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We now have a real fight on our hands for the 2012 campaign.
Do not underestimate Rick Santorum.
IMHO he has all the boxes checked for a viable Republican candidate - let's look.
Not Mitt Romney - Check.
Conservative - Check.
From a potential Swing State - Check.
A 'true believer' faith wise - Check.
Stable family history (as far as we know) - Check.
Access to oodles of Super Pac money via Foster Freiss - Check.
Stable on issues, not flip flopping - Check.

And lastly, and perhaps the most important - Rick Santorum and the Google.
Yes, Dan Savage's re-naming of Rick Santorum was a good laugh when Santorum was a defeated intolerant Senator, but now that he is a viable Presidential Candidate, things are different. This is a 'Red badge of Courage - or Savage' and it will help Santorum.
And here's why...

Like a Red Badge of Courage or 'Savage', the Right can go on the attack on this 'Santorum' Google issue.
You know how that Clint Eastwood Chrysler commercial is giving the Right fits because it sounds like a pro-Obama ad, even though it wasn't at all coordinated?
The Right wing noise machine can play the same game.
They can point to Dan Savage's column and re-naming of Santorum and say

'This is how the elite, liberal, Obama supporting left view the sanctity of marriage - by tearing down a faithful family man who supports traditional views on Marriage'
Rick Santorum has all the boxes checked and thanks to the Google joke about 'frothy' stuff, he has a lot of name recognition because he has been laughed about on many different outlets, Colbert, Daily Show, late night, Saturday Night Live etc.
Remember Richard Nixon's statement "you won't have this clown to kick around anymore"

And how he seemed headed for political obscurity only to become the President 8 years later?

Hypothetically, how does Obama answer this question?
"Mr. President, do you agree with Dan Savage's characterization of Senator Santorum for his beliefs about Marriage?"

It certainly is not as an easy slam dunk as questions on Romney or Gingrich.

And with Romney, the attacks were so easy, the hated Obamacare is based on Romneycare.
But now, the White House is on the defensive from a large voting block amid backlash over one of the provisions of his healthcare plan - contraception in Catholic hospitals.

David Axelrod, a senior campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, said the administration had heard the Roman Catholic Church's concerns and never intended to "abridge anyone's religious freedom."

But he gave no sign that the administration would reverse course under intensifying pressure from church leaders and political heat from Republican presidential candidates.

Over the weekend, Catholic clergy across the country called for congregations to pressure Obama to back down.

"To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable," said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement last month....

White House spokesman Jay Carney also sought to diffuse criticism from church leaders, telling reporters later on Tuesday the administration would work with religious organizations "to see if the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns."

With Romney, this was a non-issue as his Massachusetts plan went just as far if not farther in covering contraception.

But with Santorum, you have a bona fide conservative issue, not just solidly against contraception, but a person that has been on record for years defending abstinence, even going so far as to promote the uber conservative 'sex only for reproduction' viewpoint based on his faith in the Old Testament.

I can remember when Catholic Bishops were telling people if they voted for John Kerry they would be denied communion based on Kerry's view on Abortion.
Santorum already will have the Catholic faith block on his side, and the other religious right groups will be on board as well, just as they were in Iowa.

We were laughing as we considered thrice divorced Newt Gingrich as the opponent for the Election.
We were smirking as we watched Romney take 2 or 3 positions on every issue and distance himself from his own health care plan and try to laugh past tough questions from Fox interviewers.

I don't see that in Santorum. His statement today after moving into the lead with 4 contests to Mitt's 3 is "Conservatives are starting to get it"

Once in awhile, I switch from Ed Schulz to Rush Limbaugh (during commercials) and I heard a lady take Limbaugh to task for making light of Gingrich's 3 marriages.
She said, with firm conviction
"If it is choice on the ballot between Obama and Gingrich, I'll write in Santorum, because it means that much to me and other women"
Limbaugh was on the defensive like I had not heard before.

We laughed at Santorum before, but the longer he is winning, the more the narrative will be that 'Santorum is the new comeback kid'
a nick name that helped Bill Clinton win his nomination.

I believe Barack Obama is headed for a second term, and he will campaign effectively, but I don't want any of us to laugh off Rick Santorum.

Talk me down, or better yet, talk strategy, because that's the smarter thing to do.
Never underestimate an opponent, especially one with a Red Badge of 'Savage'.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    "What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" Henry David Thoreau http://www.praer.org/

    by wade norris on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:28:26 AM PST

  •  If the Right (14+ / 0-)

    tries to tie Dan Savage to Obama, that might work with the mouth foaming elements of their base, but to most people, they'll look clumsy and fumbling, and they'll draw even more attention to the google issue, and therefore, Santorum's social nuttery. Would be a colossally bad move.

