Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, January 06, 2012

Learning to Love Santorum

Three moderate GOP weathervanes—-George Will, Peggy Noonan and David Brooks—-are being blown by Iowa winds in Rick Santorum’s direction, but in a wobbly way.

The usually dour Will starts out almost giddy, claiming Republicans “crave fun. Supporting Mitt Romney still seems to many like a duty...Suddenly, supporting Santorum seems like a lark, partly because a week or so ago he could quit complaining about media neglect and start having fun, which is infectious.”

Backing off quickly, Will notes that the new non-Mitt “can, of course, be tenaciously serious” and ends the column wistfully, “Even if Santorum is not nominated, he might galvanize a constituency that makes him a vice presidential choice.”

Brooks, as is his wont, is more global, admitting he himself is to the “left on most social issues, like same-sex marriage and abortion,” but comes up with one of his deep-think conclusions:

“America is creative because of its moral materialism--when social values and economic ambitions get down in the mosh pit and dance. Santorum is in the fray.”

Noonan is more listless: “Rick Santorum has a lot going for him, most especially a deep identification with and caring for the working class, for the displaced and unempowered people who once worked in steel mills and factories and have seen it all go away. He is a Catholic who sees society not as an agglomeration of random Randian individualists but as part of a community...

“But his weakest spot is foreign policy, where he is not thoughtful but reflexively hard-line. It is one thing to say, as all candidates do and must, that America must be strong...It is another to be aggressive, to be too burly, to be all George W. Bush and no George H.W. Bush.”

So New Hampshire Republicans can avoid boring Mitt Romney, according to their leading pundits, by getting on the bandwagon of a fun-loving but tenaciously serious advocate of moral materialism who can’t be trusted with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Sounds like a choice.

1 comment:

aljbarnes said...

All three pundits minimize attention to Mr. Santorum's rigid positions on issues like abortion, contraception, and relationships and his apparent willingness to use the levers of government to enforce perspectives that even a majority of Roman Catholics do not support. Once the spotlight shines intensely on Mr. Santorum, his moment of fame will melt away like springtime snow in New Hampshire.