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Right Turn
Posted at 02:53 PM ET, 04/10/2012

Santorum quits the race

Finally embracing reality, Rick Santorum decided to take the easy way out rather than the hard way, leaving the GOP presidential race before a potentially humiliating loss in his home state.

The race has been a foregone conclusion for weeks, but Santorum did indicate that the weekend and the illness of his daughter did cause he and his wife to reflect on the race and their responsibility as parents. In defeat he was humble and sincere, and in recapping the race he charted the improbable course of his campaign. For cynics, it was maybe the first speech of his next campaign, an option he leaves open by not fighting to the bitter end and by not making himself a pariah in the race. That he never mentioned Mitt Romney by name or offered congratulations is, well, sadly reflective of a smallness that he revealed from time to time.

As is his habit, he spoke without notes and for too long, but this, after all, was his swan song. He talked about Iowa and his family values pitch and sweater vests and manufacturing. But he was not bitter nor angry, and that’s important for his future, if he has one in the party. Despite his sometimes vicious attacks on Mitt Romney, he insisted he ran a positive campaign. Better to recall the positive.

Should Romney win the White House perhaps he can scoop up a cabinet post. If Romney loses, Santorum will face very tough competition in 2016 from candidates who chose not to run this time. So in a real sense, this may be the closest he gets to the nomination.

Why didn’t he win it? Well, the real question may be how he did so well with virtually no name recognition or money or support at the get go. In part, he won by working his devoted base in Iowa and waiting for others to drop out until he was the the receptacle for the not-Romney voices in the party.

But ultimately his lack of organization, executive prowess (needed to organize a national campaign) and inability to stay on a blue-collar economic message doomed him. He is eloquent but excessively combative. He is well read but condescending toward fellow Americans. He was ultimately his own worst enemy.

Santorum can learn from this, perhaps, and improve his message and his public persona. For now he said simply he will suspend his campaign but not finish “fighting” for his issues. He sounded like a team player, vowing to work for President Obama’s defeat and a GOP Congress. That’s the sort of message that leaves one positioned for the future.

By  |  02:53 PM ET, 04/10/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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