Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Team Mitt or Team Rick Reality Check


I’ve had a lot of messages inquiring why I’ve gone so negative on Rick Santorum.  It’s like my first screenplay. (bear with me, please).  After finishing my first draft, I thought they should just mail me the Oscar and forgo this whole crazy voting and awards ceremony thingy (much less actually make a movie from it).  My first friend who read it…how shall I say?…wasn’t too kind.  My response was, “What the hell did they know?”  Then I got similar feedback from another, and another.  When a producer friend finally said, “Jim, I’ll give it to you straight. It really sucks,”  I suddenly had a flash of brilliance…Maybe it wasn’t so great after all!  When I re-read it with an open mind, I couldn’t believe I thought it was “good.”  Much less that I had the nerve to send it to anyone.

So I did the same dirty birdie heart introspection to see what evil lurked within.  Was I being too hard on a good conservative guy?  Had I fallen from good objectivity by the “holier than thou” attitude of Rick and his followers?  I don’t think so, but I am willing to admit the NUMBER of pieces against Rick versus Romney or Obama is out of whack.

So I promise this will be my last “anti-Rick” piece for a while.

But I still got to keep it real.  Because a LOT of Santorum swooners can’t.  Twitter and blog comments I see make these assertions:

  • Rick is a great debater and will kill Obama in a debate!
  • Santorum is the only true conservative in the race! Rush says so!
  • Gingrich should get out of the race!

Never mind that these same “Newt get out” people were complaining a week ago that people shouldn’t tell Santorum to get out of the race.  (Or that Santorum’s own criteria demand he get out).  Never mind that Rush Limbaugh was dead wrong about who was the “conservative” in 2008 and ended up helping John McCain.  (Or that Rush edits news like Drudge keeping the whole Georgia Obama Ballot Challenge off the air.)And never mind that everyone thought Santorum was only slightly less annoying than Jon Huntsman for a good part of the debate season. 

GOPAmericanIdol I truly pray some of the people defending Rick Santorum aren’t in REAL positions of authority in their business or local governments.  They are treating this whole process like the semifinals of American Idol instead of hiring someone for a very complex management that requires a serious set of skills and talents.  This isn't Team Edward or Team Jacob from the Twilight series, or keeping someone on a Survivor island.  It’s simple. Is there evidence a majority of Americans can see either of them as President and isn’t “dangerous”?  (Electability) Do they have the job skills of what will be needed to actually RUN a country?  (Qualifications) Does their track record of what they DO suggest conservatism. (Policy) And, have they shown the intelligence to understand how to dismantle government and achieve a majority to do it? (Strategery)

It ain’t that hard.

I used to laugh when rockers were shocked the best “rocker” wouldn’t make it to the finals on American Idol.  They didn’t understand that the “rock” demographic (while in power to influence popular media), was a small segment of real America.  I’m similarly shocked social conservatives think their 22% to 30% minority will suddenly become popular with American voters.  THOSE are not the people who will decide the election.  Even if the entire 40% of people who call themselves conservatives vote for the GOP candidate, there is another KEY 10% to 15% that have to be convinced the candidate isn’t scary and will do MUCH better than Obama.  Most pollsters agree – these people are NOT deep thinkers.  They turn on the tube a week before the election, watch one debate and ask themselves, “Could I see this guy as President?”  (How do you think we got stuck with Obama?)

So again, a little Rick reality check.

First - Santorum never attracted anything over 6% of the GOP voters until Pawlenty, Bachmann, Cain, and Perry dropped out.  If WE conservatives couldn't be attracted to him until no one was left - why do you think Independents will be wooed when they get to now him?  Remember your thoughts about Santorum when you thought Perry was the Texas Reagan? Senator Saintorum will be painted as the second coming of Timothy McVeigh after a $1 Billion in ads - WORSE than Sarah Palin.  The MSM will use little known baggage like this with GLEE: (Watch the smug satisfaction on Melody Sloan’s face at end).

