“Just Sit In The Corner And Shut The Hell Up!” They Said

Now that Rick Santorum is ahead in the polls, many bloggers and pundits have come out and said that the GOP would be committing suicide by nominating a social conservative like him. For example, the usually reliable John Hinderacker posted an article, referring to the Santorum candidacy, titled, “Are There Republicans Who Think This Is a Good Idea? Seriously?

Seriously, do you really think that the GOP can nominate Mitt Romney and not have his wealth and his Mormonism become the primary issues? Poll after poll have shown that while conservatives are inclined to overlook Romney’s religion, liberals and independents are not. Further, Obama and his team have already made the 2012 election about class warfare. With this in mind, how does Romney’s candidacy make any sense at all?

Seriously, do you really think that the GOP can nominate Newt Gingrich and not have his adulteries and erratic behavior become the primary issues? Already, my liberal Facebook friends have been posting messages talking about how, compared to Gingrich, Obama is the moral, Christian choice, if for no other reason than he has stayed married to the same woman for all these years. And when even many conservatives who have worked with Gingrich or followed his career over the years have sincere doubts about his character and stability, how do you think liberals and independents feel about the man?

Seriously, if you feel that either Gingrich or Romney will have an easier row to hoe in the 2012 election than Santorum, you are truly deluded. None is all that more electable than the other, so while electability is an issue, we should also be looking at all who we think will be a better president, who we would rather see in the White House, and who we think would run a better campaign against Obama.

Part of the hostility towards Santorum comes from people who see the only issue in the campaign as being the economy. They keep saying, “It’s the economy, stupid!” However, it is stupid to not see a basic weakness with this viewpoint: The economy may be getting better by election day, and then where will the GOP be?

It is true that Bill Clinton won in 1992, and he made the economy the central issue. However, conservatives have drawn the wrong lessons from this. George H. W. Bush lost the election in 1992 not just because of the economy, but because he and his team had made light of the economic troubles that people were going through, because he offered no compelling reason for people to vote for him (the “vision thing” as he liked to call it), and because he gave people plenty of reasons not to vote for him. The obverse was true about Clinton. Clinton may have run on the economy, but he gave people a reason to vote for him besides just the economy. In the same way, for the GOP to win this year, it must offer up a competing vision for America, and not just base its campaign on the slogan, “Vote for us: We’re not as bad as the other guys!”

Which brings us to the central issue, and the reason why Santorum may have an edge over Romney and Gingrich–he actually stands for something. People are drawn to character vision, and authenticity. Santorum has these things, while his opponents do not.

Throughout the early part of the campaign, conservatives were whining that they wanted to have a candidate that had authenticity and character. Yet, now that such a candidate has emerged, it is the same old story that has always been true with social conservatives: We are effectively being ordered, by people who should know better, to “just sit in the corner and shut the hell up!” We are supposed to be silent partners in the conservative coalition–to give our unqualified support for whatever mediocre fruit the other conservatives decide upon, and not complain or say anything when we we get the shaft.

Somehow, it is OK for a libertarian like Ron Paul to spout off nutty conspiracy theories and say that the US should unilaterally disarm and withdraw from the world, but heaven help us if a candidate says that he is against abortion and for Christian values, and actually means it. And let’s be honest here: Santorum has offered plenty to talk about insofar as economic plans, budgeting, and national defense, and on many of these issues his platform is not all that different from Romney and Gingrich’s. Indeed, even on social issues, there is little daylight between his positions and that of his main opponents. So what is the difference? Why is Santorum so objectionable while Romney and Gingrich are not?

Well, it is clear from his record that Santorum believes and will do as he says, while it is clear that Romney and Gingrich do not. If you want to have a president who will nominate Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, then Santorum is the only candidate left in the race whom you can be certain of. With both Romney and Gingrich, there is no telling what they will do, if elected.

This all comes down to the electability argument, once again. Essentially, we are being told that a true social conservative is unelectable. However, opinion polls show that the majority of Americans are in favor of socially conservative values, so the real issue is the discomfort many pundits, politicians, sugar daddies, and political operatives feel about social issues, and their unwillingness to give substantive support to issues which they purportedly are in favor of.

For as long as I can remember in my adult life, social conservatives have been told “Not now–Wait!” First, it was wait until we get a majority. But then we had a majority, and nothing was done. Then, it was wait until the election is over, as we do not want to make this an issue. Well, elections come and go, and nothing has ever been done. Finally, it is let’s deal with the economy first. Well, the economy swells and recedes like the ocean, but still nothing is ever done.

