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Posts Tagged ‘Rick Santorum’

Since Rick Santorum’s sudden and frankly rather unexpected departure from the Republican presidential nomination, pundits seems to be scrambling to claim that the process is now over; Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee.  However, for the Republican nomination to be truly over, at least one of three things must happen:  Either one candidate accumulates the required number of delegates so that it is mathematically impossible for any other candidate to claim victory, every other candidate seeking the nomination must withdraw, or a vast majority of voters are convinced that one candidate has already won.

Given that there are 2,286 delegates at stake in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, that figure means that one candidate must accumulate 50% plus one in order to become the nominee, or 1144 delegates.  So have any of the candidates reached this magic number?  Although estimates vary given that some primaries and caucus were mere beauty contests and did not actually award delegates, Mitt Romney is the closest.  As of April 6th, the RNC had Romney’s pledged delegate at 573.  However, some more up to dates sources have him at 656, a little over half of what he needs to seal the deal.  Yes, either way Romney has a greater number of delegates than any other candidate, but remains well shy of the mark.  So, the answer to the first point is no.  No candidate has an outright majority of delegates.

What about the second point?  Although the process has eliminated a large number of contenders such as Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Gary Johnson, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, and, most recently, Rick Santorum, there are still three candidates seeking the Republican nomination.  Besides Mitt Romney, there is also Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich.  Although Romney is leading by a healthy margin, he is not the only choice left.  Therefore, the answer to the second point is no as well.

So what about the third point then?  Ah, here is where media outlets and establishment Republicans shine.  Each have been making and continue to make the point that with Rick Santorum’s departure from the race, Mitt Romney has such a lead as to make the rest of the primaries, caucuses, and even the Republican convention itself to be a waste of time.  To these people it is irrelevant that over half of the delegates have not been awarded.  Given that neither point one or point two is satisfied, they seek to subvert the will of the folks in states that have not voted.

The 2012 Republican presidential primaries as of April 12th. Graphic by Gage Skidmore on Wikipedia.

Are there many grey-colored states left where people have not voted?  Well, guess what New York voters?  You don’t matter!  Neither do voters in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and any other state who has not yet apportioned their delegates.  It doesn’t matter voters in these states could affect the outcome of this race, if enough people are told and believe that their voice is irrelevant, then it truly becomes irrelevant.  After all, if someone believes that his or her vote will not make any difference, how many people would waste his or her time to go to the polls?

Yes, it is undeniable that Mitt Romney has a significant lead in delegates over both Gingrich and Paul.  But the simple fact is that, at this point, he still has competition and he does not have enough delegates to claim the title of Republican nominee.  To claim otherwise is wishful thinking at best, and an outright lie at worst.

Many Republicans want the nomination process to be over so that Republicans of all stripes will stop attacking examining and criticizing the GOP candidates and rally behind the banner of stopping Obama at all costs.  However, calling the process before it is truly over, as many news outlets and pundits are attempting to do, will likely create feeling of disenfranchisement and crack open greater fissures in the Republican base.  After all, if a Gingrich or Paul supporter thought the system rigged or that his or her candidate were cheated through early disqualification, that belief might cause scores of typical Republican voters to abandon the Republican nominee.  Therefore, the end result of such tampering could be four more years of President Barack Obama.  How many Republicans could claim that they desire such an outcome?

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Photo by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press

As the 2012 Republican Presidential race continues, in a move that would certainly be a monumental surprise a year ago, former Senator Rick Santorum has positioned himself as the leading alternative to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.   It is likely that quite of few readers of this article prefer Rick Santorum.  As Mike Huckabee did in 2008, Santorum polls highly among those describing themselves as conservative, especially Christian conservatives, and has done quite well in the both the South and the Midwest.

Is Rick Santorum a conservative?  There is no doubt that he is socially conservative.  But, does he embrace the ideals of Madison and Jefferson who called for a limited federal government bound to the principles of constitutional restraint?  Does he believe, like Barry Goldwater, that Republicans ought to fight against big government programs, such as FDR’s New Deal, that expanded the role of Washington bureaucrats far beyond what Americans had previously known?  Unfortunately for conservatives, as Rick Santorum stated in the following interview from 2008, the answer is no.

