Republican voters have finally accepted the fact that Mitt Romney is going to be their GOP presidential nominee, much the way you accept the fact that the dentist is right and you really do need a root canal. You just grit your teeth and get on with it.
The passionless affair between Romney and the base will now commence, with an eye toward turning Obama (who the base really is passionate about) out of office. Romney’s sweep of the Tuesday primaries, along with the list of establishment endorsements he’s collecting (George H.W. Bush! Jeb Bush! Barbara Bush!), signal that the race for the nomination is over. That there ever was one is a reflection on just how anarchic the GOP has become and just how lousy a campaigner Romney himself is.
This means farewell, to Rick Santorum. When The New York Times runs a headline questioning your relevancy, the jig is up. And so, as the sun slowly sets on the Santorum campaign, let us bid a fond adieu (fond because it’s well deserved) to one of the worst campaigners in modern times by reviewing the low points of his candidacy:
- At a presidential candidate debate, Santorum used the nationally televised forum to insult a gay soldier serving in Iraq.
- Santorum’s outreach to Hispanic voters consisted of suggesting that they shared a similar interest in denying gays and lesbians rights.
- Reaching for new rhetorical depths, he said that comparing traditional marriage to same-sex marriage was like calling a napkin a paper towel.
- There was the time that Santorum got himself booed by college students when he equated marriage equality with polygamy.
- Forced to answer a question, Santorum took the bold step of saying that he would love a gay son “just as much,” if by love you mean denying him the right to marry and believing he’s going to burn in eternal hellfire.
- Santorum gained the support of some of the leading homophobes driving GOP politics today. Maggie Gallagher, whose life’s cause is marriage inequality, endorsed Santorum in a statement that dwelled upon his Google problem. Bob Vander Plaats, the man responsible for the campaign to remove three judges in Iowa who voted in favor of marriage equality, was another big backer.
- Wife Karen Romney groused that gay activists “vilified” her husband because, well, maybe they read what he’s saying.
There’s plenty more, but we’ll spare you. But don’t despair. This is probably not the last we’ve heard of Rick. After all, the GOP has a tradition of the runner-up becoming the front-runner next time out, so..
And even if Santorum sits that race out, we will still have him to thank for forging a tight bond between evangelicals and the Catholic leadership. That’s an achievement that will keep paying nasty dividends for some time to come.
Photo by Gage Skidmore