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Rick Santorum to Speak at Hillsdale College

It is now official — so I can let the cat out of the bag. Rick Santorum will speak at Hillsdale College on Monday evening at 8 p.m. Invitations are out to Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney: so, stay tuned.

This year marks the first time in the history of the college that one or more presidential candidates have appeared on campus during the campaign. Herman Cain passed through in November shortly before he withdrew from the race. Now we will get a chance to look over Santorum and, I would guess, some of the rest.

I will be in attendance on Monday evening, and I will give you my impressions late that evening or the following morning.

For what it is worth, I believe that Michigan may play a decisive role this year. Mitt Romney grew up here. His father was Governor; his mother ran for the Senate in Michigan. This ought to be his home turf. There are, however, a great many Catholics in the state, and Romney appears to be behind in the polls. That may, of course, change. Romney has deep pockets; Santorum is short on resources and is running a -seat-of-the-pants campaign. Romney’s advertisements are now saturating the state.

But, in a time of crisis, money in politics can rarely compensate for a perceived lack of principle, and Romney — for good reason — has a credibility problem. Santorum was unpleasant and whiney in the early debates. In Florida, suddenly, the man caught fire. Romney was dull, dreary, and adequate in the early debates (except in South Carolina, where he was worse). He, too, caught fire in Florida. The debate in Arizona on 22 February may tell the tale.

Then, again, what happens in Hillsdale may have an impact as well. The only thing that I am confident of is this. If Romney cannot take Michigan, he is in deep trouble. The general election will be won or lost in Pennsylvania and the Midwest — and everyone knows it.

  1. katievs

    Wish I could be there for that.

    I think if Santorum can keep his worst impulses and traits in check; if he can be happy and keep re-directing the inevitable social issues baiting to larger questions of fundamentally liberties vs. the all-powerful, all-consuming, all-intrusive State, he will give the lie to the media caricature and win: first the nomination, then the general.

    But it’s a big if.

  2. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    katievs: Wish I could be there for that.

    I think if Santorum can keep his worst impulses and traits in check; if he can be happy and keep re-directing the inevitable social issues baiting to larger questions of fundamentally liberties vs. the all-powerful, all-consuming, all-intrusive State, he will give the lie to the media caricature and win: first the nomination, then the general.

    But it’s a big if. · 7 minutes ago

    Yes, indeed, and very well put. If he tries to explain the ins and outs of Catholic doctrine on contraception, he is dead. The clergy have failed — mainly through timidity, to be sure — in this regard. He needs to deflect every question of this sort by saying that the issue is one of the free exercise of religion.

  3. The Mugwump

    It’s time our candidate made the case for social conservatism, so I’m going to offer Mr. Santorum some unsolicited words of advice:

    We need to ask the question “how much liberty is good for the American people?”  The answer is actually very simple.  Americans should enjoy as much liberty as they can be personally responsible to have and hold.  We must recognize that the absence of personal responsibility is an open invitation for government to restrict our liberties.  To this end the Democratic party offers us license to do as we please without consequence.  Their offer is fraudulent because the abnegation of personal responsibility is antithetical to the exercise of true liberty.

    In no area of human behavior has license produced such pernicious effects than in the realm of sexuality.  The free exercise of human sexuality has become to the left like a sacrament.  Its morality and value are never questioned, and its consequences must be mitigated by government programs and policies.  But has the left succeeded?

    In the years since Roe v. Wade our nation has suffered from a wave of social pathologies rooted in the free expression of human sexuality.

    (cont.)

  4. The Mugwump

    (cont.)

    Rates for all of the following have reached stratospheric levels:  divorce, bastardy, abortion, teen pregnancy and socially transmitted disease.  Personal self-gratification now trumps all other considerations.  This is the deal offered by the left.  What this tells any thinking person is that the crisis is primarily moral.  The failure to address this notion of false liberty strikes at the very foundation of our society because it is an attack on family life.

    Abortion is the worst pathology of any in my short list.  It is inhumane and barbaric in its application, and an existential threat to our nation.  In the past forty years 39 million Americans never drew a first breath or saw the light of day.  They were murdered in the womb.  Mr. President, you and your party own those 39 million abortions.  And now you would impose your immorality on the nation by government diktat.  In exchange you offer us false liberty, and the chains that would shackle us.  To this we raise our voices and shout NEVER!  It is time to take back our national morality, for if we do not the end is nigh.     

  5. Fredösphere

    “Then, again, what happens in Hillsdale may have an impact as well.”

    So, Doc, you’re saying that what happens in Hillsdale doesn’t stay in Hillsale?

    I agree, a Romney loss in Michigan will shatter the meme of Romney inevitability like nothing else that has happened so far.

