Santorum’s Speech Wasn’t Perfect, But Today Was Darn Close

You know how things in life are never perfect? I’ve found with every good gift, there’s a shadow waiting to steal the joy you otherwise would’ve gotten from that gift.

For example, you get a new car, but a hail storm put dents in the hood the first week.  Or, you love your job but it takes so much time away from your family.  Or you get a new puppy but now you can’t leave the house for more than a few hours without worrying about the thing. Or you have a good friend, but hurt her feelings with a stray comment you didn’t mean.  (Or, worse, something you did mean!)

We live in a fallen world and things just are rarely perfect.

However, today was a near perfect day for us Evangelicals for Mitt.  Charles, David, and I (along with some dear friends) began this Romney adventure many years ago in 2006.  When we saw Santorum approaching the podium to suspend his campaign this afternoon, we all began e-mailing each other little snippets from the past seven years.  David reminisced about a time when we sat in my parents’ living room in Paris, Tennessee telling people from my hometown church about a guy a named Mitt. He’s going to be our President one day, we told them. Yes, M-i-t-t.   Mitt.  Like the catcher’s mitt.  And by the way, we need you to go vote for him in a straw poll in Memphis.

Charles reminded us of a term we developed at some point along the way.  I once described Charles as “unflappable,” and he was trying to protest.  Instead of finding the appropriately opposite word, he simply made one up.  Ever since then, we’ve described people as “flappable,” “flapped,” or “flappalicious.”

I reminded them of the time I told the Romneys – after Gov. Romney dropped out of the 2008 campaign and David was in Iraq – “sure, I’m a great skier!”  (If you don’t know that story, buy this book, or this one for the full, embarrassing tale.)

This afternoon, we went back and forth for several hours, savoring Santorum’s concession before the real fight against Obama begins.

Wait… but it wasn’t really a concession, was it?  Even though I was happy, I couldn’t help notice some glaring omissions from Santorum’s speech.

For one, he never mentioned Gov. Romney’s name.

He definitely didn’t ask his supporters to unite behind the nominee.

What about the fact that he didn’t “drop out,” he merely “suspended?”

Plus, when he was defeated in Pennsylvania by a Democrat in 2006, he graciously bowed out and conceded defeat to Bob Casey.  He even asked his supporters to give his opponent a round of applause, chastised them when they weren’t enthusiastic enough, and offered cooperation with Pennsylvanian’s new senator.  “Wouldn’t it be nice if he’d done that this time?” someone asked me on Facebook.

Well, it would’ve.  In a perfect world, he would’ve acted like Gov. Romney did when he conceded to Sen. McCain. Toby Harnden reminded us how that went down: “…when Romney dropped out, he not only endorsed his rival a week later but went to work for him.”

But here’s the thing, my Romney supporting friends.  We’ve been waiting for a long time for “the moment.”  You know what I’m talking about, don’t you?  That one moment when everyone must acknowledge that Gov. Romney is “the guy.”  That day when everyone unanimously looks at us, and says, “You were right.”  When news anchors report, “Gov. Romney is the GOP nominee.”  When we never hear the word “presumptive” again.  When we can finally breathe a sigh of relief after years of work.

Today was that day.  No, it wasn’t perfect, and there were no fireworks. (I gave you guys some in the above photo!) But this isn’t a perfect world, Rick Santorum isn’t the perfect candidate, and he’s not even a perfect man.  Guess what?  Neither is Mitt and neither are you.

Let’s don’t let the fact that Rick Santorum wasn’t as gracious as he should’ve been ruin it.  He’ll eventually get on board, after he tends to his family.  After he has a few days to calm down.  After he tends to his wounded pride.

None but the most politically attentive will remember his speech today.  Normal people will just remember that a good guy fought a hard battle, had major family issues, and dropped out before eventually coming around and supporting Gov. Romney.

Do you know what you’ll remember?  That today was the end of the end of the GOP race and the beginning of the end of President Obama’s first — and last! — term.  Even if it doesn’t feel like you’d hoped it would feel, don’t let anything ruin it for you!  Today is our day.  Let’s savor it for a few hours longer, before the general campaigning begins.

You might also enjoy:

Jon Stewart Discusses Rick Santorum’s Future

How does Tim Tebow Do Easter?

Santorum’s “Concession Speech” Wasn’t Perfect, But Neither Are We

What is up with this Easter sign?

Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, Cancer?

If You’re an Evangelical, You Should be Outraged at MSNBC

Conservative Christian Parents Finally Say No to “The Bachelor”

Path for Romney Getting Clearer

The Wall Street Journal has a great article about Gov. Romney’s status as the frontrunner:

The fight for the Republican presidential nomination appeared closer to a conclusion as Newt Gingrich on Sunday all but conceded to Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum continued facing a money shortage in his home state of Pennsylvania, where he has two weeks to make a last stand before the primary.

Mr. Gingrich, a former House speaker, called Mr. Romney “far and away the most likely Republican nominee,” during a TV appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” adding he would throw his support behind the front-runner if Mr. Romney secured the requisite number of GOP convention delegates.

Mr. Gingrich, who early this year briefly held a lead over his Republican rivals in nationwide polls, spoke of his campaign in the past tense, saying, “I’m glad I did this,” but “it turned out to be much harder than I thought.”

Read the rest here.

