Santorum 2012?

Rick Santorum is running for president.  Why should conservatives support him?  Well, consider first the other folks who either are running or seem to be considering it very closely.  Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Bachmann, Palin, and Trump seem like the frontrunners.  Among that group, only Palin and Bachmann are as consistently conservative as Santorum -- and those two wonderful ladies may choose not to run.

The first question for any Republican who seeks our support to be the presidential nominee is this: can we trust him (or her) to be a true conservative?  In Santorum's case, the answer is "yes."  Unlike other professed or potential candidates, Santorum campaigned and then voted as a conservative from a distinctively blue constituency.  He was able to win election in the 1994 landslide as a conservative.  He won reelection in the tougher climate of 2000, again as a conservative.  Then Santorum lost his second reelection bid in the Republican-toxic climate of 2006 against the son of a popular governor. 

This is a distinction that conservatives should always factor into their evaluation of candidates.  Mike Huckabee might sound conservative, but Arkansas is a very conservative state (even Clinton came out of Arkansas as a notional "moderate.")  Gingrich also ran from a conservative district in a conservative state.  Even Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann won in relatively conservative areas (Alaska and Minnesota's 6th Congressional District).  In fact, Santorum did not just win his Senate seat in blue Pennsylvania, but he won his congressional seat in 1990 by defeating a seven-term incumbent Democrat in Pennsylvania's heavily Democrat 18th Congressional District.

How many true conservatives have won in blue states or, in the case of House members, in blue congressional districts?  There have been two governors since the 1994 landslide, John Engler and Tommy Thompson, and no members of Congress...except Rick Santorum.  Review the current Republicans in the Senate: do any of these blue-state senators have a conservative voting record that even remotely approaches the 88% ACU rating of Santorum?  No.  In fact, there are many Republicans from red states with lower ACU ratings than Santorum's.  In ideological terms, Santorum votes the right way, even when it may cost him an election. 

Santorum, although experienced, is youthful and attractive.  He is a devout Christian who has been married to the same woman for more than two decades.  The couple "walks the walk" on social issues like abortion.  Mrs. Santorum has given birth eight times -- one child died soon after birth, and another has Trisomy 18, a serious and usually fatal genetic disorder.  Santorum's personal honor stretches beyond family and faith.  In the House of Representatives, Santorum played a key role in exposing the House Banking Scandal.  That scandal cost incumbent Republicans reelection, but Santorum was rock-solid on integrity.  Santorum is, in short, just what we want: a conservative who puts principles above power.

That leads to the second question: can Santorum win?  He has the experience to be taken as a serious candidate.  Not only did Santorum serve twelve years in the Senate, but he was Republican Whip during his last years there.  Moreover, Santorum has won four elections -- two House elections and two Senate elections -- and each time, he won in a Democrat stronghold while running as a conservative Republican (although his re-election in the House in 1992 was from a new district somewhat less hostile to Republicans).    

Given the rout of Democrats in Pennsylvania in 2010, Santorum would have an excellent chance of capturing the Keystone State in 2012.  Obama will need those twenty votes to win reelection.  Republicans also have a decent chance of gaining a Senate seat in Pennsylvania if the top of the ticket does well.  Santorum could not only win the White House for his party, but also win the Senate for Republicans as well because of his established roots in Pennsylvania.

Rick Santorum would campaign as a true and decent conservative, a handsome candidate comfortable in front of the camera, with no skeletons in his closest and with plenty of experience to be president.  So how would the left attack Santorum?  We already know.  They will characterize him as Adolf Hitler; they will mock him on establishment comedy shows; they will use the word "extreme" five times in every sentence talking about him.

That should be our goal: make the 2012 presidential election about political ideology, a battlefield on which the left has already lost the hearts and minds of Americans.  Nominate Santorum and, say, Marco Rubio as two profoundly good and uncompromising conservatives, and we will not just win in 2012, but we will win a campaign firmly rooted in ideology by an electoral landslide.  After that, we will transform America. 