Santorum Covered Up Adulterous Ensign Affair

I am all with the idea that we don’t need to be moderates to get Independent voters.  But Barry Goldwater conservatives learned in 1976, that having the right political positions do not automatically win you an election.  On another blog someone was arguing what a great debater Santorum was.  Really?  I remember a couple of moments on abortion and Iran, but most of the people I saw through November talked of how unlikeable and childish he seemed.  Even Dick Morris was saying how alienating he was in the first 10 or 15 debates. Then again, Morris told us Romney would win South Carolina so what does he know?

But this isn’t rooting for Tim Tebow because he reflects our values.  A bit more is on the line than a football game or NFL franchise.  And unlike the in Mr. Tebow’s case – he doesn’t get to try again next year if he loses.

Second – there is no measure to indicate that Santorum is more conservative than Newt Gingrich.  He voted for pro-abortion Sotomayor for appellate court, voted with George Bush on ALL the big government ideas, twice endorsed extreme pro-abortion candidates over very good pro-life ones (Specter and Whitman), voted for No Child Left Behind, voted for anti-free market measures in favor of unions, and even opposed an anti-terrorism bill that Bush/Cheney insisted on to prevent US corporations from selling goods to Iran. (h/t MrLTavern)  Yes, I'm dumping all the negative stuff at once.  No he's not as bad as Mitt Romney.  But you are uninformed if you think he didn't "earn" a lower ACU score than Gingrich because he was “more” conservative.  And don't forget - this whole election is about JOBS, and he has by far the WEAKEST economic program of all, keeping the progressive tax system and ridiculing Herman Cain's Art Laffer-approved 999!!

Why anyone thinks he is “electable” or “acceptable” as a conservative – much less someone who has the personal appeal to change the government system WITH NO RECORD OF DOING SO is beyond me.  Many of these Santorum supporters are acting like political groupies rather than mature, level headed, responsible voters.  Watch this FOX Business clip.  It is ASTOUNDING what Rick Santorum says:

They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world.

Do you really think A) a conservative would ever say this and B) people who don’t know anything about Rick Santorum would feel comfortable with a President who says conservatives SHOULD get involved in the bedroom?  IS THERE ANY CHANCE that Obama won’t run this quote 24/7 making what Romney did to Gingrich in Iowa and Florida seem like a mild criticism from Paula Abdul?

Rick Perry was correct in his CPAC speech that the GOP lost Congress in 2006 because they didn’t restrain spending and voted for big government programs like Democrats.  Now if Rick Santorum wants to take credit for Welfare Reform as a “leader” in Congress, he should also take responsibility for losing it as the number 3 most powerful Senator that presided over that failure.

Third - You do realize the guy has never actually RUN anything in his life, don’t you?  (Except his charity which only gave away 11% of the money it took in.  And his PAC which only gave away 18% of what it took in)  He is a lawyer.  He derided the 14 year effort of Newt Gingrich to not only put conservatives in power, but to take the GOP to their highest approval ratings (outside of 9/11) in modern history.  Why is it ok to give a pass for Santorum to get historically defeated in a blue state he boasts that he can carry, when Richard Lugar, Olympia Snow, John Ensign were in blue states but won?  Santorum plays all three of these arguments:

  • He had to vote liberally to stay elected in his state.
  • He got elected championing conservative causes.
  • He only lost in 2006 because it was a bad year for Republicans.

Must be that “new math” they teach in Pennsylvania.  Those can’t all be true.

JackKemp4Prez Our nominee will not only have to convince more than the GOP that he can "lead" America, he will have to educate them on conservative principles and build consensus in public opinion.   Last I checked, leadership was about ideas and optimism.  As I mentioned, Mr. Rick was the first out of the gate to suggest that Herman Cain’s plan shouldn’t be tried because it too was “radical” and he’d never get it passed.  (Art Laffer liked though.)  And it turns out the Pennsylvanian politician has a history of attacking people with BIG conservative thoughts.  While Gingrich was proceeding to take over Congress and sell America conservatism, here is what Richard J Santorum said of Jack Kemp’s 1994 effort for Welfare Reform

While abolishing welfare is "a great theory," he said, "the risk is that you're going to have millions of women and children with absolutely no support out there."

