Super Tuesday was this past week, giving Americans a better idea of who could become the Republican presidential candidate. I was pleasantly surprised with the results.
My joy comes from the fact that Rick Santorum did moderately well. Don’t get me wrong, in no way do I support him. Nope, he’s a bizarre creature in my mind.
At the same time, I oddly respect him for his honesty. His conservative rhetoric seems crazy, but it’s what he believes.
As a recent article printed by the popular satirical newspaper The Onion points out, “Voters Slowly Realizing Santorum Believes Every Deranged Word That Comes Out Of His Mouth.” This appears less satirical than factual.
It obviously wouldn’t be politically smart to say some of the things Santorum has, especially if he’s trying to win moderate/liberal votes. Nonetheless, say them he does.
For example, talking of the wealth gap in America, Santorum said, “There is income inequality in America. There always has been, and hopefully, and I do say that, there always will be.”
To me, that seems really insensitive. It’s as if he’s saying that there should always be poverty. I think that’s ridiculous. But to be fair, Republicans have a strong tradition of supporting a laissez-faire economy, which will inevitably result in an income gap.
This may be what a lot of Republicans believe, but it’s not what politicians should tell the press if they want to gain the vote of the lower class.
One would think that this honesty would reflect poorly on Santorum. If voters know that this is actually what Santorum believes, why is he still a serious contender?
Santorum’s popularity stems from the fact that Republicans like what they are hearing. The other option is listening to roundabout, compromising answers from other candidates.
That’s what sets Santorum apart. Almost all conservatives, including Mitt Romney, agree with Santorum on most issues, but Santorum is the only one brave (or some might say foolish) enough to straight up say those things.
Politicians like Romney and Obama won’t give a straight answer on what they believe because they know doing so will alienate them from certain people.
Defying logic, Santorum does this anyway.
This is all to say that I, a liberally-minded person, fully support Santorum as the most honest Republican candidate. He gives Obama the best chance for re-election.
But as John Oliver, The Daily Show’s senior political analyst, describes, conservatives should absolutely get behind the oft-criticized Romney, using the same mindset that Santorum holds regarding rape victims keeping their babies instead of opting for an abortion.
“Not that the Republicans want Romney, they just accept what God has given to them … this horribly created gift. And they’ll make the best of a bad situation.”