Interestingly, Rick Santorum has picked up considerable support among tea party members as well.  Keep in mind, that the core aim of the tea party, at least in this area, is a return to the Constitution, restraining the federal government to its authorized functions, and opposition to the spiraling debt and massive spending.  As the previous video indicated, Rick Santorum isn’t particularly favorable to this mindset.

So how does Rick Santorum view the tea party?  Since his speech in 2008, has he changed his views and embraced the ideals of limited government conservatism?  Well, in June 2011, he answered that question.

Now that he is officially running for president, Santorum has changed his tune, reaching out to unaware tea party voters even through his policy positions remain relatively unchanged since his time in the U.S. Senate.  Given Rick Santorum’s troubling, although fairly consistent, stance opposing the conservative ideal of a small, fiscally responsible central government, opposing the branch of the Republican Party who advocates these ideals, and opposing the tea party movement, one does have to wonder why any self-described conservative or tea party member would support his candidacy for President.  The only reasonable answer is that they do so solely based upon the idea that he has strong moral and religious principles.  Although then the question becomes, should we support someone for a political office based on his or her religious beliefs alone?

Do we believe a person who labels him or herself a Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, or any multitude of faiths or someone with no faith at all is or ought to be the defining characteristic which makes a person suitable for elected office?  And, if so, like the nation of Iran, should our country be ruled by a theocracy?  Assuming that either the GOP or the government follows down this theocratic path, will we still enjoy the long standing freedom to criticize our leaders or their policies when their principles run counter to our own?  When fascism comes to this country will it, like we have been warned, be wrapped in a flag carrying a cross?

Of course, anyone is free to support any candidate for any reason, however, it is useful to know where that candidate stands.  Rick Santorum, by his own admission, is not friendly to either limited-government conservatism or the tea party movement.  Therefore, it is particularly puzzling why some of these very same people should accept him as one of their own.  Following this line of thought, one must ask if he or she wants a Republican Party, a tea party, or a nation primarily ruled by Rick Santorum or someone who embraces his ideology?  It ought to be a fairly easy question to answer.

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On Friday at noon, the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republican Parties held their monthly First Friday gathering at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.  The featured speaker was Pete Snyder who is heading up the Republican victory program in Virginia for 2012.

The meeting itself was a fairly ordinary affair.  About two-dozen or so local Republicans attended, most enjoyed lunch, while I just had several glasses of sweet tea.  However, once just about everyone had dispersed, I paid my bill, sat on the bench near the entrance and wept.

As we live in a society which typically discourages most public forms of emotion, especially from men, it must have been a strange sight indeed for those around watching a thirty-one-year-old person cry for no discernable reason.

So what, may you ask, caused me to act in such a fashion?  The answer is boiling anger, overwhelming frustration, and infinite sadness triggered by the actions of one local Republican.

I wept for the sake of the party.  In the meeting, one person declared that our goal should be to elect “anyone but Obama”.  Really?  Has our party become so vapid and devoid of rational worth that we will gladly rally behind any man or woman regardless of merit simply because he or she is not Barack Obama?  Heck, Hilary Clinton is not Obama; does that mean we should support her if she had an “R” by her name?  And isn’t there is an ocean of difference between Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich?  Don’t principles mean anything anymore?  And I started to fear that perhaps I was gravely mistaken to believe that they ever did.  Yet if we cast aside principles, what’s left to separate the parties other than a meaningless animal mascot and a color?

I wept for the state of Virginia and the nation as a whole due to the fact that we have so many leaders of both parties that seem to care nothing or at least very little about the values of the people and the society that placed them in their position of power.  Sure, we can criticize members of the other party who trample upon the Constitution, moral decency, or the rule of law, but calling out members of your own party who violate these ideals has become taboo.  Therefore, I must mourn the loss of political dialogue and freedom that have given way to strict and unthinking party loyalty.

