Rick Santorum - Caricature

DonkeyHotey (CC) http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

It was a good day for Mitt Romney.  Former Senator Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid today in Gettysburg, PA and now has the title of “presumptive nominee,” which has eluded him since Florida.  Rick Santorum was chased out of Pennsylvania in 2006 by almost eighteen points and this was seen by many as his only comeback into the limelight of American politics.  His work ethic is commendable given he fact that he earned  his win in Iowa by visiting all 99 counties. He won the midwestern and southern states where evangelicals represented a good proportion of the voters.  Voters who were skeptical of Gov. Romney’s conservatism and his Mormon faith, which has been a point of contention with the Republican electorate.  In all, Rick Santorum surpassed us all with how well he did, but I’m glad to see him go.

First, Rick Santorum was not a true conservative.  Hence, his fetishistic tendency to talk about social issues ALL THE TIME.  This election will not be decided on contraception, abortion, gay marriage, or faith in politics.  It will be about jobs, the economy, and who can get our nation back on track towards fiscal health.  If you took the time to glance through Sen. Santorum’s record, you’ll see that he voted against Medicaid reform, food stamp reform, a flat tax, and the National Right to Work Act.  He supported a mandate to allow rapists, arsonists, and drug dealers vote in federal elections.  He supported Medicare Part D legislation, which added $7 trillion dollars to the program’s entire liability. He also supported Bush’s No Child Left Behind bill, which opened the floodgates to government intervention in local/state educational matters.  Rick’s explanation: “he took one for the team.”  Rick Santorum had labeled himself the “consistent conservative,” but his record clearly shows the characteristics of a fiscal liberal.

When he did talk about his socially conservative views, he often fought to command issues that no one in their right mind would contest.  As the catholic candidate in the GOP race, it is unwise to trash a fellow catholic, John F. Kennedy, even if a certain speech about religion make you want to “throw up.”  In Puerto Rico, he told the majority hispanic electorate that they need to learn English.  That week before the Illinois Primary was historic in the sense that Santorum managed to offend everyone in a single week.  As a result, he got curb stomped by Romney  in Illinois 47%-35%.  This marked the end of the Santorum Surge which started in February,however, one could argue it wasn’t a surge at all.

Rick had trouble expanding beyond his coalition of evangelical, non-college educated,and middle income voters, which was critical to curb  Romney’s gains in the delegate counts.  Mr. Romney had the same problem, but his ability to convince voters that he was the best candidate to beat Obama in the general election began to chip away at Santorum’s base of support.  He also blew double digit leads over Romney in Michigan and Ohio, which doesn’t help his case of being the best person to defeat Barack Obama.  This demonstration of a lack of political acumen creeped into his home state of Pennsylvania, where his double digit lead over Gov. Romney has completely  evaporated.

In all, his inability to expand his voter base, his unappealing social conservatism, his fiscal liberalism, and his overall rambunctious disposition would have been easy prey for the Obama re-elect team.  The fact that his economic plan received a D+ rating only gave more legitimacy to the argument that he should step down.  With the remaining primaries being held in the Western and Northeastern parts of the country, Rick’s continued efforts would be viewed as a gross vanity exercise.   These states have less evangelicals represented in the electorate and are areas where Romney is set to dominate.  In addition, all primaries held after April 1st are mostly Winner-Take-All concerning allocation of delegates. Hence, the reason why I was floored when Rick said it was “only halftime” after a losing DC, Wisconsin, and Maryland  and giving Romney more than a commanding lead for the nomination.  Nevertheless,  Rick is gone.  Goodbye and good riddance.

Matt Vespa (95 Posts)