Rick Santorum

Republican Base Forgets How Primaries Work

While combing through the post-election coverage, I found this little gem from Tony Lee of Breitbart News:

Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, criticized the Republican Party for hand-picking a Beltway elite candidate who did not campaign forcefully on America’s founding principles and said the “presidential loss is unequivocally on them.”

“For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world – a ‘Shining city upon a hill’ – we wanted someone who would fight for us,” Martin said. “We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed America’s founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and ‘Reagan Democrats’ to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a ‘Shining city upon a hill.’

Instead, Martin lamented, “what we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party.”

Er, what?

No, really, I want to know what’s going on here. Because it seems evident to me that Republican voters went to Republican primaries and voted for their candidate for the Republican nomination. The “Establishment” did not foist Romney upon them. Republican voters made their choices at primaries and caucuses across the nation this past spring.

Americans skeptical of government promiting “traditional values”

Traditional Values

Politicians on both side of the aisle like to use government to coerce people into living moral lives, often aligning with some view of “traditional values.” President George W. Bush was guilty of this. More recently, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have carried that message forward in the Republican Party. But a new poll from CNN shows that Americans are increasingly skeptical of using government to promote these so-called “traditional values”:

The biggest: The number of Americans who say that the government should promote traditional values has fallen to an all-time low, a finding that might benefit many Democrats,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, just four in 10 registered voters believe the government should promote traditional values, down from 53% in 2010 and 57% in 2008.

“Between 1993, when CNN began asking that question, and last year, a majority of respondents have always said that the government should promote traditional values. Now, for the first time, more than half say the government should not favor any particular set of values,” adds Holland.

More Americans are also not happy with the government intervention in their daily lives. According to the CNN poll, “Six in 10 say the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses. That finding could favor Republicans.”

Social Conservatism is Going Out the Door

His Frothiness

Michelle Fields, the Daily Caller’s star reporter and a frequent contributor to Fox News, has a great blog post on what is happening to the GOP, and where it is going:

The biggest threat to conservatives right now is President Barack Obama, but the long-term threat to conservatism is an internal threat– young republicans. The RNC is doing everything in its power to prevent them from gaining power, but will it work?

If you were to talk to any reporter covering this year’s election they’ll tell you that most of the attendees at GOP events are over 40 years old. You can’t help but ask yourself “where are the young people?” Well, they’re organizing a libertarian take-over.

Young republicans aren’t on board with social conservatism, instead we’re seeing an unprecedented level of enthusiasm for libertarianism.  Many of my conservative colleagues will argue that, “ah, this is just a phase amongst young republicans.” But being socially liberal isn’t a phase. What we’re seeing is a cultural shift that is inevitably going to force the Republican Party to make some major adjustments. For example, take gay marriage— Millennials have grown up a time where it’s no longer taboo to be openly gay. Our favorite films and television shows have gay characters. Some of the most prominent figures in American culture are openly gay. And if you look at the polls, public opinion has moved sharply in favor of gay marriage in recent years with 76% of 18-34 year olds saying that the law should recognize same sex marriage.

AZ Senate: Rick Santorum vs. Everyone Else

His Frothiness

With a little more than a month until the primary, the race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Arizona is getting very interesting. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who has been one of the handful of Republicans in the House that taxpayers can count on, was thought to be the odds on favorite in the race, but Wil Cardon, a wealthy businessman, has come on strong in recent months.

Flake has received support from the Club for Growth, Sen. Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and former Vice President candidate Sarah Palin. But former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum endorsed Cardon in the race last week:

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has endorsed businessman Wil Cardon in his hard-fought primary for the GOP Senate nomination in Arizona, a high-profile endorsement that could counteract some of the establishment support rallying around rival Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz).

“I am pleased to announce our endorsement of Wil Cardon for the U.S. Senate in Arizona,” Santorum said in a statement. “As a business owner for more than two decades, Wil has seen firsthand the crippling effects of Obamanomics and why we must solve our economic challenges with market-based solutions rather than more government intrusion. Wil is exactly what Washington, DC needs — an outsider beholden to no one other than the Arizona residents he hopes to represent.”

Santorum also offered the support of Patriot Voices, the independent fundraising organization he now helms.

Conservatives divided in Nebraska GOP Senate primary

Conservatives and Tea Party groups have been working recently in several states to influence Republican Senate primaries. You know that Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) was recently defeated by Richard Mourdock. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) could face a similar fate at the hands of Dan Liljenquist, though that’s less likely. And with more money being sent to help Ted Cruz in Texas, they could see another huge victory there.

However, conservatives are divided in Nebraska. Jon Bruning, who was once seen as the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary in the Cornhusker State, has been beaten and battered, but thanks to endorsements by prominent figures and grassroots groups, the conservative vote has been split, leading Matt Lewis to conclude that they may have missed an opportunity:

Things were so much simpler just one week ago, when Sen. Dick Lugar was the obvious villain and Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock was the conservative alternative. One short week later, with no squishy incumbent to oust, all three Nebraska Republicans are vying to occupy the conservative mantle.

And thanks to the seemingly schizophrenic endorsements of prominent national conservatives, the waters are thoroughly muddied.

