(CCU Student) Before Tuesday, many conservatives were left scratching their heads. After a 2008 primary that netted them a lukewarm-at-best McCain Presidential bid, conservatives vowed to never again let themselves be so poorly represented. Yet there we were, just a few days ago, left with Mitt Romney leading the pack with all of his blahness and only an artificial glimmer of conservative principle. The challengers to a Romney ticket – the former Speaker of the House with so many skeletons in his closet his home is in danger of being mistaken for a cemetery, the isolationist libertarian, Dr. Paul, and the low profile Senator from Pennsylvania who just could not seem to catch a break.
Did the epic sweep on February 7th change this perplexingly lackluster outlook for Republicans? No doubt many conservatives are still left scratching their heads, but now with a more optimistic curiosity.
Senator Rick Santorum. He may just be the best shot we’ve got. The critics of Rick Santorum harp on his inability to leave his social issues on the side and focus solely on the big ticket issue of this election, the economy. Many fear that his, what are today considered bold, proclamations of faith and family will sink him as a presidential candidate against Obama. Yes, he has a few imperfect tendencies when it comes to pure capitalism (though none worse than his opponents Romney and Gingrich), but Senator Rick Santorum has something that is astonishingly absent in politics today… integrity. Historically, when the Pennsylvanian Senator says something, he means it, and when he does something, it is done because he thinks it is right, not because it is easy. America needs a conservative president to take on and reduce the growth and size of government - Santorum’s reliability would aid him as a president with this commission.
Contrast this with the Republicans’ other next best hope to Romney, Newt Gingrich. Speaker Gingrich has always been a quick wit and many embittered conservatives would love to see his shellacking of Obama in a one on one debate. But how effective would this debate be? Knowing Obama’s weaknesses in debate, the Obama campaign will surely spare themselves other debates. Also, despite the likelihood that Newt would intellectually trump Obama in a debate, his narcissistic tendencies would likely be on high display on that same stage. While these debates would invigorate Conservatives, it is likely that many independents would be turned off to Newt’s tone and tenacity. This, against Obama’s ability to convey decency and urgency through teleprompted monologues, would give Obama a big leg up on the middle-ground voting territory of America.
The more this tentative conversation of whether or not Rick Santorum is the answer to the 2012 question carries on, the more I feel its absurdity. The discussion should be over by now; the Conservative answer to Obama is Senator Rick Santorum. The good Senator has a more conservative record than both candidates, has strong financial backing (see Foster Friess), and lacks the voter traps of Romney’s Mormonism and Newt’s extra-marital history. Not every primary runs long enough for Pennsylvanians to cast their vote, but if this battle comes to my home state, I know who this Phillies fan will be backing.