April 10th, 2012

Santorum’s out

Rick Santorum is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination.

The polls in Pennsylvania must have been brutal.

So the last viable non-Romney standing has been defeated—and that leaves Romney, standing. (Ron Paul remains standing as well, but he was never really the non-Romney alternative, he was always a phenomenon unto himself. And Newt Gingrich is kind of lying down.)

I think Romney has shown us a couple of things about his personality. One is that he’s not afraid of a fight, or even fighting dirty if need be. Another is that he’s very organized. A third is that he isn’t easily rattled or disheartened. All those things will come in handy for the main event.

51 Responses to “Santorum’s out”

  1. rickl Says:

    Looks like I’ll be voting for Ron Paul in the PA primary.

    Again.

  2. T Says:

    Now let’s get down to the serious business: defeating Obama in November.

  3. Kae Arby Says:

    One is that he’s not afraid of a fight, or even fighting dirty if need be.

    I really hope so, but I seem to recall the last Republican presidential nominee wasn’t afraid of a fight when his oponents had an (R) after their names. Once he had to face someone with a (D) after his name, well…

    KRB

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    Kae Arby: one thing I don’t understand is the propensity to see Romney as McCain. They have very different personalities, styles, backgrounds, histories. Romney has already come after Obama harder than McCain ever did.

  5. Don Carlos Says:

    always follow the money—-> Mitt.
    I’d feel better about Mitt if Arpaio endorsed him, or vice versa.

  6. Steve Says:

    Does Romney have a personality? That seems to be one of the major criticisms of him. That and the fact that he comes across as a pro status quo squish.

  7. Rob Says:

    I can’t believe I’m being put in the position of having to vote for Romney. I just cannot believe that he is the alternative my party is offering up to Obama. Until the election is over, I’ll play ball. I’ll vote for Romney, if I must. But after the election is over, woe unto all those Republican incumbents who supported Romney. I and others like me will not rest until they are drummed out of office.

  8. holmes Says:

    I think Romney will make for a very good President. Not a great one, but we don’t need greatness right now, and it’s usually an illusion. We need a competent manager who will work with the Republican congress. I think someone who has already endorsed the radical Ryan plan (that balances the budget in like 40 years; so radical) will do so.

  9. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: I wonder how much you’ve actually seen of Romney.

    I wrote a post about Romney and emotional intensity, here.

    Here’s another clip to watch. You may not like his personality, or you may not find it strong enough, but he certainly has one, and he certainly is criticizing Obama in strong although not nasty terms (which I think is the right combination to hit):

  10. Charles Says:

    I can here to say what T just said:

    Good! “Now let’s get down to the serious business: defeating Obama in November!”

  11. texexec Says:

    Right…time to concentrate on Romney beating the hell outta Obama AND…

    …AND…

    …electing as many Republican congress persons as possible.

  12. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Thanks for the video, neo. I have not been paying that much attention to the race since it evolved into a three-way between Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. I just didn’t want to tune in the negativity. This speech gave me a chance to see Romney as the nominee.

    Romney’s not an inspirational speaker, but this was, IMO, a speech that had enough meat in it to show the clear difference between he and Obama.

    Up to this point I’ve been sitting on my checkbook. I’m sending my first check to him today. The battle lines are getting clearer. On to November 6th!

  13. gcotharn Says:

    The comparison of Romney to McCain is about both lacking commitment to (and understanding of?) first principles of conservatism. As an adjunct to this, both tend to constantly accept the leftist premises which underlie loaded questions which are asked by media. When a candidate accepts the premises, he has already lost the engagement.

    Finally, both believe in adjusting their policies, and their campaign rhetoric, so as to attempt to attract moderate voters.

    There are major differences between Romney and McCain. Yet, first principles are embedded deep inside the psyches of conservative voters. That is what the comparisons are about.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: I fully understand those comparisons, although I disagree with them. But that wasn’t what was being discussed here. What was being discussed was propensity to fight Obama, and personality rather than principle. And that’s what I was addressing.

  15. Steve Says:

    neo, I’d love to be wrong about Romney. My take is that he will say anything to get the nomination and win the election and that once safely in power he will naturally embrace the warmed-over ideas of the establishment Republicans (i.e., RINOs). As his close advisor said, “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.” He’s telegraphing his intentions. This gaffe is no different than those of Obama (spreading the wealth, transforming America).

  16. holmes Says:

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2012/04/george-zimmermans-lawyers-withdraw.html

    totally off topic, but Althouse is looking for a psychologist to analyze what is going on here.

  17. Honeyimhome Says:

    I think the impression (to use the previous post: forced down the throat) is apt with Romney.

