Santorum Alludes to Candidacy: Will Conservatives Learn from 2012?

Posted: December 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

With the off-year elections completed and the calendar nearly turning to 2015, the jockeying among possible presidential hopefuls is beginning in earnest. Like clockwork, the candidates begin to come out from wherever they have been hiding for three years, trying to position themselves as a frontrunner in the minds of the media and voters. With every cycle, the field of candidates seem less and less compelling to conservatives and lovers of liberty – one of the major reasons so many went bananas for Ron Paul. Regrettably, Dr. Paul will not be serving as the lone bright spot in a field of big-government-loving neoconservatives. That field, however, is already beginning to take shape with some very familiar faces.

In 2011 the media had already anointed Mitt Romney as the Republican frontrunner, so that one was either for him or against him. While the majority of Republicans were against him, the liberal Establishment wing of the party needed only to achieve a split among various groups of conservatives in order to sail their guy through to a plurality. The way the delegate system was set up, a plurality in many states meant that Romney won all of the delegates.

In order for this strategy to work, it was necessary to have a candidate who could successfully split the vote among the conservative majority, but who was then willing to quit and back the Establishment guy by the time the convention rolled around. Rick Santorum played this role perfectly. A moderate neo-conservative himself, Santorum styled himself as the social conservatives’ champion, trumpeting his opposition to abortion and other Christian hot-button issues, and engaging in a non-stop attack of the only electable conservative in the race, Ron Paul. Many ‘values voters’ did not know about Santorum’s past as a ‘pro-choice lawmaker‘ and his work with the K Street project and other efforts that put him at the center of the lobbying world. While his associate Jack Abramoff had gone to prison for fraud, Santorum had avoided legal difficulties and he was able to preempt media scrutiny by coming out swinging against Romney, at one point even going so far as to call the former Governor of Massachusetts “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama” in March of 2012. Of course, this rhetoric was not to last, and six weeks later he endorsed Romney and by July, he was hosting campaign events on Romney’s behalf. Having done a great job of splitting the vote in the primary, he readily assumed his role in support of the Establishment’s choice, and was rewarded by the Romney campaign, who agreed to help him pay his campaign debt and gave him a prime speaking slot at the national convention.

The whole thing worked so well, it appears that Santorum is ready for another round in 2016, having all but announced his candidacy in a recent interview. This time, he swears it will be different:

“America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” he said in an interview Tuesday. Santorum added that being underestimated — again — “has given me a lot of latitude.”

His iconic sweater vests will likely make a return appearance. But Santorum 2.0 will be a very different presidential campaign than the one that came from almost nowhere to win the Iowa caucuses in an overtime decision, he vows.

“I get the game,” Santorum said.

It seems clear that Rick Santorum ‘gets the game’, the question is, did conservatives catch on, or will they fall for it again? As people close to Romney begin to hint that he is considering running again, are we seeing the same scenario being constructed once more? Is it possible that the Republican Establishment believes that conservatives are stupid enough to fall for it again?

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Comments
  1. Ron says:

    Yeah, I get the game too. Santorum sat in single digits, until the the media brought him in for his turn. This they did with the entire field, one at a time except for Ron Paul – in his case it was the steady repetitive “too bad he can’t win” propaganda line. Regarding Santorum, if I’m remembering right, it was after an early flooky Gingrich victory that “the media” actually said out of nowhere “now we can expect to see Santorums numbers rise”. After his steady low spot throughout the early months, there was no reason to say that. The next day, up they went. It was ridiculous.

    If there is ever a true awakening in this country, mainstream media will not be able to determine elections the way they do now.

    I’d love to hear your take on the Boehner thing, will you be writing about that?

    • Nice to hear from you, Ron. I thought about writing a big post about the Boehner election. I was looking for the quote where they asked Dr. Paul about it a few years ago, and he said that Boehner was the best speaker he had seen during his career, in terms of getting people together and administrating deals, etc. This was after Boehner had bumped Dr. Paul out of leadership on the banking committee, ironically.
      Totally agree with your take on the media. I believe Santorum’s entire purpose is to siphon off conservative/ values voters enough to get the chamber of commerce guy in there. Oh, and it looks like Romney is meeting with donors and preparing to run.
      http://news.yahoo.com/romney-tells-donors-hes-considering-2016-white-house-003801976.html;_ylt=AwrTccX1V7FUlsAA.pQPxQt.

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