Exit of a Social Conservative: When Rick Santorum throws in the towel in the Republication Nomination Process?

Keywords or Terms: Republican Nomination; Pennsylvania; Rick Santorum; Newt Gingrich; Ron Paul; Mitt Romney; Formidable Campaign; Political Strategy; Etch-A-Sketch Exercise; Game’s On; and General Elections.

The Exit of Rick Santorum from the Republican Nomination Process about a week ago is both an astute political strategy as well as a defeat of what was considered a social conservative resurgence in the Republican Nomination Process. Graciously as is often said, he who fights and runs lives to fight another day! Rick Santorum had waged a political war against Mitt Romney for the Republican Party nomination and had won eleven states just before he bowed out of the race. Despite what political pundits said about his financial anemic campaign in the earlier stages of the nomination process, Rick Santorum showed himself, a formidable campaigner; and, nearly won the hearts of the Republican status quo and many Republican voters on the fringes, except for his inability to bring in more monetary donations from supporters that could have seen him through.

As is often said, money is the life blood of any political campaign. Without enough political contributions or personal wealth, many politicians can hardly fight a formidable campaign against an opponent. The chances that Rick Santorum’s campaign could survive on a shoe string budget or piggy bank, is actually slim, considering the mammoth size of the country; and, the number of required contacts with potential voters, to triumph in a bitterly fought nomination process. The blog today, explores what Rick Santorum recent move in the Republican Party nomination process means for his future ambition(s); and, why the move probably was the best of option available to him in the scheme of things.

Any time an aspirating politician for an office drops out of contest in the middle of a campaign spree or arrangement, there is often a cogent reason for that decision. A misguided motive may be adduced but in reality, the options available to that politician may be too limited, considering the terrain of possible outcomes in an impeding primary vote. The Pennsylvania primary and voting was expected to be tough for the son of the soil, Rick Santorum. Preliminary polling for the upcoming primary in the state of Pennsylvania put Rick Santorum, a couple of digits behind the front runner, Mitt Romney. Most contemporary surveys showed that the grassroots organization of Mitt Romney was paying off; even in a state that Rick Santorum was expected to win handily, considering this is his home state. However, the risk of a loss for Rick Santorum was very evident, and the steam rolling potential of Mitt Romney from three successive primary wins, just before Rick Santorum bowed out, was very mesmerizing or convincing. The likelihood was: Mitt Romney was about to outclass Rick Santorum in his home State, Pennsylvania. No one will therefore, fault the Pennsylvania native from bowing out. Compounding his challenge in the race towards the nomination, is the reality that, it is very possible that Rick Santorum will be unable to muster 80% of the remaining contests, to beat Mitt Romney to the 1144 delegates, to become the Republican nominee or flag bearer for the November 6th contest.

If Rick Santorum’s clout was promising, he may have been trilled to hold on till the last minute, hoping against all odds, to beat the front runner. If his campaign chest had been as rosy as Mitt Romney’s, he may have stood a better chance to wrestle the nomination from him. However, these were not so and his financiers were equally convinced that the odds were against their candidate at this stage of the contest. This is why you probably heard some backlash comments from Rick Santorum’s major financier to the effect that Mitt Romney, isn’t the best candidate to compete against President Barack Obama. Invariably, this is why some political pundits insisted that Rick Santorum was reading the writing on the wall loud and clearly; and, it would have been ingenious of him, to continue to play the odds, hoping that another candidate, Newt Gingrich, will choose to drop out, so his supporters may be heralded or convinced to throw their support or weight behind him. Yes, there were some Conservative Republicans that were not committed to New Gingrich; however, there are not enough of them that could move the needle of support for Rick Santorum to challenge the inevitability of Mitt Romney to become the Republican Party nominee.

Further, anytime Rick Santorum’s political advisers accosted the Newt Gingrich team, to see if there can be a resolution of the triage in the support from the Republican conservatives, they were often and handily rebuffed. Sadly too, a lack of commitment from this group to the social conservative message from Rick Santorum was going to undermine Rick Santorum’s chances of moving ahead. Additionally, few of some weary Republican conservatives, were interested in a war against women regarding the use on contraceptives or the place of religion in American politics or the role of government in public health, even though each of them hold some relative support for conservative values cherished by Rick Santorum. The missed opportunity or wasted chance is found in some gaffes from Rick Santorum, which placed him at a reasonable and relative disadvantage to compete against Mitt Romney for all conservative votes in the remaining states, where primaries and or caucuses were yet to be held.

Capitulation was inevitable for the second runner up to the Republican Party nomination for the flag bearer. He was only not handicapped financially; he was also handicapped by his tone of political message, even among Republicans. His choices of political fighting words were acceptable to some Republicans, many others within the Republican fold found it objectionable. Avoiding the obvious regarding the impossibility of harvesting enough delegates at this stage to stand at par or outclass Mitt Romney, will be delusional; and, this is probably one of the reasons Rick Santorum dropped out of the race. What were other reasons and what are the potential implications?

First, a prudent political observer must consider the question: what image does Rick Santorum want the Republican Party echelon or rank and file of the party, to have of him, in case he chooses to launch a possible campaign in 2016; or future years? Is it one of a spoiler or a team player, as he once construed of party politics? The road to the nomination process is not always abridged by a choice to drop out of a nomination in one year or season. An aspirant that drops out in one year to make way for another candidate with a better chance of advancing may actually create better fervor for his or her own candidacy in the future, in case he or she chooses to contest in the subsequent 4th, 8th or 12th year political increment competition. To ensure that a candidate does not loose support in subsequent nomination process, it may be wise to take the decision that Rick Santorum has taken in the Republican 2012 Nomination Process.

