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The sweater vest is dry clean only, last night it was put in the wash

The sweater vest is dry clean only, last night it was put in the wash

It’s hard to know just how much of an effect Rick Santorum’s horrible debate last night will have on the vote in Michigan and Arizona.

It’s hard to believe it helped, and it has to have hurt badly.  I think Philip Klein from The Washington Examiner got it right:

Santorum’s biggest blunder on this front came in how he described his vote for Bush’s expansion of the federal role in education, saying “It was against the principles I believed in. But when you’re part of a team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader.” This gets at the heart of the problem with Santorum, which I wrote about the day he announced he was running for president — he was the quintessential Bush era Republican. As the number three Republican in the Senate, he was a loyal soldier and went along with Bush’s big government policies, from NCLB to the Medicare prescription drug law. The very problem with the Bush era was precisely that too many Republicans decided to be team players rather than push back against the president when he was violating conservative principles. It’s this very “team player” mentality that the Tea Party movement, in part, was created to combat.

The issue of No Child Left Behind came up twice, first when Ron Paul hit Santorum on it:

Then came the clip to which Klein was referring:

The other issue which hurt Santorum badly was his endorsement of Arlen Specter.  Romney tied the Specter win over Pat Toomey to Specter’s vote for Obamacare (I wonder where he got that idea?)

John Hayward at Human Events described it as follows:

Romney landed a devastating blow when he brought up Santorum’s support for “moderate Republican” Arlen Specter, who ended up switching parties, over conservative Pat Toomey, who eventually did make his way into the Senate.  Santorum said he supported Specter because he played a crucial role in providing moderate cover for conservative judicial nominees, while Romney hammered him for putting Specter in place to vote for ObamaCare.  No matter what you think of Mitt Romney’s campaign, you’ve got to chalk it up as a win when he makes someone else look more responsible for ObamaCare.

It’s a measure of just how quickly Santorum rose to the top of the Republican field that no one brought up Arlen Specter until the eleventh-hour final debate.  Short of using hypnosis, there was just no way Santorum could have made voting for Specter look good to the Republican electorate of 2012.

Rick Klein of ABC News called Romney’s tying Santorum to Obamacare “masterwork”:

While these may have been the low-lights for Santorum, his overall performance was no better.

Three people on the stage appeared to be having enjoying themselves and exuded confidence, deserved or not. Santorum was not one of those people.

Will it make a difference? I think it will.


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After yesterday’s invocation of the language of OWS, COULD any serious Conservative entertain a primary vote for Mittens?

After last night’s performanceS, is there anyone who seriously does not think that Newt is the leader on that stage?

NC Mountain Girl | February 23, 2012 at 9:24 am

It depends. Part of the divide is as much based on tribalism as ideology. Santorum’s roots aren’t exactly working class but he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth nor did he elect to live in the same upscale suburb Charles Murray used as his paradigm of an out of touch white elite in Coming Apart.

conservativegram | February 23, 2012 at 9:26 am

Something about Rick just never seemed really
genuine to me. When he started to rise in the polls and especially during his speech at CPAC, I just felt like he was trying too hard to be like Newt. I swear sometimes it even seemed like he stole Newt’s own words and ideas. I saw a tweet last night that discribes it perfectly, “Newt speaks, Santorum copies. One’s a leader and the other just follows. America deserves a leader.” Also on the tip line I posted a link to the 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article about Santorum-
I think this article really points out, through his own words and actions, that he’s more in it for Rick than anything else. I’ve just never felt a real sincerity in anything he says and I think that showed last night. (JMO) The question now is will this help Newt or will it help Romney? I just know for certain it won’t help Rick.

    I read that! One heck of a read!
    I too think that Santorum tries to be like Newt…he says he got his ideals on Conservatism from Newt Gingrich.

    Yep, he is the Newt Mini-me in the race, only he’s not that great at it. I think Santorum & Romney are like liquids, they take the shape of whatever issues container they happen to be in, but Newt is rock solid and shapes the issues consistently around his conservative positions and in terms everyone can understand.

    Some quotes from the article:

    The Republican overclass in Pennsylvania — the core group of which is moderate — tried to discourage Santorum from running for the Senate. “We felt it was presumptuous on his part; he didn’t exactly much of a record in the House,” says a powerful Republican who has worked for Heinz, Thornburgh and Governor Tom Ridge. “But it was more than that. Of course, there was his personality — he had rubbed a lot of us the wrong way, and in Congress he’s been a bull in a china shop. In the end, the problem was that nobody knows what Rick stands for. He kept trying to tell us how moderate he was, but there was the Christian thing that turned us off. I think Rick stands for Rick.”

