James Carville once said running for President is kind of like sex, most people want to do it more than once. In this spirit, Rick Santorum has decided to get screwed over once again. The two-term Pennsylvania Republican Senator is going to give it another go in 2016. Santorum, who shocked the political world by winning the Iowa Caucuses and came with about 2 percentage points in Ohio or Michigan from throwing the 2012 GOP race into chaos, will start out as an underdog. However, that is where he began last time.
If he is going to be in the mix Santorum will need the support of social conservatives, who were critical to his campaign last time. Can you get them? He will certainly have challengers in the form of Cruz, Paul and Huckabee. One advantage he has is that this isn’t his first rodeo. Unlike Paul and Cruz, has been through this before so there are no new revelations about him to be unearthed. If you don’t believe me Google it.
Honestly, Santorum is yesterday’s news who caught the anti-Romney wave in the 2012 primary at just the right time. This time he won’t have Willard Romney to kick around so I really doubt he’ll get out of single digits in the polls. He will probably grab the most headlines with his passionate attacks on gay marriage and the GOP becoming more socially moderate. Surely, he’ll go after any candidate who dears to push the party in that direction.
Rand Paul may have earned the undying love of Reason Magazine and GOProud but the following quote may kill him in Iowa and South Carolina:
“I don’t want my guns registered in Washington or my marriage. Founding Fathers all got married by going down to the local courthouse. It is a local issue and always has been. Society’s changing. I mean, people change their minds all the time on this issue, and even within the Republican Party, there are people whose child turns out to be gay and they’re like, oh well maybe I want to rethink this issue. So it’s been rethought. The President’s rethought the issue. So I mean, a lot of people have rethought the issue.”
First, this is a no-go with social conservatives. If you don’t believe me go back and watch the Values Voter Summit from last week. You simply cannot win Iowa or South Carolina without the support of Christian conservatives. Exit polls from Iowa show and South Carolina show they made up the majority of voters. You can bet this issue is going to be stoked by people like Huckabee, Cruz and Santorum. They know social conservatives panic when they see the progress gay rights has made in the past decade and are looking for a champion to stand up and fitgh against this.
Third it adds to the narrative that Paul is not really one of them. Take his wanting to eliminate aid to Israel and his position on drugs and a theme starts to form that Paul isn’t really someone social conservatives can call one of their own. Certainly Cruz and Huckabee will push this message.
Lastly, Paul equated himself to Barack Obama in the quote. That’s a not a winner with today’s GOP.
The GOP fight is going to be nasty and Paul has given his opponents some ammo with this one.
Over the weekend Christian conservatives in Iowa were treated to pandering to 5 potential GOP candidates. The audience got to hear Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal. It seems Ted Cruz got many of the biggest applause lines, it helped that he told the crowd that they were actually winning.
Interestingly many speakers took shots at Rand Paul, who was not in there that day. Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats said U.S. Rep. Steve King doesn’t run from conversations — a reference to King arguing with young Latina who crossed the border illegally as a child while Paul grabbed his beer and hit the bricks. In addition, conservative author Joel Rosenberg said people in both parties “are turning against Israel.”
I am guessing that unanimous approval of increased funding Israel doesn’t count.
Going after Paul shows two things. First, people see him as a threat to the nomination. Second, they know he is vulnerable to attack on issues involving Israel and his inability to take criticism.
It’s early but storm clouds are already starting to brew.
Bobby Jindal looks in the mirror and sees a future President. He also hopes that millions of Evangelical Christian voters will look at him and see the same thing. His efforts appear to be drawing praise from Christian conservative big-wigs like Tony Perkins and Mike Farris who said:
“I think he’s a top-tier candidate and he’ll resonate a lot with that community.”
The Tea Party and the Ayn Rand Fan Club may garner all of the media attention these days but Christian conservatives should not be overlooked. They were the backbone on the insurgent runs of Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum. Any GOP candidate who wants to get out of Iowa and win in the South and Plains states will need the so-called “Religious Right” on their side.
Bobby Jindal may have many flaws as a candidate but choosing to target this group is not one of them.
He knows the Iowa caucuses.
Senator Rafi Cruz is getting some big praise in the Hawkeye State today. Bob Vander Plaats of the Iowa Family Leader told reporters that if the caucuses were held today Cruz would win big. Vander Plaats is no light weight in Iowa GOP politics. In 2008 he backed Mike Huckabee and supported Rick Santorum last year.
What do those candidates have in common? Oh yeah, they WON the caucuses. Both were alsooutspent and not the favorites of D.C. based Republican leaders. How did they do it? With the support of Christian Conservative voters. The kind of people Vander Plaats knows like the back of his hand.
Does this mean Cruz will get his endorsement? Not necessarily but that is something to keep an eye on.
The praise from Vander Plaats is worth thinking about when you hear some say that Cruz has no chance of winning the nomination.