    I think I just may need to drop everything on Monday and attend this event.

  6. Fredösphere

    Paules, you imply (or maybe, I infer from you) that Democrats are self-consciously cynical: they encourage licentiousness so that they may then move in with ever-greater government control to clean up the inevitable mess. Do you believe they are that calculating?

  7. The Mugwump
    Fredösphere: Paules, you imply (or maybe, I infer from you) that Democrats are self-consciously cynical: they encourage licentiousness so that they may then move in with ever-greater government control to clean up the inevitable mess. Do you believe they are that calculating? · 22 minutes ago

    Is there a better way to seduce a populace than to substitute a license for vice for righteous behavior?  This is why the crisis is primarily moral.  The Democrats pander to our base instincts rather than our  virtues.  Vice is easy while virtue is hard

  8. Grendel
    Fredösphere: Paules, you imply (or maybe, I infer from you) that Democrats are self-consciously cynical: they encourage licentiousness so that they may then move in with ever-greater government control to clean up the inevitable mess. Do you believe they are that calculating? · 15 minutes ago

    Pretty near.  Progressives–the American brand of Fascists–believe they are more capable of running things for the betterment of all than  the clumsy democratic-republican machinery of Constitutional government.  They want to centralize all responsibility in the administrative state.  This means suppressing competing centers of authority and affiliation.  Encouraging licentiousness, beyond its electoral marketing appeal, diminishes the individual’s responsibility and also undermines  personal integrity, Constitution, family, business, religion, etc.

    Their calculations are uncynically two stage:  1) licentiousness, 2) centralized enlightened control.  They don’t foresee the intervening mess, but they love it.  Messes are what get a managerial progressive up in the morning.  That’s why the Democratic bandwagon trumpets so many solutions that don’t work for problems that don’t exist.  For them, make-work is all that work needs to be.

  9. Valiuth

    I have expressed my concerns with Rick on these boards often, and they boil down to what you say Kat. I want him to avoid getting ensnared in the social issues. My fear though is that he can’t help himself, but get ensnared. Not from stupidity, mind you.  

    I think he is far too honest and forthright (things I like about him by the way), to just demure when challenged about gay marriage, or contraception.He will wade in like a valiant knight only to find himself surrounded by media wolves and Obama’s Saracens. He will go down fighting and if I where a Skald I would compose a mighty Lay of his downfall. 

    I’m backing Romney for now because I hope his cool Mormon logic might just get him past Obama. His victory would not be a win for conservatism though. It would be the political equivalent of a field goal for the Republicans to tie the game (thanks Clint for the analogy).  Santrorum would be our Hail Marry pass into the end zone for the game. If he wins the presidency that would be a conservative victory.

    I’m a conservative I’d kick.  

  10. dogsbody
    As of Thursday morning, RealClearPolitics has Santorum ahead of Romney in Michigan by an average of 8.2 points: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/mi/michigan_republican_presidential_primary-1589.html

    If Romney can’t win–and win big–here, I think he’s done. 

  11. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Valiuth: I’m backing Romney for now because I hope his cool Mormon logic might just get him past Obama. His victory would not be a win for conservatism though. It would be the political equivalent of a field goal for the Republicans to tie the game (thanks Clint for the analogy).  Santrorum would be our Hail Marry pass into the end zone for the game. If he wins the presidency that would be a conservative victory.

    I’m a conservative I’d kick.   · 3 minutes ago

    You have stated very nicely the position that I have been inclined to hold. I am now on the fence, however — for one simple reason. I am by no means sure that Romney is the safer candidate. Like most managerial progressives, he is uncomfortable with political principle — with what George W. H. Bush contemptuously called “the vision thing.” And this election is going to turn on first principles. Obama is going to press the issue. See my post earlier today, and read the comments. They are perceptive. Awkward, timid candidates repeating poll-tested boilerplate lose when faced with passionate, principled opponents.

  12. katievs
    Valiuth: 

    I think he is far too honest and forthright…to just demure when challenged about gay marriage, or contraception.

    You’re right.  He won’t demure.  And because he’s honest and principled.  Romney will demure–exactly as he did in response to Stephanopolus’ birth control question at the debate.  And in demurring he’ll reinforce his image as a squish.

    Santorum stands on his beliefs and principles and isn’t afraid to defend them even in the face of contempt and hostility.  But that doesn’t mean he’ll get tangled up in those issues.  Because what he can do, and will do (I hope!), is not demure, but re-direct.  And in doing that he’ll come across as clear-headed and common-sensical and not the fanatic they’re trying to paint him.

  13. Valiuth

    Oh I feel myself also being drawn to that fence Prof. Rahe, for all the reasons you stated. I would like to win the game, but should we loose will I feel better for having played safe or being bold? Once I decide on that I will know how to vote. 

