Post Romney, Santorum Tie: Give me Conservative Purity or Give Me Defeat?

Posted by root | 8 Jan, 2012

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With the start of the New Year finally comes the official opening of the 2012 Presidential election season. Since November of 2010, when Republicans won a landslide victory and captured the U. S. House of Representatives and came within a whisker of capturing the U.S. Senate, the expectations for the 2012 race have loomed large. Now, at long last, the election is upon us.

Republican candidates spent the better part of 2011 roughing each other up in numerous, make that countless, debates. For the most part the debates droned on and on but with those debates the candidates honed their debating skills and sharpened their messages.

As much as the media, and possibly the candidates themselves, wanted the general population to focus on the election and the debates, the voters were occupied with other more pressing concerns such as raising a family, paying the monthly bills, and worrying over the state of a very anemic economy with high unemployment. Most people cannot understand why the politicians in Washington have to be the way they are. The political climate is unacceptable. Unsustainable spending habits are acceptable to the politicians but are unacceptable to the American people. A climate in Washington in which the stock market behaves more like a bouncing ball than an indicator of economic growth. A European economy that seems like an omen for what the United States can expect in a few short years if the U.S. does not get its economic house in order real soon, and the military tension around the world in Afghanistan, Iran, and North Korea to name a few. The American people had a lot to be worried about in 2011.

But with this uncertainty comes the most important election in America. It happens once every four years. It is the election for President of the United States. The first step in this eleven month journey is the Iowa caucus. In a topsy turvy run up to caucus day several candidates rose to the top of the field only to fall by the wayside. Michele Bachman, Rick Perry,Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich have all risen to the top. Through all of that, however, Mitt Romney has maintained his poll numbers. Republicans are looking for a candidate but have yet to settle on one.

The Iowa Caucus is now over, and Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have finished in a dead heat. Step one is now complete. The difference of eight votes between Romney and Santorum is irrelevant. The candidates tied. Although Romney was first, Santorum came from way back in the pack and finished an impressive second. Ron Paul came in third and Newt Gingrich finished fourth. Rick Perry will skip New Hampshire’s primary on January 10, and head straight to South Carolina where his campaign will either resurrect itself or be down for the count. Michele Bachman, having won the straw vote in Iowa back in August, has suspended her efforts given her last place finish. Jon Huntsman did not compete in Iowa.

The most notable thing to come out of Iowa besides the surprising finish of Rick Santorum was in the hours after the voting took place. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sounded like a spoiled child complaining about the attack ads against him by a Super Pac supporting Mitt Romney. Gingrich stated he would team up with Rick Santorum, if need be, to defeat Romney. Such statements are not presidential. Being thin skinned is not a trait to have on the world stage. A temper is a bad thing. Revenge can be dangerous. Hopefully, Newt Gingrich will grow up and mature as the campaign progresses because he is without a doubt the smartest candidate and best debater in the field.
He has so much to offer.

But with all of this said and with all that you will hear in the weeks to come, the bottom line for Republicans is simply one fact. Republicans want to beat Barack Obama. More primaries and elections are coming before any one candidate can claim the nomination. This race will be decided by the ability of one Republican candidate to withstand the long haul. Organization and money are key. But the real question that Republican voters must answer is the question of what kind of nominee do they want. Do Republicans want a purist, a perfect conservative on every issue, or do they want a winner? Remember that in the general election in November the winner will be the candidate who has the most appeal to the most voters. If Republicans insist on purity in their nominee, Barack Obama will be reelected.