It Is Also Time For Rick Santorum To Get Out Of The Race

With an apology to Quin Hillyer, who thinks that Santorum would be the ultimate Trump-killer were he allowed on a debate stage with The Donald (not sure where he gets that idea, or why at this point somebody beating Trump in a debate would move anybody’s vote, but to each his own).

The best retort to Quin comes also at the American Spectator, where Aaron Goldstein notes that Santorum is a lot more likely to attack Ted Cruz than Trump.

Social conservatives are Santorum’s bread and butter and if he wants his meal ticket back that means going after Cruz. If one reads Tim Alberta’s recent NRO profile of Santorum’s campaign in Iowa, their focus has been exclusively against Cruz, not Trump.In fact, Trump isn’t even mentioned in the article. It might very well be the only online piece pertaining to the 2016 GOP campaign that omits The Donald. It’s a slight exxageration, but not by much.

With all that said, Santorum does have dogged determination going for him. He doesn’t give up easily and this is surely an admirable trait in a presidential candidate. But it’s still a crowded field and Santorum hasn’t said or done anything to make himself stand apart, much less above it. So I very much doubt an appearance on the GOP debate main stage would do much to change his fortunes, much less those of Donald Trump.

And as if to punctuate Goldstein’s point, Santorum proceeded to do an interview with Newsmax TV that Goldstein picked up on in an update – and Streiff at RedState also grabbed it – trashing Cruz in a way that will just make you shake your head…

“It’s basically that he’s not the social conservative that he’s portraying himself to be and is the answer is he’s not,” added Santorum, citing a Politico story where Cruz said on a secret tape at a fundraiser that he wouldn’t make fighting same-sex marriage a top three priority in his administration.

“If people want to do drugs in Colorado, it’s fine with him,” said Santorum. “If people want have different kind of marriages, it’s fine with him. He doesn’t agree with it. If you want to have an abortion, it’s fine with him, he doesn’t agree with it, but he’s not gonna fight it. That’s not what people are looking for. They’re looking for someone who has a very clear vision of what’s right and what’s wrong and be able to lay that vision out for the American people.”

In other words, because Ted Cruz actually believes in the Constitution and believes in the 10th Amendment’s guarantee to states that they’ll get to make their own policies on subjects not expressly given to Congress to govern, somehow he’s not a social conservative.

Rick Santorum is of the idea that the federal government having maximum control over your life is just fine, so long as it’s a conservative president, a conservative Supreme Court and a conservative Congress exercising that control. Rick Santorum wants to make it so conservative congressmen from Idaho and Mississippi get to make laws forcing a hostile style of governance on Los Angeles and New York City.

Which is every bit as obnoxious as a lunatic neo-communist president from Chicago imposing cultural and economic Marxism on red-state America. It is a deeply unattractive point of view that has zero chance of garnering support from independents and moderate Democrats. It won’t even be popular with moderate Republicans.

Santorum has no concept of the famous Jeffersonian maxim “He who governs best, governs least.” Santorum makes it easy for the Left to call social conservatives “theocrats” and actually not be wrong.

Streiff does the counternarrative a service and explains why Santorum is played out…

The heart of conservatism, fiscal or social, is that smaller government is better government. What Santorum basically wants is for us to do to the left what they have been doing to us on social issues: use the power of the state to enforce their point of view.

There is nothing non-conservative about saying that you are willing to allow the voters of Colorado to legalize drugs or the voters of Massachusetts to legalize homosexual marriage. That doesn’t make those decisions right but what social conservatism is about is creating a space where people of faith are free to campaign to have their view be the dominant one. On abortion that means fighting in all states to have abortion outlawed. It doesn’t mean you have to win in all states. It means getting the Supreme Court out of these issues and not imposing Anthony Kennedy’s perverted view of human sexuality upon 300 million people.

In 2012, Santorum received nearly 25% of the vote in Iowa. Today his is polling a solid 0%. He has to be wondering why the voters who came out for him last time aren’t even listening to him. The obvious reason is that in 2012, homosexual marriage was a hot button issue. Today it is the law of the land and we are desperately fighting for the ability of religious people to not have to participate in this travesty. The battles are different. The battlefield has changed. Santorum’s social conservatism was never an easy fit with traditional live-and-let-live social conservatism and it is simply not viable today.

Indeed.

I have complained repeatedly, both here and at the Spectator, about Santorum’s choice to abandon what was a pretty good day job running a Christian movie production company in order to embark on a hopeless quest for the presidency. My take was that if you can change American culture in a fundamental way – and in particular to change the culture by convincing people to buy your products, not forcing that change by passing laws lots of people don’t like – you’ve made yourself far more significant than some mere politician will ever be. As the president of a film production company Santorum had the perfect opportunity to do that. Make art that moves people and implants a message in their hearts, and you might just make yourself immortal.

But now we see the essence of why Santorum is where he is. At the end of the day, Santorum can’t say that he’s in this race to promote social conservatism or a traditional American agenda. He’s in this race because he wants power over his fellow man and to use it to force people to change their lifestyles.

That is Stupid Party thinking at work. It’s precisely the kind of political attitude which doomed Bush Republicanism in the previous decade and gave us eight years of Obama.

The GOP is moving on from that. The GOP has emerged as a dominant governing party at the state level because it has recommitted itself to smaller and less-intrusive government, and in most places that’s working despite the damage Washington has done. And yet Rick Santorum is still taking the position that if Washington doesn’t force New York to ban gay marriages or abortion then that’s not social conservatism.

That’s tired. It’s played out. It’s why nobody is supporting Santorum. And it’s why he ought to go back to his old job and try to change the culture within the culture.

Editor’s Note: Yesterday I said it was time for Mike Huckabee to get out. See that one here.



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