I have to admit that even though I disagreed with almost everything that he claimed to stand for, I am genuinely bummed that Rick Santorum has dropped out of the presidential race. I agree with his decision to do it, and it was weeks (if not months) overdo, since we all knew that he wasn’t going to get the nomination. But I really wanted him to somehow make it happen.
I’m sure some people might assume that my desire to have Mr. Santorum’s silly ass as the Republican national candidate was motivated by the want for a weak candidate that would offer less of a challenge to President Obama. But that is not entirely true. I wanted him to get the nomination because I believe he was, as he often proclaimed, the most “conservative” candidate in the race, by the politically skewed definition of that word. He and I wanted the same thing. We both wanted that “clear contrast.” Now with Santorum out, and Mitt Romney almost guaranteed the nomination, if Romney loses it will be blamed on the party’s failure to nominate and run a truly conservative candidate. The “not conservative enough” excuse was born the very second that Santorum stepped down, and that baby will grow into the greatest and most popular excuse for any failures of the eventual candidate.
Hell, Santorum himself was alluding to it a week ago before he even decided to quit, when he compared his campaign to Ronald Reagan’s failed bid in 1976. (Ignoring that St. Reagan himself would be called a RINO by today’s Tea Party patriots)
That lame “not conservative enough” excuse is exactly why I wanted Rick Santorum to win the nomination. Every GOP candidate has been proclaiming themselves to be a true conservative while attempting to portray the other candidates as lesser so. The highest profile Republican spokespersons all use the word “moderate” as though it is the dirtiest thing any person could be called, except “liberal” of course. But liberals are clearly the god-hating creation of the devil, so they’re hopeless. Many GOP supporters, Republican Party members, and conservative pundits have expressed a desire to seek out the most conservative candidate that they can find, and that message has clearly been heard. How else can people like Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, and Rick Santorum all attain front-runner status while aggressively alienating the independent voter? Why did John Huntsman’s declaration that he believed in evolutionary science and demonstrated willingness to work with a democrat essentially kill his chances to even compete?
Now, I’m not stupid. Not completely stupid anyway. I know that in any election, anything can happen. And with 2010’s Citizens United decision now allowing unlimited corporate influence and the people’s complacent reaction to blatant misinformation it would be incredibly naïve to assume that Rick Santorum couldn’t win an election against Barack Obama. But if he could, that would be a valuable learning experience too. If someone that openly states that he would roll back even those tiny steps made toward equality for homosexuals, that proudly participates in the ongoing over-involvement with women’s reproductive choices, that clearly doesn’t understand the separation of church and state, that would admittedly get us involved in another unnecessary war, and that accuses the federal government of waging a war on religion while at the same time feeding the paranoia of the nonexistent threat of Sharia law can win, I need to know that. I need to know that I am in a country of people that I cannot relate to anymore. I need to know that my retirement plans will have to include moving to another country. Adjustments would have to be made.
The search for the most conservative candidate possible has to be predicated on the belief that the majority of the country is sitting in nervous anticipation of a candidate to the extreme right. Doesn’t it have to be? If someone wants to collect as many votes as possible, wouldn’t they naturally have to align themselves with as many people as possible? Pandering to an extreme minority would seem to be a poor strategy in winning any majority-rule competition. But that is what it appears the GOP is saying. They are not doing it of course, because Mitt Romney is definitely not the most conservative candidate. But it is what they are saying and that is why Romney can’t seal the deal. They want someone further to the right.
I don’t understand that desire at all, but I wanted them to succeed. Why? Because I think that the further right (or left for that matter) a candidate gets, the less likely they are to win. And if they could nominate their dream vision of a super conservative and that super conservative got destroyed in the general election by a President that they’ve labeled as some extreme liberal Islamo-socialist boogie man, then they would have to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they are in fact not in step with what the majority of the good people of this country believe. I know that no matter what happens, the far right will never acknowledge that they are not a majority. They have created such a vivid alternate reality to this one, that normal communication with that world has become difficult. But having their dream candidate lose to their fabricated demon-monster of a president would have to cause some moment of pause. And I wanted that pause…way more than I want to hear the excuses.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin.