No, Senator Santorum, Obama and Romney aren’t the same

posted at 8:40 am on March 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

As someone who supports Rick Santorum for President, and who will caucus tomorrow in the next phase of Minnesota’s political process as a delegate, I understand the need to replace Barack Obama in 2012 in order to right the American ship of state and address the serious problems that Obama has either created, amplified, or ignored over the last three years.  I do, however, wonder whether Senator Santorum understands that need.  Yesterday, as Allahpundit noted with excellent analysis, Santorum told a Louisiana audience that if Mitt Romney won the nomination, we’d be better off sticking with what we’ve already got:

“You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there. If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future,” Santorum told a crowd at USAA.

Er, no, we wouldn’t be better off with Obama than with Romney, for many reasons.  Before we get to those reasons, let’s note that Newt Gingrich, at least, does get this right:

“I may have some very substantial disagreements with Gov. Romney. There is no doubt in my mind that if the choice was Gov. Romney or Barack Obama, we would have no choice,” Gingrich said. “The danger of Obama is so great that I would hope that every candidate running – Ron Paul, Gov. Romney and Sen. Santorum – that we would all agree that whoever becomes the Republican nominee, we have one common goal and that is to defeat Barack Obama.”

While Gingrich finds faults with his GOP rivals, he has told crowds throughout his campaign that any of the other candidates are superior to the current president.

It seems that Senator Santorum has forgotten the purpose of the Republican primary.  It’s to choose the most successful candidate to beat Obama in the general election.  It isn’t to test a few candidates to see whether the goal of beating Obama is worth the bother.

And why do we need to beat Obama?  The economic policies of this administration have been an utter disaster.  The Senate won’t pass any budgets, not even the President’s, while he’s in the Oval Office.  Energy prices are going through the roof thanks to the massive regulatory hurdles his administration has created to production and refining, especially on federal lands.  An ObamaCare repeal will only happen if Obama is no longer President, assuming that the Supreme Court doesn’t throw the whole law out this summer.

Most of all, a second Obama term would be infinitely worse than the first.  We have already had a taste of what this will be like over the last few months, as Obama unveiled his class-warfare core.  We’ve also seen Obama’s commitment to limited government as he has tried to manipulate the law to bypass Congress on policy, and openly bragged about it.   Imagine an Obama who no longer needed to worry about his next election, and what that Obama might do in office.

In fact, imagine how many Supreme Court openings there will be in the next term of office, and then tell me there’s no difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama being in the White House to make those appointments, Senator Santorum.

I will go to the caucuses tomorrow.  I expect Senator Santorum to have recovered his sense of reality and apologize for that statement by that time.  If not, I may end up arguing for another candidate when we meet to discuss the next phase at our Republican caucus.

Addendum: One last point.  People who enter primary contests should be prepared to support the eventual product of that primary and unite behind that candidate.  If a candidate can’t do that, he has no business asking his party for the nomination in a primary contest in the first place.  Santorum didn’t explicitly say he wouldn’t support Romney if Romney won, but that statement comes pretty close to the mark.

Update: Don’t forget why I endorsed Santorum in the first place when considering this piece.  I disagree with Santorum on some issues, notably DADT and a few others.  However, I thought he conducted himself with integrity during the campaign and stayed out of the immature (and worse) sniping in which Romney and Gingrich engaged.  I find this very, very disappointing, and potentially nullifying on those points.  I will, however, be open to whatever explanation Senator Santorum offers today.


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Santorum doesn’t get it. Will he campaign for One-bama if Mitt is the nominee??

[double face palm]

NickDeringer on March 23, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Go home rick, we’ve all had enough.

aniptofar on March 23, 2012 at 8:42 AM

Primary: Anyone but Romney.

Election: Anyone but Obama!!!

Ukiah on March 23, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Sadly, of the 3 left (not including Paul) Romney is the closest and most similart to Obama. That’s what the general electorate would think and not just us republicans. Why change boats in mid-stream in that case. So all indignation aside, we need to refocus and go with the most conservative and that’s Rick Santorum IMHO. Even a brokered convention looks better now instead of a Rmoney coronoation so we can, ala Sketchy, shake things ups and start fresh.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

He’s letting the cement set on this.

Out of all the stupid things said in this campaign, this tops them all.

cozmo on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Rick lost all support of mine with that statement. No serious candidate for President could possibly consider Obama less dangerous than ANY other Republican, even Ron Paul.

And readers here know I am no Mittbot. I can’t stand him either.

