No, I’m not suggesting that Rick Santorum is going to die. I am saying that April 24th will determine not only whether or not he should even bother going to the Convention this year, but also whether or not he has a political career in his future at all.
The only thing saving Santorum right now is that the Romney campaign soft-pedaled a little on their advertising, in deference to the Santorum family, and the fact that their child Bella was in the hospital. She was released last night, so it wouldn’t be surprising to hear that the Romney camp would put that attack ad on air later this week. Unless, of course, Santorum would decide to bow out.
If anyone is thinking that Pennsylvania isn’t the end of the road for Santorum, they haven’t been paying attention. He not only needs to win – he needs to win big, in order to justify moving on in the primaries. Suggestions that he drop out before the April 24th primary are not only wise, but also the most logical solution for this campaign.
Newt Gingrich has all but dropped out, admitting on-air that Romney is the man in November. Ron Paul was marginalized shortly after the primary field started thinning out. While there are four choices on the ballots now, it’s been becoming abundantly clear that the bottom three really have no chance to defeat Romney. The only chance they have is to raise hell at the Convention. Any candidate that chooses to do that should be considered finished politically. Whether or not the GOP will stand by that conviction remains to be seen.
As for Santorum, if he does not have a massive showing of support in Pennsylvania, beating Romney by a double-digit spread, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that his political career is over. Now, to be fair, when Santorum lost to Casey in 2006, and broke down in tears at the podium, several campaign consultants figured he was finished, myself included. Bluntly, he should have been. Tears of joy are fine at a victory party. But, breaking down at the podium and crying simply because you lost by double-digits? That’s no better than a baby crying over losing a balloon. When he announced that he was running for President, I nearly choked. That he made it this far isn’t a testament to anything that he has accomplished. It is a statement about the bullshit that people are willing to swallow in the name of putting a fellow follower of the same deity in the White House at all costs. If the people that voted for Santorum were honestly voting for him, and not for his radical religious platform, then the GOP is screwed up far more than anyone can imagine.
Pennsylvania is not an evangelical state. We have pockets of these sorts of voters sprinkled throughout, between the major cities. But, given the economy, it’s a fair guess that the people here will be more concerned with getting a handle on spending. We already know about Santorum’s love affair with earmarks, and have been made aware of the financial situations he has been mired in since his 2006 loss. We know that he collected large sums of money for non-profit work, and that the vast majority of those funds went to pay his friends to administer those organizations, instead of actually helping people. It was a microcosm of bloated government, something we know we can’t afford anymore as taxpayers. Santorum’s only “base” are the single-issue voters that won’t vote for anyone that even whispers that they are pro-choice. The fact that the majority of them are registered Republican works to his advantage, however, it probably won’t make a difference anyway. This is a beauty contest. Electoral votes from Pennsylvania are not determined by the popular vote. Santorum hasn’t seriously courted delegates here – Romney has. That is why it’s being suggested that Santorum drop out before this primary – save face, and live to fight another day. Personally? Bring it Rick! I want to watch you go down, and hopefully end up with no chance in 2016, 2020, etc.