Read the entire episode here.  Eventually, Gingrich gave Santorum a position on the committee and Santorum drafted a plan that was so “moderate,” conservatives termed it an expansion of welfare – not the ending of it.  It was Gingrich who stepped in to make it work with a compromise between the Santorum moderates and the true conservatives. (The real true conservatives, not the like the “true conservative” Santorum said Romney was in 2008.)

Remember again what Santorum said in the “grandiose” debate:

Mr. Santorum said he would give Mr. Gingrich “his due on grandiose ideas and grandiose projects” but would not stand behind his ability to execute those projects, “which is what a president of the United States is supposed to do.” Four years into Mr. Gingrich’s speakership, conservatives threw him out in a coup, Mr. Santorum recalled.

Of course we’ve shown that Mr. Santorum LIED about characterizing Newt’s exit.  And as we’ve noted, those “grandiose” ideas were dealt differently by major conservative leaders like DuPont and Weyrich who still gave Newt every chance to succeed, although his accomplishment stunned even them.

Can anyone tell me how Santorum is “principled” and reflects Christian values when he OUTRIGHT LIES about his mentor’s record?  Can anyone tell me with a pattern of OBSTRUCTING conservatives on “big ideas” or bold moves (blocking Sotomayor and ridiculing Bachmann to “hold the line” with Jim DeMint) exactly WHAT qualifies him to be the the conservative representative much less the Tea Party’s?

Santorum is by no means as bad as Romney on principle or conservative values.  It would also be unfair to characterize Santorum as ALWAYS opposing “big ideas” since he did push Social Security reform before it was popular.  (We do try to be balanced here.)  But chastising every good idea another conservative has that isn’t yours is being a lawyer – not a leader.

GHWBush Do we really want a President that attacks ideas before they are formed and attempted?  Do we really want someone who will attack the big ideas of others that can solve problems because they conflict with his political ambitions?  Last I saw there were some pretty big problems facing our country.  I have no clue how anything someone with radical ideas can change it.  Like Reagan did.  In this light, Santorum is more like George HW Bush in yelling “Voodoo Economics,” than Gingrich who dared to continue to the Reagan legacy.

Here is the dilemma as I see it.  Santorum will be WORSE than Palinized by his wacko statements on gays, women and conservatives “getting into the bedroom”.  I am beginning to think he might be be more unelectable than Romney on this point alone, since Romney can flash those teeth and shuck and jive as he has been doing.  Mitt does have the ability to organize and fight back on a national basis and send Ann Coulter and Donald Trump to try and “even” scores.  In December Santorum still didn’t even have a single sitting congressman endorsing him.

On the other hand, Romney clearly would have no guts to fight for real conservative positions.  His advisers have ALREADY said they won’t repeal all of ObamaCare.  A friend pointed out to me that the in the Communist Manifesto it is “2 steps forward, 1 step back.”  It is clear Romney would be only a “1 step back” guy.  Like Clinton (remember Don’t Ask Don’t Tell?), Santorum will lose any election momentum he gained the moment he brings up divisive and unpopular social initiatives as he PLEDGED to do in the South Carolina debates.

So you got one guy that might be able to get elected, but will likely only mow the grass around the bottom of the corrupt Washington DC cherry tree.  It is unclear if the other guy could overcome his “extreme” image to even get elected – and we have no idea if he would do more than pray for the corruption tree to fall since he’s never led any effort like that before.  Or even led a national movement of any kind.

Fine mess you got us into Ollie.


Hey Man,

Great article! If we allow ourselves to get dragged back into an emphasis on gays and abortion, we'll get destroyed. 2010 had nothing to do with those issues.

But, then again, Ricky Boy loves Jesus, so it doesn't really matter how truly conservative he is.

