Daily Archives: January 22, 2012
Newt Gingrich convincingly won in South Carolina. Unfortunately, I do not think this was primarily due to interventions like the one posted by me a few days ago, but rather to brilliant answers like the one I post above.
Which leads me nicely to my argument: whilst Santorum is – for all of us Catholics I think – by far the best candidate, I think Gingrich is the one with the best cards to defeat Obama. As always in politics, the choice is – in the end – not between our ideal candidate and the enemy, but between the enemy and the candidate who can defeat him.
I am fully conscious that this is the mentality which has brought Romney so far, and I am not ashamed in saying that if there was no better candidate to defeat Obama, my personal support – though not my sympathy – would go to him. But I do think that there is a candidate who can – easily, I think, unless he makes something very stupid – defeat Obama by presenting a radically – if not completely – different world view than the one of the inadequate git brought to the White House on a huge wave of political correctness, coupled with a toothless and flip-flopping opponent.
Santorum is, if you ask me, by far the best. Not only because of his extremely coherent Catholic stance, but because of his extremely clear ideas in matters of foreign politics. He may not have the same tea-party credentials of Gingrich, but he wouldn’t be a squanderer unable to count like the present occupier of the White House.
My problem with Santorum is that I think it is highly improbable that he may ever defeat Obama. Why? Because of his very same extremely coherent Catholic stance, and extremely clear ideas in matters of foreign politics.
I can’t imagine Santorum suddenly converting to his right-wing stance the mainstream of the American voters. I try not to confuse my own preferences with whom I think is electable. I like Santorum’s stance on Iran like few others, but it would be foolish for me to say this is a platform on which you can be elected President. Kudos to him for being so honest, but frankly I can’t see this candidate winning a presidential race. Not in 2012 at any rate.
The results in South Carolina are, I think, an important – though not definitive – confirmation of this, with Gingrich taking away the clear majority of the conservative wing and Santorum performing extremely well all things considered, but still widely behind Gingrich.
Importantly, Gingrich seems to have been the most voted among those who consider both economy or ability to defeat Obama the main motivators of their vote: this is a candidate able to unite pragmatists who would have voted Romney in the absence of better alternatives, and hard-liners who would prefer to lose with a real Republican than running the risk of winning with a fake one.
If you add the votes, Gingrich and Santorum together got around double as much as Romney’s votes. Granted, South Carolina is more conservative than the average, but I’d dare to say the anti-Romney fraction only needs to coalesce around Gingrich and Romney will become, in time, history.
What I hope will happen now is that Santorum stays in the race for as long as money and organisation allow, and then graciously retires and supports Gingrich’s candidature, suggesting his delegates vote for him at the convention. This way the way would be paved for a strong Gingrich campaign against Romney, but at the same time stressing the robust socially very conservative component behind him.
Santorum achieved a half-miracle through his own personal qualities and the fact that his ideas resonate particularly well among a certain part of the electorate. But I still can’t imagine him becoming the candidate able to defeat Romney, much less Obama. Too Catholic, too conservative, too much of a hawk in foreign politics matters, I don’t think he can make it, not in 2012.
What I do think is that scorned women do not have the grip on the electorate they used to have. Thank God for that.