Can Santorum Win it?


By: Craig Chamberlain

I like Rick Santorum. He was a solid conservative voice in the Senate, an unapologetic advocate for the unborn, and a believer that the family is the most important thing in society. His book, unsurprisingly entitled “It Takes a Family” was a well written manifesto for family values and conservatism. He would be a superbly better President than Barack Obama(but then anyone but Ron Paul would be) all that being said I don’t think he can beat President Obama. Even with the best candidate, and the best of circumstances, it’s not easy to defeat a sitting President. In the entire history of the republic only 10 sitting Presidents have lost their bid for reelection.(John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, though he did come back for a second term, Benjamin Harrison, William Taft, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush)  Sitting Presidents are defeated by a bad economy, a third party candidate in the general election, or a challenge during the primary. President Obama isn’t going to face a primary challenger, if there is a third party it will most likely come from the right, and won’t be a threat to Obama. The economy is bad, but the President is sitting on a billion dollars, and the voters might decide that it’s better to stay the course than make a change.

Is Santorum the man to be the GOP standard bearer?The party seems split. He and Romney tied in Iowa, which is more of a victory for Santorum, conservatives seem to refuse to vote for Romney either because of his religion(which is a very real factor) or because they think he’s the second coming of Thomas Dewey. Romney’s religion shouldn’t be a factor any more than anyone else. And Romney isn’t nearly as liberal as people make him out to be. He was a Republican governor in a very liberal state, besieged by hordes of progressives, so it’s no wonder that he wasn’t able to govern as Calvin Coolidge.

We might have the case where Santorum is able to win the nomination, and unable to win the general election, and Romney is able to win the general election and not able to win the nomination. South Carolina will give us the best picture. It’s the first winner take all primary, and the first state that isn’t dominated by just one faction of the GOP as Iowa and New Hampshire are. If Romney wins then he’s probably the nominee. If he loses it means the party hasn’t been won over, and they’ll probably go with Santorum.

The question here isn’t who’s more conservative. Both candidates are well to the right of the current administration. The question is who has the better chance of defeating President Obama, overturning his horrid policies, and getting the country back on track. My vote goes to whoever wins the nomination as I think either won would be infinitesimally better than President Obama. But who can win? Obama won in 2008 by getting independents, the young, and minorities to vote for him. He’s lost independents, but the minority vote is still strongly on his side. He’ll also go after the poor on the government dole and try to ride the wave of class resentment to another term.  

All the GOP has to do is win back the states that we lost from 2004 to 2008. It’s very likely that we will win back Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida regardless of who the nominee is. That means who is best at winning back Ohio, Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Iowa and possibly adding Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan? It’s not a foregone conclusion that President Obama will be defeated, so the GOP must have the best candidate, the nominee with the widest appeal. Having a lot of money and a big organization doesn’t hurt either.

Whoever the nominee is, they will have a marathon race in front of them. They will be the victim of a ruthless smear campaign, and the odds will not be in their favor. The odds will be longer, I think, for Santorum. He has less money, less organization, and he probably doesn’t have as much appeal to moderate voters as Romney does(though I’ve been wrong before) that will make it harder for the GOP to win all important states like Ohio.

Romney is not a prohibitive favorite, and it’s not impossible for Santorum to win the general election if he makes it that far. But the GOP will be making it harder on itself if he does win the nomination. You would think with a weak economy, and people wanting to throw the bums out the GOP would be on easy street. That kind of thinking all but guarantees that Obama will get a second term. Whoever wins the GOP nomination they must have the support of all Republicans, and have the ability to win over the voters who aren’t conservative activists. That’s the only way to make President Obama a one term President.

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