So, according to the talking heads, Rick Santorum is the newest GOP front runner, and is therefore unstoppable (like the others were in their turns at the top). If he is going to successfully run against Mitt Romney, and displace the projected GOP nominee, and then go on to face Obama in the general election, people need to give him a closer look, instead of just making him their “Not-Mitt” pick. Now, I get a strange feeling from the guy, especially when he claims to be the only conservative candidate left with a shot in the primary (Newt claimed the same thing at one time). I would never vote for (or not vote for) a candidate because of a feeling, and I would not ask anyone else to do so either. So, I did a little research, and from what I have read, Santorum’s claimed conservancy is shaky at best.
My first concern is that Santorum was a legislator. Now, I realize this sounds this minor, but I think the mindset of a man with a legislative background is different from a man with an executive background. The legislator wants to build consensus, and reach compromise. I would rather have a candidate who has lead something, via governorship or as a business executive. Rick Perry would have perfectly fulfilled my idea of a candidate with leadership skills and was someone who understands that building a consensus takes time you may not have. I offer the current president, as example of a person who looks to build a coalition of yes-men and enablers (his cabinet/czars/advisers), and seems to be awkward and stiff when pushed to make a decision, which frequently turns out to be problematic.
Another concern I have is the things Rick supported while he was in the United States Congress. Bills and programs that do not seem too “conservative” to me. For example, legislation like “No Child Left Behind”, which not only grew educational and federal government bureaucracies, but mandated testing and tracking of school children, was something supported by Santorum. Just within the last month, it was given a waiver in ten states. While in the Senate, Santorum sponsored the “GAS Act”, which would have created a new, Federal Trade Commission-run “Competitive Pricing Task Force” to study energy pricing, and levy fines if the seller was determined to be fixing their prices after a release of strategic petroleum reserves by the president. Thankfully, the bill went nowhere, and the chance for bureaucratic growth was stymied. In my mind, all this legislative double-talk would have done nothing more than increase the size of government bureaucracy for (ultimately) arbitrary reasons.
Santorum has also shown a few lapses in judgment. He supported George W. Bush’s failed judicial nominee, Harriet Miers, saying that the fact she had never been a judge before did not matter. A closer, more critical review of her (and increasing criticism by democrats and others), led him to retract his support. He voted for a Chuck Schumer-sponsored bill that restricted abortion protesters from blocking or impeding access to abortion clinics. While I do not think those choices are in and of themselves bad, for a politician like Santorum, that has espoused so many conservative beliefs and voted so conservatively for so long – it really makes his rare, occasional departure from those conservative ideals unexpected and seem radical to me. Despite all this, I would still see myself as able to hold my nose and vote for him.
Unfortunately, I still have not mentioned what I consider to be the worst of his transgressions. He has bragged about working with Barbra Boxer, and he even bragged about the number of earmarks he has supported. In the worst behavior Santorum exhibited, he supported Arlen Specter in the 2004 Senate race against conservative Republican, Pat Toomey. Ironically, some of the same supporters who donated to Santorum, found themselves at odds with his support (of Specter), because the donators supported the more conservative Toomey instead. Again, that may not seem too bad when considered only on that fact. However, as we know, Arlen Specter continued to veer increasingly-leftward in his politics after winning a narrow race against Toomey, and Specter ended up switching party allegiances, becoming a Democrat, and then losing his election following that switch. The worst part of the whole mess, was that it was Specter who cast the crucial 60th vote for Obamacare. Here is Specter, bragging about both his switch and vote. As we have found this last week, now the Obamacare fiasco has been used to try to force religious agencies/employers to cover things completely contrary to the tenets of their faith. While it may be unfair to blame Santorum for all the fallout from his support for Specter, he certainly does not have clean hands in the ongoing messes either.
So, unless you have completely been away from media since Monday, you have heard about Mitt Romney’s colossal failures in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado. His entire campaign has collapsed, and he may as well just pack it in, and return to one of his palatial estates in the northeast. Right? That is the narrative his competition would have us believe is going to occur. He is down, and he is out. I, on the other hand, am not so sure.
So, what does the miraculous-sweep of the three states mean for Romney’s seeming inevitability? For me, not much. Other candidates may see it as a sign that there will surely be a brokered convention, or that there is serious rejection of Romney among Republicans. I, however, see a few silver linings to the “rejection” of Romney.
First, these losses are seen as huge and unexpected – he should play to this fact. As the campaign wears on, he can show himself as a candidate who is not the stuff-shirt, boring, businessman that he has been painted as, but he is a candidate who is flexible. He now has a situation, if he sells it right, that allows him to break out of his silver-spoon, always-been-a-winner, never-had-any-struggles story. He needs to make more people aware of any struggles or tragedies he may have faced. A candidate who can bounce back from unexpected setbacks, who can roll with unexpected punches and is dynamic, that kind of guy is seen as a better president – the type who can lead an ever-changing country. He has now been bested in five states, and if he acts humbled (as he should be), people may see a more relate-able guy (especially in a country facing so many problems, that have touched everyone). He should create a contrast to the effete, aloof Obama.