Although it may sound selfish, I wept for my future employment prospects and myself.  As I’ve mentioned to many people over the last several months, there are few things that I desire more than the chance to make a decent living promoting my political principles among my fellow countrymen, the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  However, my rugged insistence of clinging to my values is likely seen as a liability.  Who wants to hire a passionate paleo-conservative when malleable yes men are available? Which kind of person will likely cause less headaches?  Unfortunately, most of the powerful and affluent politicians scoff at liberty-minded constitutional conservatives while those companies and people who do value us either have no money and can only offer volunteer opportunities or give little better than subsistence wages.  Does the easiest, and perhaps only, way to succeed involve selling out?  Again, I fear that blind allegiance to the party and its leaders trump standing up for the creeds that supposedly guide their actions.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wept for the demise of a former political ally, a person who supposedly once held the political principles that I cherish.  To be fair, I had known for some time that this person had jettisoned our shared beliefs, but I now realized that there was no turning back, there is no hope for redemption.  Conservative/libertarian principles have melted away and have been replaced with a zeal for the establishment.  Now the ideological drift is simply too great; today we have about as much in common as Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky does with someone like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina or Virginia Senator Steve Newman does with fellow Virginia State Senator Tommy Norment.  We might both call ourselves Republican but we likely have as many areas of disagreement as agreement.

This knowledge is particularly disappointing, but it alone wouldn’t have been enough to spur such a reaction.  However, after the Republican meeting was over, that same person savagely attacked me with an over the top tirade in front of a fellow activist.  At that moment, that person represented to me everything that is wrong with politics today; a person ruled, apparently not by principle, but self-serving ambition that is willing to use anything or anyone as a stepping-stone to greater influence.  Although I know that it only heightened tensions during the exchange, much like a scene from Fellowship of the Ring, I more or less inquired when did this person decide to “abandon reason for madness?”  This particularly ugly combination of events frays any past political ties and makes the hope of any future cooperation unlikely at best.

So, if you happened to have entered the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg on Friday and saw someone crying on the bench, now you know why.  I was overcome with grief and anger mourning the downfall of many things: the bastardization of my party, the way in which so many politicians continually deceive the public without recourse, the loss of a former ideological believer, the likely failure of my future, and the death of the principles which supposedly guided them all.

How would you feel if you discovered that so many of the activities and relationships you crafted over the past seventeen years might be meaningless?  What if your great passion created nothing but corrupted politics and false friends, and the only thing you had to show for your effort was a pile of crumbly ashes?  If so, you might say, as Lesley Gore wrote in her well-known song, “it’s my party…you would cry too if it happened to you”.

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The 2008 Ron Paul Greenville, SC Office

As you likely know, former Speaker Newt Gingrich emerged as the winner of yesterday’s South Carolina Republican primary with a staggering 40.4%.  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney placed in a distant second with 27.8% followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at 17%.  In last place was Representative Ron Paul of Texas with 13%. Regardless how other pundits might try to spin this result, this news ought to come as a huge disappointment to my fellow Ron Paul supporters.

Looking at the results from the Huffington Post, you find that Mitt Romney won three of the counties while Gingrich picked up the rest.  Neither Santorum nor Paul managed to win a single one.  However, the news gets even grimmer.  With the exception of Abbeville County where he finished second, and neighboring Greenwood where he placed third, in every other county Ron Paul finished dead last.  Last!

Now, I understand the desire to try to paint as rosy a picture as possible for the Paul campaign.  For example, Jack Hunter’s Paulitical Ticker boldly reads, “Paul quadrupled his 2008 numbers after tripling them in New Hampshire and Iowa.”  Although that fact is certainly true, Paul’s numbers were much higher than they were four years ago, they were still worse than any of his three rivals.  Last I checked, there is no ribbon for the candidate who is “most improved.”  You either win delegates or you go home with nothing.  Unfortunately, Paul’ result in South Carolina is in the latter situation.

