VICTIMIZATION IS THE QUALIFICATION
I love this:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum has some more political travel on tap this week, with a trip scheduled for South Carolina to follow recent visits to Iowa and Michigan -- fueling speculation about 2012 that he isn't shying away from.
Asked whether he's considering a run for president, Santorum, R-Pa., said on ABCNews.com's "Top Line" today: "Absolutely -- absolutely taking a look." ...
Do you think this is crazy? Well, obviously it is. But do you think it's pure egomania? It isn't -- Santorum isn't the only person who's expressed the desire to see Santorum in the White House. Recall that on November 7, 2006 -- literally minutes after Santorum had been declared the loser of the Pennsylvania Senate race -- William Bennett said on CNN:
"You will see a movement in the grassroots for Santorum to run."
He meant for president (albeit in 2008).
More from the current story:
Asked if he thinks former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, is qualified to be president, Santorum demurred:
"No, I'll let the people decide that," he said. "I think, you know, she's done a lot to draw attention to herself that's positive. She's done some things that, you know, certainly are going to cause her to have to do some explaining if she runs for president...."
Palin? Santorum? Given the thinking in the modern conservative movement, their political viability within their party kinda makes sense. In the modern GOP, losing an election isn't a sign that you're out of step with voters -- it's a badge of honor, a sign that you're a martyred victim of the evil liberal juggernaut.
Santorum may be testy about about Palin in part because he feels he can claim that he's more of a martyred victim than Palin -- she shared her loss, while Santorum fell valiantly to the bloodthirsty liberals all on his own. That's a far more meaningful form of martyrdom.
(How this jibes with the right-wing belief that voters invariably flock to true conservatives rather than RINOs, I'm not sure. But the wickedness of liberals is awfully powerful.)
Ultimately, I'm not sure true movement conservatives care about winning elections these days, so invested are they in their own victimhood. It may eventually get to the point where wingnut voters won't even trust the conservative bona fides of someone who wins an election, in the way that, in the punk and indie-rock world, having a hit record has traditionally led to a loss of credibility, or in the way surviving a martyrdom operation might make ideological soul mates think you're not much of a jihadist. Actually, that's probably a better comparison, isn't it?