To social conservatives, abortion, Christian values, and religious freedom are the central issues. Yes, the economy is important, as are jobs and gas prices. Yes, something must be done on any myriad of other issues (and indeed, Santorum has talked until he is blue in the face on all of these points). However, in the end, what does it profit a nation if it gains the whole world, but loses its own soul?

Ultimately, this election is about the soul of America. Most Americans know this, even if they may need reminding. Any candidate who makes this election simply about the economy, but who does not offer a vision of how America can be restored is not worthy of our support. Further, he cannot win. Santorum has offered this vision, and a compelling reason to vote for him. Romney and Gingrich have not.

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8 Responses to “Just Sit In The Corner And Shut The Hell Up!” They Said

  1. “Further, Obama and his team have already made the 2012 election about class warfare. ”

    Romney is the choice of Obama and Axelrod. Their whole campaign strategy is built around Romney as their opponent.

    • John Scotus says:

      That indeed appears to be true. At the same time, when it began looking like the Romney candidacy did not have legs, Obama and his team began whipping up this whole contraception thing, so obviously they are looking ahead.

  2. You say, “None is all that more electable than the other, so while electability is an issue, we should also be looking at all who we think will be a better president…” For the most part, I agree, and that’s why I don’t like Santorum. You dismiss concerns about his economic views because maybe the economy will get better before the election. I hope it does, but you don’t realize that the economy isn’t just a political issue to sway people to vote for our side. With millions unemployed and millions more dropping out of the labor force because of Obama’s policies, you tell people concerned about the economy to just “shut the hell up” even as you’re complaining about being told the same thing.

    That’s just ridiculous, and I’m sorry to see this blog do the same as so many other partisan outlets, who latch onto one candidate and suddenly decide everyone else is “truly deluded” and should “just sit in the corner and shut the hell up” while you get your turn at the wheel. That kind of attitude represents everything wrong in American elections, and I hope you can get past it once the primaries wind down.

    • John Scotus says:

      Hmm. Did I ever tell anyone in the article who was concerned about the economy to just shut the hell up? I don’t see it. I said the economy and jobs are important, and if you really have been paying attention to this blog then you know that I care about these issues. I have always been consistent, however, in holding that the economy alone is not a sufficient reason to elect someone president or throw them out of office.
      I never said that supporters of Gingrich or Romney are deluded–I have only said that they are deluded if they believe that their candidates are any more electable than anyone else’s. I stand by that statement.

      • John Scotus says:

        Regarding supporting Santorum, I refuse to not take a stand and pretend that I believe it doesn’t matter who is elected on the GOP side. I would not want either Paul or Gingrich to be president. On the basis of temperament and stability, but not on the issues or on the matter of trust, I find Romney acceptable, but distasteful. That leaves Santorum. So yes, I am going to support him and do whatever I can to answer his critics.

  3. Michael Johnson says:

    Class warfare started with Ronald Reagan.

    http://powerlineiswrong.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/class-war-already-in-progress/

    As far as Santorum’s Christian values are concerned, he wants to cut taxes even more and cut spending across the board by about 28% (except for the military of course). Sorry all you poor folks and seniors, you should have worked harder and saved more! That’s not the Christianity I’m familiar with:

    Matthew 19:21
    Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    Mark 10:25
    “In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

    • John Scotus says:

      Jesus made just two statements on taxes. In one, he said, give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s, and in the other, when Peter needed to pay the Temple tax, Jesus pointed out that only foreigners paid taxes, but that citizens of the kingdom do not (then he instructed Peter to pay the Temple tax anyways so that people would not get upset). Regarding civil government, the only statement Jesus ever made was the one about Caesar, but he never commented on either Jewish or Roman policy. He did talk a lot about individual responsibility, and he did say not to judge and that vengeance belonged to the Lord, however. This cuts across everything you just said, as you are taking what he said about personal relationships with God, and individual responsibility, and are wanting to use this as an excuse to impose your views on someone else, to judge those whom you disagree with, and to exact vengeance through the government–something which Jesus never remotely intended. The problem with quoting the Bible is that you really ought to know it first, and you clearly don’t.

  4. Pingback: Just Sit In The Corner And Shut Up | Right On News

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