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Why I switched support to Santorum and sent him a donation

Up until today, my first choice was Gingrich.  I thought, and still think, he would be a great president.  However, I changed my support and sent a donation to Santorum for the following reasons, before listing them, here is some history:

I have always felt that Santorum was a strong, consistent conservative; however, prior to AMES I was not undecided.  After AMES, I was leaning to Perry.  Then, I endorsed Gingrich.  My primary criteria are as follows:

  1. I want someone who can beat Obama.  In my opinion this means appealing to a broad range of people.  Of course the list includes the GOP base.  It also includes the working class and union voters in Ohio who are social conservatives but who do not identify with the tea party or with elitist republicans.  It also involves winning.  It further includes federal government workers in Northern Virginia.  Finally, it includes winning over Paul supporters.
  2. I want someone who is a trusted conservative in all areas; but who is also able to build a broad, winning, majority party.
  3. Finally, I want someone who will govern well, is ready for Washington, and is a government insider capable of governing.
At first Perry looked to be that man.  Despite an imperfect record, he has a great resume.  Unfortunately – probably due to back pain — he made a series of mistakes.  They, on their own, were mistakes I could live with.  Then he made his fatal flaw of trying to appeal too much to the GOP base, at the expense of making statements that will later hurt him swing voters.  He moved too far right on some issues to win in the general.  I then supported Newt.  Newt made a few huge mistakes recently.  First, he said he could not support Paul against Obama.  That mistake — like Perrys’s — is the mistake of helping him in the primary at the expense of the general.  He then called Romney a liar; again, not a help for the general, though it will help him in the primary.  Finally, he placed 4th in Iowa, and Santorum tied for 1st.  Santorum, who is more conservative, now also appears more electable.  While Santorum is not perfect, and needs to move center for the general, he is in a winnable position against Romney and Obama.  Here are his strengths of Santorum:
  1. He is a consistent conservative.  He let the floor battle to reform welfare.  he fought for and voted for Bush tax cuts and the Gingrich/Clinton tax cut.  He wrote the ban on partial birth abortion.  He is the consistent conservative on fiscal, security, and social issues.
  2. He consistently outperforms those running with him.  In 1992 he won his district when Bush lost it badly.  In 2000, he won PA when Bush lost it.  In 2006, even when he lost PA, he lost by a significantly smaller margin that the GOP candidate for Governor that same year.
  3. He appeals to many of the very same groups that the GOP needs to win.  I’ve been talking for a while about the need to win Ohio social conservatives who are working class and in unions.  Santorum won these same voters in PA.  Santorum would put PA in play with exactly the same voters that Obama does poorly with; and would win Ohio with those voters.  Santorum, likewise, wins the entire south easily.
The one state that will be a very close challenge for him in the south is Virginia.  Santorum will appeal well to the military in VA, but needs to appeal to civilian workers in DOD and in other agencies.  He needs to both plan cuts in the size of government (easy considering that something like 40% of government employees will retire or leave on their own in the next 4 years), and he needs to cut the pay for many positions in government.  At the same time, he needs to re-institute providing inflation adjustments to wages and re-institute pay for performance systems that give federal managers the opportunity to increase salaries for employees who perform well.  However, they would also appeal to federal workers who have seen their wages frozen for 2 years under Obama and who have seen their wages fall relative to inflation over the last decade.  Likewise, Santorum needs Paul voters to win Virginia.  Paul voters will not all vote GOP, but 1/2 of them or more need to.  Many of these voters are fiscal conservatives, and will back Santorum’s plan to cap government spending at 18% of GDP and his plans to cut taxes and cut spending.  Many are social conservatives and will support Santorum there.  On foreign affairs, Santorum is best served by selecting Rand Paul as VP, or by striking a different tone to say the same thing.  Santorum also needs to invite both Rand and Ron Paul to speak on stage.  He needs to win Pauls endorsement and support.  These voters are critical to VA and a number of other states (including OH, FL, and NH), and that is critical to winning the election.
Santorum hit the perfect tone in his Iowa victory speech; the next challenge is for him to place well in NH.  I have a strong feeling that he may make a 2nd place NH finish, which would be amazing for him and would allow him to win SC.
I understand that others support other candidates.  But Paul needed to place 1st to have a chance.  Finishing 3rd killed his campaign.  Perry and Bachmann have either dropped out or should.  They have no path forward.  Gingrich has a number of strengths, but in my opinion he has made a few mistakes recently that will make it hard for him; whereas, Santorum just had a huge win in Iowa.  Coming within 8 votes of Romney in Iowa is big.  However, NH could be bigger.
Santorum’s NH poll numbers have quadrupled during this week alone.  I think they over doubled in just the last day.  It is very possible that Santorum could finish NH with 20% of the vote, which would put him in a solid 2nd place for NH.  Such a finish would be a real shocker; and would put him into SC as the unquestioned anti-Romney candidate in a 2-way race.  Santorum would win there.  SC picks GOP nominees.  With Perry and Bachmann out, and Gingrich to leave after NH, Santorum would have SC as the first 1 v 1 with Romney.  Santorum beats Romny 1 v 1.

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