Sandhya Somashekhar, "Santorum followed a clever, emotional strategy to political resurrection". April 10
SHEESH, how do some people get out of bed in the morning?
Virtually no other candidate began the campaign from a lower perch. Santorum was a social conservative in a race expected to center on the economy. He was famous for his hard-edged brand of conservatism, especially his remarks on homosexuality, and for losing his Senate seat by an embarrassing 18 points in 2006. He was so discounted that he struggled to get the attention of debate moderators.
Yet Santorum outlasted most of his competition, winning the Iowa caucuses and contests in 10 other states — a historic feat for an upstart badly outgunned by the front-runner, Mitt Romney, who raised $74 million, more than four times Santorum’s $15.6 million. Ralph Reed, founder of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, called the achievement “remarkable.”
Okay, so let's be generous (and mindful of the role "facts" play in the deliberation process) and assume that Ralph "How Many Synonyms For 'Fraud' Are There?" Reed is there atop the Post's Golden Rolodex because he bribed someone. Because Jesus everything else with those two paragraphs is awful enough.
I suppose there is out there, theoretically, the WaPo reader who is intently interested in the 2012 Republican Presidential race but has, say, spent the last twelve months in a medically-induced (rather than a 2012 Republican Presidential race-induced) coma, or was just miraculously delivered from a year-long spelunking ordeal. For the rest of us, the Republican primaries just finally, mercifully, sputtered to a halt twelve hours ago. Re-explaining the candidacy of Rick Santorum is not exactly a work of incisive scholarship. It's reminding us what we had for dinner last night, when we've been living on a steady diet of freezer-burned fish sticks since the housing market crashed.
The Miracle of The Santorum, so-called, consists of outlasting Rick Perry (!), Michele Bachman (!!), Herman Cain (!!), and, briefly, Newt Fucking Gingrich, to be the guy who actually handed the nomination to Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum is 2012's Miss Uncongeniality.
The only Miracle that man accomplished was getting anyone to vote for him, ever, under any circumstances, even as the only man in the race who wasn't Mitt Romney. This, of course, is a joke, since we're talking about the Republican primary voter, who has shown, over the years, a remarkable inventiveness in finding acceptable substitutes for the traditional, but now-frowned-upon (in some circles), cross-burning. If you wanted a real miracle out of Santorum it would have consisted in winning something, anything, that didn't have "evangelical" as a prefix.
Maybe it's our model of the Republican electorate as "rational", and our wholesale purchase of the idea that the 2012 campaign "would be about economic issues" rather than, say, about Get the Black Guy, which is at fault. There are two signature events of the 2012 Republican Presidential race, and neither occurred in 2012, and neither, certainly, was a miracle: the fantastical notion of a Teabagger Revolution "which rejected the culture wars", or relocated them to the back burner, à la Chef Daniels; and the widespread proclamation that Representative Bachmann had been cured of The Crazy, as attested by her stunning performance in Republican Debate No. 1. The only people taken in by these swindles have Press passes.
Now, right on time--you can set your watch by this stuff, the way you could by Kant leaving his house--the difference being that Kant seems to've left his crazy at home when he went to work, and stayed quiet until he had something to say--here's Your Gentlemen of the Press with Romney's New Trajectory:
The general-election contest already was taking shape, with the Obama and Romney campaigns engaging each other more directly in the past few weeks. That will accelerate rapidly, with Americans now looking at a probable seven-month campaign between two candidates who have strikingly different visions about where to take the country.
Strikingly different? Really? That's an insult to anyone who's ever been struck.
The former governor was forced to the right during the bruising primary fight, leaving him weakened for the general-election campaign among some key demographic groups. He is running far behind Obama among female voters, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. He also faces potentially major problems among Hispanics because of his positions on immigration and the harsh language he used to describe them during the GOP debates.
A Nation Asks: However Will Mitt Romney Manage To Change His Stated Positions?
Romney will now devote most of his energy to drawing contrasts with Obama, free of some of the dissonance generated during the intraparty warfare of the primary race. As he does that, his advisers say, voters will begin to see him in a fresh light and gain a clearer understanding of the choice they have in the general election.
"Causing those who do not choose suicide to just stay home, low turn-out being traditionally good for the GOP."
Although most of his attention will be on the president, Romney cannot entirely ignore his right flank. Republicans vow that they will arrive at their national convention in Tampa in August as a united party, and they are probably correct, given the antipathy toward the president among the most conservative.
Must we, really, must we continue to treat the Republican party as connected to reality, however tenuous? Republicans' antipathy to the President didn't begin this week. More like "in response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964". What passed for a Republican "Presidential" campaign season was a sorry-assed proxy fight between the Crackpot wing and the Pirate wing. Note that almost all of the Pirates' heartthrobs--Mitch "The Spork" Daniels, Haley "The Largess" Barbour, and that collection of crackpipe-dream candidates that includes Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, and Marco Rubio, which makes you realize that Fiscal Republicans grasp the culture the way most white people grasp the rudiments of rhythmic movement--passed. Sagely, if I may be so bold. Note that the Crackpots didn't even really like any of their own Crackpots. Note that the collective nouns fall somewhat short--the Crackpots are all for Piracy conducted by Fiscal Republicans, objecting merely to the inclusion of minorities in the customer base, and the Pirates are Fucking Cracked, just by Ayn Rand, not the Civil War.
What justification is there for saying such people are determined to be united, when they are just now wrapping a campaign based on nothing at all except theological knife-fighting? Sure, sure, they hate the President. They hate reproductive rights, too, but they don't really do anything about it (apart from judicial appointments). Maybe in the next five or ten election cycles they'll figure out they need to articulate those positions in a way that might convince anyone who isn't already brimming over with rage. Though if the example of Roe is any indication I wouldn't put money on it.
Romney now has a chance to "articulate" that vision to anyone who hasn't paid attention so far (and by "so far" I mean "since hostilities ended in the Pacific"). Of course the catch is that he has to do so without angering a base which was upset by the fact that Rick Perry wanted to give medical attention to Mexicans found bleeding in the streets. What do the experts think of his chances?
“Romney has to build bridges to evangelical voters, who he will need to turn out in large numbers in November,” said Ralph Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Reed added: “I think Romney understands this and will take whatever steps are necessary to energize social conservative voters. Evangelicals will turn out to vote against Obama. Now it’s important that they are enthusiastic about voting for the Republican nominee.”
Hey, look, everybody! Ralph Reed's out of prison!