Poll numbers in the Republican presidential nomination contest
have become no more than mood swings of conservatives who have
allowed political emotion to supercede political common sense.
How else to explain the huge swings in poll numbers in the form of
"bubbles" that have now culminated in a surge for the weakest possible
candidate to oppose President Obama in November?
Let me remind anyone who is interested in the outcome of this year's
presidential election that the vote in November when an incumbent
is running for a second term is always a judgment by the voters on the
record of the incumbent. The only time that is not true is when the
opposition party nominates someone so weak and inappropriate that
he or she becomes the focus of the election, and the incumbent's
campaign can successfully transform their own candidate's weakness
to voter alarm over the challenger.
As the vetting of Rick Santorum's legislative record is now revealing,
this record does not resemble the persona that he has put forward in
his presidential campaign. His voting record is replete with
inconsistencies, from the conservative point of view. His justification
so far is that, hey, he was a senator from Pennsylvania and he was only
representing his constituents. But wait a minute, conservatives, haven't
you already rejected that alibi from Mitt Romney who has argued that
his apparent past moderate record was because he was governor of
Massachusetts, arguably the most liberal state? At least, Mr. Romney
has a valid point, Massachusetts IS the most liberal state. I'm originally
from Pennsylvania, and I can testify to the fact that the Keystone State
is one of the least liberal in the eastern U.S. If Mr. Santorum's alibi had
any validity, how can he explain losing he 2006 re-election by 18 points?
There was a reason that Mr Santorum was so lightly regarded at the
outset on the 2012 campaign, He had been in Washington, DC for almost
two decades, and was known as a political lightweight who took extreme
views on controversial subjects.
I would agree to the point, made by many, that some of the best GOP
candidates this cycle (including Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, Bobby
Jindal, Jeb Bush, et al) chose not to run. But that point is moot now.
There are only four candidates for the GOP nomination left. One of them,
Ron Paul, is totally unelectable. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have
each political warts and shortcomings. But they at least have both
the stature and a political history which makes them serious candidates
To his credit, Rick Santorum has worked hard, and unlike some of his
2012 colleagues, did not abandon the race because his poll numbers were
low. Unfortunately his current political personality does not resemble his
own record, a fact that would make him a mortally weak opponent to
Mr. Obama who would easily make Mr. Santorum the issue in November,
especially to independent voters, the ones who ALWAYS make the difference
in a presidential election.
Unless they are suddenly suicidal and timid, the campaigns of Mr. Romney
and Mr. Gingrich will not fail to point our Mr. Santorum's huge
vulnerabilities. Mr. Paul has already said "it is time to take the cover off"
the former senator from Pennsylvania. If he is nothing else, Mr. Paul is a
man of his word.
As I have pointed out time and again in the past year, no bubble against Mr.
Romney has lasted for than a few days. Far more substantive candidates
than Mr. Santorum learned this the hard way. Both the liberal and the
conservative media have lots of motives to promote this latest bubble.
But I remember when Mr. Cain, Mr. Perry and Mr. Gingrich were each
ahead of Mr. Romney suddenly by double digits, and everyone seemed to
ooh and ah over this remarkable circumstance.
Lest they become intoxicated by this phenomenon one more time, may I
suggest to those who read this that we are now only days away from when
the calendar will produce large numbers of actual delegates for one
candidate or another. Like anyone being wooed, voters understandably
are subject to wild mood swings just before they have to make a decision.
But the time comes when a decision must be made.
Copyright (c) 2012 by Barry Casselman
All rights reserved.