Let’s look at this matter in another light.  Today, four NFL teams are competing for two spots in the Superbowl.  At 6:30 PM, my New York Giants are taking on the San Francisco 49ers.  While the winning team will proceed onward into the possibility of glory, the loser will go home with nothing and will be a mere footnote in the history of the game, an otherwise impressive season quickly forgotten by a majority of fans and commentators.  Such a fate will befall the two Republican candidates who fail to claim mantle as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  Even though delegates are awarded somewhat proportionally, winning comes first. For those casually watching the race, currently Santorum, Gingrich, and Romney have each won a state.  Isn’t John Q. Public wondering where is Paul’s state?  Doesn’t he need to win at least one?

Now, I’ll admit it.  Perhaps I hold the South Carolina result in too high a regard for two reasons.  First, four years ago, I campaigned vigorously in that very state on behalf of the Paul campaign.  Second, and far more importantly, since 1980 every GOP candidate who has won the nomination also has also won South Carolina.  It is historically a far better predictor than either the Iowa or New Hampshire contests that preceded it.

Looking to my time in South Carolina, I was quite impressed by the spirit of optimism and hard work displayed among the volunteers.  I was hopeful that the seeds sown four years ago, properly nurtured, would blossom into at least a third place finish this year.  But I haven’t been back there since then so it has been difficult to gauge how the tree of liberty has either flourished or withered.

Moving on, in Florida’s upcoming Republican primary, the Paul campaign has announced that they will not compete.  Although I’d certainly like to see Paul be competitive everywhere, I can understand this decision.  Funds must be spent wisely and as Florida is choosing to defy RNC rules by making their primary as winner-take-all, there is no victory for anyone other than the first place candidate, a monumental task.

Getting back to the situation in South Carolina, Mr. Hunter also writes, “Ron Paul campaigned in South Carolina for a grand total of four days.”  I guess that this point is meant to downplay the South Carolina result, reminding us that he did exceedingly well given the very little effort put forth.  Or perhaps that he knew South Carolina was a lost cause.  Either way, one does wonder if even these scant four days in South Carolina could have been better used to bolster the future result someplace else.  Then again, I’ll freely admit that it is far easier to be an armchair campaigner than someone deep in the thick of it.

The bottom line is that Paul needs a strong showing and he needs one soon if he wishes to remain competitive.  As already mentioned, he almost certainly won’t find this critical boost in Florida.  Therefore, that leaves a handful of states before the all-important Super Tuesday.  Spin it how you like, but I believe that the dead last loss in South Carolina is a heavy blow.  I remain hopeful but concerned.

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If you will recall, on September 9th, I conducted a straw poll on Facebook to gauge the support of the Republican candidates for President.  Voters had a selection of the nine most popular choices as well as an option to pick “someone else/none of the above”.  All in all, 146 people voted.

Well, now that three weeks have passed, I figure that I should announce the results.  Given that you’ve already read the headline, it should come as no shock that Representative Ron Paul won.  Here is the specific breakdown by vote total:

Ron Paul – 52 votes

Rick Perry – 34 Votes

Gary Johnson – 21 Votes

Herman Cain – 10 Votes

Michelle Bachmann – 8 Votes

Someone Else/None of the Above – 8 Votes

Mitt Romney – 6 Votes

Jon Huntsman – 3 Votes

Rick Santorum – 3 Votes

Newt Gingrich – 1 Vote

Given Ron Paul’s popularity around the internet, he routinely does well in online polling.  I was not at all surprised by his victory.  However, I should mention that in the early hours and days of the poll, Gary Johnson held the lead.  I guess that as more and more Paul supporters discovered the poll, Paul quickly came to dominate the field.

One other interesting point is Mitt Romney’s low numbers.  Given his supposed media status as currently one of the top two contenders, I would have expected him to do better.

Here are a few other statistics of note:

Of the 146 voters, I am Facebook friends with only 28 of them.  I’m glad to see that the poll included more than my own personal political circle.  Then again, far more than half of my Facebook friends are politically active.  It is a bit disappointing to find that so few of them voted.

