Santorum’s impossible dream

April 16, 2012


Most campaigns have a musical theme. Rick Santorum, who “suspended” his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination on Tuesday, might have selected the song “The Impossible Dream.”

Santorum’s dream seemed improbable, if not impossible, from the start. He lost his last Senate race and had been out of office — and out of mind — for the last few years; not exactly a platform on which one usually runs for president.

Political “experts” believed his chief foe, Mitt Romney, was unbeatable. Santorum played an important role by exposing some of Romney’s weaknesses, but early enough that it will help Romney in the general election campaign.

Santorum was forced to “bear with unbearable sorrow” the health struggles of his daughter, Bella, and he did it with a grace that allowed others who are struggling with physically and mentally challenged children to identify with him. No one could credibly accuse him of being an elitist and out of touch with average Americans.

The former senator ran where others would not, or could not, go successfully.

Santorum is a decent man in an indecent age, preaching to a largely hedonistic culture about old-time values abandoned by many, perhaps even a majority of Americans. At the very least, too many are indifferent to them. In doing so, he attempted to “right the unrightable wrong” and encourage others to be “better far than you are,” even when their “arms are too weary.”

Rick Santorum’s greatest contribution to the Republican campaign may have been to force the now presumed nominee, Mitt Romney, to the right. Romney claims he has always been a conservative, but he has had a difficult time convincing voters who were attracted to Santorum, whom they believed to be the true conservative in the race.

If Santorum ends up campaigning for Romney and brings his religious and conservative values voters with him, Romney will owe him in a big way and that might make him an important powerbroker. He could also serve as a useful attack dog, snapping at President Obama’s heels. Should Romney choose to use him in that role, he could be an effective counter to Vice President Joe Biden, who has been engaging in demagoguery against Republicans in recent speeches.

Though Santorum did not mention Romney in his campaign suspension announcement, Romney mentioned Santorum in a brief statement. Romney said of his now former rival, “He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”

If Santorum reciprocates, maybe not immediately, but eventually, the healing of the divisive primary campaign will have been achieved. If Santorum does the job well enough, he could find himself in a Romney cabinet, say, secretary of Health and Human Services, where he could focus on those moral and cultural issues about which he cares so much. Or, he might even be Romney’s choice for vice president. There have been stranger bedfellows in American politics.

Santorum as vice president really would be an impossible dream, but if elected he would have come very close to almost reaching “the unreachable star.”

— Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

"Santorum is a decent man in an indecent age, preaching to a largely hedonistic culture about old-time values abandoned by many, perhaps even a majority of Americans. " === This is, perhaps, the heart of Mr. Thomas' argument. Argument by assertion. Santorum is probably 'decent' but the 'indecent age' talk is code for the good old days (think Governor Brownback's agenda) when men controlled women, the government controlled media and the money masters controlled policitics--the one thing which has not changed much. Santorum wandering into the birth control thicket may have hurt him the most, but I understand why the Senator panders to this audience. Good column, though and it will be interesting to see how Romney handles the old Nixon rule: Campaign on the right and govern from the center. All politicians love to run for office; that's the fun part. Governing is much more difficult as they all find out, regardless of party.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

"the good old days" - you think of a time when men controlled women, etc. I was reading an article just yesterday in the S.F. paper, a place I lived for some time. The article was about civility on public transportation, as they are discussing whether or not to allow child strollers on city busses. Anyway, a reporter decided to run an experiment. She asked her very pregnant sister to ride on a variety of bus lines that traverse the city. Of they many busses they rode that day, one person gave up his seat to the pregnant woman. Some ignored her, one woman wouldn't even remove her purse from a vacant seat to allow the pregnant woman to sit. "the good old days" to you may mean men controlling women, to me it means a person giving up his seat to a pregnant woman.

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

I assume, by your conclusion, that you must have a control experiment conducted during the good ol' days, to properly compare and contrast the results.

Could you share it with me? I'd be interested in seeing it.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

The experiment in question was conducted by the reporter and her pregnant sister. You'll have to ask her that question.

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

So, you have one set of data, and you conclude, without cause, that it was different under your set of presumably different circumstances?

That's not a particularly scientific experiment. But I assume you knew that, didn't you? Still, it seems strange that you would draw conclusions off of one set of uncontrolled data.

So what evidence do you actually have that back in the good ol' days people were more likely to get up and offer their seat to a pregnant woman? Your assumption? Anecdotal evidence? Anything?

What if this good ol' world that you longed for never actually existed, outside of old TV shows?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

When, in my original post, I concluded that "to me" ... I then assumed the reader would know I was in fact talking about my feelings, my opinions. Must I justify those? BTW - The good old days may be nothing more than TV reruns for people of a certain age. However, for those of us of a certain age, plus a few decades, then yes, we were there.

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

"then assumed the reader would know I was in fact talking about my feelings, my opinions"

Bunk, don't try and weasel out of it now. You contrasted what you saw as fact, that one woman had trouble getting somebody to give her a seat on the bus, with your alternative scenario. There's no point in insulting me by trying to claim you were contrasting a fact with what you saw as your opinion. You were trying to assert something resembling a fact to your eyes, that back in the day people were better to each other and more respectful. You might as well admit it.

And sure, there were people there who are still alive, who saw it. But of course, there are quite a number of them, demographically speaking, who were, like Cal Thomas himself during the golden age of the '50s, still children. Which begs the question of how much your knowledge of the good ol' days was seen through the understanding of an adult, and how much is the understanding of an adult trying to reinterpret the understanding of a child.

