Election 2012

Reason Writers at CNN.com: Matt Welch on What a Second-Place Rick Santorum Might Mean for the GOP


Santo and his black cat, before the collapse.

Writing at CNN.com's Opinion section, Reason Editor in Chief warns "If Santorum finishes second, watch out." Excerpt:

Question: What do Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan (twice!) have in common? Answer: Before winning the Republican Party's nomination to run for president, each of these men first finished in second place during a GOP primary season.

Though it is by no means a lock that the Republican silver medalist will emerge as the party's front-runner in 2016 (just ask Pat Buchanan and Nelson Rockefeller), a significant second-place finish, the likes of which we will certainly see this year (unlike, say, John Buchanan's showing in 2004), carries the weight of a planted flag: Here, even in defeat, lies the embodiment of an important if temporarily unsuccessful political strain, one that is ready to break back out around that candidate at the next available opportunity.

Be very afraid, and read the whole thing here.

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  1. Assuming Romney gets the nomination, which still seems quite likely, I don't think the close race hurts him. Moderate independents and Obama-weary Democrats open to voting GOP this time around will like that he doesn't appeal to the religious right. And the people voting against Romney now will still be enthusiastically anti-Obama.

    Also, I don't think Santorum or someone like him is all that popular. There's just a feeling among many in the GOP that Romney is a not-very-secret liberal in GOP clothing, so they're just voting not-Romney. I think Paul could've gotten many of those votes but for the war(s), which you shouldn't mention.

    1. Also, Romney is kind of boring.

      In the grand scheme of things, this could help him with undecided/independent/pragmatic voters who probably are most interested in having an economy-minded grownup in the White House for a change.

      It would be stupid for the GOP to push Santorum. Then again, they're not called the Stupid Party for nothing.

      1. Also, Romney is kind of boring.

        I'll take boring over preachy (Obama) or sweater-vest wearing preachy (Santorum) any day.

        1. Of course!

          That's my point. I think that there are many voters who feel exactly the same way.

          Neither Obama nor Santorum seem like grownups, either

  2. Why would the Koch whores around here be afraid of Santorum? He's white, hates women, hates gays, hates immigrants, thinks only tea sippin' elitists need any of that book learnin', and believes in mystical sky fairies. In other words, the perfect candidate for the Johns and SIVs of the world. Oh wait, I get it. If Santorum is the GOP candidate, he will get slaughtered in the general election and libertarians won't get their wet dream of having a Republican in the White House. That's why you should be afraid.

    1. This is a spoof, right?

      1. Yes. I'm wondering how long it's been since the real Tony has posted a comment here.

      2. It's always a spoof. I fail to understand how you people cannot understand this. It's clear as day. It's like you want him to be real.

        (When I say "you people", I don't mean specifically you, Heroic. I mean the people who respond to it.)

        1. What do you mean yo....wait. Nevermind.

        2. I like how he threw "immigrants" in up there, as if every immigrant article on here isn't a bitch-fest between open-borders types (like myself) and various other branches (tall fences wide gates, no welfare state with immigrants, etc.)

          Hell most of us are more pro-immigrant than his own beloved dem. party.

      3. Unfortunately, no. Libertarian ideology is too ridiculous to be spoofed. Just saying what you guys actually believe is unbelievable to people who live in reality.

        1. because left-wing ideology has proven itself so successful. Liberals hate liberty, hate individual freedom, hate the concepts of adults making adult decisions for themselves. Liberalism kinda spoofs itself, sorta like Obamacare and how it would bring costs down.

          1. Why are you responding to a spoof?

        2. I think you missed the point "Tony". If it is a spoof, it is a spoof of whatever reality there has been behind the "Tony" handle. And that comment didn't even have anything to say about libertarian ideology.

        3. Unfortunately, no. Libertarian ideology is too ridiculous to be spoofed. Just saying what you guys actually believe is unbelievable to people who live in reality.

          Really? Because when I explain what libertarianism is to people who have never heard of it before, the usual reaction is "That makes sense! Why isn't everyone for that?"

          The above is a word for word quote from an actual person, BTW.