There is no important obligation for any good Citizen of the United States than to send Barry Hussein Soetoro back to Chicago to resume his career as a street agitator next January REGARDLESS of who we have to vote for to make it happen.

wildcat72 on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Great piece Ed

I don’t see Rick apologizing for this….but hey I could be wrong

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

A big government Rockefeller Republican is much more preferable to an out and out marxist. Then in 4 years, primary the guy. Oh, and in the mean time, give him a Tea Party Congress to constrain his tendencies.

rbj on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Caucus for SMOD.

WhatNot on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Of course not…

One has been a true liberal his whole life while one has flipped-flopped his whole life.

There is not one single defining issue in American politics where Willard hasn’t taken both sides at one point in his pathetic political career.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

we need to refocus and go with the most conservative and that’s Rick Santorum IMHO.
mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Not if doesn’t walk this all the way back.

cozmo on March 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I am begining to doubt my own sanity for ever supporting this guy. It is time for Rick to get a job at the local Dunkin Donuts and quit bothering us. And to think that I felt Rick wasn’t conservative enough, and now I support Mittens!

chicken thief on March 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Caucus for SMOD.

WhatNot on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Global Thermonuclear War will wipe SMOD off the map.

Steve Eggleston on March 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Romney and Obama are not the same, but they are very similar.

Romney is the Republican version of Obama. Obama was a blank slate for voters to see what they wanted to see.

Romney is, effectively, a blank slate trying to get voters to see what they want to see. (Since, apparently, his record must be ignored and what he’s saying NOW is all that counts. Until he updates his positions for the general election, at which point what he is saying now must be ignored.)

I cannot vote for Romney. (I also cannot vote for Obama. Being “Not Obama” is not good enough for me to vote for Romney.) I do not trust the man and I have no idea how he would govern. He is PROBABLY better than Obama in the short term. I don’t really care about the short term, I care about my children’s future. I’m willing to suffer now if it will give them a better chance at a preferable future.

makattak on March 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

Man I wish Perry didn’t give up so soon:(

Dang it

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 8:48 AM

I maintain the same position I have always had with regard to Santorum, as he runs for POTUS.

Weak weak resume.

jake-the-goose on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

“I expect Senator Santorum to have recovered his sense of reality and apologize for that statement by that time.”

Given his past experiences with the “what I really meant to say” routine, you’re in for one long, bumpy wait.

whatcat on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

So if Castro were running against Obama, we would vote for him because “anyone but Obama”?

All my family are from the South and each one voted for Santorum. I may vote for Romney but right now I’m not there yet.

Romney is not a conservative. So in a way one can make the argument there is no difference between him and Obama.

I consider the healthcare law tyranny at both state and federal level.

True conservatives oppose tyranny wherever they see it. They do not hide behind 10th Amendment. Romney is not a conservative.

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

I am sooooo glad I never had an instance where I wanted to vote for Santorum in the primary. He should immediately drop out, and his supporters should demand their money back.

SouthernGent on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Santorum becomes democrat. Will replace Joe Biden on democratic ticket.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Personal aspirations over the good of the country. Thanks Rick!

SPGuy on March 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Santorum needs to go now. There is no way he can dial this back. The MSM now has that comment and is splashing it across all their news pages to prop up Obama. I can’t take much more of this insanity.

FirstBoot on March 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM

So all indignation aside, we need to refocus and go with the most conservative and that’s Rick Santorum IMHO. Even a brokered convention looks better now instead of a Rmoney coronoation so we can, ala Sketchy, shake things ups and start fresh.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

NOPE. Anybody who would say something like this does not deserve the nomination.

This isn’t Clinton we’re running against. Obama is a man that fundementally wants to change this country to it’s core. None of our nominees are worse than that.

If people don’t want to vote Romney then they should go to Newt IMO.

gophergirl on March 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM

It’s a simple concept…military, sports, business, they all think the same.
Better to have an opponent that you know what move they are going to make, what decisions, what policy they have, than to have an unknown quantity that is erratic and can’t make a rational decision.
Mitt is erratic, liberal one day, conservative the next, sometimes a progressive, sometimes a RINO, sometimes talks like a conservative, others tries to be more liberal than Ted Kennedy was…no body knows how he will govern.
Hopefully from the right, but his history says from the left, but no one really knows, it’s based on pure faith.
If you have faith in him, he is from the right…if you look at his history and don’t have faith, it will be from the left.

right2bright on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

I can’t believe he hasn’t ALREADY walked this one back! All I can guess that he’ll do now is to try and “clarify” what he meant, without apologizing or retracting his statement. I doubt if his massive ego will let him apologize to Romney.

If nothing else this has given us an idea of how Rick handles frustration and stress. Not very Presidentially….