  14. FeliciaB
    ~Paules

    Fredösphere: Paules, you imply (or maybe, I infer from you) that Democrats are self-consciously cynical: they encourage licentiousness so that they may then move in with ever-greater government control to clean up the inevitable mess. Do you believe they are that calculating? · 22 minutes ago

    Is there a better way to seduce a populace than to substitute a license for vice for righteous behavior?  This is why the crisis is primarily moral.  The Democrats pander to our base instincts rather than our  virtues.  Vice is easy while virtue is hard.  · 50 minutes ago

    I don’t think it’s so well thought out.  I think leftists are mostly people who don’t understand or practice delayed gratification.  The concept of delayed gratification is essentially a conservative one seen in mature, wiser people.  However, if one chooses to live life always seeking the instant gratification, maturity and wisdom are hard to come by.  One must make difficult choices to learn delayed gratification.  

  15. Valiuth

    I don’t really think it is about only about delayed gratification, I think it comes from a mistaken view that the writing of a law and its passage is the same as its effects. That if the government mandates something is free that now it is, free. That if the government mandates better schools schools will get better.  They just do not seem to grasp that intention and execution are often very far a part.

    They are focused on intention rather than results. Which is infuriating because for the most part the results conservatives get match the liberals intentions. Yet, they will never give us credit for giving them what they want, because our intentions are so wildly diverged at times.  

  16. The Mugwump
    FeliciaB

    Fredösphere: Paules, you imply (or maybe, I infer from you) that Democrats are self-consciously cynical . . . . Do you believe they are that calculating? · 22 minutes ago

    Is there a better way to seduce a populace than to substitute a license for vice for righteous behavior?  The Democrats pander to our base instincts rather than our  virtues.  Vice is easy while virtue is hard.  · 50 minutes ago

    I don’t think it’s so well thought out.  I think leftists are mostly people who don’t understand or practice delayed gratification.  The concept of delayed gratification is essentially a conservative one seen in mature, wiser people.  However, if one chooses to live life always seeking the instant gratification, maturity and wisdom are hard to come by.  One must make difficult choices to learn delayed gratification.   · 3 minutes ago

    This is true of the rank and file.  Just have a look at OWS.  They are children who think, act, and emote like children.  They have been infantilized by their adherence to progressive ideology.  This is exactly where progressive politicians want them.  Cynical?  You betcha.      

  17. heyjude

    Can’t wait to read that Imprimis. 

  18. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    heyjude: Can’t wait to read that Imprimis.  · 1 hour ago

    My guess is that everything will be online more or less immediately. I do hope that the other candidates come. It was very instructive seeing Herman Cain and meeting him.

  19. Chris Deleon
    Fredösphere: Paules, you imply … that Democrats are self-consciously cynical: they encourage licentiousness so that they may then move in with ever-greater government control to clean up the inevitable mess. Do you believe they are that calculating?

    I really don’t think the vast majority of liberals are that calculating.  There may be some cynical ones pushing this behind the scenes.  I believe most are sincere but just badly mistaken about human nature.  The fact that not learning to restrain your impulses while you are young plays out later as irresponsibility in many areas of life, which leads to government dependency, should be obvious to any thinking person.  But liberals want to separate behavior from outcomes, so as not to be “judgmental,” or to be “compassionate,” etc.  And in many cases, they do start out by trying to help those who truly need help.

    And again, it is just human nature that once an avenue of aid is available, it is taken advantage of, and becomes a crutch and an enabler of bad behavior, rather than a true help.  But because they focus on feelings, liberals don’t seem able to connect these dots.

  20. Chris Deleon

    I’m still plugging my way through the 1934 book, Sex and Culture, by anthropologist / sociologist J. D. Unwin.

    After studying 86 cultures, he concluded that the form a culture takes is directly related to– pre-marital chastity.  (Yes, I know many of you will scoff.  Read the book.  He himself didn’t expect this.)

    The cultures that exhibited great “expansive energy” (in his words) all started out with premarital chastity as the rule, and the most energetic of them also insisted on faithful monogamy after marriage as well.  However, the most important factor seemed to be the amount of sexual restraint during the formative teen years, and I think I can begin to understand why.

    We’ve heard about how the Internet is rewiring our brains so we have shorter attention spans.  Similarly, when you are trained to gratify your sexual desires, not restrain them, your brain becomes wired for pleasure-seeking.  When you are trained to restrain your desires toward a better long-term goal (marriage), your brain is wired for patience, perseverance and long-term goal-seeking in other areas as well.

    There are other factors, but as I said, I’m not done with the book.