    He’s been a candidate whose resources seemed to far outpace his popularity with a conservative base.

    Do I feel his support was narrow but tall as a mountain. Sure. Is that a good thing? No, cause it feels like throat forcing.

    now I will get off the bittercakes for awhile, and celebrate that at least it is almost over.

  18. holmes Says:

    Some people will get to the acceptance stage of the Romney candidacy faster than others. Those who refuse will go to Ron Paul and pretend they’re making a difference, standing on principle, and whatnot.

  19. Rob Says:

    I won’t make the mistake of throwing my vote away on Paul when the chief objective has to be getting rid of Obama. But I guarantee you that, in any future Republican primary, I will vote against any Republican who helped put Romney where he is. It’s imperative that there be some serious, serious payback for what has happened, whether or not Romney actually wins.

  20. rickl Says:

    No, holmes, I’ll be voting for Paul (again) because I have no one else to vote for. That’s all.

    Maybe I’ll vote for Gingrich. He is the only candidate who takes space policy seriously at all. That’s very important to me. Unfortunately, while that is an enormous positive, it doesn’t outweigh his even more enormous negatives as a candidate.

    Romney’s space policy, if you can call it that, consisted of mocking and ridiculing Gingrich’s policy. He apparently regards space policy solely as a means to get laughs from a debate audience.

    Acceptance? Not. Gonna. Happen. I WILL NOT vote for Romney under ANY circumstances. PERIOD.

  21. J.L. Says:

    T said (Seconded by Charles) :
    Now let’s get down to the serious business: defeating Obama in November.

    texexec said:
    Right…time to concentrate on Romney beating the hell outta Obama AND…

    …AND…

    …electing as many Republican congress persons as possible.

    I agree with these sentiments. Lets unite and get rid of Obama and his minions in Congress… the ones that tried to impose “cap and trade,” who enacted the Obamacare monstrosity, and who increased this nation’s debt with the pork-laden “stimulus.”

  22. Rose Says:

    Time to end the circular firing squad – and remember that a box of rocks is preferable to Obama, the activist in chief.

    Really, people should be marching in the streets over what he has done and is doing to this country, to Israel, to freedom – forget the #Occupiers! Get mad! And get to work.

  23. Darrell Says:

    Rickl, so you’re an obama supporter now eh? I’m shocked.

  24. rickl Says:

    Stuff it, Darrell.

  25. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    Regardless of your opinion of Romney, any vote for anyone BUT Romney is essentially an “I don’t care” vote that favors Obama.

    And President Downgrade wants that, because he is betting the not-Romney fools outnumber the people against him.

    Y’know, if you really, really believe there’s no difference, that the next 4 years aren’t going to have a lasting effect that will affect not only your lives, but the lives of others for decades, you’re an idiot studying hard to be a moron and failing.

    In addition to the policies he will implement, there is a substantial chance that the next PotUS will select at least one and probably two SCotUS justices.

    If you believe that those choices by Romney are not going to be at least somewhat better than any possible such choices by The Great Big 0, then I really have to challenge your capacity to responsibly vote.

  26. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States Says:

    rickl, one question, which my comment above makes my own position clear on (sorry if that makes it seem personal) —

    AFTER the primaries, when it comes down to O-v-R, even or especially if there are “side bets” like Paul running on some other ticket — will you still not vote for Romney then?

  27. rickl Says:

    I’m not interested in discussing it further.

  28. Rob Says:

    I will hold my nose and vote for Romney, but I do think it’s worth thinking about under what circumstances, if any, it is rational to vote for a third party candidate one feels passionately about. How many times should we walk away from the voting booth knowing that we’ve “settled” for a candidate we don’t really like? Must we always resign ourselves to the lesser of two evils? Is this really what we want to do?

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Steve: the Etch-a-Sketch remark (not uttered by Romney, by the way), was made by an adviser on the topic of campaign strategy for the primaries in general. Every candidate in both parties plays to the base in the primaries and moves somewhat to the middle in the general campaign. Every single one, if they have any chance to win at all.

    Most people here who talk about Romney as having no conservatives principles have not actually studied him in depth. I have—which of course is not to say that I know for sure what is in his heart. Only he does. But most people who say he has no conservative convictions are just using sound bites culled from moments where he is not speaking (like the Etch a Sketch remark) that are pulled out of context, or clips where he is speaking during the 1994 debates with Ted Kennedy when he was running for his senate seat. The great majority of these quotes that purport to tell the real (and liberal) Romney were taken from those 1994 debates, where Romney had to emphasize the fact that he wasn’t way to the right in order to have any chance at winning.

