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Rick Santorum would be the GOP's ideal presidential candidate in 2012. Embracing a moveable moderate like Mitt Romney would be a horrible mistake for today's Republican Party.

Since 2010's off-presidential election, the Far Right-Tea Party-dominated GOP has embraced polar positions, governing - or as us Lefties point out, not governing - accordingly.

It is well within the realm of political possibility that Richard John "Rick" Santorum can outwit, outlast and outplay the flatlined Mitt Romney. While New Hampshire will be a big win for Romney, Santorum will do what he has to do - better than expected - and attract invaluable national attention for himself as he does it.

The man is qualified, charismatic, personable and likes sweaters. Most important, he is positioned firmly atop the social and economic agendas of conservatives across the nation. He is certain to be able to turn out the Republican base.

Richard John "Rick" Santorum is this year's GO TO GUY, Mr. GOP.
Times like these do not call for a moderate Republican.

In the 80's and early 90's, as evangelicals were out attracting converts to their version of conservativism, their strategy was to not run on social issues, sacred as those issues were to them, for fear that would undercut their chances to win elections. So it was a bold move indeed that Bush's Chief of Staff John Sununu engineered ... for "Family Values" to consume the first day of the GOP's convention in 1992.

The Chicago Tribune reported: "... [S]peaker after speaker at the Republican National Convention launched diatribes against homosexuals, single mothers, those who favor the right to abortion and others marked as threateningly different." That evening, keynoter Pat Buchanan gave a firebrand speech some termed "the hate-fest in Houston." A sampling:

"There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself. For this war is for the soul of America. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton & Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side."

Ten days after the 1992 convention ended, a Gallup poll showed the lead of Democratic challenger Bill Clinton increasing ten additional points over the sitting President Bush. And that was one of the narrower gaps reported.

Now, two decades later, we can look forward to an entire convention stirred by evangelical fervor and imagine how the agenda of the Far Right will play out at the GOP's convention in Tampa this August.

Rick Santorum is boldly committed to positions as far out and frequently farther than the other GOP candidates on virtually every issue. (Except for Ron Paul who is, happily, in a league of his own.) Many of candidate Santorum's positions were well recounted last week in RVKU's "A Primer on Rick Santorum" and in other diaries on Daily Kos. Santorum opposes abortion for any reason, opposes even contraception, is virulently homophobic, would take the government out of health care, supports racial profiling for Muslims, inveighs against liberal judges, promises to cut corporate income taxes in half, eliminate all Obama-era regulations with an impact over $100 million, immediately slash Medicare and Social Security benefits ... his drumbeat goes on.

If Rick Santorum can't win the 2012 election for the GOP and carry majorities for the House and Senate in the process, no Far Right candidate can. Risky as his ascendancy might seem, it would be the confrontation the GOP continues to urge that America have. If he won and governed as he promises, huge as the price the American public would pay for the privilege, he could not win re-election in 2016.

Either way, our politics would change for the better.

Poll

Rick Santorum ...

9%4 votes
20%9 votes
4%2 votes
40%18 votes
25%11 votes

| 44 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 10:29:11 PM PST

  •  Frothy Mix For President! (5+ / 0-)

    DSCN1241

    Jihad!

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 10:46:01 PM PST

  •  I will be voting in my state's GOP primary (4+ / 0-)

    and there's no way in hell I'd go for a piece of Santorum pie.

    Republicans take care of big money, for big money takes care of them ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 11:03:20 PM PST

  •  Santorum is Ooey, Gooey & Screwy..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Pluto, TomorrowsProgressives

    He's running third in new Hampshire.  He's a blabbermouth & an evangelical bully who tries to foist his hairbrained, crackpot sanctified values on the country.

    He will soon fade into the woodwork where he belongs.  