BettyRuth on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

No, they’re not the same.

dogsoldier on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Romney is not a conservative. So in a way one can make the argument there is no difference between him and Obama.

he’s more conservative than Obama.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Jeez, Rick…what a stupid thing to say..time for me to coalesce I guess

thedevilinside on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

That was some jump.

Drained Brain on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Man I wish Perry didn’t give up so soon:(
Dang it
cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 8:48 AM

While he certainly had his share of verbal fumbles, he never stumbled his way into endorsing Obama.

whatcat on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Rick has a wonderful future in the next Obama administration as the Secretary of Education. To meet the President’s green initiatives he will lead a charge to replace computers in schools with etch a sketches. Will have additional benefit of keeping kids away from pron.

Bradky on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Huge mistake, huge. “I’m taking my ball and going home!” might have been a good tactic at age 7, after that not so much.

Bishop on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

After our wins in 2010 I thought this was the time to get a true conservative person in the whitehouse. The country had clearly proved we wanted to shift right in the 2010 elections. How did we end up with Romney? The idea that anyone can defend Romney as a conservative is dishonesty in its finest. Again I may vote for him but please do not call him a conservative he is not.

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

I will go to the caucuses tomorrow. I expect Senator Santorum to have recovered his sense of reality and apologize for that statement by that time. If not, I may end up arguing for another candidate when we meet to discuss the next phase at our Republican caucus.

If the shills and spin doctors understood how significant and profound this last sentence is, they’d have a prayer that maybe someday too, they might have a bit of honor and pragmatism. Until then, what they engage in is pretty much rank propaganda and what Ed puts together is actual political commentary and debate.

The entire piece is very well laid out, Ed.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Is Ed going to recant his endorsement?

Rick Santorum puts his foot in his mouth more than … Mitt Romney’s advisors, or even Joe Biden at this point.

Romney is guaranteed to govern as a conservative on some level because he knows there is going to be a horde of conservative candidates ready to primary him again in 2016 if he doesn’t.

RINO on March 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

Geesh Rick! Why did you have to say that?
It’s something stupid like JugEars and Bite-me would say, but in this case the cover-up media will remind everyone of what you said.
….and then the headline you just made Ed put up! Geez!
Might as well have written ATTENTION Bluegill!…she should be all over this thread…like a diaper on lobotomy4life’s butt! We’re all gonna get wet!

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

NOPE. Anybody who would say something like this does not deserve the nomination.

gophergirl on March 23, 2012 at 8:50 AM

I agree. A President must look to his deportment more scrupulously than anyone.

dogsoldier on March 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

I don’t see Rick apologizing for this….but hey I could be wrong

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

There’s no coming back from this.

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I think Rick is in the anger stage regarding the death of his candidacy. Looks like Newt is in the denial stage.

Spliff Menendez on March 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

he’s more conservative than Obama.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Thats like saying Hugo Chavez is more conservative than Fidel Castro.

The line between Obama is Romney is very blurred right now.

Again I may vote for him but I’m not sold yet

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

Man I wish Perry didn’t give up so soon:(

Dang it

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 8:48 AM

The funny thing is in reading some of the comments in the last few days, his supporters are somehow to blame for him dropping out.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Santorum doesn’t get it. Will he campaign for One-bama if Mitt is the nominee??

You can count on the Obama campaign making use of the statement.

Santorum has shown himself to be a poor loser, and rather thin skinned. Sorta like the current occupant of the White House.

ProfessorMiao on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

I voted for Santorum in the Georgia primary and so this statement is very disappointing. I agree with you Ed that a candidate who says the Democrat would be better than one of the other Republican candidates doesn’t deserve to ask for his party’s nomination. I really hope he does take this back.

GeorgiaBuckeye on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

The funny thing is in reading some of the comments in the last few days, his supporters are somehow to blame for him dropping out.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

What?????????

gophergirl on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

If the shills and spin doctors understood how significant and profound this last sentence is, they’d have a prayer that maybe someday too, they might have a bit of honor and pragmatism. Until then, what they engage in is pretty much rank propaganda and what Ed puts together is actual political commentary and debate.

The entire piece is very well laid out, Ed.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

…well said!…You think some of the people in here will get it?

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Go Newt!!! ;o)

It isn’t going to hurt Rmoney to let people vote their choice first, unless he’s weaker than his fans say he is.

Lightswitch on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Thanks, Ed, for this voice of sanity. What’s driving me nuts is your tweet on this column is one of only a couple in my feed of conservative pundits and bloggers to even mention this direct Santorum statement.

But for days now the Etch-a-sketch comment (not actually made by the
candidate) has been featured in every other tweet it seems. You guys are lapping it up…puns and jokes abound…keeping it alive well past it’s date.