    If you want to criticize him, it makes far more sense to criticize him for presenting himself as more liberal than he really was back then, rather than to say that now he’s presenting himself as more conservative than he really is. By the way, he also has stated that as he’s gotten older, he has become more conservative. Since that’s the theme of this blog (and of one of today’s posts), I tend to believe him. That’s a much more common trajectory than becoming more liberal over time.

    Have you ever read a biography of him, or the books he’s written? Have you ever wondered why, if he’s such a liberal, he wanted to unseat Ted Kennedy? Surely he could have chosen some other office to run for, and even run as a Democrat? Why run as a Republican in Massachusetts? Wouldn’t that seem a rather tough nut to crack? In fact, he ran for the Senate in 1994 because he thought Kennedy was too liberal and thought he might have a chance to unseat him, and in fact did better against him than any Republican had, although in the end Kennedy defeated him. Why do you think he ran for governor as a Republican? Because he wanted to bring a sense of greater fiscal responsibility to the running of the state. If he had just wanted power and was actually a liberal, he could have picked a much better and easier way to get it than to lie and present himself as somewhat of a conservative in order to win office in Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the US. Do you really think it was easier to become a Republican governor of Massachusetts than it would have been to become a Democratic one?

    And why did he veto so many bills in Massachusetts if he had no conservative principles? It certainly wasn’t going to make him more popular.

    Here’s the chairman of the American Conservative Union, Al Cardenas, on the subject:

    Cardenas says he has always felt that Romney is a conservative who is the most competent presidential candidate and would have the best chance of defeating President Obama.

    “It’s not that difficult to be a successful conservative governor of Oklahoma,” Cardenas says. “It’s far more difficult to be a conservative governor of Massachusetts. Mitt Romney clearly ran the executive branch of government in Massachusetts as far to the right as one possibly could.”

    Cardenas cites the fact that Romney vetoed more than 800 bills that he felt conflicted with fiscal and social conservative principles. He balanced the budget and left a surplus.

    Romney’s healthcare plan for Massachusetts was developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation. At the time, Gingrich and other conservative leaders endorsed the idea. The Massachusetts legislature, where 85 percent of the members were Democrats, tacked on provisions that made the legislation more costly, Cardenas says.

    “Romney has clearly said that the federal mandate at the heart of the Obama healthcare bill is unacceptable,” Cardenas says. “He’s clearly said that he would work with the Congress to repeal it on day one of his presidency. And he clearly has said he would give day-one waivers to all the states to abandon it. I’m comfortable with that answer, and I’m comfortable with the fact that he would govern as a conservative.”

    As for the claim that Romney is a flip-flopper, “If you agree with that claim, then in essence you’re closing the door to everyone who has transitioned in their public views,” Cardenas says. “As conservatives, we’ve always had a penchant for embracing those who found their way into our ranks. We did that with Ronald Reagan, who proved to be every bit as trustworthy as we had hoped.”

    Especially on some social issues, Romney’s thinking has evolved, Cardenas says.

    “He’s been preaching the conservative message now for a long time, and I take him at his word that he’s had this conversion on a few critical issues,” Cardenas says. “I know that he’s always governed as conservatively as he could, given the circumstances. I’m comfortable with his evolution, and I’m comfortable with the honesty and integrity of that evolution.”

    Cardenas says Romney’s character is flawless.

    “He has a reputation that is beyond reproach in the business world, which is as cutthroat a world as there is at his level,” Cardenas says. “In terms of his family life, he’s been a loyal husband and loving father for four decades, and he’s led an admirable personal life, not only with his family but with his faith, in terms of how much effort and resources he’s put to support his faith, and those who depend on it.”

  30. Foxfier Says:

    Rick Santorum is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination.

    The polls in Pennsylvania must have been brutal.

    His daughter just got out of the hospital.

    There’s a good chance she won’t survive until the election this fall.

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    Foxfier: yes, I just saw that Santorum had cited his daughter’s illness as part of the reason; in the earlier article I’d read he’d said his daughter was doing well. My guess is that it’s both his daughter’s health and poor polls in Pennsylvania together that made him decide it was time to get out. Why sacrifice his family and personal life in a losing effort?

  32. T Says:

    “Have you ever wondered why, if [Romney's] such a liberal, he wanted to unseat Ted Kennedy? Surely he could have chosen some other office to run for, and even run as a Democrat? Why run as a Republican in Massachusetts?”

    The explication in that entire comment is a compelling and little noted defense of Romney. It’s one of those arguments that flies underneath the radar because we all seem preoccupied with a “greater picture”; myself included.

