“Rick Santorum has raised just over $1 million since his eight-vote loss in Iowa last night, his top strategist tells POLITICO.
“John Brabender, who revealed that their server briefly went down under the crush last night, said almost all of the cash came online.”
“Rick Santorum has become central because Iowa Republicans ignored an axiom that is as familiar as it is false: Democrats fall in love, and Republicans fall in line. Republicans, supposedly hierarchical, actually are — let us say the worst — human. They crave fun. Supporting Mitt Romney still seems to many like a duty, the responsible thing to do. Suddenly, supporting Santorum seems like a lark, partly because a week or so ago he could quit complaining about media neglect and start having fun, which is infectious…
“White voters without college education — economically anxious and culturally conservative — were called ‘Reagan Democrats’ when they were considered only seasonal Republicans because of Ronald Reagan. Today they are called the Republican base.
“Who is more apt to energize them: Santorum, who is from them, or Romney, who is desperately seeking enthusiasm?”
“Additionally, anyone who says ‘this was a victory for retail politics’ should be beaten with an Iowan cattle prod. Rick Santorum’s ‘victory’ — and it was a victory in every sense but those 8 votes — was because he has run one of the most God awful disastrous retail campaign operations of any candidate with enough popularity to get on the debate stage.
“Santorum visited all 99 Iowan counties, some of them repeatedly. His ‘successful’ campaign never, ever caught on with Iowa voters despite all that retail time in Iowa. It only became successful when ever single other candidate had been vetted and imploded and there was absolutely no other person familiar to the voters who could stand as the non-Romney candidate.
“Had Santorum run a successful retail campaign and caught fire on his own accord, he’d have been vetted by now and probably also succumbed to the Romney machine. His campaign was not successful, it’s just all the others sucked so bad.”
“Rick Santorum gave by far the best speech Tuesday night after his boffo performance in the Iowa caucuses. Among the Republicans, he along with Jon Huntsman — and, yes, Ron Paul, who is really a libertarian — knows who he is and why he’s running. Santorum has a philosophy (and a theology) that holds his views together. It’s a retro philosophy but no less interesting for that. So comparatively speaking, he comes by his class warfare honestly, even if he panders shamelessly on guns and gays and talks about the straight-laced President Obama as if he embodied the moral sensibilities of Woodstock and Gomorrah…
“Santorum is what Republican strategist Steve Wagner years ago called a ‘social renewal’ Catholic. These Catholics see opposition to abortion as a foundational matter and opposition to gay marriage as essential to ‘protecting’ the family. They view the federal government less as a guarantor of social fairness than as ‘inflicting harm on the nation’s moral character,’ as Wagner has put it.
“Huntsman’s core vote, such as it is right now, comes from less intensely religious economic rationalists who do not perceive culture wars as breaking out all over. Santorum reflects the sensibility of the Catholic and evangelical working-class voters whose ballots Republicans have long taken for granted.”
“When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).
“He never met an earmark that he didn’t like. In fact, it wasn’t just earmarks for his own state that he favored, which might be forgiven as pure electoral pragmatism, but earmarks for everyone, including the notorious ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’ The quintessential Washington insider, he worked closely with Tom DeLay to set up the ‘K Street Project,’ linking lobbyists with the GOP leadership.
“He voted against NAFTA and has long opposed free trade. He backed higher tariffs on everything from steel to honey. He still supports an industrial policy with the government tilting the playing field toward manufacturing industries and picking winners and losers.”
“Santorum grumbles about too many conservatives believing in unbridled ‘personal autonomy’ and subscribing to the ‘idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do … that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom (and) we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.’
“Perhaps Santorum confuses libertinism with libertarianism, but for him ‘cultural issues’ go way beyond defending the life of the unborn or opposing gay marriage. Santorum believes that conservatives should recognize “that individuals can’t go it alone,” which sounds a lot like the straw-man justification for nearly every state expansion in memory. Why does Santorum, a conservative, believe that getting government out of our lives means a person must ‘go it alone,’ anyway? Maybe it means that person can go to his local church or his family or his community or his local bar to seek help — or maybe he can figure things out himself.
“Opposing Barack Obama‘s presidency and lamenting Washington’s lurch left are not great acts of bravery. When it mattered, Santorum was nearly always there for the establishment — most (in)famously backing professional opportunist Arlen Specter over conservative favorite Pat Toomey in the 2004 Republican Pennsylvania primaries when an endorsement may have had some consequences.”
“Rick Santorum is a firm, sometimes eloquent champion of moral discipline. But the Bush years proved beyond question how difficult it is to cabin off ‘good’ interventions in the minute details of our moral lives from ‘bad’ interventions in our finances, our health care, our education, and other similarly sweeping areas.
“Ramming the point home, the Obama presidency has demonstrated how the advance and application of centralized federal power always takes on a moral character in the hearts and minds of its exponents. ‘When people hurt, government’s got to move’ — who can draw lines around the scope and reach of that infamous Bushism? Not Barack Obama. Rick Santorum?”
“Now, consider this scenario going into New Hampshire: Jon Huntsman steals some moderate votes away from Romney — while Newt Gingrich bashes Romney from the right. (The negative attacks then lead both Romney and Gingrich to decline in popularity.)…
“Next, suppose that Gingrich — having finished a disappointing third or fourth in New Hampshire — decides to drop out. And as a parting shot to Romney, he endorses the surging Santorum — just before South Carolina (Gingrich said very kind words about him in his speech last night.)…
“Continuing the scenario — unlike Iowa (which has a fairly low unemployment rate) — the good folks of the Palmetto State are struggling. Santorum’s economic populist message — and his comments about how to rejuvenate a diminishing manufacturing base — play well there, helping score a victory in the state.
“From there, Santorum rides the momentum into Florida, and from there…”