You’ve got to concede that Romney is clearly the most likely nominee (I’d argue it’s pretty much a given at this point, but anyway). So what’s with conservatives continuing to do Obama’s job for him?

If you’re not quite ready to rally around him, perhaps folks could at least not be sooooo eager to tear his campaign down — if, of course, the aim is to actually beat Obama.

pjaromin on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

All I have to do is look at Rick and Mitt and the likely possibility that we’re going to lose seats in the Senate (VA, MA, & ME) and who is the best fighter and who would stand up against the democrats. I don’t think an etch-sketch politician would. Rick is only stating the obvious.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Santorum was my last real hope for a “not-Romney” since Gingrich imploded. I was actually very uneasy about the guy, but willing to shrug off his earlier “gaffes” until this.

Romney is not some hardcore conservative, but he is certainly no Barrack Hussein Obama, Pretender-in-chief and lord of the liberalsphere.

Mord on March 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Well…. At least he’s not talking about pornography, or Satan attacking America.

Boomer_Sooner on March 23, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Giant Man-Baby needs to go. Now.

…but the only one who’s going to be able to get him to walk that back is Beck.

But, if he magically appears on beck and doesn’t retract, then he has no place at the convention, let alone the rest of this campaign.

budfox on March 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM

As Santorum proved in his last campaign, he is quite adept at losing big time. He never should have been in the position he is now. Seriously? Rick Santorum in 2012 is one of our final 2 candidates. Good grief.
Funny how in the midst of trying to milk the already tired Etch-a-Sketch meme, he says something infinitely dumber than the comment he was mocking.
The problem is that Rick got just enough attention and just enough smoke blown up his butt to fantasize about becoming president. Now, as it becomes obvious it ain’t happening, he’s throwing little hissy fits.

Sugar Land on March 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Of course not…

One has been a true liberal his whole life while one has flipped-flopped his whole life.

There is not one single defining issue in American politics where Willard hasn’t taken both sides at one point in his pathetic political career.

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Oh! I just was mentioning you! Had your bottle…a fresh diaper…and a change of bib…and you’re ready to go for another day huh?

KOOLAID2 on March 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

And why do we need to beat Obama? The economic policies of this administration have been an utter disaster. The Senate won’t pass any budgets, not even the President’s, while he’s in the Oval Office. Energy prices are going through the roof thanks to the massive regulatory hurdles his administration has created to production and refining, especially on federal lands. An ObamaCare repeal will only happen if Obama is no longer President, assuming that the Supreme Court doesn’t throw the whole law out this summer.

You left out his disastrous & unConstitutional foreign policy.
OK, it’s a long list to remember, don’t feel bad.
:)

itsnotaboutme on March 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Santorum doesn’t make sense strategically either. He has shifted the Etch a Sketch conversation which was damaging his opponent to a Rick thinks Obama would be better headline that makes him look bad. I was as anybody but Romney as you could be but its time to wrap this up and start taking it to Obama. Conservatives can work on getting Romney to the right if he wins.

ldbgcoleman on March 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Thanks, Ed, for this voice of sanity. What’s driving me nuts is your tweet on this column is one of only a couple in my feed of conservative pundits and bloggers to even mention this direct Santorum statement.

pjaromin on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

I’m looking forward to how Santorum’s #1 fanboy Byron York, will handle this. Bill Kristol, too. There is utterly no defense.

BettyRuth on March 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Santorum is raising a valid point – this is what many voters will say to themselves if it comes down to Romney vs obama. With Romney vs. obama, a lot of voters will decide to stick with the known evil rather than taking a chance on the unknown evil.

This was a risky thing for Santorum to say – but it was also quite brave – and it is based in a very ugly and tragic reality.

Pork-Chop on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Ed, you and others (e.g. Drudge) are making way too big a deal over Santorum’s remark. He was clearly reacting to What’s-his-name—some campaign manager’s—remark that after Mitt gets the nomination, they’d recycle for the general election by wiping Mitt’s ‘conservative’ slate clean, as on an Etch-a-Sketch®.

Rick said an ‘Etch-a-Sketch president’ would be no better that what we have now. That’s just primary-campaign rhetoric, seizing upon What’s-his-name’s Freudian slip. It’s part and parcel of the rather heated back-and-forth that has characterized this Republican primary.

I’d call it hyperbole, but I must point out that the manager’s cynical ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ remark was unnerving, and does leave us wondering if Mitt’s conversion to conservatism is anything more than a marriage of convenience.

That’s what Rick was pointing out. If I were him, I wouldn’t apologize, not unless What’s-his-name was fired.