    2. "Why would the Koch whores around here be afraid of Santorum? He's white, hates women, hates gays, hates immigrants, thinks only tea sippin' elitists need any of that book learnin', and believes in mystical sky fairies."

      This describes tha Koch brothers and organizations sponsored by them like Reason and the the Cato institute to a 't'. That's some real good thinking' moron. Did you do it all by yourself?

      1. Didn't you hear they are taking over CATO? Apparently, the 10% of CATO publications about civil liberties for gays and immigration reform was too much deviation from the the GOP party line Koch wants them to follow.

        1. 10%? Sounds like you've done your research.

        2. the Kochs are a menace to society, but George Soros is okay, right? Of course, because when leftist billionaires try to impose their belief system on everyone else, it is for people's own good.

    3. but tony, santorium is all authentic n stuff

  3. In the long, long ago, a poor Ojibwa Indian lived with his wife and children in a remote part of the present state of Wisconsin. Because he was such a poor hunter, he was not very expert in providing food and supplies for his family.

    His children were too young to give him much help. But he was a good man with a kind and contented disposition. He always was thankful to Chief of the Sky Spirits for everything he received to share with his family.

    His good disposition was inherited by his eldest son, who had just reached the age when he wanted to pursue his Guardian Spirit Quest. Each young Indian boy looked forward to the time of finding the secret Spirit that would be his guide through his life. Each boy sought to learn his spirit name and what special power would be given him by his Guardian Spirit.

    1. Eldest son had been obedient since early childhood. He seemed pensive, thoughtful of others, mild in manner, and always a joy to his family and to his tribe. At the first indication of spring, tradition told him to build a hut somewhere in an isolated place. There, he would not be disturbed during his dream quest. He prepared his hut and himself and went immediately to begin his fast for seven days.

      For the first few days, he amused himself walking in the woods and over the mountain trails. He examined trees, plants, and flowers. This kind of physical effort in the outdoors prepared him for a night of sound sleep. His observations of the day filled his mind with pleasant ideas and dreams.

      1. More and more he desired to know how the trees, plants, flowers, and berries grew. Seemingly they grew wild without much help from the Indians. He wondered why some species were good to eat, while others contained poisonous juices. These thoughts came back to him many times as he retreated to his lodge at night. He secretly wished for a dream that would reveal what he could do to benefit his family and his tribe.

        "I believe the Chief of Sky Spirits guides all things and it is to him I owe all things," he thought to himself. "I wonder if Chief Sky Spirit can make it easier for all Indians to acquire enough food without hunting animals every day to eat."

        1. "I must try to find a way in my dreams," he pondered. He stayed on his bed the third day of fasting, because he felt weak and faint. Sometimes he thought that he was going to die. He dreamed that he saw a strong, handsome young man coming down from the sky, advancing toward him. He was richly dressed in green and yellow colours. He wore a plume of waving feathers on his head. His every movement was graceful.

          "I have been sent to you," said the sky-visitor. "The Sky Chief who made all things in the sky and upon the earth intends for me to be your Guardian Spirit and I have come to test you.

          1. "Sky Chief has observed all that you have done to prepare yourself for your Quest. He understands the kind and worthy secret wish of your heart. He knows that you desire a way to benefit your family and your tribe. He is pleased that you do not seek strength to make war. I have come to show you how to obtain your greatest wish. First, your spirit name shall be Wunzh."

            The stranger then told Wunzh to arise and wrestle with him. This was the only way for him to achieve his sacred wish. As weak as he was from fasting, Wunzh wondered how he could ever wrestle the stranger.

            1. He rose to the challenge--determined in his heart to die in the effort if he must. The two wrestled. After some time when Wunzh felt nearly exhausted, the Sky Stranger said, "It is enough for today. I will come in tomorrow to test you some more." Smiling, the visitor ascended in the same direction from which he came.

              Next day at the same time, the stranger appeared. Again the two wrestled. While Wunzh felt weaker than the day before, he set his mind and heart to his task. His courage seemed to increase, however, in reverse proportion to his waning physical strength. The stranger stopped just in time before Wunzh dropped to the ground.

