Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

"Rick Santorum, We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting."
The Republican candidate dropped out of the presidential race  just days after his 3-year-old daughter (see a photo) was hospitalized.Former New Hampshire Governor and Romney supporter, John Sununu, says Rick Santorum has “lost it” as the Pennsylvania Senator of yore attempts to walk back his comment that President Obama would be better than President Romney. But Sununu’s belief that Santorum has gone bonkers begs an obvious question.

Did Santorum ever really have it?
Sure, nobody had Santorum making it this far early on in the campaign, but it makes sense if you think about it. There’s nothing Romney could have done to truly convince the GOP base that he’s the conservative candidate. Maybe if YouTube didn’t exist he’d have a shot. Unfortunately for Romneytron, clips where the former governor distances himself from GOP darling, Ronald Reagan, are easier to find than new clips of Mitt proclaiming his staunch conservatism. And this is where it makes sense that Santorum would come in and be successful.
Conservative Republicans needed someone to vote for that championed their ideals and had no chance at actually winning the primary – like most truly staunch candidates. Mitt isn’t it. That left conservatives with either Santorum or Gingrich. And considering morality is a big thing with these folks, banging broads while married on the side wasn’t going to fly, even if it was – in a sense – impressive, considering Gingrich’s generally repulsive appearance and demeanor.
But Sununu is right. Santorum really has “lost it” (again, if he ever “had it) if he thinks there’s a prayer that he’ll beat Romney at this point. As a comedian, I’d love to see him stick around and yell “bullshit” at more reporters. But methinks we’ll be hearing about Santorum’s final departure from the national stage, especially as Romney gets ready to pick a running mate.
Formerly surging GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, now struggling, is trying to deny ever saying, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” Even though the day after he appeared to make that familiar old GOP argument, he didn’t deny it. What gives?

Let me try to give Santorum the benefit of the doubt, for a minute. Even on Monday, I noted that his “black people” comment seemed like a strange non sequitur, because no one was talking about race. The former Pennsylvania senator was in the middle of a typical rant about welfare, specifically Medicare, when he made the remark. On the other hand, I watched and listened to the CBS News video repeatedly, and I had no doubt he said “black people.”

And on Monday, when Santorum was asked about his strange racial comment by CBS’s Scott Pelley, he didn’t deny making it, and seemed to justify it with a reference to the movie “Waiting for Superman,” the controversial pro-charter school documentary that depicts black families struggling to get into good schools. “I’ve seen that quote, I haven’t seen the context in which that was made,” Santorum told Pelley. “Yesterday I talked, for example, about a movie called, um, what was it? ‘Waiting for Superman,’ which was about black children and so I don’t know whether it was in response and I was talking about that.” Santorum went on to say: “If you look at what I’ve been saying, I’ve been pretty clear about my concern for dependency in this country and concern for people not being more dependent on our government, whatever their race or ethnicity is.”

But now he’s telling CNN and Fox News, “I didn’t say black.” Think Progress tracks his changing story. He told John King Wednesday night: “I’ve looked at that quote, in fact I looked at the video. In fact, I’m pretty confident I didn’t say black. I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — mumbled it and sort of changed my thought.”

That’s interesting. It’s even possible. On Tuesday, No More Mister Nice Blog, which regularly skewers Santorum and the right, argued that it wasn’t clear Santorum said the word “black,” and that, in fact, Santorum’s larger point was that government programs are out to enslave all of us, not merely black people. Mediaite reporter Tommy Christopher made the same point in a post arguing that Santorum had made a garbled sound, something like “blargh,” rather than saying “black.” I listened closely to the tape again, and I continued to hear “black,” but I acknowledge there’s room to disagree.

Still, no one likes to be accused of racism, not even the vast majority of Republicans. So why wouldn’t Santorum immediately tell Pelley he didn’t say it – especially if he didn’t? Most people who hadn’t made the comment would have said something like, “I’m sorry, you must have heard me wrong. There’s no way I’d ever say anything like that.” But here, let me give Santorum a little bit of credit: He didn’t say that to Pelley, because in fact, it’s not true. It’s quite possible he would say something like that.

As I wrote on Monday, when the CBS story broke, Santorum’s comment about black people is straight from the GOP playbook that created the “Reagan Democrats” to whom Santorum supposedly appeals. That playbook helped convince the white working class that the government is taking their money and giving it to undeserving black people. When pollster Stan Greenberg did his groundbreaking 1985 study on Macomb County, Mich., the original home of Reagan Democrats, he found that its voters saw the federal government “as a black domain where whites cannot expect reasonable treatment” – a view Republicans had been encouraging at least since Richard Nixon.

But lately, as No More Mr. Nice Blog argues, the GOP has actually updated its argument, to make clear that all of us are potential “takers,” not just black people. The sympathetic way to frame that is to say, as Santorum does, that President Obama and Democrats want all of us to be “dependent.” The not so sympathetic way is to attack vast swaths of the public – cops, firefighters, teachers; Social Security and Medicare recipients, people receiving unemployment insurance – as the new welfare cheats. That’s been the tack of Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, which may now be backfiring.