Secondly, the sheer appeal of candidates like Santorum and Gingrich, who are “conservative alternatives,” shows him what many people are seeking. Romney sure does not do himself any favors by having candidates who have already been losers to Obama (read: John McCain) appear with him. If that is somehow supposed to help him, why not invite Alan Keyes and Jack Ryan to events too? He should maximize any appearances he can make with prospective GOP Congressmen, especially those who are seen as farther right than any others. Meet with current GOP leaders (like Jim DeMint) that holds sway with conservatives, and adopt and advocate for views he shares. He does not need to be seen as any farther left or moderate when his record and talking heads already make him appear that way. He should play up the angle as much as possible, that capitalism did not put us in the economic quagmire we find ourselves in, but capitalism will lead us out.
The economic angle being stressed, will help at events too – feature the people who kept their jobs because of Bain’s investments and actions, and contrast them against the president’s claims of saved jobs. “This is what a real, legitimately saved job looks like America!” Use full advantage of any opportunities like this to differentiate and take shots at failed Obama policies. The more these regulations and economy-killing policies are brought up to voters, the more firmly Obama can be painted as a complete economic blunderer and failure, and the more people will see you as a person who understands the dire situation, and is competent and able to turn a stumbling country around.
He should look to build consensus wherever he can – against the do-nothing Senate, and the any Democratic Senators for continually neglecting their duties. This could help ensure that he would have a more “friendly”, GOP-led Senate. Because of the recent political fallout and anger at the “contraceptive mandate” of Obamacare, Romney could point out the struggles and religious persecution he has faced as a Mormon, and stress how he would never support anything resembling that mandate. Take a stand with Catholics and others, promising to strip out or veto any legislation sent to you with any religious questionability.
Finally, he should take concrete, permanent stands on issues and stick with them. He should draw guidelines and NOT deviate – there is so much concern that Romney is “wishy-washy” and flip-flops. When elected, he should make sure he does everything he can to see those issues’ passing and enforcement occur. America is tired of suave leaders, who are so self-assured that they have convinced themselves that they can do no wrong. He should be humble and willing to listen, and admit as much. He needs to take full advantage of events like CPAC to talk to people, and speak without the safety of prepared material. He needs to show people the person, they seem to have seen nearly enough of the candidate.
Plan B. from Texasorbusted’s Blog
Excerpt: “What’s disturbing about Romney is that for some reason the MSM and the Left seem to prefer Mitt over the rest of the GOP field. One possibility for their sanguinity is that the MSM and Democrats might be holding back a possible October Surprise to harm Romney.”
So, even two years out, it seems like election season is upon us. People are rapidly finding “their candidate”, and supporting them via donation, turning out, and writing online opinion pieces. While the Democrats’ nominee is all but a foregone conclusion, the Republican field couldn’t be more wide open. There are numerous contenders from the business world and former leaders. A Northern businessman is vying with a Southern counterpart for their party’s nomination, a Western former governor is contending for the nom. with a Mid-Western tax lawyer – and then there’s Sarah.
Perhaps the most mercurial and aggravating figure for liberals. When it comes to Sarah Palin, it seems like there’s no depth to the slurs and slime that the left is willing to throw her way. Even her family isn’t off limits (something fairly new to politicians – remember Chelsea Clinton and the Bush Twins were considered ‘off-limits’?) Recently, a Wonkette smear-piece thought it would be just hilarious to make fun of her youngest child, Trig, on his birthday to boot. The result? A furious, Twitter-organized, assault on Wonkette’s sponsors, leading many of them to pull their advertisements.
So, why should she run? She’s already shown a willingness to take on liberals and their favorite talking points. If she gives additional interviews to the MSM, she’ll surely be more prepared than ever, and should easily expose their inherent bias and warped reporting styles. The Katie Couric interview, while not seen as a turning point in interviews, wasn’t nearly as bad as some would believe, and Sarah’s popularity has grown, while Couric has lost her anchor seat as her ratings have completely tanked.
As she continues to debate whether or not she’s even joining the primary race, she forces the left and other detractors to continue to expend their resources on background checks and other dirt digging that they can use against her. There won’t be any in-fighting amongst Democrats, so they would be free to focus on destroying the reputations of Republican candidates. As they’re doing their checks and spending money, it becomes less that can be used against any other candidates. As much as they remain critical of even the small things she does, the left appears unwilling or unable to not attack and smear her.
As she’s being disparaged, it will continue to show the hypocrisy and double-standard of the left and organizations such as NOW and Planned Parenthood, who constantly claim to stand for womens’ rights, and yet never miss an opportunity to tear down a Republican woman running for office. I hope that as more people continue to see this, and grow sick of it, these two groups (and any others using this m.o.) will grow stale and lose their lobbying power. For the centrist-supporters of the groups, seeing the same attacks and methods being utilized over and over will continue to erode their support as well.
Finally, she may bring some new planks to the party platform. With the new planks comes increased interest and support. The Republican candidates are highly segmented at the moment, and making enough noise with the right issues may finally break one out of the pack. Even if she doesn’t run, the other candidates can seize the issues she’s brought to the forefront, and they can receive the benefit of her endorsement. There are simply more good reasons for her to run than not.
I’m actually not even a Palin supporter, but I am a supporter of having as many people as possible raising ideas. With as many half-baked ideas from candidates as we’re seeing these days, it really shouldn’t be too hard to realize a few winning ideas.