Requiem for Santorum

From The Hill‘s A. B. Stoddard, “Santorum’s lost message,” on what might have been:

“Somewhere, buried in Rick Santorum’s fatally flawed campaign messaging, were winning words.  Had he committed to them, the former senator could have derailed Mitt Romney’s path to the GOP nomination. Despite Romney’s overpowering resources and organization, Santorum’s potent argument — the party could not throw the issue of health care away by nominating someone who had supported mandates — was his key to victory, but he threw it away.

“It [his victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri on February 7] was the pivotal moment in the race…and Santorum blew it.  He veered off course, and out of this millennium, enthusiastically bemoaning birth-control pills, free prenatal testing and college education.  He insulted Obama, calling him a snob, and President Kennedy.

“On the night he lost the Michigan primary to Romney by 3 points, the exit polls told the story.  He could have easily made up the votes to win from some of the women Romney won, the Catholics Romney won, the older voters Romney won, the voters earning more than $100,000 whom Romney won, and those voters with college degrees Romney won.  That night Santorum seemed to acknowledge he had let it slip away — he brought out his mom and paid tribute to her education and years as a working mother, as well as his daughter and his wife.

“But he strayed, and lost Ohio by 1 percentage point.  Then he strayed again, decrying the dangers of porn…. So this week he lost Illinois by more than 11 points.  He won’t recover.”

I think Stoddard over-states the case for Santorum.  He certainly has been his own worst enemy.  But even if he’d been more circumspect in this campaign, a guy who lost his reelection to the Senate by 18 points wasn’t going to get the nomination without a lot of scrutiny of what he said back then to cause such an enormous loss.  To the extent he backed away from his extreme positions, he would have been just another flip-flopper, less well-funded and well-organized than Mitt.  So he doubled down.

The GOP and the country have dodged a bullet.  Although he appeals better to average working people than Mitt, I don’t believe an obvious extremist like Santorum could win a general.  And if somehow he did win, he would be a dangerous preacher/president with his fanatical views.

It’s interesting.  We still don’t know what Mitt really believes about anything (other than that he should be president).  We know way too much about Santorum.

Kristol Poops On Mitt’s Windshield

From “The Man Who Likes Mandates,” William Kristol, The Weekly Standard:

“If our current problems lent themselves to technocratic and managerial fixes, Romney could be a reasonably compelling candidate.  But they don’t.

“Indeed, what Republican primary voters sense is that a technocratic and managerial mindset could prove an obstacle to coming to grips with the situation we face.  If the problem is a liberty-encroaching unlimited government, we don’t need that government to run more efficiently.  If the problem is a suffocating nanny state, we don’t need better organization of the nannies.  If we have an opportunity to revitalize citizenship, we need leaders who view us not as clients to be managed or consumers to be served, but as self-governing citizens who would fare better without an overbearing and overweening government. If we are sick of being managed by liberal technocrats, we’re not going to be thrilled merely to replace their rule with that of moderately conservative technocrats.

“Mitt Romney likes mandates.  Conservatives — especially in light of Obamacare — don’t.  Conservatives like liberty.”  Emphasis added.


Who Said This?

Who said this about the individual mandate for health insurance?

“But my point to conservatives is, it’s a model of responsibility.  If I see somebody who’s earning over $50,000 a year, who has made the calculated decision not to buy health insurance, I’m looking at somebody who is absolutely as irresponsible as anybody who was ever on welfare.

“And so I’m actually in favor of finding a way to say, if you’re above whatever — whatever the appropriate income level is, you ought to have either health insurance, or you ought to post a bond.  But we have no right, we have no right in this society, to have a free-rider approach if you’re well off economically, to say we’ll cheat our neighbors.”


It sounds like Mitt Romney, but this quote is actually from Newt Gingrich.  Besides loving money and the ladies, Newtie loves him some individual mandates for health insurance.