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By Keith A. Fournier

1/3/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rick Santorum may pull from behind to actually win this race. However, most see him at least getting one of those three 'tickets' out of Iowa

Rick Santorum is a refreshing example of moral coherence - a politician who refuses to buy the party line that one can separate out the so called "social" and "moral" issues from the economic and foreign policy issues. In fact, he will not accept the idea that morality should be confined to the walls of one's home or house of worship. Instead, he insists that America as a Nation is a "moral enterprise". He recently told one the crowds attending his pre-caucus events, that America will not remain free "without a good strong moral compass."

Republican Presidential contender Rick Santorum

Republican Presidential contender Rick Santorum

Highlights

By Keith A. Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/3/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, John Huntsman, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Obama2012, Republican, Primary, Keith A. Fournier


POLK CITY, IA (Catholic Online) - In May of 2011 I watched the Kentucky Derby with my wife. My wife loves horses and enjoys watching the Derby every year. We do not bet on the race, but we do enjoy hearing the human interest stories behind the horses, their jockeys, their owners, and the struggles which accompany their arrival at the Derby.

Often, the stories - and the race - become an inspiring metaphor for life.  That particular 2011 Derby was touted as the most wide open field in over a decade; somewhat like the Republican primary field of candidates for the 2012 Presidential campaign.

As the afternoon unfolded, the stories about the horses, jockeys, trainers, owners and all of the human interest stories just kept getting more interesting. However, no-one expected the eventual result in that 2011 Derby.

A horse who had never raced on dirt, or finished first in any major race, ridden by a last minute replacement jockey, with 20-1 odds against it - not even considered in the top tier by many "experts"- won the most exciting Kentucky Derby in years!

I later used the race in an article to describe the possibility of Rick Santorum emerging as a leader in the field of contenders for the Republican nomination for President. Back then, most people thought I was engaging in what is called "wishful thinking". After all, he is a friend - and I obviously have a great deal of respect for his faith, his family, his positions and his courage.

He passionately defends the fundamental Human Right to Life. He courageously defends marriage and the family and society founded upon it. He is unafraid to speak to the moral issues which lie at the root of many of our challenges - including our economic challenges. He has an authentic understanding of the sources of our liberties and the responsibilities they bring with them.  

Most importantly, Rick Santorum is a refreshing example of moral coherence - a politician who refuses to buy the party line that one can separate out the so called "social" and "moral" issues from the economic and foreign policy issues.

In fact, he will not accept the idea that morality should be confined to the walls of one's home or house of worship. Instead, he insists that America as a Nation is a "moral enterprise". He recently told one the crowds attending his pre-caucus events, that America will not remain free "without a good strong moral compass."

On April 28, 2011 Rick Santorum gave an address on foreign policy at the National Press Club entitled "Americans & the World: Resetting Our Course." He concluded with these words: "The world will soon consider the life and contribution of a partner of Ronald Reagan's in reshaping the world, Pope John Paul II. He, along with another Polish hero Lech Walesa, helped to bring freedom back to Poland. His faith informed his courageous stand against a totalitarian regime. John Paul II warned of the "death of true freedom" and observed that "freedom itself needs to be set free. Lech Walesa last visited our nation last year (2010) and he offered this observation:

"The United States is the only superpower. Today they lead the world. Nobody has doubts about it - Militarily.  They also lead economically but they're getting weak. But they don't lead morally and politically anymore.  The world has no leadership.  The United States was always the last resort and hope for all other nations. There was the hope, whenever something was going wrong, one could count on the United States. Today, we have lost that hope..."

Santorum told the group listening to that profound address: "But I have not and my sense from traveling the country is that neither have the American people - they are bursting at the seams to have a leader who believes in them and our country again.

"In his farewell address to the nation, President Reagan reminded us of this when he told the story of the USS Midway that was patrolling the South China Sea in the early 1980s.  A sailor on the Midway saw a tiny boat, filled with refugees from Indochina, and a rescue launch was sent to them. 

"As the Americans came into view, one of the refugees smiled, stood up, and shouted out: "Hello American Sailor.  Hello Freedom Man!"  That is who we are-Freedom Men - And Women - And Children.  Let us not forget that privilege nor neglect that legacy."

