How Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum Almost Joined Forces to Knock Mitt Romney Out of the GOP Primaries
Regular readers know that I think the Republican Party is doing just fine these days, thank you very much, given its current stranglehold on Congress, the Supreme Court, and the states. But when I read that Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum seriously considered forming a unity ticket in order to defeat Mitt Romney in last year's GOP primaries, my first reaction was: wow, the results in that general election contest really would have justified a GOP "autopsy."
At least I hope so. The linked story, from Businessweek, says that Newt and Rick couldn't finalize the plan because they couldn't agree which one of them would top the ticket. I would have loved to see Gingrich on top, because of his endless self-regard and the sheer creativity of his carefully thought-out gaffes, which are remarkable for their ability to offend a broad range of Americans. (Poor schoolchildren should work as janitors?Women shouldn't be in combat "because they get infections"?) Before pollsters stopped polling this particular head-to-head, President Obama was leading Gingrich by 13.2 points, according to the Real Clear Politics poll aggregation.
But Obama's lead over Santorum, according to RCP, was only 7.8 points, and he was within shouting distance in a few surveys. My fear is that the mainstream press -- desperate as always to enable the GOP and perpetually in denial about the depths of its craziness -- would decide that, well, Santorum wasn't one of the crazies, like Cain or Trump, he was a serious, thoughtful guy who'd spent years in the Senate and had won his election victories in a swing state ... oh, and, yes, he does oppose not only gay marriage and abortion but alsocontraception, but really, isn't it Obama who's the radical here, with his embrace of Sandra Fluke and his insistence on forcing a contraceptive mandate down the throats of those nice Catholics?
I know, I know -- the latter didn't work for the GOP in the race we actually had (even though the mainstream media pushed the line that Obama was going too far on reproductive rights). But Santorum had that developmentally disabled daughter, whose condition he milked for all it was worth, to the delight of right-wingers, especially right-wing women (as The New York Times noted during the campaign). If he'd won the nomination under those conditions, even with Gingrich in tow as his running mate, wouldn't the members of the MSM have thoughtfully scratched their chins and said that he was clearly touching a cultural nerve, unlike that elitist Obama?
Oh, and neither Gingrich nor Santorum was an Ivy Leaguer, unlike that hoity-toity snob Obama. Who's the real American now?
I write all this and then I think: what am I talking about? It's Santorum. It's Gingrich. They're really, really unlikable. (Especially Gingrich.)
So, yeah, even though I think the press would have given Rick 'n' Newt much more credibility as candidates than they deserved, it would have been a blowout. And I hope everyone would have recognized that a party that would endorse this ticket had really serious problems.
Or perhaps it just would have been a cue for the Village to say, "None of this would have happened if Jeb Bush/Mitch Daniels/Chris Christie had run...."