    As I, a former Gingrich supporter, have noted in the past, even if Romney is as malleable as some believe, then that might serve conservatives well if he is presented with a very conservative congress.

    Clearly the down-ticket races are particularly important this election cycle. I, in PA, will be donating and perhaps working to unseat our Dem Senator Casey who basically wins elections running on his father’s name.

  33. Jenna Says:

    Sometimes I wonder if Conservative animus directed at Romney isn’t, in fact, misplaced rage towards Obama. An Obama Derangement Syndrome building up over the past three years that is killing rational analysis. Hopelessness turned in on itself, like an over-active autoimmune system. The President’s radical policies and a broken media seem to be calling up the need for some kind of salvation or symmetry through the pure Conservative candidate, which, of course, doesn’t exist and never did. Those who think that a third party candidate is the answer have lost their way.

  34. Parker Says:

    “Must we always resign ourselves to the lesser of two evils? Is this really what we want to do?”

    I vote for the Libertarian whenever I feel my vote does not matter. I vote, holding my nose, for the republican whenever I sense my vote may actually count. That is my advice, take it or leave it.

    I’m all for voting your conscience. But if your conscience tells you, in what will be a close election, that voting for someone other than Romney is somehow noble, you might want to leave your conscience at home when you enter the voting booth. Otherwise, you are voting for BHO. ABO!

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    Jenna: actually, I think it’s partly that but also, in greater part, animus against McCain’s performance in 2008. Conservatives were very angry that he was nominated, and extremely angry that he lost, which seemed to vindicate their earlier anger. In 2008, Romney as a candidate was considered far more conservative than McCain, you may remember, and he was endorsed by a lot of conservatives. McCain not only won the nomination (perhaps because the conservative vote was split among Romney and Huckabee and others like Thompson), but he refused to really go after Obama with vigor. I think people blame RINOs and the “Republican establishment” for McCain’s loss, and Romney now seems to fit the McCain template in their minds. The displaced anger is at McCain.

  36. foxmarks Says:

    rickl: You’re not alone. This development confirms I will be an Obama voter, but never an Obama supporter. I suppose I might write in RP instead of my usual Daffy Duck, but I get so much personal benefit from telling Progs I voted for *their* fascist, it’ll be tough to decide which trash can to cast my vote into.

    To most of the rest of y’all, I will enjoy my smugness and “told ya so”s starting November 7th.

    Political change is best a constant and permanent condition, not just kneeling in different pews. Morality transcends, government is transitory.

  37. expat Says:

    Jenna,
    You are right that many people are so sick of Obama’s narcisssism and smarminess that we want him called on it. This is compounded by the press adulation that is so impressed with the Harvard degree (which Mitt has too) and the creases of his pants. How stupid do you have to be to call for a surge in A’stan at the same time you announce a withdrawal date? Yet most of the press ignores such things, and we want to shout.

    I think that Romney knows the shout would feel great, but that to win, he needs a more subtle strategy of chipping away of people’s confidence in The Won. Also, the subtle condescension of “he’s a nice guy, but he’s in over his head” will provoke Obama into saying even more outrageous things. And Romney probably is counting on discouraging former Obama groupies so they stay home in Nov. He just has to keep chipping away with messages directed at specific audiences.

    One thing people forget is that Romney is really smart. He just doesn’t brag about it.

  38. holmes Says:

    Good ol’ Foxmarks, still trying to bring the system down from within. Was that your platform when you ran for city council? “Vote for me; I’ll turn this place to ruin much more quickly so we can properly renew and grow correctly the next time!”

    Or do you lack the courage of your professed conviction?

  39. holmes Says:

    I have known a few Mormons in my life and they are profoundly socially conservative. Running against abortion in Massachusetts, a very liberal state, would have have been a fool’s errand. First, the state can only nibble around the edges as it is an individual right created by the Supreme Court. Secondly, even if that were not the case, he would have just lost. Period. The nation’s overall viewpoint on abortion is shifting, but Mass in the mid 90′s? No chance.

  40. Colin Says:

    I have to admit that I will never to the end of my days, understand the mindset of those who throw their votes in protest or just stay home. Politics is the art of the possible, and that includes taking your fellow citizen’s viewpoints into perspective. You vote for the one who will do the better job at the end of the day. By all means, work to change the system so that a better canidiate is chosen the next cycle, but your ‘protest’ vote isn’t likely to influence anything but your ego.

  41. Jenna Says:

    NEO,

    Yes, disgust with McCain for all those reasons you mentioned is definitely in that mix. I hope my instincts are right that Romney’s considerable political prowess will emerge in full on the hustings. I believe he can ride those waves.