    "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

    by kestrel9000 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:33:30 AM PST

    •  Thanks for providing that link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kestrel9000, UncleCharlie

      But does it "count" if I click on it here as opposed to Googling Santorum?

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:37:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Rick Santorum (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Losty, Noor B

      has already cast himself as the 'true conservative'
      he raised a quarter of a million dollars just last night - after the 3 wins
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      I see Romney falling like a house of cards and all of his Pac support going to Santorum

      "What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" Henry David Thoreau http://www.praer.org/

      by wade norris on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:50:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are correct. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000

        Santorum is the one to watch.

        The way to beat him is to smack him with his own intolerance. There are still plenty of liberal and moderate faithful voters who adamantly believe in the separation of church and state as well as the right of conscience. He has no business limiting the health care options of me and my family, or any other family for that matter. He is not running to be grand patriarch -- he is running for President. He will have to be capable of setting aside his own prejudices in order to govern for everyone. I firmly believe Mr. Santorum is inherently unable to do just that. This is why the voters of Pennsylvania turned him out of office last time. He'd better not expect them to pull his fat out of the fire in the general, because I don't believe they will do so.

        "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

        by Noor B on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 10:40:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You don't read the Corporate Industrial Complex (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero

        well, I'd suggest.

        Santorum has nowhere near the megacorporate reach of Romney. Take a look at who has been running this country since Reagan neoconservatives opened the floodgates to massive, nonstop market consolidation; since Reagan-, Clinton-, and Dubya-era policies paved the way for the current financial collapse.

        It has not been "values voters." It has not been anti-Vatican II Catholics.

        $10,000 says corporate USA is not going to throw Romney under the bus for Santorum.

  •  I'm not at all concerned about this (13+ / 0-)
    Hypothetically, how does Obama answer this question?
    "Mr. President, do you agree with Dan Savage's characterization of Senator Santorum for his beliefs about Marriage?"
    He answers it with grace, like he usually does. The right can and will try to make Santorum a victim of the left, but he's not a serious contender.

    And as far as his home state advantage, um, he was slaughtered in his last election.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:34:02 AM PST

  •  We don't need a strategy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, Noor B, raincrow, aitchdee

    All we need is SNL's goof on him as a man frightened of the 21st century, quivering at every perceived danger. It's as lethal as Tina Fey's Sarah Palin.

    Plus, his dubious history with abortion will out at one point. He and his wife have some issues with that as yet unexplored by the general electorate.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:35:26 AM PST

    •  could you elaborate on this? (0+ / 0-)

      "He and his wife have some issues with that as yet unexplored by the general electorate."

      it'd be nice to hear about this.

      "What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" Henry David Thoreau http://www.praer.org/

      by wade norris on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:38:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's controversial, but it shows how muddy (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000, Losty, terabytes, Noor B, raincrow

        the water is.

        Santorum: Our Abortion Was Different

        The fact is, had his own beliefs been made law, his wife would be dead today.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:44:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Does the press have the nerve?? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B, coquiero

          Thus far, no one in the media has had the nerve to ask Santorum about this personal issue. Why was an abortion ok to save the life of his wife, but not ok today to save the life of his daughter, or my daughter, or your wife?? He has said the "life of the mother" exception to abortion is made up and fake, and he would fight to outlaw all abortion under any circumstances. This guy is beyond dangerous and is advocating for the death of women. If he's "pro-life," why is he advocating for the woman AND the baby to die when pregnancy complications put the woman's life at risk?? Why won't the media ask him about this???

        •  I think Santorum is a theocratic troll, but.... (0+ / 0-)

          That looks like what the Catholics call "double effect" to me. Which means that even the Catholic Church would have been all right with it. So in this case, their "abortion" WAS different.

          Whether or not it would have been allowed under laws he is now advocating is a separate question.

          Baz

          We are the principled ones, remember? We don't get to use the black hats' tricks even when it would benefit us. Political Compass: -6.88, -6.41

          by bmcphail on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:17:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  totally disagree (0+ / 0-)
            Whether or not it would have been allowed under laws he is now advocating is a separate question.
            This IS the issue. He had the right to choose his/his wife's/his child's fate, but he wants to deny that right to others.

            Given the wrenching choices they had to make, you would think it would give him a bit more compassion for others.

            It's like the idiots who say, "Thank God my daughter had the right to choose to have her baby" as an anti-choice argument.

            Its about choice, and they want to deny people the right to choose.

            I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

            by coquiero on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 11:39:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Equally muddy/hypocritical on medical malpractice (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero

          caps on punitive damages.

          http://wonkette.com/...

          Our little Ricky, almost as unlovely a hypocrite, in his own way, as double-billing, pork-loving, racist, misogynist, forced-birth-pandering Ron Paul.