On January 2, 2011, Rick Santorum continued barnstorming Iowa.  At a stop in Polk City at the Rising Sun Café he told a large crowd that his surge in the polls is due to Iowans "doing their homework".  They seemed to enthusiastically agree.

Now, the Press seems to be chasing after the candidate they had so little interest in just a few short weeks ago. We are witnessing what the pundits said could never happen. The campaign of Rick Santorum is on fire.

Rick Santorum may pull from behind to actually win this race. However, most see him at least getting one of those three 'tickets' out of Iowa. The candidate now asks the swelling crowds which gather to hear him, "Please help me out - You send a shockwave across the country."

Are the people of Iowa seeing Rick Santorum as a "Freedom man"? Is the Santorum campaign the political equivalent of the tortoise and the hare fable? Will "slow and steady win the race"?

The members of the mainstream media who had dismissed Santorum throughout the entire 2012 Primary campaign are now covering his ascent. Some even seem to have surrendered their dismissive arrogance. Even those who once treated his candidacy with condescension, cynicism, and disdain, are taking a second look. 

And those polls - they continue to shock the pundit and chattering class. The most recent example is the poll released byPublic Policy Polling of North Carolina It was reported in their own release entitled "Headed for a Photo Finish" which has been picked up in numerous news reports. Portions are set forth below:

"The Republican caucus in Iowa is headed for a photo finish, with the three leading contenders all within two points of each other. Ron Paul is at 20%, Mitt Romney at 19%, and Rick Santorum at 18%. Rounding out the field are Newt Gingrich at 14%, Rick Perry at 10%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Jon Huntsman at 4%, and Buddy Roemer at 2%.

"The momentum in the race is completely on Santorum's side. He's moved up 8 points since a PPP poll earlier in the week, while no one else has seen more than a one point gain in their support. Among voters who say they decided who to vote for in the last seven days he leads Romney 29-17 with Paul and Gingrich both at 13.

"Santorum's net favorability of 60/30 makes him easily the most popular candidate in the field. No one else's favorability exceeds 52%. He may also have more room to grow in the final 48hours of the campaign than the other front runners: 14% of voters say he's their second choice to 11% for Romney and only 8% for Paul.

"Other than Santorum's rise the other big story of this week is Paul's fall. He was at 24% earlier in the week but has dropped to 20%. That decline in support coincides with a precipitous drop in his favorability numbers. On our last poll he was at +13 (53/40), but that's gone down 21 points on the margin to -8 (43/51).

"PPP surveyed 1,340 likely Republican caucus voters on December 31st and January 1st. The margin of error for the survey is +/-2.7%. This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization. PPP surveys are conducted through automated telephone interviews. PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.

"Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum added more endorsements from New Hampshire today to his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, trying to quell some doubters who question whether a strong finish in Iowa could launch him to success in other states with early primaries. Santorum said today he has added five more New Hampshire state legislators, bringing his total legislative endorsements in the Granite State to 23.

"The latest to back him included: : Rep. Jerry Bergiven (R-Manchester), Rep. William Condra (R-Wilton), Rep. Charlie Moore (R-Jaffrey), Rep. Stephen Palmer (R-Milford), and Rep. Steven Smith (R-Charlestown).  Bergiven is a former supporter of  Ron Paul  and Smith is a former supporter of Herman Cain.

"Some political strategists have been skeptical of Santorum's chances beyond Iowa, but Santorum's campaign aides point out that he has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate other than Jon Huntsman, who lives there. He has also spent more time in South Carolina than any other candidate. In addition, Santorum's campaign manager, Mike Biundo, is a longtime political strategist from New Hampshire.

In a statement, Santorum said:  "As the momentum of our campaign continues to build, I am excited to welcome the support of this esteemed group of New Hampshire leaders. Each of these leaders understand that America is more than just a plot of land - but a moral enterprise that revolutionized the world and must be maintained. As President, I am committed to doing just that, and working to build a better tomorrow for our children and grandchildren. I look forward to building on our momentum from Iowa to again defy expectations in New Hampshire."

In this Iowa Derby, Rick Santorum once behind the pack, seems poised to shock the Republican Establishment.

---


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