You might also enjoy:

Jon Stewart Discusses Rick Santorum’s Future

How does Tim Tebow Do Easter?

What is up with this Easter sign?

Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, Cancer?

If You’re an Evangelical, You Should be Outraged at MSNBC

Conservative Christian Parents Finally Say No to “The Bachelor”

Jon Stewart Discusses Rick Santorum’s Plans Going Forward

You might also enjoy:

What is up with this Easter sign?

Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage, Cancer?

If You’re an Evangelical, You Should be Outraged at MSNBC

Conservative Christian Parents Finally Say No to “The Bachelor”

 

Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past

On Tuesday morning, Rick Santorum’s spokesman Hogan Gidley was interviewed by MSNBC.  He said something that we’ve all gotten quite used to on the campaign trail – yet another slam against Gov. Romney for becoming pro-life.  In extolling his own candidate, he said:

“I mean, that’s who he is,” Gidley said. “He doesn’t have to tack to the right on social issues like Mitt Romney because he actually firmly believes those things.”

However, this morning, I came across this interesting Huffington Post article which shows that Santorum apparently was pro-choice until he ran for public office:

In a December 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article — which the Huffington Post pulled from Temple University archives — Santorum conceded that he “was basically pro-choice all my life, until I ran for Congress… But it had never been something I thought about.” Asked why he changed his mind, he said that he “sat down and read the literature. Scientific literature,” only to correct himself and note that religion was a part of it too.

So why does this matter?  Aren’t we glad when people change their minds?  Of course!  We have maintained for years that pro-lifers should be thrilled when we win converts from the pro-abortion mindset.  Is that why we’re having conversations across the country?  To convince people to change?  So why, when people do actually change their minds, do we wag our finger at them and say, “Well, that took you long enough.”

In other words, Santorum’s pride and arrogance towards Gov. Romney – a man much more qualified to run this country – is unjustified and offensive. You didn’t see this contempt towards Fred Thompson (who ran as a pro-choice candidate in 1994 in Tennessee) and you didn’t even see it towards Rick Perry (who endorsed the ONLY pro-choice candidate in 2008).

Gov. Romney had a pro-life conversion as did a lot of candidates – including Sen. Santorum. Let’s retire the condescension and be thankful that our message of life is resonating.

See also: Santorum is Running for Pastor-in-Chief

Rick Santorum: Running for President, Pastor, or Both?

For years — when questioned about Mitt Romney’s faith — Nancy and I have responded with some version of the following: “He’s running for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief, and his core political values are your core political values.”

What we meant was clear.  Mitt wasn’t going to be spending time as president discussing Joseph Smith or any unique point of Mormon doctrine.  Instead, he was going to concentrate on shared values — supporting life, marriage, and religious liberty, for example — and focus on fixing our economy and defending our country.  These shared values stretch across religious lines and unite more than they divide.  Baptists and Catholics and Mormons may not agree on a number of theological fronts, but they are united in supporting life, supporting marriage, and preserving religious liberty.

Rick Santorum is testing the limits of this formula.  Yes, he shares the same broad political values as Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates — and no one questions his pro-life credentials — but he’s now doing something that I’m not sure I’ve seen from a mainstream Republican candidate: He’s going beyond the shared values of the Republican coalition to making narrow denominational arguments on hot-button social issues.

Let’s take contraception.  All of the GOP candidates agree that Obama’s HHS mandate, which requires Christian institutions to make free contraceptives (and abortifacients) available to their employees, represents a grotesque violation of religious liberty, but only Rick Santorum says this:

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

There’s a lot I agree with in that statement, but there’s a lot that I disagree with as well.  I don’t agree with the Catholic church on the theology of contraception.  I respect the Catholic view, but I don’t agree.  And I certainly don’t want my president wasting his limited political capital picking a theological fight on this issue.

And that’s not all, of course.  He’s talked about the “phony theology” of Barack Obama’s environmentalism, and he’s singled out certain kinds of pre-natal testing as especially offensive.  He’s also essentially written mainline denominations out of the Christian faith.

To be clear, there are ways of contesting radical environmentalism — including the more fanatical elements which (as Senator Santorum rightly noted) value the environment more than people — without making the kinds of arguments I’ve heard from the pulpit.  And you can certainly oppose mandates on free-market and liberty grounds without singling out amniocentesis for particular scorn.  As for the spiritual plight of mainline denominations . . . well, I’m just not sure that’s a matter of presidential concern.  (Nor are such sweeping statements helpful or accurate).

I like Rick Santorum.  He’s been a congressional hero of the pro-life movement, and he’s articulating the connection between the breakdown of the family and persistent economic distress better than anyone else in the race.  He was sounding the alarm on Iran years ago — when no one wanted to hear him.  But he’s on the verge of moving from the good Rick Santorum who won two senate elections as a conservative in a moderate state to bad Rick Santorum whose appeal became increasingly denominational and alienated potential allies.  Bad Rick Santorum seemed almost indifferent to winning over moderates, independents, libertarians, and even social conservatives who didn’t agree with everything he said.  Bad Rick Santorum lost in a landslide in 2006.

A presidential candidate simply cannot win a race (and likely can’t even win an extended primary contest) making in essence pastoral, denominational arguments when more ecumenical values and liberty-based arguments accomplish much the same purpose.

See also Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past


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