So, in fact, it’s possible Santorum didn’t say “black people.” (Although I still have to ask, if he admits he said “blah” people, what was he really trying to say? Blond people? Bloggers? Bland people?) But normally, if you’re accused of racism, you’re horrified and deny it immediately. You don’t wait days, until you see it’s a political liability, and then deny it. Unless you’re a Republican, where you know it can benefit you with some folks and not with others. That’s a classic example of dog-whistle politics. Santorum may just be trying to have it both ways.

It’s a little bit like Ron Paul’s evolving story on his newsletters. Confronted about their racism when he campaigned to return to Congress in 1996, Paul first tried to defend the remarks. It wasn’t until 2001 that he floated the notion that someone else had written the newsletters, and it’s only recently that he completely deplored their racism and claimed he had absolutely no idea what was in them.

In Santorum’s case, it’s only taken days, not years, for him to deny making the remarks. Maybe that’s progress. I think it’s also a symbol of his not ready for the big time campaign. Santorum was the last candidate to get the front-runner treatment from a GOP base that hates Mitt Romney, just in time to almost beat Romney in Iowa. Now it looks like he’s going to do what his predecessors did and melt under the spotlight.
In one of those “what was he thinking” type moments, GOP White House hopeful Rick Santorum singled out Blacks as being dependent on government entitlement programs, such as welfare and Medicaid. Santorum told a mostly white audience in Iowa earlier this week that he doesn’t want to "make Black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money."

Odder still, as CBS News reports, is the fact that the statement was in response to a question about how to reduce foreign influence on the nation’s economy. Santorum recalled a conversation he’d had with a welfare department employee in the state who said the state could be fined for not signing up enough people on Medicaid.

“They're just pushing harder and harder to get more and more of you dependent upon them so they can get your vote. That's the bottom line," he said, adding, "I don't want to make Black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."

When asked about the comment, Santorum said that he’s concerned about people being dependent on government regardless of their race or ethnicity. According to CBS News, in Iowa nine percent of Blacks receive food stamps, compared to 84 percent of whites.

Speaking on NBC News’ Meet the Press, Santorum accused President Obama of being divisive, calling him the “divider in chief.”

“This president goes out and gives speech after speech after speech trying to divide America between class, between income group, between racial and ethnic groups, this is the great Divider-in-Chief,” he said. “And it's very difficult when you're being lampooned by the president on a regular basis, not just as a party, but individually."
Rick Santorum may have gotten a “rocket boost” out of Iowa, as one political commentator puts it, but next Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary could bring him back to earth.His near-tie with Mitt Romney in Iowa can certainly help the former Pennsylvania senator outperform his polling in the Granite State – just 5 percent support in a Suffolk University poll conducted among likely GOP voters on Jan. 1 and 2.

But with little money and a small organization on the ground here, a week is not much time to capitalize on the surge of attention he’ll receive. And the demographics here aren’t as natural a fit for Mr. Santorum’s socially conservative message as they were in Iowa.

Election 101: Nine things to know about Rick Santorum and his White House bid

The support Santorum has galvanized here is largely based on his antiabortion stance, but there are fewer voters here for whom that’s a top priority, political science experts say.“The independents here are going to make a big difference, and I don’t believe Santorum plays as well [with them] as he does with the corn-fed evangelical Christians in Iowa,” says Patrick Griffin, an unaligned Republican strategist and senior fellow at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.

Santorum, who was expected to arrive in New Hampshire for campaign events Wednesday, does have some factors working to his advantage.

His national campaign manager, Mike Biundo, is from New Hampshire and has been involved with campaigns here before. Santorum also has at least 23 state legislators endorsing him.

And the retail politicking that paid off for him in Iowa is often rewarded by voters here as well. Santorum can be credited for “working very hard here in the first six months of the year ... but since then he’s hardly been here at all,” says Fergus Cullen, former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.

“There was a cost to him getting all those votes” in Iowa, adds Linda Fowler, a political scientist at Dartmouth College. “He was there all the time.”

Back when Jimmy Carter was able to use Iowa as a springboard, he had about a month before the New Hampshire vote, Professor Fowler says. “Santorum’s got six days.”

That’s barely enough time to process checks from supporters to pay for more air time in the intense media wars about to be unleashed. And some of that media barrage will certainly be directed against Santorum by supporters of Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney as Santorum moves into the “white hot intensity at the center of the political universe,” Mr. Griffin says.

Santorum campaigners say they’ll make a strong push in the state, including running some television ads.

He’s also helped by the fact that Michele Bachmann has ended her campaign and Rick Perry is leap-frogging to South Carolina.

While Romney’s lead in New Hampshire might be too big to overcome – he was at 43 percent in the Suffolk poll, with his nearest competitor, Ron Paul, at 16 percent – besting Paul or Newt Gingrich (9 percent) may be enough to keep the steam in Santorum’s campaign.

“What he wants out of New Hampshire is to beat the expectations game,” says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

That could give him time to raise money and capitalize on the strong Christian conservative support he could galvanize in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary, Professor Sabato says.

But it’s still be an uphill battle for Santorum, as it was for other candidates who didn’t have enough preparation in terms of money or volunteer troops. “You can ride the wave, but eventually the wave crashes into the beach and you have to have ability to swim out again to catch another wave,” Sabato says.


Rick Santorum Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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