Steve Deace

But the environment this year is much different than ’08, with conservatives playing offense as opposed to struggling with a general electorate afflicted with Bush fatigue. Conservatives are much more resolved to fight Romney and the party establishment than they were McCain, which Tuesday night’s results reinforce. McCain was able to win in ’08 with a fractured conservative base, but Tuesday night proved again that even a fractured conservative base in 2012 can deny Romney the 1144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination prior to the convention—provided conservatives maintain their resolve.

Enter the aforementioned pro-family/pro-life leaders.

One thing that fuels resolve is fuel—otherwise known as resources. These leaders have it, and with no contested primaries or caucuses until Arizona and Michigan on February 28th, these leaders have several weeks to fuel Santorum’s new found momentum. Provided, of course, they have as much resolve to fight Romney and the RINOs as those they raise their resources from clearly do.

Actions speak louder than words. Endorsements nowadays mean squat if there’s no tangible follow through that can make them stick. Otherwise, endorsements become little more than a nice little press release lost in the shuffle of the next news cycle.

Just like all those “endorsements” Santorum got in Texas you’ve already forgotten about.

Look at what Santorum was able to do on Tuesday without the ample resources of pro-family/pro-life leaders like Dobson or Tony Perkins of Family Research Council who endorsed him in press release only. Imagine what he could accomplish with their resources?

Furthermore, these leaders might actually need Santorum right now as much as he needs them. They’re lacking the confidence of their own base, as well as clout with the ruling class who would love nothing more than to jettison them from their seat at the table. Therefore, helping their chosen champion isn’t just the right thing to do, but at this point it’s the politically smart thing to do. In the short term, Santorum likely cannot win the nomination without their help, and these leaders’ long-term viability will be mortally wounded if they still can’t/won’t help Santorum now that he has some real momentum. Both sides desperately need each other.

I have never worked harder to help someone get elected than I did Huckabee four years ago. One of the central themes of my new book We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Where the Christian Right Went Wrong and How to Make America Right Again is how Christian Conservative leaders have been unwilling or unable to help Christian Conservative candidates like Huckabee (and now Santorum). Santorum now has a better chance to win the nomination than Huckabee ever had four years ago. That is especially true if some pro-life/pro-family leaders who have the money show Santorum the money (and I’m writing this as someone who has endorsed Newt Gingrich for president but would be fine with Santorum as the nominee).

Some respected and high-profile leaders who have spent the bulk of their adult lives fighting for moral righteousness have a window of opportunity over the next few weeks to get someone who has fought for their ideals throughout his career the nomination, and thus a legitimate shot at the presidency.

If they don’t take full advantage of that opportunity, these leaders may never get another shot to lead.

Steve Deace

Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated radio host for the USA Radio Network. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and Real Clear Politics among others. He's one of the top 100 talk show hosts in America according to Talkers Magazine. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Conservative Review, USA Today, and Town, Deace is a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the book "Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again," which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. He lives in Iowa with his wife Amy, and their three children: Ana, Zoe, Noah You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.