His showing in
It is easy to see the appeal of Santorum to the conservative
But, above all, he is not Mitt Romney.
And the conservative/tea party/God-fearing folks who make up the Republican primary electorate are thrashing around looking for an alternative to Romney who is too, um, centrist? Eastern? Mormon? blow-dried? for them. These days, centrist in the Republican party means anyone who doesn't want to deport Barack Obama for being an alien Muslim.
There are two traits that will stand Santorum well in the coming weeks:
One. He is an astute politician, who understands the whims and ways of Republican voters and of politics in general. he is hard working and a good campaigner. But, he is not -- by any stretch of the imagination -- an outsider. When he was in the U.S. Senate, he showed a willingness to play the game with lobbyists for special interests. And he wasn't above using his leadership position to bring the bacon back to Pennsylvania -- sometimes for public works, sometimes for state business interests.
Two. He is an angry man. I don't know the source of Santorum's anger, given that he has led a successful and fairly comfortable life, but it is there. He is not only against gay rights, for instance, he is downright pissed off about the issue. And if you do not buy into his Rise of Islamo-Facism theories he will declare you an spineless idiot who doesn't grasp the reality of global politics. He does not suffer fools gladly, even if they are everyday voters.
It is that anger -- and his hard-right agenda -- that appeals to the equally angry, hard-right primary Republicans.
But, those are the same traits that eventually made
It was a blow out. Even more important it was a blowout despite the fact that Santorum spent $21 million on his campaign, saturating the airwaves with commercials. He ran a campaign without any major gaffes. Yet, he ended up losing by 18 points, which was close to the margin 20-point margin Casey had in the first public opinion polls.
In the east, he was anathema because of his politics. In his homebase in the west, he had lost voter favor because he was considered arrogant and out of touch -- too Washington insider for thier taste.
So, it raises this -- excuse me -- practical political consideration when it comes to a Santorum candidacy. If he has been repudiated in his home state, which is relentlessly centrist, how can he win in a head-to-head with Obama?
I don't think he could carry
In 2006, Casey beat Santorum in
Finally, it will be a lot easier for Obama to move to the center than Santorum. Among independent and moderate voters, Santorum will be saddled with his conservative record in the Senate. There is also the record that will be left with his mandatory pandering during primary season to the Republican base.
In sum, Santorum is a smart politician with an anger level that appeals to Republican primary voters. But, if you want to peer a little ahead, ask yourself this if you are a Republican: How can he win nationwide if he can't even carry his home state?
-- Tom Ferrick
-- Tom Ferrick