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There’s some alarm and frustration among conservatives that only 50 percent of Americans polled disapprove of Barack Obama’s performance in office.

To conservatives, the devastation Obama has wrought on the economy, on the Constitution and on the principles on which America has always stood is self-evident. They can’t figure out why 60 percent or 70 percent of Americans don’t see it.

They can’t believe after $4 gas prices, high unemployment, trillions more in debt and administration attacks on Americans’ First Amendment rights that disapproval is not stronger.

Let me explain why that is the case – and why 50 percent disapproval is about as high as you will ever see for any Democratic president.

This is a lesson I learned during the Clinton administration – another scandal-plagued, morally corrupt criminal enterprise that masqueraded as legitimate historical successors to the office of George Washington. No matter how bad the news got about Clinton, he retained 42 percent approval. He never dipped below that. It didn’t matter what he did. Even when he was accused of the violent rape of Juanita Broaddrick, it didn’t matter.

He could take campaign contributions from China. No problem.

He could abuse women in the White House. No problem.

He could make militarily significant high-technology transfers to China. No problem.

He could cover up the mysterious death of his legal counsel. No problem.

In fact, through every scandal, the support from his 42 percent base would strengthen. They would rally around him, dismissing the allegations as nothing more than political attacks from the “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”

Those of us who were exposing Clinton’s crimes in the 1990s faced political audits, break-ins at our offices and dirty tricks that rivaled anything Richard Nixon ever dreamed of.

That’s the way it worked back then. And it’s the same story today.

Don’t expect Obama’s base support to ever dip below 42 percent. What’s at contention in the 2012 presidential election is no more than 58 percent of the electorate. The other 42 percent is going with Obama – no matter what.

But just because 50 percent of the country disapproves of Obama doesn’t mean they will vote against him. That block also needs to rally around an opponent.

There is no way Mitt Romney is going to get those votes. This is what Republicans need to understand before this primary season is over and the Republican National Convention gets under way in Tampa. He is the gift Obama needs to be re-elected.

I believe as much as 10 percent of that block will sit out the election if faced with the choice of Obama or Romney. And with good reason.

America needs some strong medicine to overcome the damage Obama has inflicted on the country over the last three-and-a half years. Romney is not the antidote we need. He falls far short. His record betrays the lies he is telling America today. His campaign rhetoric is 180 degrees from what he has said and done throughout his political career. He is only saying what he knows he needs to say to win over Republican voters. In reality, he is not much different than Barack Obama, and, if elected, will take the country off the cliff because he will not reverse the momentum of recent years.

Can Obama be defeated? Yes, the polls show he is manifestly unpopular. The polls we see today are about as bad as they ever get for a Democratic president. But it takes someone special to defeat a Democratic president who panders to his base of 42 percent – and it’s not Romney.

There is only one viable alternative to Romney still in serious contention. And that is Rick Santorum. He’s not perfect. But he is real. He is sincere. He is a young conservative who has risen to the challenge. It’s time for everyone who wants to defeat Barack Obama to rally around him.

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