17 January 2012
A social conservative schism?
From all appearances, the Republican presidential nomination is assured for Mitt Romney following the predictable failure of the social-conservative anti-Romney unity campaign. Newt Gingrich has refused to accept the outcome of last weekend's conclave favoring Rick Santorum, and his supporters now claim that the Pennsylvanian didn't fairly earn the conclave's endorsement. Meanwhile, Gingrich brazenly calls on Santorum to quit despite the conclave, insisting shamelessly that "we have got to bring conservatives together," arguing for all intents and purposes that Santorum is too incompetent to run a national election campaign. The former Speaker hopes to convince conservative Republicans that his success in getting a Republican House of Representatives elected in 1994 means that he can get the entire nation to vote for him personally. Santorum understandably scoffs at Gingrich's bluster and the claim that Santorum's candidacy hurts Gingrich's chance to rally the conservatives. "I'm [not] hurting him, I'm beating him," Santorum says. Conservatives are supposed to be hierarchical by nature and convinced of the wisdom of deference. Republican conservatives have too many people trying to be king, and too many saying, "you're not the king of me." They're supposed to believe in ideas and values, but nothing comes before ego for Gingrich, Santorum and Perry. I'm not exactly sad that the social conservatives are having trouble advancing their agenda, but for the sake of objectivity, and with the benefit of hindsight, I can tell them that they should have voted for "None of the Above" last weekend.