published Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Santorum ends his quest

  • photo
    Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks in this file photo.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Rick Santorum's decision Tuesday to end his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination all but guarantees the nomination for front-runner Mitt Romney. Yet it hardly ends a political rebound for Santorum that, before his unlikely victory in the Iowa caucuses, had seemed more quixotic than substantive. Whether and how the pair stanch the bad blood that has since spilled between them will be important for the careers of both. It possibly could help determine the outcome of the November presidential election.

Santorum entered the Iowa caucuses in a pickup truck with a few aides and what pundits claimed was faint hope for a decent showing. But he managed to do there what Romney, despite frequent visits and a large campaign staff that he directed from his luxury bus, failed to do: rally substantial support from conservative evangelicals, a must-win wing of the Republican base. Romney ended the night of the caucuses thinking he had won. Final tallies later confirmed the victory for Santorum.

Santorum followed his Iowa victory with intermittent wins in 10 other states' Republican primaries and caucuses, but he couldn't keep pace with Romney's intensively planned and well-heeled campaign. Nor could the weaker super-PAC that supported Santorum counter the overwhelming wave of negative advertising against him by the deep-pocket super-PAC that supports Romney. Hence the current bad blood, which is now so thick that Santorum refused even to mention the name of Romney in his press conference, let alone to urge his supporters to fall in behind Romney. So much for party solidarity.

But while Santorum kept the primaries more interesting than Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich could do in combination, delegate math and the polls put him out of the race weeks ago. As of Tuesday, he had accumulated just 275 delegates to Romney's 659, and polls suggested that Romney would easily win the nomination by summer.

In fact, it wasn't clear that Santorum would win the primary in Pennsylvania, where he lost a campaign for re-election for a third term to the U.S. Senate in 2006. Just as his stands on social issues defeated him then, they also worked against him in this year's GOP presidential primary.

Indeed, it was Santorum's hard-right positions that made him a classical niche nominee. He not only opposes abortion, even in cases of rape; he also opposes the use of any kind of birth control. In fact, he has said that women with children should stay out of the workplace to raise children, and that in any case it's unreasonable for women to achieve parity with men in the workplace.

He of course opposes same-sex marriage, just as he eschews the notion of man-made climate change and global warming, which he calls a contrived "political science." Though a lawyer with two advanced degrees, he also panned President Obama as a "snob" simply because he advocates the opportunity for all to attend college. And he accuses colleges of "brain-washing" students toward secular values.

Despite such hard-edged positions, political analysts see a chance that Santorum could parlay support for Romney to a position in Romney's cabinet (if Romney wins in November), and maneuver from there for GOP support in a future presidential campaign. Which would bring him full circle to another quixotic quest for the presidential nomination -- probably with the same result.

1
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
jjmez said...

The good part is Santorum is out of the race. The scary part is he might try to become a VP running mate. It wasn't GOD who told him to exit the race. Some powerful republicans advised him to quit.

April 11, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.