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Iowa Prepares To Nominate Rick Santorum

The momentum is all with Rick Santorum. According to Public Policy Polling‘s latest, he’s shot up 8 points in the last week in Iowa while Paul and Romney’s support has dropped. PPP’s top line is Paul 20, Romney 19, Santorum 18, Gingrich 14, Perry 10, Bachmann 8. Santorum leads in Iowa both with Tea Partiers and evangelicals, and has the highest favorability rating to boot.

The

  1. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    Let’s hope that this is a triumph for Santorum. I would never have expected it, but he is obviously very good at retail politics.

  2. Matthew Gilley

    Please forgive a little New Year’s pessimism.  At this point, I don’t know which crowd impresses me the least:  the Republican candidates or Iowa caucus-goers.  (No disrespect to Senator Santorum intended.)

  3. katievs

    I suspect there are a whole lot of voters out there like me: people whose main reason for not supporting him is that they thought he couldn’t possibly win.  I think a Santorum surge will prove to have a lot more staying power than the others’ did. 

    His main defects (some bad votes in office, his support of Specter, his loss to Casey, a tendency to be strident in tone) pale in comparison with the defects of the others.  And his strengths are real strengths.

  4. katievs

    Love that San Damiano cross behind Santorum in the photo.  It’s the one that spoke to St. Francis in a vision: “Francis, go and rebuild my Church, which as you see, is falling down around you.”  

    Francis took the instructions literally and began repairing the stone walls of the small chapel.  Gradually, he was joined by a band of fellows, and in no time, the corrupted and demoralized medieval Church was renewed.  And Europe with it.

    May it prove a fitting metaphor!

  5. Mama Toad

    katievs, I share your love of St. Francis and the San Damiano cross (I have given them as gifts to my godchildren, along with a booklet explaining the iconography), but I don’t like the metaphor. In fact, I think the real drawback for Rick Santorum is that he is seen by many as a crusading religious zealot, which is only reinforced by his hectoring tone. It may help him with some voters, but it turns off more. 

    I like many things about Rick Santorum, but St. Francis he is not! I know you weren’t saying he is today’s St. Francis, merely that the corruption and demoralization of our country need reversing, but I don’t believe he is the man for the job.

  6. Aimee Jones

    Would love to see Santorum win. Despite his petulance at some of the debates, I have been very impressed with his unabashed conservatism and focus on blue collar workers. He is right and he is the only one saying it. I’m not sure why it’s taken so long for conservative voters seeking a conservative to take notice of him. I’m not sure yet who I’ll vote for, but I do believe Santorum is a much stronger flavor du jour than the other anyone-but-Romneys.

  7. katievs
    Mama Toad: I like many things about Rick Santorum, but St. Francis he is not! I know you weren’t saying he is today’s St. Francis, merely that the corrpution and demoralization of our country needs reversing, but I don’t believe he is the man for the job. · Jan 2 at 7:07am

    I meant that our nation is falling apart.  Like the Church of the early 12th century, it often looks too far gone to save.

    Santorum, for all his faults and imperfections, has been dedicating himself to retail politics.  Person to person, on the ground in Iowa.  And he’s spent time and mental energy concentrating on learning to articulate first principles.  See his NRO piece today. (I like this line especially: “Government has to be strong enough to protect human life, but limited enough to never exploit it.”)

    If he pulls off an upset, it will be a stunning turn-around.  And it could be the beginning of a unlooked-for renewal.

    I’m also hoping front-runner status will bring about a change in his tone.   

  8. katievs

    There’s a great Guardini line somewhere.  I’ll have to paraphrase.  ”You never really know what’s in a man until the right call reaches him.”

  9. katievs

    Watch his interview with David Gregory yesterday.  I was impressed.  He was clear, firm, unflappable, un-defensive, un-strident.  Showed Gregory for the partisan hack he is.

  10. David Williamson

    I am also hoping Mr Santorum does well — perhaps conservatives should all rally behind him to avoid splitting the vote and handing the nomination to Mr Romney.

  11. Matthew Gilley

    All, I like Rick Santorum, too.  I agree the criticisms of him are very unfair.  But he was last seen losing an election in Pennsylvania by 18 points.  He deserves much respect and admiration, but I suggest we keep looking.

  12. John Marzan

    If Santorum does well in Iowa, only Michelle Bachmann will drop out.

  13. John Marzan

    Tpaw must be banging his head on the wall right now.

  14. Sisyphus

    So when actual voters finally get around to focusing on the candidates and what they’ve done and what they have to say, a lot of this debate trail analysis ends up in the dumpster.

    I am unable to summon a gloom and doom rant on the possibility of a Santorum victory. Heck, it would be worth it just to watch Newt Romney’s heads explode. Evitability is a wonderful thing.

  15. Sisyphus
    Matthew Gilley: All, I like Rick Santorum, too.  I agree the criticisms of him are very unfair.  But he was last seen losing an election in Pennsylvania by 18 points.  He deserves much respect and admiration, but I suggest we keep looking.

    As opposed to Romney, whose dismal 30% approval rating in Massachusetts convinced him not to bother running for re-election? Just saying.

  16. Aimee Jones

    OK – Just watched the Meet The Press interview. He sold me when he said he didn’t ask for any endorsements because he believed he had to earn it first. How refreshing…

  17. Nobody

    Iowa’s enthusiasm for Rick Santorum just proves how irrelevant the Iowa caucuses really are.  If Santorum is, improbably, to end up as the GOP nominee, Obama will win in an historic landslide.

  18. Mama Toad
    katievs

    Mama Toad:  · Jan 2 at 7:07am

    I meant that our nation is falling apart.  Like the Church of the early 12th century, it often looks too far gone to save.

    Santorum, for all his faults and imperfections, has been dedicating himself to retail politics.  Person to person, on the ground in Iowa.  And he’s spent time and mental energy concentrating on learning to articulate first principles.  See his NRO piece today. (I like this line especially: “Government has to be strong enough to protect human life, but limited enough to never exploit it.”)

    If he pulls off an upset, it will be a stunning turn-around.  And it could be the beginning of a unlooked-for renewal.

    I’m also hoping front-runner status will bring about a change in his tone.    · Jan 2 at 7:17am

    I would like you to convince me… I really would! Please, keep trying! Thanks for all your charity and clarity.

  19. katievs
    Nobody’s Perfect: Iowa’s enthusiasm for Rick Santorum just proves how irrelevant the Iowa caucuses really are.  If Santorum is, improbably, to end up as the GOP nominee, Obama will win in an historic landslide. · Jan 2 at 8:04am

    I wonder why you think that?  

    He’s got his defects, but he’s got real strengths too.  Don’t you think a lot of voters will be willing to overlook some elements they don’t like in view of the concrete alternatives?

    1) He’s a “full spectrum conservative”, in the going phrase.  Limited government, moral values, strong defense.

    2) He can articulate his positions clearly and convincingly both at the level of first principles and at the level of policy.

    3) He has enough experience in Washington not to panic the establishment class.  But he’s not one of them either. 

    4) There’s good reason to hope that he’s learned from his mistakes and painful setbacks, and learned the right lessons.  

    5) He’s got no personal baggage.  Impossible to imagine “bimbo eruptions” in his case.

  20. katievs

    Also he’s got a blue collar family background in a swing state.  He lost badly last time around, but I think that might be chalked up to a few factors that won’t be in play this time:

    1) Bush’s sinking popularity

    2) The nearness-in-time of his disastrous endorsement of Specter over Toomey

    3) The devotion of Pennsylvanians to the memory of Robert Casey’s father

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