Santorum: The Tim Tebow of Politics, but Google Him First

January 4, 2012 3:10 PM

An 8 point win in Iowa as we approach the Year of the Dragon would only be a good omen for an Asian American.

Just not for Mitt Romney.

Romney, the candidate who could be anchorman, hardly can be called a winner in a contest that's a statistical tie. (Right, all ye math mavens?) But in a democracy a single vote counts, and 8 of them have given Rick Santorum license to be a much louder Rick Santorum.

If you've followed Santorum's political career,  then you know he's no saint. He's the clean-cut villain. All the vitriol of a Gingrich, with none of the scandalous marital baggage. Polarizing, though with more appeal. And he's younger. Dan Quayle-like.

You've got to hand it to Santorum. He did what desperate politicians know to do when they are down to nothing. You go for the hot button differentiators that stir an electorate and rearrange the voting grid.

Others had decided that the economy and government spending were what this election should be all about, and the campaign became genteel and a bit wonky. For a Santorum, that's no way to make up ground.

Instead, Santorum went for a more emotional differentiator. He got virtuous.

He strategically positioned himself as the prime anti-Romney and went for the hot button issue Romney hates to talk about because it makes him sound "waffly."

Texas Governor Perry tried to go for the "immigration" hot button, but that wasn't the one for this campaign. Now Perry's migrated back to Texas.

Michele Bachmann tried health care with her endless "Obamacare" references. But that isn't the spark to raise a dead-horse either. Now she's gone.

But Santorum got within 8 votes by going for the only hot button that had really been unclaimed. Abortion, and all its corollary issues. Sex. Marriage. Ugh. All those religious culture war standbys that no one likes to talk about in a modern "God Bless America" democracy.

In doing so, Santorum's come out of nowhere to stage his surprise Iowa rally.

He's the Tim Tebow of Politics.

But Santorum's even more sanctimonious than that. He doesn't want to just win the Super Bowl. He wants to be the Commander-in-Chief of your life. In Santorum's world there is no "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." No boys either.

What colleagues have thought of Santorum is instructive. "Santorum," said former Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, is "Latin for. . ."  Rhymes with bass hole. And they weren't fishing buddies.

Indeed, Santorum's sexual politics, or maybe anti-sexual politics, has prompted sex columnist Dan Savage to coin a neologism.

He defines a santorum as a "frothy mix of. . ."  You really should Google it.

The takeaway from Iowa is that no one on the right is right.

And no one on the left is left.

There's just the president, and he may still be the best choice in the end.

* * *


Posted by:Emil Guillermo

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the views or policies of AALDEF.

1 comments

1. Choices: http://www.aclulibertywatch.org/ALWCandidateReportCard.pdf
Posted by: Dwight | Jan 6, 201212:49 AM


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