Pre-Caucus Man to Watch – Rick Santorum

And we’re back!

And in the final day before Iowans will take the first crack at selecting the GOP candidate, the picture for the frontrunners has changed somewhat since we last commented on the polls and the primary process.

Rick Perry’s campaign has become defined by gaffes and negative ads, Michelle Bachmann has demonstrated herself to be very intelligent, but rather undisciplined, Jon Huntsman carries the stink of elitism with him and sneers at evangelical views, rather than simply disagreeing.  Herman Cain’s candidacy ended with a whimper in Atlanta after one too many ugly truths came out regarding him and female subordinates.  I still believe Bialek is a liar…but it seems likely that he did have some extra-marital (consenting, but still immoral) dalliances and his candidacy was always dicey anyway given his inexperience (he had to be a quick learner and proved himself not up to that task).

That leaves four legitimate candidates.

Ron Paul (currently polling second in Iowa) – known for his (properly placed) urgency regarding government spending and his (insane) antisemitic and isolationist foreign policy.  Choosing Paul is the GOP answer to the progressive liberal youth movement that fuels OWS.  Young people are idiots to back Obama and they’re idiots to back Paul too.

Mitt Romney (currently leading the Iowa polls) – a New England politician who happens to be mostly conservative.  There’s nothing wrong with that in theory, but Mitt has ZERO charisma backing his professed conservative views.  He’s competent, reasonable, and cautious…and you feel like he would be very professional about his job as President…and these are all good qualities to have…but he lacks passion.  Or at least he appears to lack passion.  He’s the GOP answer to Obama’s robotic tone throughout his Presidency.  The real problem with Romney, though, is that he doesn’t seem to be truly committed to shrinking the size and scope of the Federal Government.

Newt Gingrich (currently in a virtual tie for third in Iowa) – may have peaked a little too early to win Iowa…he rose to prominence just in time for Romney’s peeps to blitz the state with negative ads while he was focusing on South Carolina.  Gingrich, for all his faults, is a deeply intellectual, hard-working, hard-thinking conservative and responsible for the successes of welfare reform, the deregulation of the telecommunications industry, and a number of other crucial Republican wins while in Congress.  He’s a proven Conservative…albeit a “big government” conservative who can’t tell the difference between a cool ideal and a good idea.  He’s a technocrat (which is why he backs ethanol subsidies and believes the AGW hysteria) and a philanderer (though his marital problems seem to have subsided some).  He’ll get in bed with Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae if it wins him political capital, but he justifies it by pointing out that you need political capital to achieve anything in Washington.

and…

Rick Santorum (tied with Gingrich in Iowa) – Santorum, like Reagan, is a happy warrior.  He is most famous for his deeply conservative social beliefs.  He’s ardently pro-life, anti-gay-marriage, pro-Israel, anti-affirmative-action, and pro-Christian.  He scores his biggest wins in debates when he gets to talk about social issues.  But that’s among Republicans.  There is some question as to whether his social stands would play well with moderates.  Counter-balancing that is his conservative economic populism.  His brand of conservatism focuses on growth, rather than fair individual taxation.  He sees the size of Federal governance as problematic only in so much as it stands in the way of industrial power and business venture.  He pushes for the expansion of domestic energy production and infrastructure revival.  He’s the conservative that disenfranchised middle class former-Obama-supporters might look to to bolster the influence of the big labor unions.  He is the Republican for self-reliance (Nationally and individually)…for progressive personal taxation and exceedingly low taxation on business.  He calls for a 0% payroll tax for manufacturing jobs, a lower capital gains tax, and free trade.  He thinks that our economy will recover only when we become an exporter again.

The new arrivals – Paul and Santorum – atop the Iowa polling data at present leave us with a broad selection of choices.  We have a libertarian (Paul), an old-world conservative populist (Santorum), a New Egnland politico (Romney) and a conservative professor and big-government insider (Gingrich).  All of them have pros and cons in a national election vs. Obama.  I think all four of those folks will see their campaigns continue right through super-Tuesday in early February.  And all four will have enough delegates at the national convention that some wheeling and dealing will be in order.  Should be interesting to watch.

