I say per the Nit Twit Romney.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scottish Mama

    I also find Missouri Senator Roy Blunt's stunt of putting the contraceptive bill on the bill with transportation inexcusable. Now the transportation bill that would create jobs will not pass on the senate floor. Shame on you Roy Blunt, I hope your seat is taken from you. Women in Missouri get a clue.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew Morris

    Fair's fair. In 2008 Rush Limbaugh was encouraging Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primaries.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. td40

    The whole "logic" behind a Republican candidate's robo-calls to disenchanted Democratic voters is flawed and, frankly, ridiculous. If you are a Democrat and you voted for Obama, it's probably because you agree with the Democratic philosophy in the first place. So maybe Obama has disappointed you. Maybe you feel he made a lot of promises he hasn't been able to keep. Maybe you feel that the country is worse off now than it was 3 years ago... So that means you'll do a complete about-face on your philosophy and principles and decide to turn into a Republican? That is utterly laughable. How about this? "Obama hasn't lived up to my expectations, but he's still a far better alternative than what the right is offering." If the state of the country was the same right now, but this was the end of Obama's second term- or he decided not to run again- then wouldn't you say "I'm still a Democrat, so I hope the new Dem nominee can get more done than Obama did."? Santorum's idea that a disenchanted-with-Obama Democrat will just completely change their stance on all the issues and elect a Republican (especially a far-right extremist one) is beyond ludicrous. What a dope this guy is.

    March 1, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Colyer

    Santorum is out for Santorum He cares little for the American people.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
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