      •  And (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000, raincrow

        File this one under creepy and strange. It's less relevant because it's personal history of his wife, but it's worth a read anyway.

        Before Karen Met Rick

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:54:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree. (8+ / 0-)

    They're all threats, of course. Even when they don't win, these guys are threats, as they pull our national conversation down into rank stupidity. I take them all seriously.

    But Santorum is a non-starter. And the google thing can't be flipped for the majority of Americans. Plus: Don't underestimate what Romney's deep pockets will do for him. Wall Street has picked their guy and they're not gonna let some crusading prude stand in their way.

  •  Frothy isn't going anywhere (7+ / 0-)

    Jeesh, the way people jump on these bandwagons every time one of the goofy not-Mitts has a good day. Romney is the right formula for the gop in this race and that's who they're going for. They aren't relying on loyalty to their own candidate to motivate their base. They're relying on hate of Obama. They've got that, so they've got most of their base come November. They need someone harmless appearing enough, 'moderate' enough, to pick up middle of the road dummies if events in the fall make folks feel bad enough about Obama. That's their shot at winning the White House. The goper establishment knows that. So Romney has ten gazillion dollars to blow away his primary opponents in the national contest.

    The fact that the wingnutty base isn't rallying around him so strongly is just a byproduct of the fact that the gop needs a candidate they can sell to average folks who aren't necessarily wingnuts but just don't understand much about what's going on. It was always going to be Romney and most of this sound and fury won't amount to a thing in the contest next summer and fall.

    When the truth is only a matter of opinion, advantage goes to the liars.

    by Sun dog on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:52:37 AM PST

  •  The hardcore right is still a distinct minority (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero

    Santorum would still have to win a lot of centrists, and I think if he and his ideas were palatable to the middle, he'd likely still be in the Senate and/or further ahead in current polls.

    My guess, my hope, is that these victories -- two of them vaporware/ fuzzyware until delegates are selected -- will have him feeling his oats, and he'll begin more trial runs of his 1950s anti-contraception message.

    I think the Komen schiavo, in tandem with the brouhaha over government-mandated health insurance plans and contraception, has managed to catch the attention of 21st century American adults -- the sheep may actually be looking up, at least when it comes to putting proverbial rubber thingies on their proverbial John Thomases.

    I'm still more worried about Romney, because no matter his weaknesses, he'll still be more marketable than Frothy to establishment GOPs and right-centrists.

  •  What about his residency and tax history? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, rja, cachola, aitchdee, BoiseBlue

    I'm waiting for the press to cover a few more bits of Santorum's history.

    While a U.S. Senator, Santorum claimed residency in the Penn Hills, PA school district. This qualified his children to receive at least $67,000 of local taxpayer-funded cyber home-schooling in Leesburg, Virginia, where they actually resided. (This from the man who railed at Hillary Clinton for arguing that It Takes A Village. Santorum published his own book, claiming that for right-thinking folks, It [only] Takes a Family.)

    By the way, the 2-bedroom Penn Hills house he claimed to live in also housed two permanent residents who were not family. Presumably, when the Santorums were in residence in Penn Hills, they set up cots in the living room.

    When Penn Hills noticed the situation, they came after Santorum for a refund. The controversy was apparently smothered after a brief flurry of publicity, but the bad taste lingers on in Western PA.

    Not only did Santorum believe his kids deserved a luxury hi-tech education at taxpayer expense--he didn't even want to pay his own small share of those taxes. He was reported in the papers as delinquent in paying Penn Hills property and school taxes.

    He was also reported as failing to file for a residency permit for the persons who actually occupied the Penn Hills house. Oh, and he failed to respond to a jury summons.

    Years earlier, as a U.S. Congressman, Santorum introduced H.R. 3918, a bill that proposed to cap medical malpractice lawsuit awards at $250,000. The bill failed, and a few years later, Santorum's wife sued a chiropractor for nearly double that amount.

    Such hypocrisy won't distress Santorum's fans. But I am optimistic that his sense of entitlement--combined with his repressed and repressive ideas about sex, marriage, family, and religion--will keep his fan base from growing.

  •  Not worried. nt (0+ / 0-)

    I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

    by mdmslle on Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 12:44:37 PM PST

  •  We got rid of this bum in PA once and I don't (0+ / 0-)

    see him carrying PA this time around as for the Catholics, keep in mind that most of them use birth control and this nut job is against any kind of birth control. Do you really think that when they cast their vote they are going to vote for the guy that is going to take away that right!

  •  Santorum will be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero

    good for Jobs. Since he is against abortion and Birth Control pills he can sponsor the resurgence of the "Chastity Belt" Designed and made in the USA unles of course he let free enterprise build it in China. I wonder if he gets to keep the keys

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