    And the Grand Finale …

    As long as Santorum remains willing to let Gingrich and his disciples project their agenda onto his tabula rasa, his usefulness and stature seem likely to grow. Several Republican members of Congress say privately that they expect him to make a run for the presidency in either the year 2000 or 2004.

    “I’ll tell you,” Santorum said, “when I decided to run for the Senate, Newt said to me …” He stopped. “I don’t know if I should … He stopped again. “I think he put it this way; I was one of the few members, or the only one, who could be president. But as I told you , I’ve never had a big plan, never needed to look too far ahead. I just do what’s in front of me, and things sort of happen.”

    I wonder what Newt’s memory of this “conversation” is or if there was ever such words spoken?

Santorum has always seemed like the new freshman at school -in over his head. Eighteen debates ago, Pawlenty chewed him up and spit him out; Michelle Bachmann made mincemeat out of him repeatedly, as did Perry, and even Cain. But the final insult to injury is Ron Paul calling him a “fake conservative” and Santorum sat there like a bobble head doll with an idiotic grin on his face. Santorum’s idea of clever marketing for the race for the President of the United States is a sweater vest? Are you kidding me? To quote Sarah Palin: “WTF?” Sadly he has squandered his own impressive resume and from what I have heard (certainly not seen demonstrated in the vast majority of his interviews or debate performances) keen knowledge of legislative & foreign policy issues. Just goes to show us the good statesmen and policy makers are not necessarily good leaders. Last night, Newt Gingrich was the elder statesman, the grown up in the room, the scholar and the leader. Why anyone takes Santorum seriously, I have no idea. These are serious times and we need serious candidates.

I can’t disagree with some these comments. I did not perceive it as that masterful at the time of the debate. But this spin and more importantly the perception of Santorum as harried is going to ensure Mitt gets Michigan and probably Arizona. And that will give Mitt momentum into Super Tuesday.

Newt was fine last night (but then again Perry’s best debate was just before he dropped out).

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | February 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

It will be a tragedy if Newt is not the nominee – and if he is the nominee that the uninformed electorate do not have the smarts to ultimately elect him to be their President.

Newt understands we NEED to “fundamentally” reform and shrink government using bold ideas – not expand it as Obama wants to do and not tweak it around the edges like Willard wants to do.

Every word out of Newt’s mouth is either about reforming the federal bureaucracy and returning power to states, localities, and families or making it much easier to pursue economic expansion and generate prosperity. Whether its repealing civil service laws and installing modern management systems that will save hundreds of billions; or outsourcing Medicare payments to private payment system providers who are capable of detecting fraud to save tens of billions of taxpayer money; or removing restrictions on oil exploration on federal land to finally break U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources (and increase U.S. government royalties by trillions); or giving young people entering the workforce the option to privatize part of social security to make it long-term sustainable; or reducing corporate tax rates to 12.5% to make the U.S. the most competitive developed nation in which to do business.

It’s just inconceivable to me why conservatives are not lining up behind this plan and doing everything they can to get him elected.

Rather than slinging mud Newt’s way or mindlessly defending Willard, why won’t Coulter, Ramesh Ponnuru, Rich Lowry, and the rest of the conservative Newt haters explain why Newt’s path forward is NOT conservative and why it’s not the right way to go.

    IMO, Newt focuses more on strengthening the federal government, and making it more “efficient”. These are not high on any voter’s priority list. I’ve always said, we need a weakened and inefficient federal gov. He also talks far too much about what we owe to immigrants and illegal aliens, and wonkish phrases like “guest worker programs” and visas don’t inspire confidence.

    All that said, Newt is the only candidate that got the job done back in the 90s. He has a stellar track record, if you ignore his pandering to the green lobby and other mistakes.

      Hope Change in reply to quiznilo. | February 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      hi quiznilo — really? let’s think about this for a minute.

      I think what we want is a strong federal government that is SMALL AND LIMITED.

      STRONGLY secured the borders — as Newt said in the debate, a border that freely, easily permits legal traffic, and strongly, totally stops illegal traffic.

      STRONGLY supports dollar as good as gold.

      STRONGLY modernizes the federal bureaucracy — et cetera.

      But LIMITED to within the clear, stated, spelled-out, ENUMERATED powers as set forth in the Constitution.

      A weak federal government that doesn’t do its essential tasks, and yet is spilling all over into our lives is exactly what we don’t want. Seems to me.

““It was against the principles I believed in. But when you’re part of a team, sometimes you take one for the team, for the leader.”

THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT cost Newt dearly the last time he had that choice: ‘Not taking one for the team’

Newt did not back GHWB’s tax raise with the rest of the RINOs and so Senior Bush and the establishment Republicans and the RINO paid media have it in for him.

Newt got on the bad side of a President who has a meek, wimpy, genteel persona on the outside but is a former CIA chief, (capable of ruthless, dirty-deals for debatable purposes) on the inside (like Romney).

Newt was canny enough to know what would happen, but he loves the principles of conservative more than his own career. (and He’s done pretty well outside of the Capital offices, all the books, movies, consulting he’s done…wow).

I can’t help but wonder if this Newt had been the Newt on display the entire campaign, where he would now be.

By the way, Professor, I think it’s nothing short of awesome that you’re taking the bows for a Romney debate line all while being very much anti-Romney.

About Santorum:

Ask these questions about Rick Santorum:

1. How has he earned a living since he had a job (as a Senator)? Answer, he has been (gasp) lobbying and engaging in other DC political activities, such as holding breakfasts for congress to meet his clients. And he made 900 big ones last year doing it.

2. Will Rick Santorum deal with the serious issue of the FED and currency instability/value and Soros et al, manipulations of our economy?

3. Will Rick Santorum buck the establishment and deal with term limits, insider trading, etc?

4. Will Rick Santorum deal with Labor’s steel-fisted, corrupt, malevolent hold on our economy and politics?

Those are a just a few….

    Uncle Samuel in reply to Uncle Samuel. | February 23, 2012 at 11:09 am

    I agree with Santorum on social/spiritual issues, but he needs to quote science and statistics or find a way to tell the truth in a way that stops the media cold.

    The two spokespersons I have heard speak for him, (Foster Freiss and a woman surrogate) were worse than he is at presenting the truth about these issues.

I love you prof, but this Santorum pile on is getting tedious. As a Newt fan, I saw the supposed conservative media, establishcats, drudge, etc pick him apart on grossly unfair crap. I see the same now with santorum. Funny how Romney gets to tear into santorum from the right over no child, medicare, specter, etc when you and everybody else knows Romney would’ve voted for each of those and 1,000 more leftist policies. These bad policies that Santorum supported originated with Bush that great compassionate. Guess who all the bush loyalists are supporting today – your potential #2 mittens

    stevewhitemd in reply to delms. | February 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Unfortunately, delms, that is exactly what is going to happen to the nominee in the general election. If Mr. Santorum can’t take it now he’ll fold like a cheap lawn chair in the fall.

    None of us like how the Democrats and the MSM (but I repeat myself) are using the various media outlets to shape the Pub primary, but that’s the world we live in. Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich seem to understand this.

    Let’s face it: Mr. Santorum is not ready for prime time. He doesn’t have all the issues, sound bites and ideology worked out in his head so he can’t bring it out on the fly (e.g., in a debate). Watch Newt: he’s done the heavy intellectual lifting, and it shows. Mitt is getting better at it all the time. Santorum is not.

    Mr. Santorum was the last not-Romney. After Michigan and Arizona he’s done, and that likely is the way it should be. Super Tuesday will be Romney versus Gingrich with Paul and Santorum hanging around the edge.

    StrangernFiction in reply to delms. | February 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

    The Professor is just backing his guy. Santorum has to come down for Newt to go up.

For me the problem is ONE THING: Santorum’s SUCH a weak candidate, lacking all the things I would look to have in facing Obama (save a conservative platform): he’s super-boring, lousy debater, NOT charming, NOT a winner, and NOT a leader… he’s never ran anything larger than his own Senate office.

I would bet a lot of money he would be trounced in November.

And Santorum looked awful last night, who’s he going to win over with that snotty smirk and overacting… seems like a guy who’s not used to being talked back to.

Clearly if Ricky had faced even a fraction of the heat Gingrich has taken he’d been back home with the kids months ago… this is the great hope for the GOP?


    snotty smirk and overacting”

    yeah, even in his better debate when he was attacking Mitt, he’d get this prideful smirk. But the basis of the pride seems to be insecurity, in my “analysis”. He was a “team player” soldier for Bush, now trying to pretend to never have been waist deep in the muck.

    Gingrich is the only one that strikes me as having deep convictions in his positions. Even Ron Paul’s integrity is questionable since he has a “hands off mittens” policy.

So if it’s ok to go after Santorum for endorsing Specter is it ok to go after Romney for endorsing Scott Brown?
Romney was his chief supporter and was actually on stage for Brown’s victory speech where Brown gave him creidt for his win.

in the summer of 2010 Brown the 60th vote to break the filibuster of Dodd-Frank. He was the decisive vote.