I, personally, like Santorum the best (i.e. he agrees with my personal morality and brand of conservative capitalism more than the other candidates), but wonder whether he can win a national election against Obama.  The only one of the four that I dislike entirely is Paul.  But readers of this blog know that by now.

Stay tuned…this is the most important year in American history, I believe…the voters should be prepared for an UGLY election season, but come to the polling places in record numbers and come informed on the candidates and what they stand for.  You’re deciding the future of this country as either a socialist wasteland of stagnation and entitlement or the continuation of the American ideals set forth by the founding fathers – flaws and all.  Make your votes count.

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4 thoughts on “Pre-Caucus Man to Watch – Rick Santorum

  1. I've been a Perry man since the beginning. He knows how to govern, even if he doesn't know how to talk like a liberal. He has a better record than both romney and santorum. At this point though, I'm resigned to see Perry graciously walk away into the sunset. Credentialism & sophistry have finally been entrenched into the American presidential race. Yes I understand that the GOP prides itself on fully vetting its own candidate but its also interesting how the stick that liberals use to beat down conservatives with is picked up by fellow conservatives. You will know the country is really in trouble when the Rick Perry's of America can't get elected governor. That is the day republican-ism dies and democracy takes over.
    THAT is why this election is important. As Jonah Goldberg puts it: Are we going to be subjects/clients of the state or are we going to be citizens?

    Santorum will most likely be VP after Romney wins the nomination. Romney has the potential to be our John Kerry and if he wins our Richard Nixon in that his domestic policies will acquiesce to liberal agitation (remains to be seen if veep Santorum will hold the fort) and his foreign policy will reverse Obama's wish to cut down america to size.

    Gingrich has no possibility of winning. Obama will simply trot out his family and highlight Gingrich's divorces and dalliances.

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  2. Not sure I agree that Gingrich has no ability to win. Americans didn't really care much when Clintoon was making a mockery of the Oval Office with six ladies a week and directly accused of rape by at least one woman in Arkansas. Yes I know…leftwing media slants heped minimize the rhetoric against him, but it is what it is. The grassroots conservatives care about family and good behavior but politicos don't.

    What would sink Gingrich is the long history of negative public opinion regarding his tendency to grandstand and self-proclaim. BUT…he is a masterful debater and try as Obama might to attack Gingrich on the family stuff, Gingrich has a way of powerfully swaying minds with his rhetorical prowess. I think that election would be closer than common wisdom suggests.

    Not that it matters, since I wouldn't want him in office anyway. He's too hot-headed and too prone to backing ideas that sound cool, rather than ones that have been thoroughly vetted…he's not a small-government conservative…he's a BIG-government conservative…which is not what we need. And on top of that…he's just…kind of an asshole. HE has much more potential to be the Nixon of the GOP than Romney.

    As for Perry…I understand the desire to back the man who stands for traditional middle-American conservatism…but Perry's record in Texas is actually quite unimpressive to me. He never faced making a deal with a majority opposed to your philosophy. Texas is a red state through and through and Perry faced no obstacles at all and merely continued the legacy of previously governments of that great state. It's a heck of a lot easier to keep cool (with Coolidge or anyone else) when things are going well for your state and everyone agrees with you than it is to lead in Washington.

    And frankly…i think Perry's Texas record speaks less about leadership than almost any other candidate we've had this cycle. He seems like the great crowd pleaser to me…does whatever he thinks the people want rather than inventing brilliant (and ultimately popular) ideas on his own.

    And finally…fair or not, the Perry campaign is defined by how he presents himself in the media. We need a candidate who can CHALLENGE the media…and do so in a convincing, well-spoken manner that forces them to be on the defensive. Perry can't even challenge his fellow republicans without making an idiot of himself on national television…let alone call the media out when it's applying unfair spin.

