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By Keith A Fournier

2/29/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The blue collar guy from Pennsylvania gave the man from Michigan a run for his money - and nearly won

Those who currently lead the Democratic Party want to paint the Republican Party as the party of the "1%" which does not care about the rest of America. I know it's contrived. I know it is class warfare. I know it is wrong. However, it is working. I have believed from the beginning of this campaign that, even if Mitt Romney is the nicest man in the world, they want him as their opponent. He fits the narrative and they can run against a caricature. Mitt Romney won in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday - but this race is far from over.

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum

Highlights

By Keith A Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/29/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Michigan Primary, Arizona primary, campaign 2012, Keith A Fournier


GRAND RAPIDS, MI (Catholic Online) - On what can best be described as a nail biter of a Republican primary election evening, no major network had yet called the vote in Michigan when I began writing this article. However, it was clear that if vote tabulation trends continued, Mitt Romney would pull out his second primary win in his own home State. At 10:18 p.m., in the middle of a speech by Rick Santorum, CNN broke away and made the call that Mitt Romney had indeed won the Michigan primary.

At 8 pm in the East, all the major networks called the Arizona Primary for the former Governor of the State of Massachusetts. However, the outcome of that State's race was never in doubt. The man who has emerged as Mitt Romney's number one opponent for the Republican presidential nomination, the one whom the political establishment dismissed, Rick Santorum, came in second. 

In what will be a very long night for the political pundits, the Michigan vote will be segmented according to every possible analytical and demographic subgroup. The talking heads will discuss - and discuss - and discuss ad nauseam - what it all "means". However, it was a very tough primary race between two opponents who do not seem to hold one another in high regard.

The self appointed experts will then attempt to explain to us all why this primary race just keeps continuing on. In fact, it has turned into one of the most intriguing political races in recent political history. They will fill every media venue with a lot of political babble which offers little light on the subject. Something happened on the way to the coronation of Mitt Romney. His name is Rick Santorum.

When CNN returned to the Santorum speech, the candidate was gracious in defeat, humble and inspiring. He had a large crowd gathered along with his wife and members of his family. They were all clearly enthused and not overtly disappointed or discouraged. After thanking all who made his surprising showing possible, he returned to overriding theme of his campaign, Freedom.

Next Tuesday is called "Super Tuesday" for a lot of reasons. Rick Santorum may just add one more reason by again surprising the political establishment.

The political "left" knows that Rick Santorum is a formidable candidate from a working class family who connects with the very people whom they claim to represent. They also know he is a formidable communicator, does not need a teleprompter - and will not back down from a fight, whether it is with Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.

They know he possesses the courage needed for the upcoming contest with President Barack Obama. That is why they deride him so viciously. He threatens them. He has shown himself to be a full spectrum candidate, ready to debate every issue. He will not be intimidated by the bullying of their rhetoric nor succumb to the savage insults of their elite media spokespersons. He has thick skin and a strong heart.  

Some within the Republican establishment like Rick Santorum's economic conservatism but are uncomfortable with his insistence on discussing the "moral issues". He continues to refer to America as a moral enterprise and it seems to make some of them squirm. Of course, he is correct. There is a moral basis to a truly free society. One cannot - one must not - separate the moral, economic, cultural, and social issues if we want to return to the sources of our liberties and flourish once again. 

He insists on protecting human life from conception through natural death and defending marriage and the family and society founded upon it. That doesn't make for comfortable conversation at the country club. Some of the Republican elite have dismissed his chances. Others have used condescending language concerning his candidacy, his competence and his chances. They have all been proven wrong. 

I am one of a large group of Americans who are tired of the Republican establishment picking the nominee of the Party. I am a "Reluctant Republican". I have no other choice. I left the Democratic Party when the opponents of the fundamental human right to life took control of the leadership of that Party and turned it upside down.

I grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts in a working class home. Sadly, the bizarre alliance which took over the Democratic Party many years ago has held it captive for decades. People like me have been forcibly evicted, out of conscience. We listen to those who now lead that Party and are disgusted with so much of their agenda.

Santorum connects with people like us. Many are still in the Democratic Party. That is why he reached out to Democrats in Michigan. They live in the blue collar sections of this great Nation. With a Santorum candidacy they would become one of the most potent segments of the electorate for the Republicans. The Democratic Party knows this. They do not want to run against Rick Santorum because they cannot play a 'class warfare" card against him.  

The Romney campaign of 2012 feels a lot like the Bob Dole campaign in 1996 to me. I distinctly remember when Bob Dole told a crowd, "If you want me to be Reagan, I'll be Reagan." I know where I was when I heard those words. I even remember what I was doing at the time. I also knew it was the end of that Republican Presidential campaign. I worry that history will repeat itself if Mitt Romney wins the nomination.

Rick Santorum is a different kind of Republican. He can win those who, like me, were brought into the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan. His concern for working class families, his populism, his courage in calling out those who threaten the foundations of our freedom, both at home and abroad, simply does not fit the effort by the Democratic machine's game plan.

Those who currently lead the Democratic Party want to paint the Republican Party as the party of the "1%" which does not care about the rest of America. I know it's contrived. I know it is class warfare. I know it is wrong. However, it is working. I have believed from the beginning of this campaign that, even if Mitt Romney is the nicest man in the world, they want him as their opponent. He fits the narrative and they can run against a caricature.

A nominee like Rick Santorum blows the whole effort out of the water. The fall campaign would actually revolve around substantive issues and not the contrived "class warfare" rhetoric and nonsense planned by the supporters of the President's reelection. On that kind of playing field, where real issues and differing visions for the future are debated, there is no doubt who would win.

Mitt Romney won in Arizona and Michigan on Tuesday.  His supporters gathered to hear his remarks. It is their night to celebrate. They have worked hard. However, this Republican primary race is far from over. The blue collar guy from Pennsylvania gave the man from Michigan a run for his money - and nearly won. He is just getting warmed up.

---


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