Just wait. Independents (and many conservatives) will freak when they see what a holy-roller this guy is. People don't like Newt because of his personal indiscretions, but they like even less a condescending preacher. They like someone with a few warts. (Also a part of the problem with Romney - the squeaky-clean image.)

The euphoria over Santurum is starting to feel a little like the euphoria over Tim Tebow. I work with Christians who were all tingly inside because somebody was affirming their world view. They viewed anyone who thought it a bit obnoxious that he puts scripture references on his eyeballs and prayer postures after a touchdown as haters who want to persecute Christians and deny them the freedom to worship the way they want to. The hero-worship and cries of persecution were more obnoxious than Tebow's displays of faith. (I know I'm going to hell for saying that.)

The Social Cons fail to realize how they can look to independents and the rest of us who do not share their world view.

I'm wondering if the end result of Santurum's rise will actually be good for Newt in the long run. A. Romney's really been weakened at this point. It's quite clear that the majority of Republicans don't want him. B. Once they start becoming aware of some of the extreme positions Santurum has and see how much ammunition he has provided the democrats with his past statements, we may start looking for Anybody but Mitt AND Anybody but Rick. Newt will start looking good.

Just one man's opinion. (But, then again, I can't even balance my check book, what do I know.)

Oh, and keep up the good work. I'm glad your voice is part of the discussion. It's like an oasis in the middle of... no wait, it's a breath of, no no, it's like a light shining know what I mean.

Another great piece Jim. thanks for the h/t. never knew he made that comment regarding Kemp and missed that radio appearance he did from that Fox news clip. the more I see of him the more I dislike Santorum. and you're spot on about how he was only some dude getting 2-3% until 2 months ago when people like Bachmann, Cain, Pawlenty,Perry starting dropping off. RS simply flew under the radar, spent little to no money avoided harsh attacks and now people are looking at him like some second coming of Reagan. Yeah, loved Glenn Beck calling him George Washington a few months ago. Another putz. attacking Gingrich for having "too many ideas" was where I started really getting turned off. what's worse is how so many bought that line. how dumb. here conservatives have been arguing how we need a guy with ideas who can really articulate the message well and then now we have him and he's got to many ideas-- we deserve what we get if we do end up getting it in the end. --Mr.L

Felon Voting & The Constitution (Would add 12 Million Useful Idiots to the 65 Million who voted for Obama)

Rick Santorum's "Real Concerns" About The Tea Party

What A Big Government Conservative Looks Like

Santorum’s Redistribution of Wealth: A Massively Expanded Welfare State is ‘The Genuine Conservatism our Founders Envisioned’
Santorum: "I often describe my conservative colleagues during this time as simply ‘cheap liberals'."

Rick Santorum’s anti-gun history

Thank you for a very enlightening piece. I like the social conservatism of Santorum, but I know nothing about him otherwise.

As Bill Kristol said this morning on the roundtable discussion on Fox and Friends, he said Santorum is going to stop talking about himself and lay out a plan and present it to the people if he expects to stay in the race.

Newt has already done that and it's a darn good one too. I just don't know how Newt is going to be able to get this message resonating with people. I really feel like people believed all the LIES that the Romney camp put out about him, plus the fact that Newt is on his third marriage. I think people can't get past that part. They don't want a President with that kind of baggage.

Anyway, back to Santorum, if Santorum resorts to telling lies about himself, then it's all over for him. I have a feeling that Newt may be the one to expose it.

Just wait and see how quickly Santurum sinks once people find out about him and hear him speak. He does not inspire.

I think people in the general may be more accepting of Newt than we think. Didn't we have a president once recently that was engaged in far worse than 3 divorces? (You know, cigars in the oval orifice, accusations of rape, numerous allegations of infidelity throughout his career, lying to a grand jury.)

I'm not saying Newt's indiscretions don't matter. But, we are at war with our own government hell-bent on driving us off a cliff, facing enormous debt, and possible nuclear war. We need a leader, someone who has proven he can stand up, not only against liberals, but the media and the R establishment.

