Rick Santorum - Candidate for Every One - photo form MSBNC.com
There are, in essence, two viable candidates for the GOP Nomination, in alphabetical order, Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts one term Governor, and Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Legislator (Congress and Senate) – the media has played Romney as the one Republican’s feel most likely can best Obama, yet that belies some polls who show Santorum as the obvious Choice. While Santorum is constantly hammered as the one-dimension “Catholic” candidate who cannot get past his religion and will govern as one of those “scary” Catholics - which, in a word, insults all Catholics, regardless of whether or not they follow Church Doctrine). The problem is that all denominations include those members who follow the teachings of the individual church, and those who simply pick and choose the way the follow – it makes for great sound bites to haul out those who profess to be Catholic but support abortion and gay marriage – while there are the rank and file Catholics, who are not politically vested, and yet, managed to put on blinders when it comes to the tenants of the faith. Not much has been made of Mitt Romney’s faith, as it stands – rather focusing on whether or not his policies align too closely to that of President Obama, making his general election changes a bit less than someone who could contrast a great deal more.
The Boston Herald, for example, lays out a new article this morning: Relax, Mitt Romney, and Deval Patrick’s on the attack. The premise is that Deval Patrick will be helping his long-time friend President Obama in uncovering the truth about Mitt Romney in a general election (this assumes Romney ultimately wins the nomination). The article however is written as if Romney were running against the Massachusetts Governor, which he is not – the problem is that the Massachusetts Governor has the hard copy records of the Romney Administration, which were obtained through the Secretary of State’s office, once it was found that Romney’s staff had wiped all the computers clear of any correspondence with, from or regarding Govenror Romney. It’s opposition research that counts
On the flip side, an article form Tampa Bay Times suggests that Santorum has problems with Conservatives because of the way he legislated in Pennsylvania, (in effect, much the same way Scott Brown does in Massachusetts)
Butler, less than an hour's drive north of Pittsburgh, is a middle-class town still rebuilding from the decline of the steel industry. Santorum's parents worked at the VA hospital and lived in an apartment on the grounds.
"He was the all-American boy, just all-around good guy, very polite," said Larry Goettler, a businessman. "We used to call him the Rooster. He had this shock of black hair that stuck up."
Goettler said Santorum's work ethic came through on the basketball court. "No one would describe him as a good athlete, but he never quit. Many times I thought he wouldn't get off the floor and he always did."
Santorum got knocked around so much he had to tape his glasses together.
"He was a debater. He could argue any point," Goettler said. "He was never rude about it, but he was very emphatic about it. He hasn't changed a bit."
Santorum did not grow up poor but his roots (his grandfather, an Italian immigrant, worked in the coal mines) have been an asset. On the campaign trail he has had a more natural connection with voters than Romney, the Harvard-educated multimillionaire. Santorum talks about bringing up all people, frets over the decline of upward mobility and has long worked on antipoverty measures.
• • •
Santorum always earned low voter ratings from unions but he took positions that benefited the jobs back home. He voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement and for limits on steel imports.
Santorum pushed for a balanced budget amendment and helped enact welfare reform, but he also fought against cuts in food stamps. He supported a minimum wage hike and voted against others.
Taken together, the record shows a more nuanced history than the unwavering conservative he projects today. In that regard, Santorum lines up with Romney, who says he had to sometimes take positions as governor of Massachusetts that reflected the political landscape.
"When you run in a state that's got a million more Democrats, you have to find ways to compromise and build bridges," said Vince Galko, a state Republican consultant who worked on Santorum's Senate campaigns.
His protectionist votes were only the start of his problems with conservative activists, who saw him as a hand of big government. Santorum voted for the Medicare prescription drug benefit, a massive expansion of the program, and for No Child Left Behind, the education policy conservatives say imposed too much federal control on states. He bragged about the political pork he brought home.
"We're going back into 1990s and wondering why Republicans — whether they're from Massachusetts or Georgia or Pennsylvania — weren't pure and strict conservatives on spending," said Madonna, the professor. "Well, very few of them were. There's a new standard in place."
Longtime friends say Santorum's enduring quality is that he means what he says and that his religious views get outsized attention from the news media.
"A lot of the things he says are very common sense, but it's sort of become a sport to criticize him of late," said Heather Heidelbaugh, an Allegheny County council member. "For Pennsylvania to elect a Santorum, he couldn't be a wacko right-winger."
What we have in one extremely determined campaigner in Mitt Romney, who has, in the day before Super Tuesday, cast a glance at the State that elected him Governor. Romney spent two years governing the state (memo to the Herald, don’t blame Deval Patrick for taking the time off to help Barack Obama), and the last two priming for the 2008 Presidential Campaign. In effect, Romney has been running for office and losing in Massachusetts and beyond. (With the exception of the Governor’s office (by what is referred to as a “squeaker”.)He went on to govern by raising taxes (fees, no difference, $700 million is $700 million out of one’s collective pocket), and instituting the Massachusetts Mandate that was the model for Obama’s plan. It had the backing of Ted Kennedy who stood happily behind Mitt Romney as he signed the Mass. Mandate into law. Immediately following, Romney hit the campaign trail and left the Mandate to the Massachusetts legislature – where, the costs went over budget and the fact that the MA government isn’t paying a dime is ridiculous – there is Commonwealth Care, which administration of said Commonwealth Care is paid for by the State as well as the premiums which state residents cannot afford.
