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Saint Santorum Sails Away with Louisiana Primary but Looks Zanier by the Day

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Rick Santorum won the Louisiana primary but is looking zanier by the day, as he can’t control the stream of consciousness erupting from his mouth. The killing of Treyvon Martin dominated news coverage last week leading up to the Louisiana primary, relegating Santorum’s win to its rightful place of a footnote in Saturday’s news cycle. Only 20 delegates were awarded proportionally anyway in the contest. While Santorum boasted his Louisiana win was a vindication of his campaign, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Rick Santorum has become a polarizing candidate, reinforcing negative perceptions the Republican Party is obsessed with bedroom issues such as abortion and ultrasounds over pocket book issues like creating jobs and gas prices. Santorum won Louisiana like the other Bible belt primaries he won in Alabama and Mississippi because Louisiana is saturated with evangelical Christians, who respond to his message of allowing one’s religious beliefs to drive policy.

Louisiana wasn’t a game changer because Santorum can't win for two reasons. First, Math matters and he’s trailing Mitt badly in the delegate count, (Romney has more than half the number of delegates needed to get secure the magic number of 1144) and second, Santorum is only appealing to a small audience of evangelical Christians. The combined formula will not hand him the nomination in Tampa. As G. Terry Madonna, a Santorum observer described him, “he is in a box that he doesn’t seem to be able to get out of because he keeps narrowing his message and going back to his demographic, so he is limited.”

In contrast Romney continues to win in swing states like Florida, Michigan, Ohio and most recently Illinois demonstrate he can win across all groups: men, women, Tea Party conservatives, Catholics, and different incomes. True, Romney hasn’t been able to woo evangelicals and win in the deep south but curiously an AP exit poll found most voters believe Romney would be a stronger candidate against Obama than Santorum. Exit polls in other southern states also revealed electability was an important factor to voters. I believe many evangelicals continue to vote for Santorum because it’s like going to a confessional it makes them feel good but they know in the end voting for Rick won’t win him the nomination. If Romney gets the nomination, in the end, evangelicals will support him.

Examples of Santorum’s out of touch message are numerous. Instead of talking about job creation, Santorum told people of Puerto Rico during a campaign stop there that they need to make English their official language before the gain statehood. Well, Congress should declare English the nation’s official language before we start telling states to do the same thing. Then there was Santorum’s comment that John F. Kennedy’s 1960 speech assuring voters he wouldn’t govern with his religious beliefs as a Catholic made him want to “puke.” Let’s not forget his comment about birth control being harmful to women. Women whether pro-choice or pro-life are smart enough to ascertain what’s harmful to them and don’t need Preacher Rick telling them what choices to make. What turns many Republicans away from Santorum is his obsession with social issues which isn’t what this campaign is about.

Enter Ann Romney who explained to CNN’s Piers Morgan during a recent interview, when women approach her on the campaign trail they aren’t concerned about issues like contraception, they’re concerned about jobs. That’s exactly what Romney is talking about on the campaign trail along with Obama’s failed record of government over reach and massive debt. Aside from trying to peddle the ridiculous notion that you don’t need to raise tons of money to run for president (Obama raised $700 million in 2008 and won), Santorum showed his real tragic flaw as a candidate when he said Romney is just going to be Obama lite so we may as well stick with what we got. No Rick, while Romney needs to unequivocally reject Romneycare, he is no Obama and doesn’t believe drowning the country in regulations and higher taxes will create jobs.

But during a visit this weekend to Wisconsin, Santorum punctuated his desperation and unfitness to serve as the GOP presidential nominee when he said Romney is “the worst Republican in the country to put up against Barack Obama.” In making this, Santorum cast himself as the biggest flip-flopper in this race, who will turn on one of his own and thereby the party to save his sinking ship. What conservative in their right mind would trust Rick now? Saint Santorum is preaching to a small choir of conservatives and the rest of us are tuning out his sermons. Bye, bye Rick, you will be denied the nomination!

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