Anyone who has any sense of history knows that Newt has fought for the conservative cause for decades. Santurum seems to me an opportunist who right now is buoyed by the social cons. Unfortunately, Santurum may end up making Mitt look good. Fiscons and independents DO NOT want to go back to fighting over social issues.

JustOneMan - you nailed it. Remember how astounded we were that Americans would overlook RAPE accusations just because they were worried about the economy? Most Americans KNOW they aren't perfect and frankly don't care about marital indiscretions. Santorum not only seems a bit self-righteous to them (and annoying) but when the MSM goes after his 11% charity fund distribution, mixing donor/charity, K Street meetings for lobbying in his office, he won't have any time to distance himself from that image.

Just pray GOP voters see this before we are stuck with someone Barack and his MSM can hobble before he's out of the nominee gate.

I can't tell you what a help your insightful writings are, thank you.

I do want to ask whether you think - if Santorum makes Romney look good - can Romney actually be elected due to the Bain Capital scenario? You seem to have a better grasp of Bain than many of us do.

I've listened to an interview (link below) and also read the two articles that are listed there. I'm now very concerned that if Romeny gets the nomination he will get skewered by the MSM over it - and it won't be "smear politics" but the truth.

If you feel like you'd like to comment more about your take on Bain, it would be appreciated. Thanks.

What Axelrod/Obama learn on elections is to take their opponent out by humiliation, legal maneuvering or voter fraud. He did it against Hillary and we were told there plans to play the "race" card against McCain if he fell behind.

I do think Romney could survive that onslaught better than Santorum. (Santorum is still related to Wall Street by his board membership for the Prussia Fortune health company and all his K Street work which was massive)

But my guess is that they will try to drown out Mitt's message with neg Bain AT LEAST making it a close election. Romney (as he has shown all primary season) is adept and just staying consistent and that will help. But if the economy recovers just enough to blur everything between him and Romney as some are predicting, it will end up with who can get their message out.

Reagan was able to do it with NO conservative blogs, radio shows or cable. It then comes down to message as the UCLA professor noted and the bigger, bolder and clearer the idea the better. Romney so far looks rehearsed trying to do the Reagan thing. So who knows how that would play.

I am convinced however ANY candidate we have could win - if they make this about CORRUPTION and JOBS and start asking hard questions of Obama's past inconsistencies.

Then again, what the hell do I know? I'm just a little green bird in cage who still thinks the Cubs will win the World Series some day.

My guess is that Romney is more

I could be described as a liberal pinko commie.. but I enjoy seeing those on the right side of the debates making cogent arguments like you have.. At the end of the day, we all probably agree on solutions for 80% of the problems we face as a country.. but the bottom line is that left or right we need a president that help us get through those other 20% without us falling even deeper into the hole that we have collectively dug ourselves into.. Thank you for the reality check, and nothing personal, but I will be sticking with Obama until a conservative comes along that can make me feel comfortable giving them the reigns, and these two candidates aren't warming me much up.....

Thanks Anonymous. Appreciate the kind words. Oddly I have felt that Gingrich's measured conservatism would have a shot with folks like you who are intelligent and thoughtful.

Bottom line is the poor always do better with a healthy economy. And as proven by FDR, Carter, Wilson and LBJ - govt spending and higher taxes kills the "engine." Look at Ireland that was bogged down in the WORSE form of inflation/recession until they cut taxes and made it a place where businesses WANTED to be.

I hope you rethink Obama. Check out sometime. If you are truly open to truth - (and history) - you will likely find that conservative or libertarian thought is a more comfortable place to lodge.

Big grinnnnn

Forget about all the hard work you're doing researching all these important political positions, PolitiJim. I've been trying to figure out who Santorum reminded me of, ever since I first laid eyes on him. The light went on when I read the last line of this post. "Fine mess you got us into Ollie." Still grinning! Thanks!

My vote is for Church Lady: "Isn't that special!"

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