A Reagan In the Making
It had to happen at some point, I suppose, and it has happened yesterday. Rick Santorum had pulled a number of political miracles, but as he is not Padre Pio (for which we do not blame him, of course) at some point he had to face the reality of a race with a fraction of the means of his opponent, a race which family problem did not make easier.
It is reasonable to think Santorum would have not recovered the distance separating him from the well-oiled and extremely well-funded Romney machine, though I must say that he had defied the common meaning of what is “reasonable to think” many times in the lats months. Still, at some point even Santorum won’t be able to defy gravity forever.
Intelligently, the man recognised it was wiser to capitalise (for himself, and for his cause) on the support obtained up to now and, as I see it, enter a new phase of his political life as one of the most influential politicians in the land, rather than the one who insists in fighting for a nomination he won’t get. Perhaps he will be picked as the Vice-President (a wise choice, I would say, as Romney does need to persuade, well, the authentically Republican vote), but even if not I can’t imagine he won’t become one of the most respected and listened to voices in the Country. Not bad for one who had struggled to raise his first $50,000 in funds, and was seen only as an outsider and poster boy of the most reactionary part of the country only a few months ago.
From what I can see, I doubt Gingrich will profit much from Santorum’s withdrawal; at least not as much as to coagulate around him the “non-mitt” vote; and I wonder whether at this point the contrary solution would not have been the best one, and Gingrich’s withdrawal would not have given Santorum the possibility of yet another miracle. One day Gingrich will have to face the reality that he was the one who helped Romney more than any other on the Republican camp.
What remains, is a candidate winning for his message 28% of the Republican vote cast so far, against the 40% of a Romney who has ridiculously outspent him and makes the impression of having been running this campaign since the end of WW I. A candidate, it must be said, who has not only gained popular support, but has done so by remaining remarkably and admirably near to his core convictions, in striking contrast to the flip-flopping Romney, who has now discovered he is, hey, a bit more conservative than he supposed to be only just one month ago. If Romney isn’t just a bleached version of Obama, I don;t think he is – at least in social matters – much better than him. It is nothing short of astonishing that Santorum’s vision, up to some months ago considered very much on the fringe of American politics, has now been catapulted on centre stage, and will not fail to influence millions of voters in the years to come.
Santorum 2012 reminds one of Reagan 1976, and if Reagan went much nearer to the nomination then, than Santorum did today, he certainly did not start from such a difficult position as Santorum did. Santorum allowed real social conservatism to make a big leap and plant its flag in the middle of America’s political discourse, but at the same time planted himself in the middle of the political arena.
I truly hope 2012 will prove, in retrospect, the trial run for a victorious 2016 or 2020 campaign. From where I sit here (=the other side of the Pond) I cannot see any other big rank politician of such personal integrity and commitment to his ideals.
A heartfelt thank from me and, I am sure, from many in Europe who cannot even dream of politicians of such calibre and conviction.
Unless I am very much mistaken, Santorum is a Reagan in the making.