MrLynn on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

The funny thing is in reading some of the comments in the last few days, his supporters are somehow to blame for him dropping out.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 8:55 AM

What?????????

gophergirl on March 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

You haven’t seen them? I’m not going to dig them all up now, but the basic meme is that people shifted from some other candidate to support Santorum. Then they add if you wanted Perry you shouldn’t have given up on him after one debate. Or, you shouldn’t have let him drop out.

As if his supporters were in charge of that.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Leave it to Santorum to take the giant cudgel Eric Fernstrom handed him and beat himself to death with it.

This was Michele Bachmann’s problem too – take an otherwise viable line of attack and press it so hard that it epically backfires.

KingGold on March 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM

To put this in perspective – Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean did not even go this route with Obama or Kerry.

Santorum is our Howard Dean.

…and this was Santo’s Dean Scream.

budfox on March 23, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Someone find Rick a pen, have him sign the big fat new Fox News contract and go away.

NoDonkey on March 23, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I believe this was a rhetorical jab at the whole “etch-a-sketch” thing – it’s being taken too literally and far too much is being made out of it. I’m pretty sure Santorum will in the end support Mittens, even if it kills him (like the rest of us).

Mr Galt on March 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Well…. At least he’s not talking about pornography, or Satan attacking America.

In Rick’s mind its all the same.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Agreed. Obumbler has to go.I just really wish we had something better than a man who considers a serious conviction one that lasts more than an hour.

Southernblogger on March 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM

That’s what Rick was pointing out. If I were him, I wouldn’t apologize, not unless What’s-his-name was fired.

MrLynn on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Great comment there, but he really does need to if not walk it back, then to clarify the remark with at least a general, “Any of our guys would be better than President Obama” comment.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 9:04 AM

In fact, imagine how many Supreme Court openings there will be in the next term of office,

There will probably be none. The only person who might retire is Ginsberg, and if a Republican wins she will probably hang on through his term. There’s a chance Kennedy could retire, but I’d imagine he will make it another term and will wait for a Republican. So the Supreme Court argument really holds no weight.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Santorum is raising a valid point – this is what many voters will say to themselves if it comes down to Romney vs obama. With Romney vs. obama, a lot of voters will decide to stick with the known evil rather than taking a chance on the unknown evil.

This was a risky thing for Santorum to say – but it was also quite brave – and it is based in a very ugly and tragic reality.

Pork-Chop on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

That’s why I’m fighting so hard for Rick Santorum. It would be nice to have a principled and conservative candidate who speaks the truth against a liberal socialist fraud. The only difference with romney against obama is he’s not a socialist… yet. Sorry, but that’s how much I don’t trust that dude. Especially if he gets pressured from democrats. He’d cave, that much we can be sure of since he did in Massachusetts.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

There’s no coming back from this.

Axe on March 23, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I should think not…the implode-o-meter just blew a gasket.

lynncgb on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Anyone but Santorum. What a sanctimonious smarmy obnoxious loser. I hope he fades into oblivion soon. What a moron.

ObamatheMessiah on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

I understand the need to replace Barack Obama in 2012 in order to right the American ship of state and address the serious problems that Obama has either created, amplified, or ignored over the last three years.

No, if you are supporting Santorum, apologies, but you don’t. Here is what I also said to your fellow koll-aid drinker, Allah;

“You and people like you have pushed Sweater Dude as some kind of sagacious candidate for President.

What’s been lost in conservatives attempt to somehow squeeze purity out of the Republican candidate is this. Every single Presidential candidate should by now have mastered the basic qualities required for the job. That would include proven temperament, measured decision making, quiet confidence, an ability to communicate, consistency and a healthy degree of wisdom. That’s not some lofty, idealist wish list. It is a plain, simple truth.

We can and will argue whether some candidates possess those qualities. But voters must at least believe (e.g Obama)the candidate is imbued with those characteristics. But the fact is no President, in my humble opinion, has ever won office without voters believing they have the basic personal traits to perform the job.

Unfortunately, Santorum supporters conveniently skipped this test. They also, in the midst of didactic political analysis, didn’t realize this was the ultimate reason he lost on Pennsylvania. Then to make matters worse doubled down, not by telling us about Rick, but by telling us (and still telling us) he is not Romney and then lamenting, ad nauseum, on Romney’s flaws. That’s not a strategy to win the Presidency. It’s a gadfly trying to poison the well because he doesn’t want anyone else to drink. It’s a selfish, destructive, churlish act of someone who does not even deserve to be dogcatcher.

Romney certainly does have his flaws, as does every candidate. But those flaws, in sum total, are significantly less than our current President who is well beneath the job. That’s based on the facts which are fairly evident to almost everyone but Rick after the last three, destructive, depressing, freedom diminishing years.”

