Like Newt Gingrich, he’s not going to win the nomination, and I suspect he knows it. But I get the impression that he doesn’t really care who wins in November – unless it’s him.
Where did I get an idea like that? From Rick Santorum himself.
On the campaign trail in San Antonio, he said: “You win by giving people a choice,” You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there.”
He’s got every right to take a shot at Mitt Romney. And he’s got every right to believe he’s stands a better chance of defeating President Obama than does Romney, even if he’s wrong. But what he said next was just plain petulant.
“If they’re going to be a little different,” he said, “we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk of what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate for the future.” That was a reference to a Romney adviser’s comment that “everything changes” when the campaign begins in earnest in the fall. “It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch,” the adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said. “You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”
Usually the politically dumb statements come from Romney himself. Does this gaffe feed into the image that Romney is a waffler who will say anything that serves his political purposes at the moment? Yes. It’s Romney’s biggest weakness and for good reason: he is a waffler. But Santorum went way too far in saying Romney is no better than President Obama, prompting this entirely accurate headline in the Washington Post: Santorum says voters might as well re-elect Obama because Romney offers little difference
(Hit with a barrage of criticism from Republicans for his comment, Santorum now says the “we” in “we might as well stay with what we have …” refers to “we, the American people” — the American electorate — who he says would figure, why not stay with President Obama if Romney is the GOP nominee. “I would never vote for Barack Obama over any Republican and to suggest otherwise is preposterous,” Santorum explained. This is how politicians walk back their mistakes. I suspect no one will buy it.)
I could never picture Rick Santorum in the Oval Office. He always struck me as the annoying goody two shoes kid in high school who you wanted to slap around simply on principle. Then when he began sharing his religious beliefs with the American people I started believing that if this guy could snap his fingers or wave his magic wand, he’d turn the United States into a theocracy. That may not be a fair characterization, of course, but that’s the impression he gave me – and I suspect it’s the impression he gave a lot of others who will decide if Mr. Obama stays or goes.
Those of us who want Barack Obama to go should now also want Mr. Santorum to go.