The questions asked by some political observers that it was just too early for Rick Santorum to throw in the towel the way he has done, may be genuine, based on the myopic way individual of those pundits are envisaging the contest so far; and, what may hold for Rick Santorum in the remaining state primaries and caucuses. No one could actually tell what is to come; however, Rick Santorum has chosen to be safe than sorry. Imagine if Rick Santorum had remained in the Republican nomination process and he had been trounced by Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum’s home state. Wouldn’t that have been a disaster for him; knowing fully well that Rick Santorum was tossed out by voters from his Senatorial seat  because of what the voters considered were Rick Santorum’s excesses or weaknesses, whichever one you take, in the last contest he was involved, at the state level.

Second, many politicians have a very short shelf life because of their inability to articulate a message for a campaign. Misrepresentation and inconsistencies found in some comments coming out of politicians have derailed or put them at a disadvantage against an opponent. Questions may be different, if Rick Santorum’s had made very endearing comments regarding his campaign and his opponents within the Republican Party. Recent comments from Rick Santorum that Mitt Romney is a duplicate, or mirror image of the potential Democratic Party opponent, President Obama, was unacceptable and had infuriated some Republicans! To this group, Rick Santorum’s comment at the time was dishonorable if not, heresy. Further, a synonymous comment was found in Mitt Romney’s campaign, when he articulated that he was the only one capable enough, because of his business background, to take on President Obama. The “Iffy” issue with Mitt Romney’s Comments can also be found in Rick Santorum’s.

Everyone knows, except each would want to continue to fool him or herself that a President’s success in many affairs of the state, depends on his or her advisers. Given the Republican Party aspiration to unseat President Obama, If Mitt Romney by 2016, is unable to conquer the nation’s challenge with the under performing economy, the fault usually will not be his, and his alone; although, the political blame and or consequences will rest on his shoulders, the way President Obama is suffering right now. Governance, especially in the area of a nation’s economy, requires a lot of support from many advisors, some of which may be workable and others, probable infeasible because of some issues going on in the other areas of the economy. Much as some voters may like to take out their frustration on President Obama in the November 2012 contest, for the challenging economic climate, it is very short-sighted for these people, not to appreciate that the economic problems inherited by the present administration, were created over close to a decade, by a Republican administration, in their poor management of the fiscal affairs of the nation, including two unpaid foreign wars and the continued tax cuts for the millionaires among us.

Third, imagine the multiple gaffes from Mitt Romney in his bid to cart up to some extreme Republicans. Imagine also statements that in many instances look rather absurd, even for Conservative Republicans: “My wife drives two Cadillac’s, I don’t care about the poor, and I listen to my wife regarding women concerns regarding the status of the economy”, among others. The individualistic, make-it-on-your-own tone that Mitt Romney’s campaign messages have taken, would not sit very well with millions of high school graduates, some in low paying jobs as waitresses, but who are heads of household; many in this group form a huge segment of the Republican voters in many Red States. To make head way with this group of voters, especially in many Southern states where voters are more likely to vote Republican, will be very hard in this coming election, because of how these messages are perceived as condescending or marginalizing to many in this group.

Complex and somewhat abusive comments from a political aspirant hardly engages voters; especially those that feel aggrieved from the candidate’s comments, and can actually damage the candidate’s chances. When Rick Santorum began to make some comments regarding the American family values and the place of social conservative doctrine, many potential supporters of his, turned away and some actually turned against him. Can you imagine a comment like having a penny between the ladies knees, if they do not want to get unwanted pregnancies, coming from Rick Santorum’s major financier? Although this latter comment was not from Rick Santorum, voters made no difference as to who made this outrageous comment; they faulted the default messenger, Rick Santorum. One must expect that Mitt Romney will suffer some voters’ attrition or support from some comments he made in recent months, regarding women health, the budget cut imbroglio from Congressman Paul Ryan and the Medicare savings or reform.

The challenge from all these observations are not essentially personal to a particular politician; usually, voters tend to vote their interest and some comments from politicians that seem to erode the economic depth or social independence of voters, are often frowned upon and voted against, in many political exercises and contests. This is one of the reasons, why Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican nomination race and the reason, why all the utterances from Mitt Romney, during the Republican Nomination Process, may come to hunt him in the general elections. It is also one reason why, at a point in the Republican nomination contest, one of Mitt Romney’s political advisers, indicated that the Republican Nomination process has the potential of being an Etch-A-Sketch Exercise towards the general elections.

Is Rick Santorum choice to drop out of the Republican nomination process the better or best option available to him in the scheme of things? A deviation, when the odds against a candidacy are so much, is as prudent, as laying in wait for another opportunity to compete to win. Avoiding a potential embarrassing or disgraceful outcome is much a better option, when all else are about to fail. A failure to win Pennsylvania may have doomed any seriousness Rick Santorum’s campaign was being been given by many voters and observers. When a politician takes time to review chances in an impending election and takes actions to avoid a possible failure, the politician is showing prudence, or necessarily being reflective.

When a political candidate fails to act or stays in a race, where voters see his or her action as disconnected from reality, his or her sense of judgment is questioned, even in other circumstances or issues that could have worked in his or her favor. This is the dilemma that Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul will find themselves. Both candidacies, for all we know, are failing towards the Republican Nomination process. For these candidates to remain adamant and continue to re-assert that they will take their odds to the general floor of the Republican Party Convention is to be failing to deal with reality. Maybe their decision(s) may not hurt either man as both are in advanced stages of their lives; however, their decision may come to hunt them in other ways. Imagine if the eventual Republican nominee decides to consider either man as part of his administration. Would this decision affect the nominee’s ultimate call or will he discountenance it? Your guess is as good as mine!

For now, all we know is that, for all practical purposes, Mitt Romney will be the Republican Flag bearer for the 2012 General Elections. A reality that I can hear the Democrats say: Game’s on!
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