  •  Sorry, but NO! (3+ / 0-)

    One of two people will be elected President in November 2012, and the Republican nominee will be one of those two people.  We may laugh at Santorum, but if he's the Republican nomineee, he's one election away from the Presidency.  And stranger things have happened than him winning.  The country could undergo a sudden economic downturn between now and November, or there could be some scandal involving Democrats.  Do any of us REALLY want Rick Santorum to be the person to benefit from such an eventuality, if it happens, by becoming the President?  Not me.

    PROUD to be a Democrat!

    by leevank on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 11:22:48 PM PST

  •  How many women would die (5+ / 0-)

    between 2013 and 2017, even if you're right and there's no way a President Santorum would be re-elected? How many GLBTs would be hounded out of homes and jobs? How many bad policies would have to be undone?

    I seem to recall similar claims made about GWB not being able to be re-elected -- and the Republicans are a lot better at vote suppression now than they were in 2004.

    I'm not willing to take that chance.

    Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes (modified)

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Jan 08, 2012 at 11:36:44 PM PST

  •  While I am in agreement that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomorrowsProgressives, Onomastic

    he probably cannot win, I remember that I thought the same way back in 1980.  Ronald Reagan  just seemed too extreme.  41 years of destruction (if you include the havoc wrecked by his appointees to SCOTUS) later...

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 02:44:13 AM PST

  •  Santorum/Tebow '12 eom. (0+ / 0-)

    .

  •  I'm so tired of this kind of thing. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NamelessGenXer

    This country was stupid enough to elect Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush to office.  And as if one term for either man wasn't bad enough, they were both re-elected.

    We've got a MSM that is devoid of fact checking, calling out lies, racism, or examining any issue in objective depth.

    If they have done anything with Santorum, or the rest of the "Republican" field, but give them a free pass, I haven't seen it.

    Your cavalier willingness to risk what's left of our democracy, the well being of our people, to even the remotest chance of a Santorum Presidency, is mind boggling.

    If corporations are people, then I want to see some birth certificates and talk to their parents.

    by Onomastic on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 05:51:19 AM PST

  •  As much as I would like to see Santorum win (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago

    the nomination, because his extreme unyielding uncompromising stance won't play well in the general election, I just don't see it happening.  He took that far right hate of everything not like him to NH and got booed off the stage.  He's so entrenched in his beliefs that he lives outside of reality - the whole country has to live according to his beliefs.  BS!  Both sides realize a president has to yield somewhat.  Maybe Obama was too yielding, but something tells me he's learned a valuable lesson.

    "They love the founding fathers so much they will destroy everything they created and remake it in Rush Limbaughs image." MinistryofTruth, 9/29/11

    by AnnieR on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 07:31:37 AM PST

    •  I am hoping with you, but if GOP primary voters... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnieR

      ... don't choose Santorum, who will they get? Yes, Mitt Romney is the default. But so far, except for New Hampshire (a Win for him was never in doubt; only the margin and who got Place and Show), he's flatlined at 25% or so. Unless he gets some big South Carolina endorsements, he could be marginalized there. Florida should be a win for him, but how big?

      Unless there's a Gingrich insurgence (wanna bet on that?), Romney will move along, perhaps more glacially than he'd like, and he'll have to start to mollify the Uber-Right evangelicals and others more-conservative-than-he by chatting up Far Right VP running mates.  Rick Santorum - among others - looks pretty good for that.

      I would strongly prefer Santorum at the head of the GOP's ticket. He's the most extreme (again, excepting Ron Paul, a case of his own), the purest collision of Far Right and Everyone Else. Choosing Santorum would be a mugging choice for many Republicans (I believe many of them are quiet and deliberately uninvolved) who can overlook social issues, a warning alert for moderates/independents/undecideds ... and a top-of-the-ticket polarizer in states and districts that might otherwise not be at issue for Democrats in 2012.

      Santorum as VP - who the GOP will run around the country selectively - does not present nearly that clear a confrontation.

      For me, the far greater risk to Democrats in 2012 is a ticket headed by Romney (or the unlikelier Huntsman) with Santorum or another Far Righter.

