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Three Reasons Santorum Will Lose Against Obama

I wanted to turn this comment in RealQuiet’s diary about the underestimation of Rick Santorum into it’s own diary and expand on it because it’s very important GOP primary voters see this, because Newt and Mitt won’t attack Santorum from this end because they have their own problems with questions about their conservatism. The fact of the matter is, on many issues Rick Santorum is “far right” in a way that will legitimately scare some moderate and more importantly libertarian voters and on many issues, he’s moderate or even liberal, which conservatives will regret later.

I am sorry as much as it pains me to say this, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin are wrong, Rick Santorum is not a desirable candidate in anyway shape or form. Here’s three reasons he will lose against President Obama.

First, His views on libertarians: Rick Santorum has said he hates the “radical individualism” of libertarianism and will do anything to keep it out of the conservative movement. Ron Paul voters and some tea party folks are going to be hard pressed to hear that. They’ll probably support likely libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, a popular two term former New Mexico governor over a one term senator who lost his re-election bid by 18 points. Libertarians have to become part of our coalition or we start losing elections. We don’t have to embrace everything they stand for, just like the mainstream conservative movement doesn’t accept all of neoconservatism or any other strain of conservatism, but we’ve got to recognize, in some ways, they’re right and we’ve got enough commonalities that building a coalition at this point is actually an incredibly positive thing, especially as more younger voters with right-leaning views will probably subscribe to aspects of libertarianism, as it allows for more liberal social views even though younger voters tend to be more pro-life. 

Next is his “big government conservatism”. It’s not just his past views, Santorum thinks the progressive income tax system is “just fine” and said he is “proud” of his earmarks. No bueno. I also haven’t heard any compelling reforms from him regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I don’t think Santorum has a good grasp of how dire our fiscal situation is. If he did, he would want to save wherever he could. Saying “earmarks are just fine” and the “real problem is entitlements” without offering any meaningful entitlement reform proposals is like an irresponsible family in the midst of a fiscal crisis coming together and saying “spending money on fast food isn’t the problem, it’s that we buy a flat screen TV every month that’s the problem.” Santorum is clearly out of his depth here, people like him because of his social views.

Finally, speaking of His social views, they are extreme and way out of the mainstream. I say that as a pretty socially conservative person myself. People thought Stephanopolus was nuts for asking about contraception, but if you look at what Santorum said as late as last year, you will see why. He believes states should be able to ban contraception and that he thinks contraception is bad because it leads to people doing “immoral” things sexually. See this is where I think Santorum takes it too far: unless a person is being harmed or an animal is being treated inhumanely (you’ll see why I had to say that in a second), it’s none of the government’s business what one does in the privacy of their own bedroom. Santorum’s rhetoric on gays is also way over the top. Comparing gays to pedophiles and people who have sex with animals is WAY out of line, and it will turn off a lot of people. Look, it’s not bad to have a moral objection to homosexual behavior. For some it is a matter of deep faith. But last I checked, Jesus didn’t attach any conditions to “love thy neighbor”. I am not saying that we should condone anything, but it’s not our place to condemn anything either. Santorum seems to believe it’s his job to “pastor” the nation. That is not his job, his job should he be elected is to be the president of everyone.

But it’s not only what Santorum says, it’s how he says it. When discussing social issues it’s good for those of us who are socially conservative to speak with an ounce or two of humility. A perfect example of this in my mind is former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Palin doesn’t have to go around touting her social conservatism, she lives it. But she is absolutely graceful when discussing theses very sensitive issues. She’s also willing to meet in the middle. When the Alaska state legislature tried to ban partners of gay employees receiving benefits, she vetoed the bill saying it went against Alaska’s constitution. She also back handily came out in favor of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, retweeting openly gay conservative talk radio host Tammy Bruce’s tweet in support of the repeal. But Palin is in support of traditional marriage. Santorum’s posture when talking about social issues is the complete opposite, everything about him screams, “Are you STUPID!? How could you NOT think the way I think!?” He is completely sanctimonious when talking about these things and let me tell you, it’s a huge turn off for people who disagree with him. Especially as Santorum has made this a cornerstone of his campaign.

President Obama will hit Santorum hard for all of the above. He’ll invite libertarians to come and vote for him again (which is crazy to me, but whatever) He’ll ask voters why they should trust him if the people of PA obviously did not? He’ll run the 2006 campaign against Santorum all over again, telling people how we wouldn’t have gotten into this mess if it wasn’t for Bush and people like Santorum and the exorbitant amounts of spending that occurred during the Bush years (even though Obama would be a HUGE hypocrite for that seeing how his spending is even more out of control.) As a member of the senate, Obama will play every clip of Santorum supporting unpopular Bush-era spending policy calling Santorum “Bush’s right hand man in the senate” He would also hit Santorum hard for his extreme social views, calling him way out of the mainstream. Santorum will be blasted as “anti-gay” and “homophobic” and just like that Salon article I linked to above, the left will accuse him of wanting to “take away your birth control.” In debates, President Obama will press Santorum on social issues. The main stream media will be all but happy to oblige keeping the debate away from ObamaCare, away from run away spending and making it all about Santorum’s extreme social views. They will do whatever they can to scare voters away from him. Meanwhile Tea Party and libertarian support will crumble once they find out about Santorum’s record and what he actually stands for fiscally.

Is all of that true? No. But it doesn’t matter, President Obama will have close to a billion dollars and the mainstream media at his side. Santorum has all the right weaknesses for an Obama victory in 2012. Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and other bloggers, commentators, and radio hosts I admire greatly can support Santorum all they want, but I am afraid they’ll be in for a big surprise come November. Santorum will lose if he is the nominee in 2012.

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