Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Santorum Campaign: Scorched Earth and pragmatism

I watched Chris Wallace's interview with Rick Santorum this morning and came to the conclusion that Mr. Santorum, at this point, is happy to see this election either go to himself or to Barak Obama, and if that's settled in the primaries, he's okay with that. I also noted some stark contradictions in his explanation of his voting record that Mr. Wallace did not pick up on.

Of course, when asked, he always says he'll support the Republican nominee whoever it is, but then immediately launches in to a list of reasons why he believes Romney would be a disaster as a nominee. He points out that Romney has run negative ads against him as well. That's true. The difference is, Santorum's not going to be the nominee. Hence any negative ads that have been run against him really don't help President Obama. He can make an emotional case for continuing the tirade, but not a strategic one.

His compadres, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, have taken a different tack. Ron Paul never really expected to get the nomination, although I'm sure he'd have accepted it. He has really been campaigning for issues that he feels need a lot more attention. He's succeeded in that regard. Most Republican leaders now favor an audit and closer inspection overall of the operations of the Federal Reserve, and while most don't agree with his isolationist foreign policies, they do agree that our foreign troop deployments around the world could stand a lot more scrutiny. He will certainly not be ignored or brushed aside at the convention.

Newt Gingrich seems to have come to terms with the notion that Romney will be the nominee. He's essentially tabled a negative campaign against Romney in favor of a positive campaign for his own ideas and agenda. While he probably wont be selected for VP or anything, he will have some input as to policy, and come August, will be welcomed into the Romney camp, even if as a minor player.

I don't see how Santorum puts himself in anything other than a Pat Buchanan type of position. He comes across as bitter and angry and may well decide to take his supporters and go elsewhere. Ask Pat how that worked out.

As for his own "true conservative" record, he responded to Wallace's question about his no vote on Federal right to work, by saying he felt it was a state's right issue. Since he was a Senator in a pro-union state, he felt he had a duty to vote on behalf of the majority of his constituents. Okay, but then he said he would sign a right to work law if it came across his desk as President. How can it be a state's rights issue when you're a Senator, but not a state's rights issue when you're President? At least Romney's defense of Romneycare is consistent, whether you think it's sincere or not. He said it was a state's rights issue then, and that he opposes a national health care mandate because it will still be a state's rights issue when he's President.

Rick Santorum has admitted that he made votes as a Senator in favor of some things that he disagrees with because "sometimes you have to take one for the team". He seems unwilling to take on that attitude as a Presidential candidate.

On a personal note, I don't think Romney would go down in history as a leading champion of free market capitalism, but with guys like Ryan and Rubio on his advisory team, he should do fine. And as Rummy put it, "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you wish you had." This is a war of ideas: Bigger government vs Smaller government. If Mr. Santorum is truly interested in bringing the growth of government to a halt, he would be well advised to cease the personal vendetta and actually work toward that goal.

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