Bruce Walker is the author of a new book: Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.
Rick Santorum is running for president.  Why should conservatives support him?  Well, consider first the other folks who either are running or seem to be considering it very closely.  Romney, Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Bachmann, Palin, and Trump seem like the frontrunners.  Among that group, only Palin and Bachmann are as consistently conservative as Santorum -- and those two wonderful ladies may choose not to run.

The first question for any Republican who seeks our support to be the presidential nominee is this: can we trust him (or her) to be a true conservative?  In Santorum's case, the answer is "yes."  Unlike other professed or potential candidates, Santorum campaigned and then voted as a conservative from a distinctively blue constituency.  He was able to win election in the 1994 landslide as a conservative.  He won reelection in the tougher climate of 2000, again as a conservative.  Then Santorum lost his second reelection bid in the Republican-toxic climate of 2006 against the son of a popular governor. 

This is a distinction that conservatives should always factor into their evaluation of candidates.  Mike Huckabee might sound conservative, but Arkansas is a very conservative state (even Clinton came out of Arkansas as a notional "moderate.")  Gingrich also ran from a conservative district in a conservative state.  Even Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann won in relatively conservative areas (Alaska and Minnesota's 6th Congressional District).  In fact, Santorum did not just win his Senate seat in blue Pennsylvania, but he won his congressional seat in 1990 by defeating a seven-term incumbent Democrat in Pennsylvania's heavily Democrat 18th Congressional District.

How many true conservatives have won in blue states or, in the case of House members, in blue congressional districts?  There have been two governors since the 1994 landslide, John Engler and Tommy Thompson, and no members of Congress...except Rick Santorum.  Review the current Republicans in the Senate: do any of these blue-state senators have a conservative voting record that even remotely approaches the 88% ACU rating of Santorum?  No.  In fact, there are many Republicans from red states with lower ACU ratings than Santorum's.  In ideological terms, Santorum votes the right way, even when it may cost him an election. 

Santorum, although experienced, is youthful and attractive.  He is a devout Christian who has been married to the same woman for more than two decades.  The couple "walks the walk" on social issues like abortion.  Mrs. Santorum has given birth eight times -- one child died soon after birth, and another has Trisomy 18, a serious and usually fatal genetic disorder.  Santorum's personal honor stretches beyond family and faith.  In the House of Representatives, Santorum played a key role in exposing the House Banking Scandal.  That scandal cost incumbent Republicans reelection, but Santorum was rock-solid on integrity.  Santorum is, in short, just what we want: a conservative who puts principles above power.

That leads to the second question: can Santorum win?  He has the experience to be taken as a serious candidate.  Not only did Santorum serve twelve years in the Senate, but he was Republican Whip during his last years there.  Moreover, Santorum has won four elections -- two House elections and two Senate elections -- and each time, he won in a Democrat stronghold while running as a conservative Republican (although his re-election in the House in 1992 was from a new district somewhat less hostile to Republicans).    

Given the rout of Democrats in Pennsylvania in 2010, Santorum would have an excellent chance of capturing the Keystone State in 2012.  Obama will need those twenty votes to win reelection.  Republicans also have a decent chance of gaining a Senate seat in Pennsylvania if the top of the ticket does well.  Santorum could not only win the White House for his party, but also win the Senate for Republicans as well because of his established roots in Pennsylvania.

Rick Santorum would campaign as a true and decent conservative, a handsome candidate comfortable in front of the camera, with no skeletons in his closest and with plenty of experience to be president.  So how would the left attack Santorum?  We already know.  They will characterize him as Adolf Hitler; they will mock him on establishment comedy shows; they will use the word "extreme" five times in every sentence talking about him.

That should be our goal: make the 2012 presidential election about political ideology, a battlefield on which the left has already lost the hearts and minds of Americans.  Nominate Santorum and, say, Marco Rubio as two profoundly good and uncompromising conservatives, and we will not just win in 2012, but we will win a campaign firmly rooted in ideology by an electoral landslide.  After that, we will transform America. 

Bruce Walker is the author of a new book: Poor Lenin's Almanac: Perverse Leftists Proverbs for Modern Life.

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