Diary

Can Santorum Vanquish Romney?

To run for president you have to be as thick as a pachyderm.  As we see every cycle, the candidates get beat up by the media, by the other campaigns, and most often by members of their own party.  Not to sound cliché, but only the strong survive and the weak will fall.  This is not to say everyone who fails to become president is a weak candidate, but there is a certain something needed to run for president.  As we have seen with those who should have run but are sitting on the sideline, this is no easy thing to do; not everyone has what it takes to go national.

As much as I do not like to admit it, Mitt Romney has what it takes to run for president, I am not sure he has what it takes to win, but the running part he has.

He is able to redirect any evaluation of his record if the question does not serve his purpose.  Ask him about Romney care and he will tell you that what they accomplished as governor of Massachusetts was positive for the state, and then he will tell you it is bad for the nation and repeal is something that is on top of the agenda if he is elected president.  Running for president is not so much about the truth of a candidate’s record, and more about what you can do to make the record of your opponents more of an issue.  Romney has been able to do this so far, and it has worked; albeit with the help of a huge war chest and establishment attack dogs.

The problem is it is going to take much more than just a candidate that can run for president to take the White House. 

Many in the MSM are just now finding out what conservatives have known all along, that Mitt Romney’s weaknesses are even more striking than they seemed at first glance.  The Party Establishment is in a quandary but they do not have a wealth of options left.  Everyone seems to have an exposition on what is going wrong but the bottom line is if there were stronger candidates in this race Romney would lose. 

The next obvious question is does Rick Santorum have what it takes to do more than run for President?

Nominating Santorum could end up being a gamble that Republican voters may not want to take.  In the nomination process, social conservatism has been an ally to many candidates, but it has not been a deciding aspect of any winning presidential candidate in modern times.  In the 2010 mid-terms, the defining issues were not gay marriage and abortion.  The Tea Party movements lived and died by the anti-tax and spend conservatism that appeals to a much wider segment of the American electorate.

So much now depends on what Santorum decides to use as a wedge against Romney huge money advantage. With the current contraception debate it may be all to easy for him to take Romney to task for his many conservative blasphemies.  In a highly religious country, these are affective issues.  The kinds of mistakes that would not be wise to make again is the ones that question the ability ofwomen to serve in leadership roles.  No matter the validity of the argument, or how misunderstood are the reasons for saying it, the whole thing gives Romney a reason to believe he can damage Santorum with the same segment of voters that Newt Gingrich did so horrible with; women.

Just ask Martha McSally how she felt about the comment.  I have not met many women that have taken that comment with less frustration.

It widely known that Romney is about to spend millions slamming Santorum on issues like Earmarks, an argument that did not catch on in Iowa when Perry attempted to use it.  In 2010, the Tea Party rallied not only against President Obama, also against the Republican establishment.  They blamed Wall Street for destroying the economy.  They railed against bank bailouts and the intrusiveness of the federal government.  These winning issues can bring in independents into the fold.

Romney is weakened but not yet out.  If Santorum can attract the blue-collar workers who are worried about their children’s future, then he has a shot of beating Romney.  If he keeps making mistakes that appeal to a woman’s sense of incommensurateness, he may just give Romney an opening to point to the general election and the electability argument as reason he should win.

It seems Romney no longer hold the fate of the nomination in his hands.  It now is dependent on whether Santorum can do any better at being able to do more than run for president.  Romney’s money worked against Gingrich, and there is no reason to believe that it would not work again if Gingrich has yet another miraculous rise.

Romney has yet to prove that he can win this race, and most of the others he has run.  The good news for him is he may not have too.