But I quote myself…

Marcus Traianus on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Yes, Mr. Ed Morrissey, Obama and Romney are the same, but so is Santorum.

Dante on March 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

In fact, imagine how many Supreme Court openings there will be in the next term of office, and then tell me there’s no difference between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama being in the White House to make those appointments, Senator Santorum.

This is the #1 reason why any conservative or Republican should have no hesitation in voting for anyone over Obama in November. Sure, we may have to nudge Romney in the right direction for his Supreme Court appointments(as we had to do with Bush and Harriet Myers), but that’s a helluva lot easier than coping with anymore Sotomayor or Kagan type picks.

And remember, Obama is all but assured of replacing at least one more Supreme Court justice and possibly as many as 3. Ginsburg will almost certainly step down if he wins another term as she’s already 79 years old and will want to have another far left radical take her place. Kennedy is getting up there in the years and may leave the court. Scalia will be pushing 80 before Obama’s 2nd term is up, so who knows how long he can stick around? And let’s not forget Breyer nearly being killed by a burglar recently. Anything can happen with these folks.

So imagine a worst case scenario of Obama replacing Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Scalia. We just took a 4-4 court with Kennedy’s swing vote and turned it into a 6-3 far left court. At that point it’s almost irrelevant if the GOP controls Congress and the White House from 2017 onward as the Dems and libs will ensure that the Supreme Court strikes down anything conservatives try to do legislatively.

Doughboy on March 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Someone find Rick a pen, have him sign the big fat new Fox News contract and go away.

NoDonkey on March 23, 2012 at 9:03 AM

Yeah, him, Alan Colmes, and Bob Beckel can have a triple tag team against the GOP.

BettyRuth on March 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

So if Castro were running against Obama, we would vote for him because “anyone but Obama”?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

THIS.

Myron Falwell on March 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Ed, you and others (e.g. Drudge) are making way too big a deal over Santorum’s remark. He was clearly reacting to What’s-his-name—some campaign manager’s—remark that after Mitt gets the nomination, they’d recycle for the general election by wiping Mitt’s ‘conservative’ slate clean, as on an Etch-a-Sketch®.

Rick took the etch-a-sketch gaffe and made it his gaffe. Way to go RICK.

gerrym51 on March 23, 2012 at 9:06 AM

Indeed whatcat

??? Hawkdriver

Ok, just saw your last post….ALT, GG, and I certainly didn’t give up on him

cmsinaz on March 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM

You haven’t seen them? I’m not going to dig them all up now, but the basic meme is that people shifted from some other candidate to support Santorum. Then they add if you wanted Perry you shouldn’t have given up on him after one debate. Or, you shouldn’t have let him drop out.

As if his supporters were in charge of that.

hawkdriver on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

LOL LOL LOL – that’s funny :)

Like we had a say in him dropping out. Really people are funny.

gophergirl on March 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM

We must be careful to remember that it is easier to listen to a politician’s words rather than check to see what he has actually done. That’s one of the reasons we are in the mess we’re in right now. Lots of folks listened to Obama but forgot to check his record. Santorum has the same problem – he may be a social conservative, but a fiscal one – not so much. He made it clear during one of the debates that he spent time in the Senate “taking one for the team”. He pursued earmarks and never saw a debt increase he didn’t like. He voted to expand our entitlement problems when he voted for the prescription health benefit supported by Bush, as well as No Child Left Behind. Principled Conservative as he claims? I think not. Personally, I’m tired of the same old same old in Washington. A vote for Santorum is a vote to support the status quo. As for his petty comments about Romney – just another reason he’s not ready for prime time. Leadership is not, and has never been, his strong point. He can talk the talk, but has a hard time walking the walk.

ldenton1 on March 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM

How disappointing. I am not a Romney supporter, however I was a supporter in 2008 over McCain. How things change. For me personally I want Obamacare repealed in it’s entirety two weeks ago. In 2008 the MA insurance was not an issue, and certainly not an issue in correlation with Obamacare, today, it is.

With that said and the fact that for myself it is the number one issue, one half of my family live in MA. They hate the mandatory insurance ruling, or Mass care. If you ask the same family members about Romney as governor (both party affiliation in my family) they will tell you aside from that issue he was very good at governing. Mitt Romney is nothing like Obama, not even close. His moral compass is much better, that alone would get me to the polls should he be the nominee.

shar61 on March 23, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Update: Don’t forget why I endorsed Santorum in the first place when considering this piece. I disagree with Santorum on some issues, notably DADT and a few others. However, I thought he conducted himself with integrity during the campaign and stayed out of the immature (and worse) sniping in which Romney and Gingrich engaged. I find this very, very disappointing, and potentially nullifying on those points. I will, however, be open to whatever explanation Senator Santorum offers today.

