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.
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).
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.
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.
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.