So, Romney is responsible for Dodd-Frank. Thanks.

Brown also voted to break filibusters on DADT and the START treaty. Again, by his own logic, Romney is responsible for both of those as well.

Hopefully one of the GOP candidates if not some in the conservative media start tying Brown to Romney and holding him responsible for some of Brown’s votes and the policies they’ve resulted in.

    Uncle Samuel in reply to holmes tuttle. | February 23, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Excellent information. Pass that great information and observation along.

      holmes tuttle in reply to Uncle Samuel. | February 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

      thanks, hopefully someone calls out Romney on his hypocrisy and phoniness. If someone wants to use that info by all means do it. I don’t mind.

      And how far does Romney want to take this. In 1988 William F Buckley Jr, the Godfather of Conservatism endorsed Joe Lieberman in CT. Lieberman was also the decisive vote for Obamacare as much as Specter was. So, is Romney saying that Obamacare is really Bill Buckley’s fault? By his logic last night he would seem to be saying just that.

    stevewhitemd in reply to holmes tuttle. | February 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Electing Scott Brown saved us from Martha Coakley. Whatever you think of Mr. Brown, Ms. Coakley is a machine Democratic hack. She does and says whatever she’s told.

    Sure, Mr. Brown is more moderate than a lot of Pubs would like, but he got the Senate back to 41 Pubs, and that started to turn the tide.

    Now he’s running against the even more odious Elizabeth Warren (I presume she’ll be the Donk nominee, they just can’t help themselves). Put Warren in a Donk controlled Senate with a second term Obama and we can kiss it all goodbye.

    So whatever you think about the good Mr. Brown, I much prefer him to the alternatives. Sadly, that’s what a lot of elections are about these days.

I think the bottom line here is, Senators don’t win the Presidency. What we saw last night was the unraveling of a candidate that was clearly due him. My main disagreement with Santorum was his Specter/Toomey deal. You don’t go against “the team.”

Ron Paul was right on the go along to get along rationale. However, I don’t condone the notion that Santorum is a “fake.”

Newt gave a solid performance. I think if Rick starts going down in his support, he should get out and throw his delegates to Newt. Then we have a new race. Wouldn’t that just fry the “establishment.”

Also, holmes-tuttle is correct about Romney’s endorsement of Scott Brown. Those two are one in the same moderate/liberal. I think Newt should connect with that.

I wasn’t able to watch the debate last night … but that doesn’t keep me from recognizing a work of art of a post title. We have a wringer!

    Hope Change in reply to LukeHandCool. | February 23, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Hah, LukeHandCool, great point. The title is hilarious, Professor!

    It’s really wonderful to have something amusing even though this process can be so challenging, day after day. thank you.

    oh… and …

    “She said: Are you on the blog again?
    He said: No.
She said: Liar.

    He said: I just got on.”

    So, also, thanks to your wife, Professor. Really. “Thank you!” (shout-out to the professor’s wife).

[…] Versus Saint Satan Santorum, Part Two Posted on February 23, 2012 9:30 am by Bill Quick » The sweater vest is dry clean only, last night it was put in the wash – Le·gal In·sur·re… It’s hard to know just how much of an effect Rick Santorum’s horrible debate last night will […]

Meh! What are we to do? There’s only one course of action left. We must recruit Debbie Wasserman Schultz into our party and make her our nominee. After all, she hasn’t been destroyed by the Romney Machine. She can win.

I bet you’d look marvelous in a sweater vest, Prof. 🙂 Try not to be too snarky (says she of the snark, ha!), though, because if Santorum does get the nom (it’s possible), your guy will be gushing about how fabulous Santorum is and how he’s the only GOP who can possibly beat BO and turn this country around. So will Romney. And for that matter, if either of them gets it, Santorum will say the same stuff. It’s the same every election, and in that one way, this election is no different.

That’s one reason it saddens me that so many “normal” conservatives seem to be making enemies amongst our own ranks. The pols get it, most conservative bloggers (including you) get it, but sometimes it seems that readers/commenters take this all too readily to heart. It’s a contest, a competition, but when it’s over, we will all rally around the last man standing (or we should, with so much at stake). This year, of all years, we need to do that as enthusiastically as possible to ensure that our number one goal is achieved: making Obama a one-term president.

[…] was Ron Paul, and then an audience question, which brought Santorum‘s uncomfortable response on NCLB: Well, you know what? I supported No Child Left Behind. I supported it. It was the […]