Meanwhile, those working in MA who cannot afford the high cost of Commonwealth Care, or the other three carriers allowed in the state, are faced paying the hefty penalties, those penalties are less expensive than buying the actual insurance.
No one knows where those fees go – that’s a question asked many a Massachusetts home – I have no insurance, I cannot afford insurance, yet I have to pay a fine.
Santorum, on the other hand, governed to protect labor in a manner of speaking (if one is running against Santorum) by supporting or not, legislation that would hard industry in the state – effectively protecting all of his constituents
However, that is not the focus on Santorum – Santorum has been labeled the candidate that’s – hold on to your hats here, a Catholic! Not just a Catholic, but one who practices their religion. However, if one looks at Santorum’s record in both the Congress and later in the Senate, one finds a leader (he was the majority whip) who voted in favor of the people, not once, in any piece of legislation did his faith interfere and or be brought to bear – he was consistent.
Both Santorum and Romney manage to make ‘gaffes’ – it is the nature of the campaign trail, but Romney’s gaffes usually are a 24hours change of position, followed by “I didn’t understand the question, or the position”, rather than “I stuck my foot in it.”
According to a morning Press Release from the Romney Campaign (let’s call it a barrage), Romney will return to Massachusetts on Super Tuesday to vote, and by way of campaign, ran about 3 press releases pointing out the endorsements of the slate of State Republican Representatives, or as is known by anyone watching this race, the GOP establishment.
It’s the day before the primary and Mitt Romney, former Governor of the Bay State, who has not put one foot on the ground other than for fundraisers, is coming in the day of the Primary – in the sure knowledge that he will sweep the state.
Arrogance before the fall.
He may end up sharing some of those delegates or more: Santorum has an active campaign in Massachusetts – the media has gone to great lengths to find Santorum Supporters who are solely religious in nature, and ignoring quotes from these who support Santorum based on his record with manufacturing. Two Republican’s have grassroots campaigns on the ground in MA, Santorum and to some extent Ron Paul, however, nowhere is there a sign (not yard, or otherwise) that Romney feels he needs to win the votes of those Bay Stater's.
Think again: The poll taken by Suffolk University appears to have Romney at 64% of the vote with Santorum at 15 (enough to receive a share of the 41 delegates at stake in MA), yet, it was based on 170 (approx.) Republican voters, however, in a match-up against Barack Obama, Romney is at 39% while Santorum is within the margin of error at 35% - in a February 17th – One might take a look at the rest of those polled, the independents who make up the majority and are looking at Santorum. There have been no other polls taken (or released) in the Bay State. Although it very well could be that Romney wins, it remains to be seen by how much or if at all, should those Independents and Conservatives, and Republicans who remember Romney as Governor show up and vote.
Santorum will be in Ohio, where there polls show he is statistically tied with Romney, and therefore, Ohio will be a squeaker.
The States are
Alaska: No Polling Data: Romney anticipated winning due to performance in besting McCain
Georgia: Gingrich leads
Idaho: No data
Massachusetts: Polling from Suffolk, see above (Romney expected to win, but by what margin?)
North Dakota: No Data
Ohio: Santorum Romney Tied
Vermont Romney by 7 over Santorum (within Margin of Error)
Virginia: Romney – unless Ron Paul has his first victory, and this is not out of the question (given the trouncing Romney took from Paul in 2008) but, for the sake of sanity and reality – Romney
Therefore, Romney is “sure” to win: Vermont and Virginal
Gingrich takes Georgia
And the balance: Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, either are too close to call or there is no reliable data indicating a lead in a poll, or the state has been placed by the media in the Romney column based on past performance (except Virginia, in that case it was placed in the Romney column because Paul is the only other candidate on the slate.
Of note: In Massachusetts: Romney has been calling for Cash and has the support of the elected officials I the state (and those are the Republicans), Santorum has an active team on the ground, focused and getting out the vote. Ron Paul, to a lesser extent has boots the ground, but to win a recent straw poll, had to bus in supporters for surround states. Democrats are breaking for Santorum – not because they are trying to “get the candidate that can beat Obama” – keep in mind this is Massachusetts and the state is destined to go Blue in November – but they are voting “just in case” Obama is not elected, they want the candidate that will most help the working class – they believe that candidate is Santorum – they lived in the State under Romney and know better.
This blogger endorses Rick Santorum in Massachusetts and as the eventual nominee for the GOP despite the emphasis on his religion, despite the plethora of negative and misleading attack ads, and despite his gaffes and personal belief structure (that’s his business) but specifically because as a former union member (International Ladies Garment Union), and daughter of a former Union organize (Local 33 Amalgamated Meat cutters) and granddaughter of raging Republicans who were set on the Constitution and did not believe in grand government but in men of principle (remember this was the 1960’s) – Santorum makes sense based on his record – not on his religion. Democrats can be conservatives, the majority are not the “progressive horde” or “blind sheep” – they are smart enough to know that the economy will drive the election and again, should Obama loose and it is likely, they want a candidate that will be in the people’s best interest – at least that’s what the Democrats in MA are whispering (quietly). Whether or not they go to the polls is another story. I trust Santorum to govern the way he did while in the Senate and the House, by using smart diplomacy and sticking to his guns at the same time. Santorum is someone who was not afraid to be a conservative Republican in a time when Republicans were poison (just four years ago), which cost him his Senate Seat, and someone who is strong in foreign and domestic policy as well as economics.
Tomorrow night, and late into the evening (Alaska) we will know which of the candidates will carry or, and which will become a foot note in history
Next up in March: Kansas, Alabama, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Louisiana -