Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where do we go from here--Turn all the lights down now

Nate Silver, former Baseball Prospectus writer and current author of the New York Times blog "Five Thirty Eight" wrote recently about the future of Rick Santorum in politics.  Silver talks about the potential of Santorum.  He ultimately concludes that more than likely this presidential race for Santorum is going to be the high point of his political career.  Is this likely?

Silver mentions the possibility of Santorum being a potential vice president candidate for Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.  The possibility of that is mentioned because Santorum comes from Pennsylvania, which is somewhat seen as a swing state in the upcoming election.  However, as Silver notes Santorum is not seen as a favorable candidate.  According to polls conducted in March, only 33 percent of people see Santorum as favorable while 45 percent of people see Santorum as unfavorable.  It seems unlikely that Romeny will select Santorum as his vice presidential candidate.  Although, we've seen surprises before, just look at Sarah Palin.

Could Santorum look statewide for his next election?  The governor of Pennsylvania is a Republican who is nut up for re-election until 2014.  Silver states that Santorum would have to mount a primary attack or hope that the governor retires by then.  Bob Casey, the senator, who defeated Santorum in the 2006 election is up for re-election this year and it is too late for Santorum to defeat him this year.  So he would have to wait until 2018 to try and get that Senate seat.  Pat Toomey is the other senator from Pennsylvania is up for election in 2016 but is a Republican and is seen as too conservative to really have to struggle for a primary challenge.

The only real thing that Santorum could hope for, if he wants to continue his political career would be to hope that Mitt Romney loses the 2012 presidential election to Barack Obama.  This would allow for Santorum to once again, challenge for the Republican Presidential nomination, however, this seems unlikely.  It seems likely that Santorum was getting some of his votes because he was the anti-Romeny candidate.  Without Mitt Romney there, it seems unlikely that Santorum would have been able to stay in the race as long as he did.  Of course, the other side of this argument is that Santorum was constantly having problems fund raising.  If he was given the additional four years to build up his brand before the 2016 presidential primaries, some could argue that Santorum could be the Republican front-runner.  But, I, like Nate Silver, think that this year's crop of Republican candidates were not the best out there.  If Mitt Romney loses the 2012 election (which I think he will), we will see other candidates become prevalent.  We could see Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Representative Paul Ryan, Governor Chris Christie, and any number of politicians who were elected in the 2010 elections come up as the front runners for the presidential nomination instead.  Of course, none of this even occurs if Romney wins the 2012 presidential election.

So, at this point, I am willing to say good-bye to Rick Santorum from the national spotlight as a politician.  He may still be the voice of Christian conservatives, in fact, it seems very likely that he will continue to serve in that capacity. You will continue to hear him speak out against President Obama but it seems very likely that the days of Rick Santorum beinga national figure in politics, at least as a politician are over.

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