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 08:28:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A different take: (0+ / 0-)

    The best situation is keeping Santorum, Gingrich, Paul, and hopefully even Perry in the race as long as posible. As long as the primaries have a marketable horserace the MSM will continue to cover them, unavoidably exposing the detestable nature of the party. In addition, Romney will enter the convention without an overwhelming delegate lead and a candidate will be drafted instead of him - someone who will be saddled with the taint of illegitimacy and a decayed brand. The worst case scenario is if the above drop out, allowing Romney to enter the general campaign without being sufficiently exposed.

    Interesting to me: I think that Ron Paul is the only case where attack politics works as "intended" - by criticizing the corruption of his opponents he does more harm to them than the blowback does to him.

    And by the way: It is extremely likely that President Obama will run - and govern! - to the right against Romney or any sane-seeming opponent. This is the terrifying secret of TRPChicago's argument. And that assuming he wins he will believe his reelection to be a justification of a policy of betraying the center and left. The longer people like Santorum hang around the more he can get used to differentiating himself from them by governing as an American.

    •  I doubt the GOP nomination will go to a brokered (0+ / 0-)

      ... convention.

      The Republican field will attrit starting soon. The primaries and caucuses will be coming fast and furious and there won't be money or staff resources to support marginal candidates who have no realistic hopes.

      Gingrich can stay in, but he got lucky with that $5 million windfall to - ahem! - an unaffiliated super-PAC, and I think Newt's personal greed will prevent him from using his own money to fund his campaign. The core of GOP professionals do not respect the man and funds will dry up. He'll see greener pastures as a think-tank/consultant guru academic.

      Paul can stay in, but he will not get the Republican nomination. Too many of his positions and solutions are anathema to the Far right.

      Perry? No way. He'll stay in until S. Carolina. Then, it's out except maybe just to keep his name on ballots where he's qualified. But he'll soon tire of getting beaten up.

      Santorum? Well, that was the point of my diary. I like him best - on his own merits and the tenets of the Tea Party - as Obama's opponent.

      As for the President, I profoundly disagree that he will run toward the right. His edge is what he's done - it may not be progressive enough for us, but he will remind us of those victories, not abandon them! - and what he and Democratic majorities should continue to be doing vs. returning to the same old Republican-made disaster policies.

      You write ... his policy was to betray the left? It was? His policy? And, "betraying the center"? You're smoking something!

      Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

      by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 09, 2012 at 05:01:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pardon the rhetoric (0+ / 0-)

        I hope it goes to a brokered convention. I do not believe that the party wants Romney. I also believe that the longer Romney is scrutinized the less his chances of defeating President Obama. Under normal circumstances your analysis, thet candidates will rather quickly drop out, would hold, but I believe there are special circumstances this time that might change that.
        As for the Obama presidency, my opinion was best illustrated by (I believe Franklin Ajaye) who said that the day after the innauguration President Obama was shown a film. At first he thought that it was the Zapruder film, but then he realized that it was taken from the grassy knoll. He got the message.
        For a real life example there was a meeting between between he and Hillary Clinton hosted by Diane Feinstein. The nomintion was wrapped up at the time; there was no electoral reason for the meeting. But the next day Obama gave a speech where he used the phrase "health insurance reform" instead of "health care reform" for the first time.
        As for "betrayal" of "center" my analysis is idiocyncratic, but defensible. When labeling language is removed the polititian closest to the majority of the American people on an issue by issue basis is Dennis Kucinich. When chronological context is removed the President has - on this site - been compared unfavorably to the 1954 Republican platform.
        On Jan 21, 2009 the republican Party was irrelivent, except for Joe Lieberman's vote allowing them to fillibuster. Even so, President Obama's stated policy was "bipartisanship".
        My sense of disappointment is greater than yours, in part because I feel a greater sense of urgency. "No Drama Obama" may well be the best he can be considering his context, but I do not believe he is the necessary President for his challenges. This is not a time for reasoned, non-threatening governance. Steady improvment has happened, but not fast enough, and we are 3 Senate seats from disaster.

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