Time for Mitt to End Santorum’s Campaign

Running for President in 2016

Those of you who follow my blog regularly know that I rarely write about candidates, but rather, mostly about issues.

Romney has stayed above the fray for most of it, largely ignoring and not even engaging Santorum or Gingrich. But yes, I think the time is right for Mitt Romney to absolutely obliterate Rick Santorum’s candidacy.

Here’s why:

Santorum is no longer running for the 2012 nomination. He’s lost it and he knows he cannot win. Rick Santorum is now trying to dirty up Romney as much as humanly possible so that Obama wins, and he can run (and presumably win) in 2016. He even recently suggested that we might be better off with Obama than Romney.

Alas, Santorum cannot win the Presidency, now or ever. A few reasons:

  • Santorum is aloof.

He lost to this guy:

How did Rick Santorum lose to a Bert look-a-like? At a time when the economy ceased the growth spurt during Bush’s second term, Santorum spent the 2006 campaign trail supporting a very unpopular war. The voters cared more about jobs. That lack of political acumen enabled an extremely boring guy who had run for nearly every office in the state. He didn’t just lose, he lost 59 to 41. He got his ass kicked.

Similarly, this time around, Rick’s focus on the culture war (contraception, abortion) while issues I agree are important, just go to show that he spends his time focusing on issues that few voters rank as most important. In short, he’s doing it again — it’s his style. Anyone who watched the 20+ odd debates knows that Rick Santorum wasted a lot of time on issues that aren’t jobs. The Terry Schiavo fiasco is one of the many odd Santorum causes we’ll just leave alone here.

It’s the economy, stupid. Romney gets that. Santorum doesn’t. This explains why Santorum isn’t running for President as a sitting Senator.

  • He doesn’t connect with independents and democrats.

The only people voting for Rick Santorum because they support him are Republicans. Santorum is losing by 10 points to Obama in independents, and even this seems like an underestimated figure. If by some fluke, Santorum won the nomination, he would get probably 98% of the Republican vote, but this is because most Republicans line up behind the nominee, even if their guy lost. Santorum’s most ardent supporters are very Conservative Republicans. Some have pledged to me to not vote in the general if their guy isn’t there, and one even pledged to me to vote for Obama if Santorum did not win.

This is contrary to the typical Republican model, which to win, expects near perfect voter loyalty among Republicans, and a candidate that can attract Democrats and Independents. Rick Santorum can attract neither. (This theory is based on the fact that Republicans typically trail Democrats in party affiliation in the states that matter.)

The only independent votes Santorum has gotten are mainly from people who are trying to prolong the race. Many more well-meaning conservatives support him, and will begrudgingly vote for Romney in the fall. Those who don’t are fringe Republicans. But, people who pledge to vote for Obama because Santorum didn’t get the nod aren’t really Republicans, they’re crazy people.

Tripling the child tax credit in lieu of real tax reform that provides less not more deductions? Government tax preferences for manufacturers (and not distributors or service providers?) These are two very big examples that Santorum doesn’t get the big picture. His policy shop is stuck in the 1980’s. Rick Santorum is not going to win much support from the side of the business community that supports fundamental and fair tax reform. Though, he will get the support from rent-seeking protectionists that want the big hand of government to prop up their business, and Santorum seems happy to oblige.

  • Santorum is as much of an “etch-a-sketch” as Mitt Romney.

Like Ron Paul supporters who can’t accept the fact that Ron Paul loves earmarks (he just doesn’t vote for them), Santorum supporters never can acknowledge that their guy shifts positions too.

Examples:

  1. He voted for No Child Left Behind, but now thinks it’s a bad idea
  2. In 1996, Santorum voted against a national “Right to Work” law, but now supports such a law
  3. Rick Santorum voted against NAFTA, but now would rather get 5 new FTA’s done
  4. Rick Santorum claimed in the debates that he doesn’t want to start a “trade war”, but according to the Club for Growth: “As a member of the Senate Steel Caucus , Santorum voted for and co-sponsored a bill to slap tariffs on imported steel in 1999.” He also voted for tariffs on honey, and a massive 27.5% tariff on all Chinese made goods if China didn’t adjust their currency.
  5. Rick Santorum wrote a book, and when pressed on what it contained, he blamed his wife. He later actually responded when questioned about a portion of the book: “I don’t know — that’s a new quote for me.”
  6. In 1995, Santorum told Philadelphia Magazine that: “[I] was basically pro-choice all my life until I ran for congress… But it had never been something I thought about” — but now he is pro-life! (I think he was probably just lying back then to make himself look like less of a culture warrior, which is just as bad.)

There are many more, but we’ll stick with those for now. The point is that Rick Santorum’s compass is not one that doesn’t waver. Like Mitt Romney, he did things differently when he represented but one State. Now that he’s running for President, his views have changed. There’s nothing wrong with that. Santorum supporters need to come to peace with this or risk looking like many in the Ron Paul camp who can’t accept the truth. Their guy isn’t perfect. No candidate is perfect.

  • Santorum is bad at arguing, lacks logic

Do you have that friend who votes the same way as you do, but has completely and horribly wrong reasons for supporting your side? Wish they would just vote and try not to convince others that he/she is right for those wrong reasons? We all do. In today’s race, that guy is Rick Santorum. Ann Coulter put it this way:

“Even when I agree with Rick Santorum, listening to him argue the point almost makes me change my mind.”

That’s true. I look at Rick’s website and see a bunch of policies — many of them I support — but when I hear the guy out there, I almost want to disagree with him, and thus, myself. Which might explain why people who can’t vote for him in the general aren’t going to vote at all, or vote for Obama.

Which is not to say that, all these criticisms of Santorum I have make me think Romney is the greatest candidate or most consistent of them all. It’s just that he’s the only electable one. Ron Paul is by far the most principled of the candidates, but he has baggage and bad policies he supports, and he’s far from electable. He would, however, get more Democrats and independents than Santorum.

Rick Santorum won’t be President next year. Now he’s now trying to make Mitt Romney as unelectable as he can, in hopes that he can run the country in 2017. (The President takes office in January).

But that won’t happen. Rick Santorum will never be President. And his efforts to dirty up Romney in hopes of an Obama victory are despicable, which is why Mitt Romney must stop being above the fray and absolutely destroy his candidacy for now and 2016. He is not somebody we should push for to argue for our side.

Go get him, Mitt.

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