Being a political junkie I do spend time checking out the campaigns of any and all candidates I can manage to follow in local, state and federal races. It’s not necessarily the politics I enjoy as much as the campaigns themselves. I enjoy strategizing and predicting where, why and what candidates do or will do in their campaigns. I even follow those from the “D” word persuasion. As they say, know thy enemy.
There are moves that baffle pundits and followers alike in each and every campaign. No candidate is above or beyond making a move or even a gaffe now and then that leave some scratching their heads in disbelief. As the 2012 GOP candidates rumble through what has been a very tough primary process so far there is one candidate that has stood out to me, at least the past couple of weeks, as being stuck in a perpetual ‘WTF?’ moment. That man is former PA Senator Rick Santorum.
The first issue the Senator got caught up in is what I like to refer to as the social issue wheel of doom. If it was intentional on the part of the Obama administration and the Democrats is up in the air (as a campaign junkie I would like to believe it was intentional) but Santorum took the bait hook, line and sinker. Don’t get me wrong, social issues are important to the Republican base. They are especially important to the evangelical portion of that base to which the Senator appears to be the favored candidate. A base that is well aware of the Senator’s stances on all of the social issues they hold dear. It is because of that that I am baffled as to why a candidate with the experience of Rick Santorum would let himself get caught in the social issue whirlpool? He doesn’t have to convince the part of the GOP base that is concerned with social issues that he is their man. There may be a few Newt supporters out there that he can try and turn but if social issues were number one with them they probably have already moved to the Senator’s camp. The only thing getting into a discussion about Rick Santorum’s stance on social issues can do is turn off the independent voter that any nominee will need to beat the President in November.
Again, I state that social issues are important in any GOP primary. But doesn’t the Senator already have that vote locked in? Wouldn’t he be better served to go after the moderate republicans who are more concerned with fiscal issues and the size of government than to be preaching to the choir who has already named him choir leader? Recent Rassmussen polling has him behind Obama by 2 points nationally while rivals Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, yes Ron Paul, were polling up on Obama.
Although I disagree on many things with the Senator he does have some ideas that would 100% be better than the solutions, or lack thereof, being offered by the current Democrat administration. Every candidate in the GOP field would be light years better than what we have now. What I want in the GOP nominee is someone who can go head to head with the machine that will be the Obama campaign come November. In all fairness the Senator has stated that simply because he holds a personal belief, does not mean he will force that belief on the American people if elected President. I believe him. However in the soundbite world in which we live that information will not be stated or considered by the general electorate and most certainly not by his opponent. In an era of bumper sticker campaigns it is probably not a good idea, fair or not, to allow bumper stickers to hold your personal belief on the case of rape and abortion. The “JFK’s separation of church and state speech made Rick Santorum throw up” t-shirt will probably be a good seller at the Democrat convention.
The social issue wheel of doom aside what seemed to get the ire of even the social base Republicans was his Michigan robo calls for the Democrat vote. In watching the Senator’s Facebook pages and posts today he has been catching the normal flack from the Romney, Paul and Gingrich supporters but what surprised me was the blowback that was there from those that seemed to be supporters (or former as some pointed out) of the Senator. Now I am aware that I said he needs to reach out to the moderates to win in November. However, in reaching out to the Democrats he handed Mitt Romney the steering wheel of his campaign. I mean in all honesty when Michael Moore comes out and says he is going to vote for you so Romney doesn’t win…..you just kicked yourself in the proverbial junk. Romney’s people are already printing posters which point out that the Democrats are scared of him. Scared enough to vote for Rick Santorum who they feel will be an easy win for Barack Obama.
And after the social issue wheel of doom I fear they will be right. And Rick Santorum has no one to blame but his campaign against himself.
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