Speaking of people that I know, if we only include my Facebook friends in the totals, we end up with a different set of results.  In that scenario, Gary Johnson takes the top billing with 8 votes, followed by Rick Perry with 7, and Ron Paul settles to third with 5.  But what reasoning explains this change?  Well, looking through the specific votes, this shift likely comes from my associations with libertarians who hold the former Governor of New Mexico in very high regard.  Although many libertarians do prefer Paul, rhetoric around Facebook indicates that a majority of “hard core” libertarians place themselves in the Johnson camp.

Although not concerning the race for President, I should mention that Bearing Drift just put up a new poll for Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.  Stop by their website and cast your vote!  I already did.

Well, thanks to everyone who took a few seconds out of his or her day to vote on my poll.  Keep your eyes open, for there will be more of them coming in the future.

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Sorry for little pause in updates.  My personal circumstances are changing including a potential move, though I should still be in the 26th district.  But on to the topic at hand…

Limited government conservative and establishment Republicans have long butted heads and 2010 is no exception.  For starters, you can look south to Florida for The Rubio/Crist feud.  How about blowback against the maverick John McCain in his primary fight in Arizona?  We in the limited government camp are not alone.  The tea party movement itself rose to tell not only the federal government, but also the Republican Party, that to quote the movie Network, we are “as mad as hell and not going to take this anymore!  Things have got to change!”  Now we don’t merely want change for changes’ sake.  We have seen the supposed hope and change that President Obama offers, and now our future is clouded and uncertain.  We need a new and better direction.  Neither citizens nor corporations should endlessly suckle at the teat of the government, merely crying for bread and circuses.  That crooked road doesn’t lead to freedom and prosperity, but to shackles and serfdom.  To reclaim our nation we need a path paved with the promises of liberty and personal responsibility, not welfare and bailouts.

This year, I believe no battle is more important in war for the heart and soul of the GOP than in Kentucky.  For the side of the limited government crowd we have Rand Paul, son of Texas Representative and 2008 Presidential candidate Ron Paul.  For the side of the establishment, we have Trey Grayson, the Secretary of State of Kentucky.  With the primary less than two weeks away, politicians and political leaders from both wings of the Republican Party have taken notice and have come out swinging with endorsements.  In Grayson’s column, we have Senate Minority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Dick Cheney, Rick Santorum, and Rudy Giuliani.  Paul’s supporters include Senator Jim DeMint (SC), Steve Forbes, Dr. James Dobson, and Sarah Palin.  These endorsements alone should give you some indication of the quality of the two men.

On many issues both candidates share the same (or nearly the same) views: abortion, taxes, and spending.  Therefore, I don’t believe it would be fair to say that either candidate is not conservative.  What makes Paul a better choice, in my mind, is his limited government mindset.  I think Erick Erickson of Red State sums up my thoughts pretty well.  “The problem with Republicans in Congress is that they lost their way. They were willing to do things they otherwise would oppose because George Bush told them to.  And they have been willing ever since to go along with strategies that were poll tested and mother approved because that is what the leadership wanted and told them to do.”  He goes on to add, “I want men and women of high moral character who are men and women of conservative principle, not of party.

When of party, politicians think too often of saving themselves, not the country. For too long the Republicans have invested in solid party guys who advance the party’s agenda, but not conservatism and certainly not smaller government.”

Amen Mr. Erickson.  We need leaders who are not afraid to actually lead.

Like his father, Rand Paul is against bailouts of all kinds, the Federal Reserve, and even opposes the Patriot Act and the War in Iraq.  Although such a line of thinking is not popular with the establishment Republicans and may even be considered radical, I believe that this path is the only method to save the Republican Party and, more importantly, our nation as a whole.

Although I do not live in Kentucky, I wholeheartedly endorse and support Rand Paul.  Neither side will be able to claim ultimate victory as a result of this primary, but a win for Paul will likely create aftershocks felt across the land.  Sooner or later in our own cities, counties, and states, both you and I will have the opportunity to choose between the status quo and a limited, constitutional government.  On that day, will you have the courage to take a stand?

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