  42. T Says:

    Above, (4/10/2012 @ 11:30 PM) I noted Neo-neocon’s compelling defense of Romney’s conservatism in a very blue state. Now, conversely, let me draw your attention to Prof. Wm Jacobson who notes that Romney, at least for the time being, seems insistent on playing in Obama’s arena:

    http://legalinsurrection.com/

    This had been on of my fundamental reasons for supporting Gingrich; he was really the only candidate who took the fight to the opposition and forced THEM to play on HIS turf. Let’s hope that this isn’t Romney’s long-term campaign strategy to Nov 6th.

  43. T Says:

    Note: That link takes you to the site. The post will be “Living in Obama’s World” (4/11/2012 @12:24).

  44. Mac Says:

    neo said: “I think people blame RINOs and the “Republican establishment” for McCain’s loss, and Romney now seems to fit the McCain template in their minds. The displaced anger is at McCain.”

    A good insight, I think. Not only for McCain’s loss, but for the fact that he was nominated in the first place–a man who is not just not especially conservative but doesn’t seem to like conservatives, and does seem to enjoy annoying them.

    Also of course there’s the fear that Romney is McCain II. But while I am not a Romney enthusiast I don’t think that’s true.

    It hardly makes up for the Obama presidency, but one benefit of McCain’s loss is that we did not have to endure Megan McCain as First Daughter.

  45. gcotharn Says:

    Jenna and neo,

    I think you both have hit on factors which are in play – including for me. I look at Obama as a prime opportunity to contrast, for benefit of voters, the failures of leftist philosophy against the solutions provided by conservative philosophy. McCain at this. Romney is using Obama as a prime opportunity to contrast capability (Romney’s) against lack of capability (Obama’s). I am less interested in contrasting capability than in contrasting philosophy.

    There is, also, the factor that campaigning on first principles is a superior campaign strategy, yet Romney follows an inferior strategy of pandering.

    There is, also, a factor, for me, of distaste for Romney’s personality. He is supercilious and arrogant. He is entitled. He is, worst of all, an extreme narcissist who solicits adoration.

    I compare his extreme narcissism to that of Bill Clinton. That type of narcissism does not engender principled understanding and principled action. Rather, that type of extreme narcissism creates a politician who dances around, always seeking the warm bathing glow of adoration from the maximum number of people. It creates an insecure POTUS who does not know what he stands for.

    I spent much of my life as this type of extreme narcissist. Like a former smoker who hates smoking, it now drives me crazy to see this trait in others – it reminds of my own shortcomings. And, seriously, this is a terrible trait in a POTUS.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Now that Romney is upon us, I will say this:

    though he does not understand first principles, he is a conservative politician, and that is something;

    he is very capable, and that is also something;

    he is energetic; he is experienced in how the world works; he is grounded by his religion and his family and his solid spouse. These are all valuable things.

  46. gcotharn Says:

    Re extreme narcissism as a horrible trait for a POTUS: creating a Bill Clinton type POTUS who does not know what he believes in and stands for

    I am trying to think of recent POTUS who did not suffer from this type of extreme narcissism, i.e. who did know what they believed in and stood for. Going backwards:

    GWB
    GHWB
    Reagan
    Ford
    Eisenhower
    Truman

    I might, also, include LBJ. He was an incredible ego, yet he knew what his principles were, and what he believed in, and he acted on that. Close call. He did say “I won’t be the first American President to lose a war”, and that statement is evidence of being a narcissist who is acting in search of adoration, and who is not acting upon principle.

  47. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: I have no idea why anyone would say Romney is an extreme narcissist. I see nothing in his life or personality to indicate anything other than the very minimum of narcissism necessary to any politician who would be president. Nothing extreme whatseover, and nothing even remotely in Obama’s ballpark.

  48. gcotharn Says:

    Clinton’s ballpark. Let me put it another way, out of the slim hope that it might strike a chord in you: Romney is a pleaser who wants people to like him.

  49. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: that is not “extreme narcissism.”

    Go to Dr. Sanity’s and read some of the posts on narcissism and malignant narcissism.

  50. gcotharn Says:

    Thank you for the tip. Sanity’s site, and Shrinkwrapped, is where I first encountered descriptions of extreme narcissism. Which I define as acting, not out of deeply held principle, but rather out of desire to accumulate the adoration of others.

  51. neo-neocon Says:

    gcotharn: read a biography of Romney and I think you’ll be disabused of the notion that he has that characteristic more than other politicians. And no, that’s not the definition of extreme narcissism, which has many traits that Romney lacks.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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