Posts Tagged Rick Santorum

And a Very Super Tuesday it Was

Yesterday was the Super Tuesday of the GOP nomination race, with ten states holding contests on the same day. While not much changed as a result of yesterday’s contests, since Super Tuesday is one of the high holy days of the political junky calendar, it seems worthwhile to explain why nothing particularly changed this week.

Out of the ten contests, Newt Gingrich won one state, Georgia, which by all accounts he had to hold onto in order to somewhat legitimize his presence in the race for the nomination. Georgia is Gingrich’s original home state, though he currently resides in Virginia. Gingrich has been polling well in southern states, and with his wins in South Carolina and Georgia Newt is now in second place in the estimated delegate counts.

Rick Santorum, who had been leading in national polls over the last few weeks, met (but did not exceed) expectations last night, winning North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Santorum’s showing in Tuesday’s races was enough to keep him going, but not enough to really do any damage to consistent “man to beat,” Mitt Romney.

Speaking of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor won in all the states he had to in order to not be humiliated. Romney won his home state of Massachusetts, Vermont (Romney has consistently been seen as the only candidate with a hold on New England), and Virginia (where the only two names on the ballot were Mitt Romney and Ron Paul). After a long rough night for the Romney campaign, the hits came hard, with wins in Alaska, Idaho, and a very close score in Ohio. Ohio was the big prize of the night, though Romney won’t be walking away with the entire slate of delegates from the state.

The end result from Tuesday’s races is that the race is in pretty much the same state it was on Monday. Romney is still on track to win the nomination in the long run, though Santorum and Gingrich both will be able to stay in the race, stay funded, and pick up delegates on the path to the convention. All that Tuesday’s contests solidified was that this contest will keep going for some time. Santorum is strong with social conservatives and evangelicals, but loses support with more moderate blue-collar voters when the spotlight stays on his social views as it has over the past few weeks.

Current delegate count, according to NBC news: Romney 335, Gingrich 111, Santorum 107, Paul 29

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Birth Control in the News: A Crash-Course

You may have noticed, over the past couple of weeks, a debate over birth control has become one of the most talked-about issues in the news. Aspects of the “birth control in the news” trend are as follows:

The office of Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, claimed that a woman witness brought to testify by the minority members of the committee was not an “appropriate witness,” saying “the hearing is not about reproductive rights but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience…”

While that line of reasoning may seem sound to some, others argue that it makes no sense whatsoever. The “birth control mandate” if that is what it is being called, is what is known as a “generally applicable and neutral law,” which means that is broadly applied, instead of something targeting religious groups (which would, of course, be unconstitutional under the First Amendment). Zach Carter at the Huffington Post makes the point that we already have laws that apply broadly to people in all walks of life that some religious groups are opposed to. Pacifists are required to pay taxes that pay for wars, for example. Other laws that have been objected to on religious grounds include payment of Social Security, payment of unemployment taxes, and paying employees a minimum wage. As Lyle Denniston, who has covered the U.S. Supreme Court for over half a century writes, “laws that apply generally and do not single out religious groups may be upheld even if they intrude on religious practices”.

This issue will, most likely, stay in the headlines for the foreseeable future, as both the subject matter and the debate serve to drive television ratings and rile up both the Democratic and Republican bases. That said, however, it is somewhat difficult to believe that we are watching this conversation on televisions tuned to 2012 news coverage, and that we did not accidentally switch to a Mad Men rerun by mistake.

 

A fun little addition:

Little over a month ago the question of banning contraception was raised at a Republican debate held in New Hampshire, moderated by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. When asked whether or not a state should be able to ban contraception former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in a fit of short-sightedness replied:

“George… I don’t know whether a state has the right to ban contraception. No state wants to. I mean the idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no state wants to do, and asking me whether they can do it or not is kind of a silly thing.”

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Happy Iowa Hangover, Everyone!

The Iowa caucuses were held last night, and despite the fact that Mitt Romney won by just eight votes, the big winner of the night was Rick Santorum. Santorum, a former United States Senator from Pennsylvania, came away from the first contest of the election season with the one thing his campaign desperately needed: a chance to introduce himself to the American public.

After languishing in the polls since unofficially getting into the race nine months ago, the Santorum campaign saw a surge in support in the polling to come out in the days before the Iowa caucus. While some point to Santorum’s style of campaigning as what brought him a relative victory in Iowa last night, it is hard not to see the Santorum campaign as the latest GOP candidate to benefit from being the candidate who is not Mitt Romney. Dave Weigel has a piece up on Slate detailing the different surges of each candidate’s campaign, from the Michele Bachmann surge of popularity back in July and August, to the mid-December rise of Ron Paul.

The question now, of course, is what happens moving forward? While nearly all the other Republican candidates enjoyed a surge in popularity away from the scrutiny of any actual vote-contesting, Senator Santorum now has shown he can compete (somewhat) in a real scenario. Donations to his campaign will pour in as we head to the New Hampshire primary next week, and he will almost certainly enjoy a bounce from his unexpectedly good showing in Iowa.

While Santorum was able to make 250 campaign stops in Iowa over the last year, the same cannot be said for his operation in New Hampshire. Mitt Romney made fewer than twenty days campaigning in the Hawkeye State, he has made a much larger investment in New Hampshire, crisscrossing the state and campaigning there non-stop. Mitt Romney brand of moderate conservatism may play better in the Granite State than Rick Santorum’s extreme social conservatism.