              "Tomorrow will be your last chance. I urge you to be strong, my friend, as this is the only way for you to achieve your heart's sacred wish," said the sky-visitor.

              1. Wunzh took to his bed with his last ounce of energy. He prayed to the Sky Chief for wisdom and enough strength to endure to the end of his Quest.

                The third time they wrestled, Wunzh was so weak that his arms and legs felt like rubber. But his inner determination drove him forward with the kind of endurance necessary to win. The same length of time passed as in the first two wrestling bouts. Suddenly the stranger stopped and declared himself conquered by Wunzh!

                Then the sky-visitor entered the lodge for the first time. He sat down beside Wunzh to instruct him in the way he should now proceed to achieve his secret wish.

                "Great Sky Chief has granted your desire. You have wrestled manfully. Tomorrow will be your seventh day of fasting. Your father will come to see you and bring you food. As it is the last day of your fast, you will be able to succeed.

                1. "Now I will tell you what you must do to achieve your final victory. Tomorrow we will wrestle once more. When you have prevailed over me for the last time, then throw me down and strip off my clothes. You must clean the earth of roots and weeds and make the ground soft. Then bury me in that very spot, covering me with my yellow and green clothes and then with earth.

                  "When you have done this, leave my body in the earth. Do not disturb it. Come occasionally to see if I have come to life. Be careful to see that no grass or weeds cover my grave. Once a month, cover me with fresh earth. If you follow what I have told you, you will succeed in your Guardian Spirit Quest. You will help your family and all the Indians by teaching them what I have now taught you," the Sky Stranger concluded as they shook hands and the visitor left.

                  1. On the seventh morning, Wunzh's father came with some food.

                    "My son, how do you feel? You have fasted long enough. It is seven days since you have eaten food. You must not sacrifice your life. The Great Spirit does not require that of you."

                    "My father, thank you for coming and for the food. Let me stay here alone until the sun goes down. I have my own special reasons."

                    "Very well. I shall wait for you at home until the hour of the setting sun," replied the father as he departed.

                    The Sky Stranger returned at the same hour as before. The final wrestling match began. Wunzh had not eaten the food his father brought. But already he felt a new inner power that had somehow been given to him. Was it Spirit Power from his Guardian Spirit?

                    1. Wunzh grasped his opponent with supernatural strength and threw him to the ground. Wunzh removed the beautiful clothes and the plume. Then he discovered his friend was dead.

                      He remembered the instructions in every detail and buried his Guardian Spirit on the very spot where he had fallen. Wunzh followed every direction minutely, believing his friend would come to life again,

                      Wunzh returned to his father's lodge at sundown. He ate sparingly of the meal his mother prepared for him. Never for a moment could he forget the grave of his friend. Throughout the spring and into summer he visited the grave regularly. He carefully kept the area clean of grass and weeds. He carefully kept the ground soft and pliable. Soon he saw the tops of green plumes emerging through the earth. He noticed that the more care he gave the plants, the faster the green plumes seemed to grow.

                    2. Wunzh concealed his activity from his father. Days and weeks passed. Summer was drawing to a close. Then one day, Wunzh invited his father to follow him to the site of his Quest. He showed his father the graceful-looking plants growing there. They were topped with yellow silken hair and waving green plumes. Gold and green clusters of fruit adorned each side of the stalks.

                      "Father, these plants are from my dream friend," explained Wunzh. "He is my Guardian Spirit, a friend to all mankind, named Mon-daw-min, meaning 'corn for all Indians.' This is the answer to my Quest, my secret heart's wish. No longer will we need to hunt animals every day for our food. As long as we take care of our corn gift, the earth will give us good food for our living."

                      Wunzh pulled off the first ear of corn and give it to his father.

                    3. "See, my father. This corn is what I fasted for. The Chief of Sky Spirits has granted my Quest. He has sent us this wonderful new food of corn. From now on our people need not depend entirely upon hunting and fishing to survive."

