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I Like Rick Santorum

For the love of all that is holy, we cannot nominate him for President.

Back in the day, Rick Santorum was one of my favorite Senators. The guy was good on judges, a solid pro-lifer (the most important issue to me in all of politics), and he took the bull by the horns on Social Security reform even though it was tremendously unpopular in his home state. He was a key player in Welfare Reform. For a Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum was pretty darn good, if not exactly the shrewdest operator in the caucus. A lot of the people who are criticizing him using Daily Kos talking points (and showing all the class of the average Daily Kos poster) have really lost any claim to be taken seriously as conservatives. And frankly, any alleged conservative who would mock a man for his method of grieving over a stillborn child has lost any claim to be taken seriously as a human being. Some of the would-be new cool kids in conservative circles who are mocking Santorum for his socially conservative positions are just making absolute clowns out of themselves.

That said, my reaction to the idea that Rick Santorum should be our nominee for President is pretty much:

You cannot be serious. Where is the evidence that Rick Santorum would be anything other than a disaster as President? The man has never held a management position in his life. As we have seen during the debates this year, he reacts to people disagreeing with him by immediately moving into angry, sneering whiny defensiveness. He was tremendously ineffective as a member of Senate leadership because his personality does not command loyalty or respect. As I’ve stated before, you take anyone who has never managed anything larger than a Senate staff and put them in charge of the entire executive branch and you are asking for a total and complete disaster to occur. This goes double for any Senator with temperament and leadership questions.

Of course, all of that is somewhat of a moot point because Rick Santorum has no chance at actually becoming President. A candidate who loses by 18 points in a swing state – when that swing state is his own home state – will lose at least 40 states on general election day. At least. With Rick Santorum as the nominee, Texas becomes a swing state. The most memorable moment of Santorum’s campaign thus far has been him repeatedly shouting, in fifth grade style, “Your time is up! Your time is up!”, drowning out Romney’s answer which the debate moderator was perfectly happy to let him give. I can’t imagine “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!” will be a very effective debate technique against Barack Obama.

Despite the fact that Santorum has cast some good votes, there is no doubt that Rick Santorum is not a guy who is committed to drastically reducing the size and scope of the Federal government. His record is crystal clear on this point. He’s essentially admitted it himself. Time after time he stood with feckless Senate leadership and participated actively in the feeding at the government trough that nearly permanently destroyed the Republican brand – and would have destroyed it if the Democrats had not helpfully proven (yet again) that they are much, much, much worse. Look, I am as pro-life as the next three guys combined, as anyone who has read this website over the last seven years can tell you, but if ever there was a moment in history where it was the wrong time to run a big government crusading social conservative, this is that moment. In a perfect world the ongoing mass infanticide in this country would always be the number one issue in everyone’s minds but the vast majority of Americans sadly do not agree.

I guess I would be more sympathetic to the idea that we should just let Rick Santorum go down in ignominious defeat in the general if there weren’t other races that it would also affect – including our tenuous control over the House, which is the only handbrake we currently have against Obama’s radical agenda. As bad as things have been for the last year, have we already forgotten how much worse they were, and how much mischief was caused, when the Democrats had solid holds on everything? I would like to please pass on this version of the future.

Despite the ways in which my recent posts have been misinterpreted, I am not a Mitt Romney supporter. I don’t even like Mitt Romney. But if Rick Santorum wins South Carolina, or looks like he poses any serious threat to win the nomination, I am going to send Mitt Romney a check. We simply cannot afford another devastating, across the board loss like 2008. Worse, I couldn’t even take much comfort that things would be better if Santorum were to somehow win.

I like Rick Santorum. I’m glad he’s getting another moment in the sun. But let’s be serious, people – not for President.

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