That's easy enough to answer, I suppose. What, to you, were the good ol' days, in terms of the years, and how old were you when they happened?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

You're trying to put definitive definitions on terms that were clearly never intended to be firmly defined. The good old days can be whatever I choose them to be in my narrative. If you don't like that, then choose your own definitions for your own narrative. I said "to me". If that's not good enough "for you", then tell another story. Either way, I could care less.
It seems "to me" that you're wanting to start an argument. I choose not to. Now take your little boy attitude and go off to bed. Momma will be in in a moment to tuck you in and tell you a bedtime story.

JustNoticed 6 years, 1 month ago

"Thing Cal ..." What? Try using some articles, it's fun!

Mike Ford 6 years, 1 month ago

maybe if this was the thirteenth century and the Lord of the Fiefdom and the King and the Pope all decreed that they wanted all of the American immigrants back in Europe and dealing with the plague and no Martin Luther or Edict of Wurms Rick Santorum or Mr. Sweatervest would be a good candidate.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 1 month ago

Who buys their 3-year-old a "lifetime membership" for the NRA??? Is that a pre-req for pre-school,now? And if he should grow up with better sense, can he give it back? Get a refund?

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

I think it's called pandering. This is a wonderful old word which has generalized over the centuries. "pander (n.) arranger of sexual liaisons, one who supplies another with the means of gratifying lust," 1520s, "procurer, pimp," from M.E. Pandare (late 14c.), used by Chaucer ("Troylus and Cryseyde"), who borrowed it from Boccaccio (who had it in Italian form Pandaro in "Filostrato") as name of the prince who procured the love of Cressida (his niece in Chaucer, his cousin in Boccaccio) for Troilus. The story and the name are of medieval invention. Spelling influenced by agent suffix -er. The verb meaning "to indulge, to minister to base passions" is first recorded c.1600. Related: Pandered; pandering." === Politicians from all parties do this; we expect our little wh*res to give us what we want and to tell the appropriate lies at the right time.

jonas_opines 6 years, 1 month ago

"No one could credibly accuse him of being an elitist and out of touch with average Americans."

Bahaha! Of course you can, and you'd be absolutely right! Not an academic elitist as you can accuse Obama of being, or a capitalist/upper class elitist as you can accuse Romney of being, but absolutely as an Evangelical, religious and cultural elitist. If you can't see that, then I suspect that, like Cal, it's simply because you are too.

"Santorum is a decent man in an indecent age, preaching to a largely hedonistic culture about old-time values abandoned by many, perhaps even a majority of Americans. At the very least, too many are indifferent to them."


Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Electing the wealthiest to political office has cost this nation millions upon millions upon millions of job losses and probably billions upon billions lost to retirement plans that went up in smoke.


Introducing the Republican Job Killing Platform Written In Stone: Duped like never before!

  1. ENTITLEMENT - TABOR is Coming by Grover Norquist and Koch Bros sells out state governments, public schools,SRS services etc etc to private industry = Grab Your Wallets! http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2005/0705rebne.html

  2. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out The Reagan/Bush Savings and Loan Heist aka home loan scandal sent the economy out the window costing taxpayers many many $$ trillions (Cost taxpayers $1.4 trillion), Plus millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

  3. ENTITLEMENT - Bailing out the Bush/Cheney Home Loan Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

4.ENTITLEMENT - Bush/Cheney implied many financial institutions were at risk instead of only 3? One of the biggest lies perpetrated to American citizens. Where did this money go? Why were some banks forced to take bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year

  1. Tax cuts = the ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy which do nothing to make an economy strong or produce jobs. Tax cuts are a tax increase to others in order to make up the loss in revenue = duped again.

Still A Bad ENTITLEMENT Idea – Bush Tax Cuts aka The ENTITLEMENT program for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class = duped one more time. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2001/0301miller.html

Of course there is this thing about hostile takeovers,mergers,leveraged buyouts and Free Trade Agreements during this same time period. Duped Again!

No one ever mentioned that the New Global Economy proposed by the New World Order was going to cost 20 million Americans their jobs. Duped one more time!

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Has it even been 24 hours since the last time you posted this drivel?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Voting can work

The voting process can work. Do as Ralph Nader has been suggesting for years. Replace 90% of incumbents each voting cycle. Perhaps Occupy can get this off the ground.

I say replace all republicans with green party thinkers and 90% of democrats with new democrats each voting cycle.

Think this way..... maybe? Why do we americans vote in the right wing rich which are supported by too many of the rich to make decisions for the entire middle class and low income?

Too many of the rich want to destroy the middle class so they have sent tens of millions of middle class jobs abroad with no job replacement in sight. Isn't their something wrong with this picture?

Ask yourself why do we voters tend to vote for the largest spending candidates? What good has this choice been for the USA and our local government?

Let's demand a new system and vote in Fair Vote America : http://www.fairvote.org/irv/ Demand a change on the next ballot.

Let's have public financing of campaigns. Citizens cannot afford special interest money campaigns for it is the citizens that get left out. Let citizens vote on this issue. http://www.publicampaign.org/

Bribery of elected officials and bribed officials = the most stinky of all bribery!


The Buffet Rule https://www.change.org/petitions/the-us-congress-ask-your-congressman-to-vote-for-buffett-rule

End the Bush Tax Cuts http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/beyond_buffett/?rc=progressives_united

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 1 month ago

"One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be." —Rick Santorum, interview with CaffeinatedThoughts.com (October 2011)


If it was up to Cal Thomas we would need James Stewart to play the role of folk hero Santorum who almost saved the country but got beat down by the evil forces of Satan. Like Jesus, he was crucified.

The only explanation I can think of for such a rediculous article is perhaps a few too many glasses of wiskey in the wee hours of the morning while struggling to get out another goof ball news column.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 1 month ago

Mr. Nader, the 1970s called. Your relevance misses you and wants you back.

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