Wednesday, August 07, 2013

SANTORUM HAD SAND KICKED IN HIS FACE

Byron York doesn't understand why Rick Santorum isn't considered the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination:
In 2012, he won 11 primaries and caucuses, making him the solid second-place finisher in a party that has a long history of nominating the candidate who finished second the last time around. (See Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney.) And yet now, no one -- no one -- is suggesting Santorum will be the frontrunner in 2016, should he choose to run. As far as the political handicapping goes, Santorum's 2012 victories don't seem to count for much.
York thinks it's because Santorum had a few gaffes along the way in 2012, and because Santorum has been pigeonholed as a religious nut. The latter rankles York, because, as he notes -- and I'll give him this -- Santorum also talks about the economy:
... of all the Republican candidates in 2012, Santorum was the one who came closest to a position on the economy that might appeal to middle-income voters alienated by both parties. At nearly every stop, Santorum talked about voters who haven't been to college, who aren't the boss, who are out of work or afraid of being out of work. And then, when millions of those very people stayed away from the polls in November -- they could have been the margin of victory for Mitt Romney -- finding a way to connect with them instantly became a top priority for the Republican party.
So why isn't Santorum considered the front-runner for 2016 (when it really looks as if he's planning to run again)? It's simple: he looked bad while losing. Wingnuts crave an avenger who seems to stick it to us awful liberals, and before whom we (allegedly) cower in fear. They thought Sarah Palin was such an avenger, until it became clear that everyone in the non-Republican world was laughing at her, not just liberals. Wingers feel this way right now about Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and Scott Walker and (sometimes) Chris Christie, and even about Allen West.

They also want someone who sticks it to the RINOs. That's what Santorum seemed to be doing to Mitt Romney for a while. But Romney ultimately crushed him. And so now Santorum looks, well, crushed.

If Santorum were defiant -- if he were out there right now looking to pick fights again with liberals and Democrats, and with Republicans who've gone moderate, he might be making a comeback. But he's holding back now. Defeated and bowed is not going to get you to the front of the GOP pack. Better to be like Allen West -- even though he lost a congressional race in a district Mitt Romney won, he's still living in D.C., he's still in the right-wing media attacking the same enemies he attacked as a congressman, and he's talking as if he's destined for greatness ("'Always remember,' he said as he wound up an NPR interview, 'Abraham Lincoln only served one term in Congress, too'"). Santorum, oddly, isn't enough of a blowhard.

****

Maybe Santorum will up his game eventually -- and hell, if a few of the big names sit out the race or falter, maybe he could be in the running again. (Who the hell thought Newt Gingrich could mount the comeback he mounted in 2012? But he talked trash and gave vent to his ego. Winger voters like that. Every time wingers buy an AR-15 or paint Joker makeup on a picture of Obama they think they're personally saving the Republic and the Constitution, so of course they respond to grandiosity in candidates.)

But I'm not sure Santorum can go very far with the message that capitalism is less than perfect:
"First, you have to emphasize that the free market system in America is the best creator of wealth and opportunity in the history of the world," he says. "We have to be committed to that. You absolutely have to emphasize the goodness of that capitalist system."

"But second, you have to emphasize the faults of the capitalist system, which is it doesn't necessarily mean that all boats are going to rise, as some have suggested. If your boat has a hole in it, it's not going to rise, and so you have to talk about what can we do for people who have holes in their boats. And you know what? In America today, that’s a lot of folks. They have all sorts of issues that they have to overcome to be successful. Whether it's family issues, whether its physical or mental health issues, whether it’s skills issues, education issues -- all of us have holes, right?"

... he talks about "training classes for folks who aren't going to college. Whether it's a welding class, or a community college thing, or hotel management, or whatever the case may be, we need to look at non-college career paths and start saying this is going to be a focus of the Republican party. We're going to start to create opportunities for folks who aren't going to go to college."
Oh, wow -- helping people who are economically struggling? Doesn't Santorum realize that Republicans think economic failure is the failing person's own damn fault? Or is a consequence of the fact that government exists at all? Doesn't he realize that Republican voters who have faltered themselves get angry when you start talking about government programs?

And saying that the capitalist system has faults? Them's fightin' words.

Never mind. Sorry I brought this up. Santorum is doomed.

4 comments:

Victor said...

Let him stay doomed.
PLEASE!!!

We have enough uber-Christian loons who'll be running in 2016, no need to add another Catholic one.

And who knew he even HAD anything vaguely resembling a conscience? I sure as hell didn't.

He sounded almost a tad Liberal in the part you quoted - and, the base can't have any of THAT, now can it?
NO!!!!
'Capitalism is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful economic system we've ever known in our lives.'

boba said...

Could be the RNC learned a lesson about nominating persons who cannot win their home state. Sort of a bad thing when the people who know you best reject you. While St. Ricky would point to the book and say prophet without honor, others would look and say "they know something we haven't heard." Let's see St. Ricky gain statewide office in PA again, or are they confident that Toomey can beat back a Sestak challenge again.

marindenver said...

I don't think he helped himself too much when he gave an interview saying that as president he would focus on getting rid of contraception. Just guessing, but I don't think that's at the top of most folks' lists of things the prez should get right on. There's also the "colossal dick" factor, to quote Charlie Pierce. I would actually look forward to his running again just for the lulz but I don't think he'll get too far.

Buford said...

Being "frothy" is still a hard label to hide from...