Santorum Can’t Beat Obama? Sure.

Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons

I struggle for a pithy word to describe my emotion towards liberals who in the last few months have been rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of Republicans nominating Rick Santorum as they insist he is so far outside the mainstream of American politics he cannot possibly beat Barack Obama. I would use the word “bemused” but that would imply that I am puzzled but I am only mildly puzzled at best: as a person who is quite liberal himself on any number of issues, I have long noted the liberal arrogance which manifests itself in the frequent inability to understand people they disagree with and thus to underestimate them–or, as George W. Bush once famously said of himself, their tendency to “misunderestimate.” The fact is that many liberals have for years, decades even, found themselves assuming that everyday voters as a group, or women as a group, think things that as a group that they frequently do not.

I still find the phenomenon mildly puzzling but only in that I don’t see how otherwise perfectly intelligent people can be so blind to the evidence of history or, for that matter, to polls.

For example there is the widespread conception that being politically pro-life hurts you with “women.” The problem with this being that not only do pro-life candidates often win with women voters, but by independent polls, about half of American women consider themselves pro-life and a majority of American women support greater legal restrictions on the procedure than are now prevalent (some supporting far more limits than others, granted). That’s just a blunt reality, and that reality does not change based on your desires one way or the other.

In other areas, when it comes to gay rights, while there is no denying that contempt for gays has been steadily waning for many years, and support to grant their relationships legal protection growing, the fact is that in most people’s lists of top priorities this ranks somewhere near the bottom. You may think gay rights should be everyone’s top priority but the blunt reality is that for most people it is not even in the top 5. Ditto the strange and almost pointless debates that have cropped up recently about “women in combat,” which military experts can tell you is an almost completely stupid argument (not because women in combat is not an issue, but because the way people are arguing about it has nothing to do with reality as the military sees it) and because, once again, when it comes to issues most people care about it, this ranks somewhere around where they think about the importance of who will be the next President of Mexico: in terms of where it is on their list of priorities as voters, it’s almost nonexistent. If there is a single undecided person in America who will in November march into the voting booth and make their final decision based on the candidate’s view of women in combat, I want to meet that person.

(You don’t count if you’ve already made up your mind, in case I wasn’t clear enough about that.)

For those liberals who were busy crowing a few weeks ago that in national polls Santorum was ridiculously behind Obama, a sobering reality should smack them in the face: the President’s lead over Santorum in national polls has consistently narrowed as voters have gotten to know Santorum better. And it’s only March; it is usually a very good sign for a potential challenger to a sitting President if more than half a year away from election day he is already within 5 or 10 points of the President.

Ronald Reagan came back from further back than this in the polls when he beat Jimmy Carter.

The fact is that while Rick Santorum is still something of a long shot to winning the Republican nomination, liberals should be praying he doesn’t get that nomination because if he does he may well be the next President of the United States. Certainly, there are many strengths that President Obama still has, and it is by no means certain he will be defeated. But an unexpected massive downturn in the economy, or foreign events that make the President suddenly look weak, could change all that in a heartbeat.

It is time for those liberals who oppose the likes of Rick Santorum get serious and face the very real possibility that this man could win the Republican nomination and from there win the Presidency. Laughing at him and about him is likely the worst mistake you can make.

(This item cross-posted to Dean’s World.)

Author: DEAN ESMAY, Guest Voice Columnist

Dean Esmay is a long-time associate of Joe Gandelman and The Moderate Voice. He is Managing Editor of A Voice for Men. He also blogs on a variety of issues at Dean's World, one of the world's first blogs and one of the few that was archived as Historically Significant by the Library of Congress for the 2004 elections. You can also follow Dean via Twitter here.

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