Santorum Exits: May the 'Sweater Vest' Rest In Peace.

Santorum Exits: May the 'Sweater Vest' Rest In Peace.

04-10-2012
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May the “Sweater Vest” rest in peace.

Rick Santorum and his sweater vest may be done in this 2012 presidential race but don’t think for a minute that he’s not going to re-appear in either 2016 or 2020. If and when that happens, you can be sure he’ll come armed with a boatload of cash, donors, and a full-fledged campaign staff ready to do battle from day one.

Ultimately it was money not message that doomed Santorum.

Let’s be very clear about this: Rick Santorum’s message resonated because he was able to weave together fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, faith and family all into one. But that winning message can only take you so far. Organizational heft and a ready-made ATM are crucial in presidential politics and Santorum didn’t have either. It left him vulnerable because he wasn’t able to get on the ballot in places like Virginia and wasn’t able to file a full slate of delegates in a handful of other states.

As for the money, Romney outspent him handily. It was too much to compete against. Santorum got as far as he did because of his message and a fervent anti-Romney crowd. If he had the organizational might and money, he probably would have won the nomination. Would’ve…could’ve..should’ve.

The turning point was definitely Ohio. Santorum REALLY needed to win in that industrial swing state and just couldn’t do it. When that happened, the fat lady began to warm up her vocal cords. Additionally, despite vehemently explaining that Romney is not the candidate to put up against President Obama, voters weren’t buying it. Santorum never was able to convince Republican voters that he was MORE electable. We’ll see if Santorum will end up being correct.

During those weekend meetings a couple sources told The Brody File that the Santorum team was trying to figure out a strategy that would work against Romney so as to change the complexion of the race. Obviously they never came up with an answer that would be sustainable.

This was a smart move by Santorum. Pennsylvania was going to probably slip to Romney, which would have tainted Santorum significantly in the future if he was thinking about running for president again. This way he bows out gracefully and leaves himself set up nicely for the future if he wants to give it another shot. The Brody File doubts that Romney would pick Santorum as a running mate but you never know.

Finally, what does Rick Santorum’s presidential run tell us about the Tea Party movement and evangelicals? What it proves is that “Teavangelicals” are powerful enough to boost a presidential campaign (like Santorum and Gingrich) but they’re powerless to do anything about coalescing around one candidate. Some Teavangelicals liked Santorum, others went for Gingrich. Combined, they had more votes than Romney.

It’s not easy for Teavangelicals to all get on the same page but if and when they do in the future watch out. The force will be formidable. For now though, The Brody File will simply remind Santorum of a verse from the Bible that says, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Matthew 12:25)

The Bible wasn’t talking about presidential politics but that concept sure applies to the presidential fate of Rick Santorum. A divided Teavangelical base led to Santorum’s exit and allowed Mitt Romney to become the soon-to-be Republican nominee for president.

Now we move on to the next phase of the campaign. Can Romney secure the Teavangelical vote? It may not be as easy as you think. The Romney campaign shouldn’t take them for granted. More on that as the campaign moves on.

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