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Why not Rick Santorum?

There are only forty-five days until the Iowa Caucuses.  Conservatives are going to need a champion to face off against Romney after he wins the New Hampshire primary.  That guy may be Rick Santorum. 

It won’t be Cain.                                                                                                                                                                                  Cain is fading and he won’t be back.  9-9-9 was a loser, these sexual harassment allegations have not been rebutted with tangible evidence and he himself (not the media) continues to write the narrative that he doesn’t have the slightest clue on anything concerning foreign policy.  Cain will not be our nominee.

It won’t be Gingrich.                                                                                                                                                                       Many columnists have been predicting a Gingrich rise for over a month now.  The polls reflect as much.  What many failed to realize was that as soon as he goes up, he is going to have to come down.  It is already happening; his messy personal history is being discussed, we are being reminded of his history on individual healthcare mandates and his work as a lobbyist is growing more detrimental by the day.  Before he even takes off, he will be grounded. 

It probably won’t be Perry.                                                                                                                                                      Perry is our last great hope of defeating Romney and Obama.  But he has proved over and over that he is unprepared.  This week, Perry released a stellar populist plan to shrink the size of the budget and the scope of government.  It is eye-brow-raisingingly far reaching, but exciting nonetheless.  His rehabilitation plan following his debate gaffe has been at a perfect pitch.  Perry may be up to the task.  But repeatedly he has proved that he is not.  We will find out next Tuesday.  Either Perry will shine and give a perfect performance and be taken as a serious candidate again before Thanksgiving or he will continue to be a debate dud and stay in fifth of sixth place.  Perry has until Tuesday night to get his campaign together.  If he can’t, he is done and can go ahead and donate his war chest to the Salvation Army for Christmas.

With an empty field and the threat of Romney killing conservatism for another decade, conservatives must ask themselves, why not Rick Santorum? 

There is a small window of opportunity for us to align behind Santorum.

Santorum has some negatives.  He has often lacked presidential poise during the debates.  He lost his last Senate election and he has no executive experience.  But Santorum seems to be one of the only candidates on the debate stage that can continually articulate the case for conservatism to the electorate.  Unlike other candidates he is afraid of no one.  He calls out Paul on a sometimes irresponsible foreign policy, he calls out Perry on vaccinations and Romney on healthcare.  He could call Obama on his record.

Santorum’s stances on social issues are well documented which will give him strength with evangelicals.  His stances on foreign policy should allow neo-cons, Bush Republicans and war hawks in the party to rest easy knowing that he’ll be strong on defense.  If we’re honest, he will govern as a fiscal conservative.  In fact, his statements on fiscal policy comfort me that he would not be a big spending executive in D.C.  Santorum hasn’t always taken the most conservative votes but his rhetoric leads suggests that he got the message. 

To a certain degree, Santorum followed the Republican Party off of a cliff during the last decade as Bush Republicans allowed spending to reach all time highs.  Cain, Gingrich and Perry can all suffered from the same party mentality at some point or another.  Santorum wants to simplify the tax code, continue the Bush tax cuts, cut wasteful spending and join every other republican candidate in holding the line on tax raises. 

Santorum does have negatives.   A bold social conservatism scares away “independents,” he doesn’t have executive experience and he handily lost his last Senate race.

But in the general election, none of these factors will matter.  As all general elections, Santorum will play up issues like jobs and economical growth rather than abortion and gay marriage as the reason to vote for him.  Being a loser in your last election doesn’t matter either.  Six years ago, Romney’s negatives in Massachusetts were so high that had he attempted to run for a second term as governor he would have been creamed.   As we’ve learned, executive experience is not a pre-requisite for winning the White House.  There likely won’t be sexual harassment allegations against Santorum and he has never been a lobbyist either.  Unlike Romney, Santorum isn’t part of the “1%” corporate elite either.  If he can focus on the economy, conservatives can trust him on social issues and independents won’t care as long as it is out of sight out of mind. 

Unemployment, stagflation and a slow-moving economy next year will allow anyone other than Obama to find a path to victory.  It should be a conservative rather than a moderate. 

Many conservatives may not have fallen in love with Rick Santorum, but if there is no alternative, Santorum is a winning choice.  Where does Romney attack him from?  He would have to attack Santorum from the left. 

If for no other reason than conservatives have no other choice, we need to take a second look at Santorum and give him a poll bump and cash infusion before Thanksgiving.  The ball is in Santorum’s court on Tuesday to make this case to the American people.  

If he isn’t getting the time he needs, he should be combative and presidential to take the time he needs, not whine to the moderators that he isn’t getting enough time.  It has worked for Newt it will work for Rick. 

A moderate Romney will be unable to beat an empowered Obama.  If we don’t find a conservative champion quickly, we can settle in for five more years of Obama.  The only logical conclusion is to take another look at Santorum.  He will have his flaws but we can trust him, and that is worth a lot.

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