Archive for Saturday, January 7, 2012

Santorum offers worthy alternative to Mitt

January 7, 2012

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WASHINGTON — After every other conservative alternative to Mitt Romney crashed and burned (libertarian Ron Paul is in a category of his own), from the rubble emerges Rick Santorum. But he isn’t just the last man standing. He is the first challenger to be plausibly presidential: knowledgeable, articulate, experienced, of stable character and authentic ideology.

He’d been ignored largely because he appeared unelectable — out of office for five years, having lost his Senate seat in Pennsylvania by a staggering 17 points in 2006.

However, with his virtual tie for first in Iowa, he sheds the loser label and seizes the momentum, meaning millions of dollars’ worth of free media to make up for his lack of money. He’s got the stage to make his case, plus the luck of a scheduling quirk: If he can make it through the next three harrowing primaries, the (relative) February lull would allow him to build a national campaign structure before Super Tuesday on March 6.

Santorum’s electoral advantage is sociological: His common-man, working-class sensibility would be highly appealing to battleground-state Reagan Democrats. His fundamental problem is ideological: He’s a deeply committed social conservative in a year when the country is obsessed with the economy and when conservatism is obsessed with limited government. Republicans, after all, swept the 2010 election on economic concerns and opposition to big government. The tea party revolution was not about gay marriage. Which is why so much tea party fervor attaches to Paul.

Santorum did win the tea party vote in Iowa. But because he was such a long shot, his record did not receive much scrutiny. It will now. He is no austere limited-government constitutionalist. He participated in George W. Bush’s compassionate conservatism, which largely made peace with big government. Santorum, for example, defends earmarks and supported No Child Left Behind and the Medicare prescription drug benefit. It’s a perfectly defensible philosophy — but now he’ll be called upon to actually defend it.

Moreover, Iowa is anomalous. It’s not just that the Republican electorate is disproportionately evangelical and thus highly receptive to Santorum’s social conservatism (as to Mike Huckabee’s in 2008). It’s that Iowa’s economy is unusually healthy with only 5.7 percent unemployment, high agricultural prices and strong real estate values. Although the economy did rate as a major issue in the entrance poll, in such relative prosperity it registers more as a concern for the nation than as a visceral personal issue — diminishing the impact of Romney’s calling card, economic competence.

For his part, Romney remains preternaturally inert. His numbers, his demeanor, his campaign are flat-line steady: no highs, no lows, no euphoria, no panic.

With one minor exception. Romney wasn’t expected to do very well in Iowa. A top-three finish would have been good; a first or second, a surprising success. But feeling his Iowa prospects rise, he let fly a last-minute high. (Two hairs were seen dangling over his forehead.) He began touting his chance of winning, thus gratuitously raising expectations.

That turned a hairline victory into something of a setback, accentuating his inability to break out of his flat-line 25 or so percent support. How flat? His final 2012 Iowa vote count deviated from his 2008 total of 30,021 by six votes. (Not 6 percent. But a party of six.)

For a front-runner who can’t seem to expand his base, he’s been fortunate that the opposition has been so split. But the luck stops here. Michele Bachmann is gone. Rick Perry will skip New Hampshire, then dead man walk through South Carolina. And then there is Newt.

Gingrich is staying in. This should be good news for Romney. It’s not. In his Iowa non-concession speech, Gingrich was seething. He could not conceal his fury with Paul and Romney for burying him in negative ads. After singling out Santorum for praise, Gingrich launched into them both, most especially Romney.

Gingrich speaks of aligning himself with Santorum against Romney.  For Newt’s campaign, this makes absolutely no strategic sense. Except that Gingrich is after vengeance, not victory. Ahab is loose in New Hampshire, stalking his great white Mitt.

What a lineup. Santorum and Gingrich go after Romney, whose unspoken ally is Paul, who needs to fight off Santorum in order to emerge as both No. 1 challenger and Republican kingmaker, leader of a movement demanding respect, attention and concessions. And Jon Huntsman goes after everybody.

Is this any way to pick a president? Absolutely. It works. It winnows. And it has produced, after just one contest, an admirably worthy conservative alternative to Romney.

Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. His email address is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.

Comments

mloburgio 3 years, 4 months ago

Santorum Says Sick People Should Have To Pay More For Insurance

Rick Santorum thinks it’s just fine that these people should have to go without insurance or pay more for insufficient coverage. In fact, he says that preexisting conditions are due to lifestyle choices.

At a town hall meeting in Keene, NH this morning, a woman, whose son survived childhood cancer, asked if Santorum thought it was okay for an insurance company to deny her son insurance. Santorum answered “I’m okay with that.”

MOTHER: The comments I heard you make in New Hampshire, comments that you support insurance companies’ right to refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions and that you also agreed with higher premiums for people who are sick, well my son graduated college and I pray that he gets a good job. Why is it alright for him to possibly be denied health care insurance or have to possibly pay a fee that he would not be able to afford or for a company not to hire him because he was five years old and he had cancer? …

SANTORUM: Insurance works when people who are higher risk end up having to pay more, as they should. In your case, your son obviously did nothing wrong. Obviously there are a lot of other people that increased their health risk that did do things wrong and as a result, it resulted in higher health care costs.