    He's a smart guy…a decent politician, and a conservative through and through…but he's not Presidential material…and this is not coming to you from someone who is simply “going along” with the media…I despise their treatment of conservatives and tea-partiers in particular. But this is still politics and we have got to play the cards that can win rather than going all-in on low suited connectors, to use Texas Hold'em as an analog.

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  3. Gingrich isn't clinton. He won't be able to charm his way through, and his acrimonious nature implies he won't have any praetorian guard among the media or DC elite to run interference if Obama goes family values over serial philanderer Gingrich.
    Two things have changed since Clinton.
    1. The American population has grown increasingly conservative. You wouldn't know it judging by popular culture, but left-wing movies & tv shows that were watched by the 10s of millions are now celebrating when 2 million people tune in. We have Netflix, we have Amazon we have Redbox. Most of us would rather watch a John Wayne movie than the latest Clooney movie.
    2. The American population continues to move westward. Since the time of Andrew Jackson, it is from the west & midwest where we seek our leaders in the long run and not from the coastal John Quincy Adam liberals. This points to Romney more so than Gingrich.

    Huntsman is disqualified even with his conservative credentials because he's the Howard Stern of the group. Kevin Smith said he stopped being friends with Howard because he would talk normal with Smith in private and whenever someone “cool” came into the room his behavior was “look at the fatty! make fun of the fat kid!”.

    I really really wish Pawlenty had stayed the course.

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  4. Before I say anything else – I would just like to say that nothing I say in this discussion should be viewed as a condemnation of conservative views…I am actually glad you decided to comment…I'm just talking here….not trying to upset anyone.

    Pawlenty had a great PR group too…made a lot of good videos before his campaign flatlined prematurely. I think he bowed out under pressure from his constituency who wanted, at the tiem, to back Bachmann. Just a theory.

    Huntsman is disqualified not just because he's a media panderer who'll rip on other conservatives to win accolades, but also because he's a big government conservative. He grew Utah's budget by nearly 40% in just four years. That's ungood. Well…that and he worked for the Obama admin and in China no less…not exactly putting pressure on Chinese leadership to do…um…anything. So…yeah…not a true conservative in my book.

    I agree that Gingrich's personality and rancorous relationship with the media leaves him ope to family values attacks that would erode his conservative voter base. But I have seen all kinds of polling data that says Gingrich is doing just as well in trial heats with the BO as Romney…so…the American people are evidently not buying the attacks that have already surfaced (and there have been quite a number of them).

    Of course, if you think Gingrich will fail due to media pressure and negative ads…what would PERRY do? Perry is a good family man, but his family is (however remotely) linked to a racially-ugly past, he doesn't believe in evolution (which runs counter to the beliefs of American centrists), and has attacked the Fed as a Ponzi Scheme and called for the outright elimination of departments most Americans think we need. This would be fine if he could SELL his ideas…but he can't…he's a bumbling boob when it comes to explaining himself with the cameras on and that's a major problem when you are out of step with the majority of Americans on the kinds of sisues the media loves to obsess about.

    Trust me…I live and work on Long Island with a bunch of intelligent and reasonable people who I consider friends but who can't help but be leftwardly biased by the media and the culture. The instant they focused on Perry, every one of those centrists and main line casual liberals I knew was ALL OVER him…mocking him incessantly. If Long Islanders (who, incidentally, are middle of the road, Politically…my district is currently represented by a Dem congressman who won his seat by 17 votes…think Perry is out of step…he's out of step enough to make him unelectable. Period.

    EVEN THOUGH I have a lot more respect for him than msot of my friends.

    Yes…the population has moved rightward…Tim Groseclose estimates that the PQ of America has shifted about two points…from 54 to 52 (low numbers being republican). But he's still going to be viewed as behind the curve – fairly or not.

    I hope you will continue to be vocal here…I love jawing with fellow politically motivated types!

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