And once again, the word Constitution does not appear once in your paragraph, or in your post endorsing Santorum.

Dante on March 23, 2012 at 9:08 AM

He’s just taking the Romney=Obama talking point of his base to its logical conclusion.

RINO on March 23, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Santorum is raising a valid point – this is what many voters will say to themselves if it comes down to Romney vs obama. With Romney vs. obama, a lot of voters will decide to stick with the known evil rather than taking a chance on the unknown evil.

This was a risky thing for Santorum to say – but it was also quite brave – and it is based in a very ugly and tragic reality.

Pork-Chop on March 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

You really should be a Chevy Volt salesperson P-C.

Rovin on March 23, 2012 at 9:08 AM

There will probably be none. The only person who might retire is Ginsberg, and if a Republican wins she will probably hang on through his term. There’s a chance Kennedy could retire, but I’d imagine he will make it another term and will wait for a Republican. So the Supreme Court argument really holds no weight.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

What holds no weight is your reasoning. Anthony Kennedy holds fealty to nobody but his job. If he even considers himself a Republican any more, it’s far more a Mitt Romney Republican than a Rick Santorum Republican in any case. And given Ginsberg’s recent failing health, her retirement may be coming up sooner than you think.

But to say the Supreme Court argument is weak is an implicit admission that your guy’s running to lose. Not very convincing for those folk who say (honestly or not) that they’d prefer anyone to Obama.

KingGold on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Hmmm. let’s consider this a little more deeply. What condition would the country be in right now if McCain had won? Would the economy be better off, sure, but not by leaps and bounds. would we be having public discussions about fundamental freedom issues, probably not. Would a very conservative candidate even have a chance at nomination let alone election this yar, no. A good friend of mine works in failure analysis and is fond of saying that we learn orders of magnitude more froma catastrophic failure than a mediocre success. McCain would have been a mediocre success. So will Romney. There are masses out there that need to come to the realization that leftist policies yield unacceptable results. Romney’s centerist approach will dull the pain just enough that the mini-socialists can continue feeling justified in their desires for more government cheese. A second Obama administration will take the US to the proverbial mat and force an even greater awakening of the sedated masses that these policies don’t work. Any of the other 3 would begin a course correction that would be fighting severely uphill all the way. I’m not convinced that Rick has it entirely wrong. I am sure that blind party loyalty will not advance conservative thinking or support of conservative ideals by the masses. Too idealistic? That’s me.

GregoryNeilSmith on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Global Thermonuclear War will wipe SMOD off the map.

Steve Eggleston on March 23, 2012 at 8:47 AM

That brightened my day!

This type of gaffe by Santorum is why Romney doesn’t really say anything in his speeches. Don’t give them anything to hang their hats on.

Mark Steyn can mock him for “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

And, Bill Kristol can say, “Romney’s remarks consisted basically of the claim that the business of America is business, that he’s a businessman who understands business, and that we need ‘economic freedom’ not for the sake of freedom but to allow business to fuel the economy.”

He leaves the outrageous attacks to be delivered by his Super PAC. I’m still not comfortable with Romney partly because he has mastered this obfuscation. Santorum jumped badly into the Etch A Sketch storm but remember, it was Romney’s own advisor who tagged him with this moniker.

On CNN, Mr. Fehrnstrom said that no matter how conservative the governor may sound on the campaign trail now, come the fall campaign he can “hit a reset button.” He went on to say, “It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

Fallon on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

They also, in the midst of didactic political analysis, didn’t realize this was the ultimate reason he lost on Pennsylvania. Then to make matters worse doubled down, not by telling us about Rick, but by telling us (and still telling us) he is not Romney and then lamenting, ad nauseum, on Romney’s flaws.

What a freaking joke. All of you Mittbots have done NOTHING for the past year except harp on all of the negatives of every other candidate. You have not once ever elaborated on what positive attributes Romney possesses to become president. For you to call out Santorum supporters for what is the principle failing of Romney supporters is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

Enjoy riding your sweet Mittens to defeat in November. You’ll deserve it, and I will enjoy laughing in your face after the disaster.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

I supported Santorum after Newt imploded. However, the more I knew of him, the less I liked him.

I didn’t want this race to be about contraception and surfing online porn, but that is where the left was going to take it. If that is what the race is going to be about, we lose.

Santorum’s comment was the last straw. I am now a Mitten. By default.

HeatSeeker2011 on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Welcome to the fight Ed! Now let’s take on O with our nominee and take our country back!

