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Yes, Santorum can beat Obama

Posted By Tom Tancredo On 02/24/2012 @ 6:38 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments

One of the most reliable truisms in politics is full of irony: When it comes to predicting presidential elections, conventional wisdom is nearly always wrong.

Washington pundits talk and write mostly for themselves, and certainly not for the history books. If they were paid according to their track records as political prognosticators, they would all be on food stamps.

The conventional wisdom in 1960 was that John Kennedy could not win a debate against the experienced Richard Nixon. In 1966, the conventional wisdom said a lightweight movie actor named Ronald Reagan had no chance to unseat the popular incumbent Democratic governor of California. Conventional wisdom in 2008 said Barack Obama has no chance to beat the popular wife of a popular ex-president.

The conventional wisdom a year ago said Mitt Romney would run away with the Republican nomination.

Is there a pattern here? Politics is full of surprises, and 2012 is no different.

Forgive me if I am not impressed with today’s conventional wisdom about Rick Santorum and the handicap imposed by the so-called social issues: “A social-issues conservative like Santorum cannot win the presidency.”

Supposedly, social issues are “divisive.” So, this means economic issues are not? The class-warfare rhetoric of Barack Obama is the most divisive and demagogic rhetoric we have seen since the Progressive campaigns of the 1890s.

The rhetoric of the environmentalist lobby is not “divisive”? Oil companies who want to drill in the Gulf of Mexico are “raping Mother Earth”?

It’s easy in hindsight to see the errors in past predictions; their assumptions were all wrong. So, looking at Rick Santorum the candidate, let’s ask, how smart are today’s assumptions about his “electability”?

The first thing to understand about the 2012 presidential race is that it is unlike any other election in our history. It’s not comparable to 1948, nor 1960 or 1980, and not to the campaigns against incumbents in 1996 or 2004.

Our country is at a crossroads that is unparalleled in our history – and people know it. They may not understand why, but they know it in their hearts and feel it in their guts.

Put in the most simple terms, we are at a crossroads because Barack Obama has brought us there. He is the first genuine Marxist to sit in the White House, and his agenda is to dismantle our capitalist economy and destroy American influence in the world.

Obama’s policies place us at this crossroads of history. This year is different because there will be no turning back from the road to European-style socialism and Caesarism if Barack Obama wins a second term. Rick Santorum understands this.

Now, forgive me, but I cannot take seriously some celebrity pundit telling me Rick Santorum cannot beat Barack Hussein Obama because he has misgivings about the wisdom of schools distributing free condoms to 12-year-olds. And Santorum has the audacity to wonder aloud if rampant promiscuity promoted by popular culture might have a corrosive effect on our social fabric. As another prisoner of conventional wisdom once said in similar circumstances, “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch!

The “social issues lose elections” mantra is historically ignorant and embarrassingly shallow in its political correctness. Ordinary folks understand that many issues dismissed condescendingly as “mere” social issues are in fact loaded with economic significance. Remember the “welfare reform debate” of the1970s and 1980s? Was that a social issue or an economic issue? How about the civil rights revolution? Was that about jobs or was it about freedom and human dignity? The Vietnam War? Was that about oil or student loans?

Closer to home in 2012, how about the “jobs debate”? Is our ability to generate good jobs only a debate about the principles of economics? Is this not equally a religious debate between two contrasting worldviews? In truth, White House energy policy is not based on economics, Keynesian or otherwise. It takes the religious fervor of extreme environmentalism to block the Keystone Pipeline and offshore drilling while insisting on taxpayer subsidies for the Chevrolet Volt.

The unemployed pipe fitter or underemployed truck driver probably understands there is something deeper at work here. Obama’s ideology has abandoned economic development as a cornerstone of public policy: Obama simply does not give a damn about jobs in the energy sector unless they are taxpayer-subsidized “green jobs.”

And what happens if the economy continues to improve, gradually but steadily? Should the election be canceled and Obama declared president for life? Do these purveyors of moral myopia and intergenerational piracy have a “Plan B” for the Republican Party?

Come to think of it, why do so many self-styled “pragmatists” talk about the spiraling national debt as only an economic issue? Isn’t passing unsustainable debt to our children and grandchildren as much a moral issue as an economic one? Living in denial of approaching catastrophe is as much a case of moral indifference as it is economic sleep-walking.

What seems to upset so many Republican “strategists” is that Rick Santorum is as comfortable talking about these moral issues as he is discussing marginal tax rates or the cost of Obama’s failed stimulus program. Why is that a handicap?

When every pillar of American prosperity, every principle of American virtue and every article of constitutional liberty is under attack by Obama’s bureaucracy and its allies, why is it not an asset for a candidate to be able talk about all of these issues, not just unemployment trends? If “all of the above” is good energy policy, why isn’t it good politics as well?


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