                      Wunzh talked with his father, giving him all of the instructions he had received from his Guardian Spirit. He showed his father how the corn husks should be pulled off the stalks, and how the first seed must be saved for future plantings. He explained how the ears of corn should be held before the fire only long enough for the outer leaves to turn brown, so that the inside kernels remained sweet and juicy.

                    4. The entire family gathered for Wunzh's feast of corn. The father led a prayer of thanksgiving for the bountiful and good gift from the Chief of Sky Spirits. Wunzh felt happy that his Guardian Spirit Quest was successfully completed.

                      This is how Wunzh became known as the father of Indian corn by the Chippewa and Ojibwa Indian tribes.

                      The End

                    5. The corn is ground and mixed with water. Usually, though not always, mash from a previous distillation is added to ensure a consistent pH across batches?and a mash produced in that manner is referred to as a sour mash. Finally, yeast is added and the mash is fermented. The fermented mash, referred to as the wash, is then distilled to between 65% and 80% alcohol. Distillation was historically performed using an alembic or pot still, although in modern production, the use of a continuous still is much more common.
                      The resulting clear spirit is placed in charred-oak barrels for aging, during which it gains color and flavor from the carmelized sugars in the charred wood. Changes to the spirit also occur due to evaporation and chemical processes such as oxidation. Bourbons gain more color and flavor the longer they mature. Maturity, not a particular age, is the goal.

                    6. So that's it? The murderer was really.....I mean.....the Indians invented agriculture which eventually morphed into the AGRICULTURAL CITY STATE?

                    7. The corn tasted like rancid shit, the culmination of brown toast and sweaty thighs. Bathing suits were optional that year, so his wish of seeing such a sight came forever true.

                      There was no need for corn when the hand was handy. The sun shimmered, turning the kernels forever yellow and brown, until the decay of the sun took the flavor away. Like corn syrup, it flowed into the ground, only to grow again like a eagle springing from the last dandelion.

                      Hark, the ritual began.

              2. So his friend began a slow exercise in douche-baggery, claiming to be every star in the solar system, including the little ones. Such was his happy state that he came buckets in his friend's hair, exclaiming his method was most satisfactory.

                Soon the pony joined in the activities, the long dildo swaying in the wind with much vigor. How much for a saddle, it asked, the mouth full of sweet corn hay.

                There was no answer for such a request, so the ejaculatory scruples were laid to rest. Forever, they wrestled, strong in the delight of forestry and gamboling.

      2. So they began the simple voice exercises, starting with a hearty rendition of 'I wonder what the king is up to tonight?'

        How goes the final hour. As he sees his bridal bower. Being regally and legally prepared? Well, I'll tell you what the king is doing tonight: He's scared! He's scared! You wonder what the king is wishing tonight? He's wishing he were in Scotland fishing tonight! What occupies his time while waiting for the bride? He's searching high and low for some place to hide.

    2. You're a terrible storyteller.

      1. Thank God the new character limit is sparing us from pointless walls-o-text.

        1. Technology: Is there nothing it can't do?

          1. Is there nothing it can't do?
            prevent WI from dumping on every thread.

            1. Actually, if you read the story, I think it's someone attempting to "PWN" White Indian, as they say in the vernacular. It's all about how Indians learned to plant corn.

              1. if you read the story

                Err, no.

                I think it's someone attempting to "PWN" White Indian

                You can't pwn somebody with tl:dr.

            2. Apparently not.

            3. Or White Indian just went completely batshit insane. Your pick.

              1. why can't it be both?

                1. Multiple personality disorder? I think you're on to something.

                  Sorry about your birthday party, by the way.

                  1. story of my life. I just wanted the people of the Wasteland to have a good time.

                2. False dichotomies and binary choices are why the country is in the shape it's in.

              2. Or White Indian just went completely batshit insane. Your pick.

                What do you mean "went"

  4. Alright, the character limit has failed and it is time for registration. For some reason this stupid myth-telling pushed me over the edge on these.

    1. Why do you hate American Indians, Spoonman?

      1. Damn Aztecs took urr jerbs.

        1. They killed his dog?

  5. Santorum would be the end of the Republican Party. I won't be voting Christian Socialist.

    1. That ship has sailed. It needs to be the end of the Republican party, because otherwise it will be the end of the country. They've only gotten more extreme since Bush. Can we really survive a Bush term on steroids?

