Can It Be Santorum's Turn Next?

Commenting on the merry-go-round of presidential frontrunners occurring within the Republican Party, MSNBC's Chris Matthews delivered an imbecilic rant so bizarre that the only thing it explained was why his program trails Cartoon Network in the ratings.  Matthews' dazzling deduction was that the elevation of certain candidates to the top of the heap, to be followed only by their fading and drifting back down in the polls, is a clear indication that the Republicans have a "hate problem."  With an extra dose of crazy, Matthews unloaded: "Their brains racked as they are by hatred, they lack the like mode.  They are in no mood looking around for a politician they like.  The hating is so much more satisfying."

Matthews' false indictment is a perfect case study in the classic psychological condition known as projection.  It is his hatred of Republicans, demonstrable by the little pockets of froth foaming at the sides of his mouth whenever he speaks of men like Newt Gingrich, that causes him to come to such an inexplicable conclusion.  After all, far from hating the candidates vying for the Republican nomination, most every conservative voter can attest to appreciating characteristics in each of them.

Bachmann's commitment to repealing ObamaCare is as admirable as Newt's polish and grasp of the substantive issues facing the country.  Ron Paul's devotion to individual liberty is as inspiring as are Herman Cain's charisma and his business savvy.  Mitt Romney's managerial skills and success in guiding a far left state back towards the center are as inspiring as Rick Perry's record on job creation in the state he has led to be the country's most productive.

What Matthews is misdiagnosing is a process known as vetting a candidate.  Conservatives are testing the mettle of their potential nominees to see who is best-prepared to take control of a country in Obama-induced chaos -- chaos which, ironically, has occurred because Chris Matthews and his fellow liberals did not take time to do what they now chastise Republicans for doing: vet the remarkably thin resume and radical roots of the man they backed for the presidency.

But as long as the merry-go-round sequence continues for the right, having cycled through the surge of Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and now Paul and Gingrich, is it too much to ask for former Senator Rick Santorum to get a day in the sun?  While his tone at some of the debates has been unnecessarily caustic -- something that could be attributed to the nature of the very few questions he actually gets to respond to -- there isn't a candidate on the stage that has a more solidly conservative resume than Santorum's.

In a recent profile piece highlighting the case for Santorum, Quin Hillyer asks, "[C]ould it be that the sharpest, most accomplished, most campaign-savvy, and most full-spectrum conservative in a quarter-century of presidential contests has been in the contest all along, working harder than anybody, making at least as much intellectual sense as anybody, never blowing a debate, and never failing to stand on principle?"  Without getting too carried away, Hillyer has a point, particularly with his last observation.

When it comes to standing on principle, it's Santorum in a walk.

For all the "conservatarian" Ron Paul types will tout regarding Paul's devotion to small government, only Rick Santorum demonstrates a full recognition that the only way small government is possible is if our culture boasts strong families.  The way to accomplish that end is not to take the libertarian, hands-off, anything-goes philosophy towards morality in the public square.

And in terms of debt reduction, it was Rick Santorum who unabashedly and unapologetically embraced Paul Ryan's bold spending reform package when other presidential hopefuls like Newt Gingrich were casting a skeptical eye.

And while Herman Cain was confusing everybody regarding his stance on abortion (see the "I don't believe it's the government's place to the government should make it illegal" mind-bender), it was Rick Santorum who articulated the only "pro-life" position that even makes sense: no exceptions.  When challenged in an early debate as to why he wouldn't allow abortions in the case of rape, Santorum gave a response that no pro-abortion advocate can possibly rebut: "The Supreme Court of the Unites States, on a recent case, said that a man who committed rape could not be ... subject to the death penalty -- yet the child conceived as a result of that rape could be.  That to me sounds like a country that doesn't have its morals correct."  Game, set, match.

Maybe this is why radio phenomenon Glenn Beck recently suggested that Rick Santorum could be the next George Washington.  And while I regard any comparison to the Father of the Nation an exaggeration, Beck's point is that in a generation full of sound bite-obsessed, pandering politicians, Santorum is a man of honor.  That distinction alone should earn him a chance in the spotlight.

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana. Email, visit, or like him on Facebook.