Santorum quits – but damage to Republicans is already done

Rick Santorum quits Republican presidential candidate race

The contest is now certain to be Romney v Obama and latest poll gives the President a 51 to 44 lead

First Post LAST UPDATED AT 07:36 ON Wed 11 Apr 2012

RICK SANTORUM, candidate for the ludicrous in American politics, last night abandoned his bid for the Republican nomination. The clown has left the circus ring and the main event of the 2012 presidential election can begin.

But the failed former one-term Senator from Pennsylvania, a reactionary Roman Catholic steeped in the cult of Opus Dei, has left an almighty mess in the Republican camp, which is cheering news for Democrats fearful for a thoroughly compromised President Obama's chances of re-election in November.

Santorum took the tradition of extreme religious candidates to a new level. Did the nation need to go beyond the issues of abortion and gay marriage to debate whether contraception was to blame for vices ranging from pornography to bestiality? No wonder the opinion polls show Obama dominating the women's vote.

Given the length of the political news cycle, Santorum's name will disappear from the headlines. But, as Ed Pilkington writes in The Guardian, he should be given his due: "Rick Santorum transformed the reputation of the sweater vest, rendering it, if not cool, at least a symbol of conservative bloody-mindedness.

"He also transformed the positioning of the Republican party, and with it that of its chosen candidate, Mitt Romney. Santorum dragged both his party and its nominee drastically – and possibly fatally - to the right."

That is where his stain will remain. Romney, as now famously described by his own aide Eric Fehrnstrom, will pick up the Etch a Sketch of his own political persona, shake it clean, and scratch out a new picture of the moderate Republican of the centre where elections are won or lost.

But he will not be able to rub out all that he has said on the record as he pandered to the angry, fearful men and women of the American heartlands who, in Iowa and 10 other states, had flocked to Santorum.

The Obama campaign has collected a bonanza in ammunition, along with a reported war chest approaching a billion dollars, and no one is going to forget that Romney U-turned to damn all abortion and even state funding for contraceptives.

And Democrats can thank Santorum too for a useful warm-up act with his pick-up truck and shirt-sleeves pitch, casting himself as a man who could understand the struggle to earn a living while Romney was a venture capitalist with $250 million in the bank and a 15 per cent tax bill.

Santorum, for all his Catholic morality, bowed out as shamelessly as any politician. He invoked the spectre of the health of his infant daughter Bella, born with the usually fatal genetic disorder Trisomy 18, and the need to spend more time with his family.

Yet Bella was in peril when he launched his campaign. As the New York Times points out, what actually forced Santorum from the fray was pressure from the Republican grandees and a shortage of campaign funds in the face of a multi-million dollar "spend" from Romney and his supporters to rub him out in his home state of Pennsylvania.

By quitting now, he stays in play for the long-term.

With the clocking ticking for both Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom should quit the race according to the majority of Republicans polled, the 2012 presidential race is now between Mitt Romney and President Obama.

The latest Washington Post/ABC poll shows Obama leading Romney by 51 per cent to 44 per cent if the election were to be held now. But whether or not Obama gets his second term, we have probably not heard the last of the ludicrous Rick Santorum.

Richard Land, president of the ethics commission at the Southern Baptist Convention, a key force on the Religious Right, told the Times that "as his friend"  he had told Santorum that staying in the race would "jeopardise" his success but that he would have a "good future" if he backed down.

As Land said, in eight years, when a President Romney (in his dreams) would be ending a second term, Santorum will be three years younger that Romney is today. · 

Disqus - noscript

Here's why Ron Paul should not quit the race:
http://youtu.be/hgsg7a-Ok8Q

Santorum; makes George W Bush look like an intellectual.

To my view, there was never a doubt Obama would win a 2nd term. Despite propaganda which strove to make him seem a failure, his international stance is high and those Americans who actually know what 'American Values' are supposed to stand for would never vote for any of the clowns on the Republican Ticket.

That the 'Tea Party' nut jobs had so much mouth must be a great embarrassment for normal people.

The Tea Party has all but high-jacked the republican party - and because of them we have ended up with this mess - and yes, Obama will get another term - I also think that in the next mid-term elections the house will return to Democratic control - since the republican controled house has done nothing constructive at all - or in any way tried to work with the President - they had an agenda which is not working for them - or us - after that the next republican who runs will be more "middle of the road" and the tea party as it was and no longer is - will be gone - as far as the democrats - it all depends on what they have learned in all of this - they also need to move towards the center and find another Clinton to run - someone we can trust - who is intelligent and truly understands what this country needs - and who believes in the complete separation of church and state.

As an example of how insanely amerikan religiosity has convoluted itself, consider one of the recent midwest Primaries - Catholics who couldn't abide Santorum's extreme views voted for Romney; evangelicals would shun catholics and consider Mormons to be as alien as Muslims, voted for Santorum.
It has often been said that the world should have a vote for the US President because (a) his decisions affect the world, usually adversely and (b) amerikans have done such a woeful job in the last couple of decades, viz Nixon twice, Raygun twice, Dubya twice.
The last honest, decent Prez was Carter - Clinton was an utterly amoral chancer, as stable as a weather vane and a stranger to principle.

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