Rick Santorum Redux?

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Nov 27, 2012 7:20 PM

Say it isn't so.  Rick Santorum has announced that he is "open" to running in 2016

Please, please. NO.  Certainly, he is a good father and a good man.  But as I have argued before, Rick Santorum poses a great threat to the viability of social conservatism through his often-clumsy and inadvertently divisive framing of issues of great delicacy.  After an election in which the left -- with the eager complicity of the hyperventilating MSM -- caricatured social conservatism so effectively that it became "conventional wisdom" that Mitt Romney (who had a relatively moderate record) and Paul Ryan (who's known for his economic policies, having never extensively involved himself in social issues) were going to take away women's contraception.  The video that emerged last winter -- of Santorum discussing his opposition to contraception in 2011 -- teed up that talking point nicely . . . and an absolutely indefensible remark from Todd Akin and a boneheaded one from Richard Mourdock helped do the rest.

There is no doubt that Santorum's populist message has appeal.  Let us hope that in 2016, Republicans will be mindful of that fact in selecting their ultimate nominee.  But Senator Santorum's temperament, his inartful framing of potentially divisive issues, and his history of explosively controversial remarks absolutely guarantees that not only will he not be the GOP nominee, but that -- if he runs -- the left will once again use him as a stalking horse to paint the GOP as out of the mainstream.