“I reject … that people die in America because of lack of health insurance. People die in America because people die in America,” he was quoted as saying. “And people make poor decisions with respect to their health and their health care. And they don’t go to the emergency room or they don’t go to the doctor when they need to. And it’s not the fault of the government for not providing some sort of universal benefit.” http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/06/santorum-says-sick-people-should-have-to-pay-more-for-insurance/

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

Santorum offers the worst of all possible worlds-- continued (and likely even increasing) fealty to Wall Street combined with American Taliban social conservatism.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

The "Founding Fathers" were hardly monolithic. Nearly every one from the South owned slaves, and most were adamant that the new constitution allowed slavery to continue.

Is that the conservatism you were inquiring about?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

Not exactly sure why your post was removed, but it could simply be because you chose a tone of demanding petulance over calm, respectful discussion.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 4 months ago

"That's why I didn't sign up again in 2004 during the upgrade."

And, really, why are you so insistent on promoting this bit of fiction?

Jerry Collins 3 years, 4 months ago

Republican candidates will never win over radical far left people of Lawrence so what you post means nothing to them.

jaywalker 3 years, 4 months ago

"he appeared unelectable — out of office for five years, having lost his Senate seat in Pennsylvania by a staggering 17 points in 2006.

However, with his virtual tie for first in Iowa, he sheds the loser label and seizes the momentum,"

How sad is that? Nothing, nada, bupkiss, zilch, squat....... and then he finally shows in one poll and he mystically sheds a "loser label" and is immediately relevant? Speaks volumes to the dire plight of this slate of Republican candidates. And our lost at sea electorate.

Synjyn Smythe 3 years, 4 months ago

The amount of monies that shall be wasted by the losers of this primary shall be astounding! All of it just to provide ammo for the opposing party to use in a general election. Reform is in order! How about requiring every PAC of every party to spend an equal amount of $ on Red Cross or some other deserving charity, for every dollar spent politicing, whether it be in a primary or general election?

Getaroom 3 years, 4 months ago

NO PACS just for starters! And initiate Public Financed Elections as a required side dish! The Government is corrupt and the election system is corrupt to the bone and there will be no change for the better until these two primary issues are taken care of - period. One PAC is one PAC too many. Moments after the new Keystone Pipeline proposal was addressed, behind closed doors, millions of Oil Corp dollars were plugged into Republican lawmakers coffers. The National Chamber of Commerce spent more in lobbying than both the Republican and Democratic Parties spent combined in the past election and bragged about it and not to mention those who have funded them most generously. There are so many documented examples of this blatant corruption!! So $durable goods humans$, does this inspire Democracy and greater feelings of Liberty and Justice For All to well up inside - right? NOT! Run quickly now and get those American flag lapel pins on before the lapel flag police come. Talk about false hope and no change - keep it as is, or with this group of GOP doubtful hopefuls because with them, as a nation we are sunk and every American who can vote might as well stay home because it is all bought and paid for by Corporations as they happily romp in fields of cash made off the backs of guess who... YOU, or someone you know! Shall we praise GOD for this or the Supreme Court - your pick Nation? The super wealthy just keep right on rolling up onto "C" and "K" Streets without resistance. Christians, Jews, Libertarians, Neocons, Tea Braggers and the whole mess of supposedly morale, ethical and accountable lawmakers, who got their hands out and pockets full of Corporate Candy and there to greet with open arms. Sanitorium is no different and why would anyone trust The Krauthammer to give it straight up anyway? He is a pinched up mouth piece extension of the FOX News Lie Agenda. Most of the media outlets are big money corporate game changers in fact. And Fox, not being a true fan of Democracy anyway, just happens to be one of the filthiest of the corrupt. But because sex sells, they come complete with a bevy of blonds (a smattering or brunets) spouting a spew of putrid shrewd lies and misinformation, one after the other and doing it with makeup laden Cheshire Cat grins - each one. "Love to Hate Obama" is the collective motto. Free Market for all -mates. FOX NEWS, where the down under meets the down and dirty. This is no Democracy we have here, it is a bunch of get rich ASAP Capitalist Elitists, occupying as much space, using as many resources as possible and in the shortest amount of time possible. Social Darwinism, they say, It is good for all of us. They got theirs but you can't. Anymore questions sheeples? But not to worry, Sanitorium is ideologically and authentically next to God and rumored to have a direct line to GOD. Kiss the Popes ring. Ready for fish Fridays, it is good for the economy and creates billions of jobs for fish.

jaywalker 3 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Peter Macfarlane 3 years, 4 months ago

Rick Santorum Hmm...

Let's see...

Reportedly would consider making birth control illegal. Would also consider making being gay illegal.

No, I don't think so, unless of course we wish to return toi the days of the Spanish Inquisition.

Orwell 3 years, 4 months ago

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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