Our political Quote of the Day comes from the Washington Post’s oonservative Republican blogger Jennifer Rubin, who looks at rising anti-Romney conservative Rick Santorum’s medley of statements that go far beyond what any major conservative candidate on the national stage has advocated (and that includes the late Barry Goldwater):
Republicans may win an election fighting against the excesses and failures of the Obama administration while promoting an alternative vision of conservative reform, one rooted in the free market and respect for individual freedom. They will be clobbered running on the reactionary platform on which Santorum is seeking to use the power of the state and of his office to reorder society according to his theology.
The irony of Santorum’s “phony theology” point is that had he been directing his comments to the president’s absurd assertions in the recent prayer breakfast that his tax plan is rooted in scripture, he would have had a point. But Santorum isn’t interested in getting theology out of statecraft. Rather, he’s interested in substituting his own theology. That is politically untenable for most Americans and, in its own way, would be as radical an undertaking as Obama’s efforts to remodel America along the lines of Western European nations.
Yes the bottom line is that to many conservatives the highly engaging and sincere-sounding Santorum is a Godsend since they absolutely do not want to have to hold their noses and vote for Mitt Romney in November. But to some Republicans, moderates and independents Santorum is not coming across as a conservative, a Goldwater conservative, or even a typical Tea Party conservative. He’s coming across as a radical conservative who wants to sweep aside, alter or dismember years of “givens.”
The key here is that he may not really feel that way at all. But if Santorum does lose Michigan and is eventually beat back by the Romney machine, it’ll be said that he seemed to get some Gingrich-itus once he won three states: he talked more and more expansively, too much for his own good.
On the other hand, a new Gallup poll shows him doing better among women than Mitt Romney.
But on the other the other hand: Drudge ran this old quote Santorum made about Satan’s influence in the U.S. — which will make it harder for conservatives to discredit as coming from the liberal media. Rush Limbaugh is concerned and says Santorum needs to deal with this comment and fast.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.