Rick Santorum endorses Mitt Romney

After being out of the race for the Republican nomination for a few weeks, Rick Santorum, who came out of nowhere as the “conservative” alternative, has finally decided to endorse Mitt Romney — or at least defeating Barack Obama:

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum endorsed his one-time fierce rival Mitt Romney on Monday, a move that may help the party’s presumptive White House nominee win over religious conservatives.

Santorum said in an unusual late-night statement that the two have differences, but that he came away from a meeting with the ex-Massachusetts governor impressed with Romney’s “deep understanding” of economic and family issues central to the campaign.

“Above all else, we both agree that President (Barack) Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious,” Santorum said.

“Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime,” he said in the statement, which was emailed to supporters.

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be news, but Santorum remained silent for so long that some observers were questioning his intentions. In the weeks before his exit from the race, Santorum was looked at as the frontunner for the nomination in 2016, that’s assuming Romney doesn’t defeat Obama. And while he may still be formidable, many Republicans are still bothered by the fact that it took him so long to read the writing on the wall.

Romney begins search for running mate

After going through a drawn-out primary, Mitt Romney announced yesterday that his campaign has started its search for a running mate:

Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, said Monday that his search for a running mate has officially begun.

Romney’s longtime adviser Beth Myers, who was his chief of staff when he was governor of Massachusetts, is leading the vice presidential vetting process.

“She’s begun that process and is putting together the kinds of things you need to do to vet potential candidates,” Romney told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an interview airing Monday night on “ABC World News” and “Nightline.”

Romney said he plans to have made his pick by the time of the GOP convention, which begins in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 27.

There has obviously been a lot of speculation about this, even before Romney secured the nomination. Pundits have been making their predictions or offering up short-lists that Romney may choose from. And much like other pundits, the question of who Romney will choose has been something I’ve been thinking about for the last few weeks.

Paul Ryan: While many conservatives would like the idea of Ryan on the ticket, it doesn’t make sense. Sure, Romney has expressed support for budget passed by House Republicans, but picking Ryan would offer up more because he would be picking a member of Congress, of which Americans have a very low opinion.

Orrin Hatch really doesn’t like libertarians

Over the last several months, libertarians have taken shots from all sides. During the Republican primary, Rick Santorum made it clear that he wasn’t fond of the libertarian viewpoint on nearly any matter in public policy and expressed concern about the philosophical influence in the Tea Party movement. Santorum even as far as knocking the Goldwater view of limited government.

More recently, libertarians have been wrongly attacked by Van Jones, a self-described communist and former Obama Administration appointee. During an Occupy Wall Street event, Jones called libertarians “bigots” and claimed that we are anti-gay rights; accusations that are completely false.

Now Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) is getting in his shots.

Facing a fate similar to that of his former colleague, Bob Bennett, Hatch recently told NPR that he is “doggone offended” by “radical libertarians” that have gotten involved in the Senate primary in Utah:

This year, major conservative groups announced their intention of defeating Hatch — who they deemed too moderate. FreedomWorks has reportedly spent at least $670,000 attacking Hatch this cycle.

But the long-time senator isn’t sitting on his hands. Hatch told NPR’s Howard Berkes, “These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”

Gingrich bounces check to get on Utah ballot

It’s been a rough go at the Republican nomination for Newt Gingrich. He enjoyed a bump in the polls back in the December as conservatives were still trying to find a viable alternative to Mitt Romney. But when Rick Santorum was able to gain traction in the race, Gingrich struggled mightily, winning only his home state of Georgia and neighboring South Carolina to date.

Now that Santorum is out of the race, Gingrich is again trying to convince Republicans to back him. Not long after sending an e-mail claiming to be the “last conservative standing,” it was reported that Gingrich’s campaign bounced a $500 check to get on the primary ballot in Utah:

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich might fail to appear on the Utah primary ballot after a check for the required filing fee bounced, according to media reports.

The check for $500 bounced on March 27, Utah state election director Mark Thomas told ABC News, which first reported the story.

“Our office immediately attempted to contact the campaign and the designated agent, but no phone calls were returned,” Thomas said, according to ABC.

“We also asked the state Republican Party to assist us, but they also could not get into communication with them, although I do not know how they attempted to contact them,” he added.

According to Bloomberg, Gingrich’s campaign has had severe fundraising woes and is $4.5 million in debt. However, Gingrich insists that he is going to take his campaign to the Republican National Convention in August where he hopes to influence the party’s 2012 platform. After all, that’s about the only thing he can hope to do at this point.

Looking back at Rick Santorum’s campaign

As you know, Rick Santorum suspended his presidential campaign yesterday, ostensibly handing the nomination over to Mitt Romney, who has been the target of ire from many conservatives during the race. Santorum’s decision doesn’t come with the best of circumstances due to his daughter’s recent hospitalization — and we may disagree with him, we do wish the best for he and his family.

But with his exit, let’s take a look back at some of the issues we had with Santorum, ranging from his statism on economic issues to his candidacy being a last resort for the anti-Romney faction of the GOP electorate.

Not a Fiscal Conservative: This has been a oft-repeated criticism of Santorum at United Liberty. While tried to pass himself off as a fiscal conservative, his record indicated otherwise. Santorum vigoriously defended his earmarks, supported tariff hikes, voted for Medicare Part D, was supportive of labor unions, and voted for every bloated budget passed under George W. Bush.

 
 


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