BobScuba on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

There will probably be none. The only person who might retire is Ginsberg, and if a Republican wins she will probably hang on through his term. There’s a chance Kennedy could retire, but I’d imagine he will make it another term and will wait for a Republican. So the Supreme Court argument really holds no weight.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Good point and one that’s being conveniently glossed over with the dumpathon on Rick Santorum and his “gaffe”. We’re being awfully cocky that a solid republican majority will pull Rmoney to the right. But it’s looking like that possibility is shrinking and we may barely hang on in Congress if that. So with democrat pressure, what kind of SCOTUS justice(s) would a president rmoney appoint? again, it would be with a republican (and conservative) stamp of approval and a nightmare waiting to happen. This is where the similarities to Obama start.

mozalf on March 23, 2012 at 9:10 AM

The fat lady sang Santorum. It’s time for you, Newt, and that creepy old guy to go home. We then hold our noses and vote for Romney. ANYBODY but Barry please. Get out and vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UnEasyRider on March 23, 2012 at 9:10 AM

The man told the truth please don’t lynch him

liberal4life on March 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

So if Castro were running against Obama, we would vote for him because “anyone but Obama”?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Except that’s not the scenario. Comparing Romney (or anyone on “our side”) to Castro is intentionally stupid at best.

SouthernGent on March 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

There will probably be none. The only person who might retire is Ginsberg, and if a Republican wins she will probably hang on through his term. There’s a chance Kennedy could retire, but I’d imagine he will make it another term and will wait for a Republican. So the Supreme Court argument really holds no weight.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:05 AM

No one saw O’Connor stepping down.

Kennedy said, during Obamacare, that he would wait out Obama’s first term, when he was planning on retiring after 2010.

We make huge mistakes with massive assumptions. That’s how Brooks sold himself on Barry.

budfox on March 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

So if Castro were running against Obama, we would vote for him because “anyone but Obama”?

social-justice on March 23, 2012 at 8:49 AM

Wow. Haven’t heard anything that stupid since Santorum endorsed ObaMao.

cicerone on March 23, 2012 at 9:12 AM

I am now a Mitten. By default.

HeatSeeker2011 on March 23, 2012 at 9:09 AM

We will all be assimilated eventually. Its the Borg Romney way.

cozmo on March 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Update: Don’t forget why I endorsed Santorum in the first place when considering this piece. I disagree with Santorum on some issues, notably DADT and a few others. However, I thought he conducted himself with integrity during the campaign and stayed out of the immature (and worse) sniping in which Romney and Gingrich engaged. I find this very, very disappointing, and potentially nullifying on those points. I will, however, be open to whatever explanation Senator Santorum offers today.

Ok, thanks for posting that. Much, much better than what Michelle Malkin was able to muster.

I would have preferred a stronger condemnation of Rick Santorum’s shocking welcoming of a second Obama term, but considering that Ed Morrissey is a supporter of Rick Santorum, this is admirable.

bluegill on March 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM

What holds no weight is your reasoning.

While I am sure you have spent all of five minutes thinking about this issue, I’ve actually done research and looked at things Ginsberg has said. She has all but vowed to hang on for at least three more years. Yes, she’s in terrible health, but she’s actually improved somewhat, and as we’ve seen, these cretins tend to hang on with every last breath in their body.

And Kennedy isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He enjoys the power of the position too much, so he’ll probably hang on for another term.

But to say the Supreme Court argument is weak is an implicit admission that your guy’s running to lose.

No, it’s a rebuttal to the idea that we have to elect Romney no matter what based on specious reasoning. We keep getting spoonfed this ridiculous tripe, and idiots like you keep eating it up.

paulzummo on March 23, 2012 at 9:13 AM

And for all those who are handing Santorum the “it was only hyperbole” and “he really didn’t mean it” excuses, the fact that some here at hot air agree with Santorum that “we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk” with Romney doesn’t exactly bolster your argument.

Santorum meant and believes exactly what he said, and he should own it.

Cavalry on March 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I’m not the kind of gal to beat a dead horse on but…wow. And good on Newt, I can’t imagine why the former Speaker even presumed an alliance with Santorum as the latter never hesitated to take an opportunity to pile on Newt when under fire.

Romney is without a doubt superior to Santorum (as a candidate) on a superficial level and that’s what these things are all about nowadays anyway. How one presents. There’s no doubt in my mind Romney is stronger of the two to go up against Obama, but Mitt had better be prepared to incinerate every thick, shiny strand of hair on that head, and if he isn’t, he’s done for. I’m still not convinced Team Romney understand what they’re in for in the general. I just hope they have a plan.

RepubChica on March 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM

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