More so than almost any other candidate, Santorum’s socially conservative positions are far to the right of the main stream. As an example, he believes that birth control is “harmful to women and harmful to society.” According to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health-focused non-profit group, more than 99% of women “aged 15-44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method.” With these numbers in mind, Rick Santorum’s long-term viability as a candidate comes into question.

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Mid-Week Update: Meet the Candidates!

In the spirit of not taking anything for granted here at PRP, it seemed like a reasonable use of time to take a minute to introduce our dear readers to the Republicans running for President. It’s still early days, the first GOP primary isn’t until February, but for all intents and purposes, the field is pretty much set. Running for President of the United States takes a lot of organization, money, and work, and all those things take time to build up. The longer a potential candidate takes to enter the race, the more hurdles he or she will have to overcome. At this point, those hurdles are starting to become nearly insurmountable.

So, without further ado, here are your 2012 Republicans running for President!

Michele Bachmann – Representing Minnesota’s 6th district since 2007, Bachmann is a favorite of Tea Party voters for her “starve the beast” views on the federal government. Bachmann has pledged to overturn Barack Obama’s health insurance reforms, and to avoid tax increases at all costs. Before entering politics, Bachmann worked as a tax attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. Michele Bachmann is known for founding the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Herman Cain – Cain is the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, as well as having served the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as the deputy chairman and chairman. Cain is running on his experience as a businessman, claiming that his experience will make him able to turn the struggling economy around, if he is elected, through private sector solutions, stepping aside and letting businesses do what they want in order to grow. Herman Cain’s previous political activities include serving as a senior advisor to Bob Dole’s 1996 campaign for the presidency, as well as an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Newt Gingrich – The former Speaker of the House hasn’t held elected office since he left the Speakership in 1999, but that does not mean Gingrich has left the public arena. Gingrich has kept up a busy schedule as a political commentator and writer. While he regularly is a guest on cable news programs and talk radio, he has also kept up a fairly rigorous publishing schedule, coming out with seventeen books since he left Congress, including a number of alternative histories of the Revolutionary, Civil, and Second World Wars. Gingrich is viewed as something of an “ideas man” within the field of Republican contenders, due in part to his role in crafting the 1994 Contract with America that helped earn Republicans landslide wins in the midterm Congressional elections.

Jon Huntsman – Huntsman served as the sixteenth governor of Utah before being called up to serve in the Obama administration as U.S. Ambassador to China in 2009. Huntsman is seen as a moderate Republican, having previously recognized the science behind man-made climate change, and evolution. He has taken shots at his rivals’ positions on these issues, adding to the view that Huntsman is a more centrist figure in the field of potential nominees.

Gary Johnson – Johnson served as Governor of New Mexico from 1995-2003, and is seen as one of the more libertarian candidates in the race. Johnson has been a critic of the War on Drugs, supports a guest worker program to give immigrants a way to earn legal status, is in favor of civil unions, and is against the continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his tenure as governor, Johnson vetoed 750 bills, more than all 49 other governors combined.

Thad McCotter – Representing Michigan’s 11th congressional district since 2003, McCotter has been known to buck Republican orthodoxy by advocating protectionist trade policies. McCotter has been an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act, and claimed that it would lead to “government-encouraged euthanasia.” McCotter has proposed tax-breaks for pet owners, and is the proud owner of a “star-spangled” Fender Telecaster guitar, which he has been known to play at rallies.

Ron Paul – Well known as the champion of libertarian virtues, Ron Paul has been seen as a voice crying in the Republican wilderness for years. With the popularization of libertarian ideals due in part to the rise of the Tea Party movement over the past few years, Dr. Paul’s small-government message seems to have found its audience. With the popularization of small-government, personal freedom ideas, Paul’s potential supporters suddenly find themselves with a whole slew of candidates vying for their attention. A staunch libertarian, Paul opposes U.S. military involvement abroad, and current federal drug policy.

Rick Perry – A late entrant to the race, Perry has quickly rocketed to the top of the field in many national polls. Perry is campaigning on the fact that since the end of the recession in June 2009, 47% of the nation’s new jobs have been created in Texas, under Perry’s governorship. Perry’s campaign claims that this is due to having fewer regulations in the state that prevent businesses from growing and creating jobs. While Perry has been courting the support of Tea Party voters, the main thrust of the Perry campaign is that as president, Perry would be able to spur job growth using the same methods used in Texas.

Buddy Roemer – Roemer represented Louisiana’s 4th congressional district from 1981-88, before serving as governor from 1988-92. Roemer was elected as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican party in 1991 at the urging of the Bush White House. The former governor of Louisiana is running for president on a platform stressing campaign finance reform, balancing the federal budget, and repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Mitt Romney – Mitt Romney served as the governor of Massachusetts from 2004-07, after a successful career in business. Romney served as CEO of Bain & Company before founding Bain Capital, a private equity investment group. The Romney campaign is running on the assertion that Romney’s experience in the private sector combined with his experience as a state governor will allow him to forge working relationships with America’s business leaders in order to create jobs. Romney is typically seen as socially moderate, although commentators have noted that his views seem to have shifted to the right as the primary contest has heated up.

Rick Santorum – Santorum served as a United State Senator from Pennsylvania from 1995-2007, during which time he established himself as one of the more socially and fiscally conservative candidates in the race. Santorum was seen as a darling of the ultra-conservative base of the Republican party before more dynamic conservative candidates entered the race. Santorum also is known for his ongoing feud with commentator Dan Savage, after making comments comparing homosexuality to bestiality.

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