Rick Santorum Can Win the GOP Nomination if Social Conservatism Trumps Fiscal Conservatism in 2012

For anyone considering supporting Rick Santorum’s White House run, I would recommend reading his 2005 book, It Takes a Family. Rick Santorum mixes no words in defining his world view. In November 2005, he wrote an op-ed for Townhall.com outlining his vision for "Compassionate Conservatism."

Compassionate Conservatism relies on healthy families, freedom of faith, a vibrant civil society, a proper understanding of the individual, and a focused government to achieve noble purposes through definable objectives which offers hope to all.

You will find no argument among Pennsylvanians, Rick Santorum is a life-long social conservative fiercely committed to protecting religious and constitutional rights.

In 2001, Santorum tried unsuccessfully to insert language which came to be known as the "Santorum Amendment" into the No Child Left Behind bill that sought to promote the teaching of intelligent design. In a 2002 Washington Times op-ed article Santorum wrote that intelligent design "is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.” By 2005, Santorum had adopted the Discovery Institute's Teach the Controversy approach.

Santorum and U.S. Senator John Kerry, (D-MA), were the lead sponsors of the Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA), which would require employers to accommodate the religious observances of their employees.

During 20 years of service in the House and Senate, Rick Santorum never altered his view concerning our nation’s role in military engagement. He was a leading proponent for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Santorum’s view on the role of diplomacy caused him to be one of two votes in the Senate against the confirmation of Robert Gates as Defense Secretary.

In 2006, Santorum opposed President George W. Bush’s bi-partisan immigration reform proposal. He has not waived during the GOP presidential campaign in his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Many might wonder how Santorum lost his Senate seat representing voters in Pennsylvania who President Barack Obama once noted “cling to guns or religion.” There are at least three theories:

One camp contends Santorum’s personal decisions caused major erosion in his support. Santorum moved his family into a Virginian home an hour outside of Washington back in 2001. This decision surprised few as the Santorum’s family values system had deemed Pennsylvania an unacceptable option for his children. The Senator’s children never attended public or private school in Pennsylvania, but were cyber-schooled. Santorum’s departure from Pennsylvania echoed his voting record, which showed him having filed an absentee ballot since 1995.

A second camp concentrates on Santorum’s record as out of touch with voter’s core concerns in 2006. Polling in 2006 showed the state had grown weary of dual Middle East conflicts requiring repeated deployment of far too many military reserve units. The majority of voters opposed Santorum’s support for privatizing Social Security investment. Additionally, a sluggish economy had led to rapidly rising budget and national deficits worries.

Santorum offers a third spin. He contends none of the above contributed to his defeat. He believes his loss was largely reflective of an anti-Bush wave sweeping the country during the 2006 election cycle which returned power to the Democratic party in both Houses of Congress and across the nation.

Can Santorum win the GOP nomination? That is a question only caucus members and delegates to the national convention will be able to answer. The question Republicans must answer is: Is this election about social conservatism, fiscal conservatism, or a most perfect mix?

If it is about the former, Rick Santorum could become the GOP nominee. If it is about the later, Republicans might be left staging a brokered convention come August.

Photo Credit: marcn