      1. "Can we really survive a Bush term on steroids?"

        You mean like Obama?

        1. Don't you feel bad playing tee-ball at this age? 😉

      2. Awwh Tony - did some of them hurt your feelings by proposing to grow the federal government slower or actually have a Federal budget? Sorry you got all butt-hurt by W's radical conservatism.

        1. Small governmentism is a lie, a buzzword, a cover for Republican policies, which always grow the deficit and make society worse. Your attachment to it speaks only to your own ignorance of the fact that it means nothing, your believing Republicans when they peddle it speaks to something far more pathetic.

          1. derp de derpity derp

          2. When did I say I was a Republican?

            It's funny that you think Bush was a radical. I would love to see your reaction to a Gary Johnson Administration.

  6. http://www.politico.com/blogs/.....17436.html

    Racist scumbag Ron Paul no longer distracting the media from the credible candidates.

  7. Remind me again why we have this ridiculous two-party system? If Santorum is the nominee, I honestly don't see any reason to vote against Obama. This guy will grow the government at least as fast as Obama but might get us in to another pointless war faster. So why not persuade Ron Paul to run as a third-party candidate? What do we have to lose? Sure, he won't win. But Santorum has no chance against Obama anyway. And even if he did, like I said before, he is just as bad if not worse in terms of his commitment to liberty. So by going with a third party at least we send a message to the idiotic Republican electorate that a Santorum candidacy means the libertarian-social conservative alliance is dissolved. No more taking us for granted with mere lip service to limited government. We can and must go our own separate ways.

    1. But Santorum is all about saving the unborn, killing Muslims and oppressing gays.

      According to Hannity that means he's a small government conservative.

      1. According to Hannity, you're a small-government conservative if you're the Republican candidate for office.

    2. We have a two party system because it's precisely what people want. Binary "us versus them" tribalism is a strong instinct in people, and it's easier to go with that impulse than to make reasoned, informed decisions about issues that often don't have a sound-bite, clear-cut answer to them.

      You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.

      1. "Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort." -Heinlein's Lazarus Long

        Both parties represent the former group in that quote. The only difference is what they want to control.
        That leaves voters of the latter sort with nobody to support, even if they bothered to show up to the polls.

        1. While this is true, the way our political system is set up lends itself to a duopoly. To make changes requires fundmanetally restructuring the election rules, which for about eleventy jillion reasons, ain't gonna happen.

    3. Even if Paul doesn't run 3rd party, there's still Gary Johnson on the Libertarian Party ticket. At some point Libertarians and libertarian leaning independant voters will have to give up on trying to influence the Republican party to become more libertarian.

      It's a fool's errand, so if a Santorum nomination proves to be the last straw, then maybe some good might come from it afterall.

  8. Second to whom? Ron Paul?

  9. Ron Paul was second last time. Look it up.

    1. Ron Paul came in 4th in both votes and delegates in 2008.

  10. Romney is a tall, attractive Massachusetts striver running almost solely on electability -- as opposed to policy vision or connection with voters -- at a time when the sitting president seems over his head and beatable. If that formulation feels familiar, it is. John Kerry rode it to a surprisingly easy Democratic nomination in 2004

    Kerry is in no way attractive. He's like a hideous malformed Sarah Jessica Parker.

    1. Kerry and Romney are fundamentally different kinds of "strivers", too, for better or worse.

  11. A party that takes Rick Santorum seriously is not a party serious enough to govern

    SANTORUM 2012!!

    1. Gosh, how do I choose between

      (a) a party that is not serious enough to govern because it takes Santorum seriously, and

      (b) a party that is not serious enough to govern because it takes Obama seriously?

      1. When give a choice between being punched in the face or kicked in the nuts, I like to at least ask for something else.

        1. I like to ask for a ham sammidge in that situation.

          May not get it, but that's what I want.

        2. In that scenario you're likely to get both.

  12. Romney wasn't in second place in 2008, Huckabee was.

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