Thursday, May 28, 2015

Rick’s Back

Obviously the GOP field isn’t crowded enough.

Rick Santorum, the brusque and deeply conservative former senator who won nearly a dozen contests in the 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination, announced here Wednesday that he would seek to recapture that magic by entering a crowded primary competition likely to be far more difficult than the last.

The step forward by Santorum, 57, is the latest in a wave of entries by hard-right contenders who believe that after losing two straight presidential elections behind more moderate nominees, GOP voters will turn to a candidate unflinching in ideology who can excite the party’s base.

Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), a tea party star, announced his bid in March. This month, neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee — evangelical favorites and regular guests on Fox News — launched campaigns.

But even Santorum, known for his staunch opposition to gay marriage and abortion, has acknowledged that Republicans will need to adapt to the country’s rapidly changing demographics and social views to win back the White House.

So a hard yank to the right for Jesus and more tax cuts is exactly what we’re looking for.

There are knowledgeable folks who are saying we shouldn’t underestimate Mr. Santorum; after all, he came in second to Mitt Romney in a lot of the primaries the last time around.  But that flock of candidates was populated with as many loons and losers as this one, and in 2012, the base could be primed to give money to anyone who sounded like they could beat that you-know-what in the White House.

But if Rick Santorum still isn’t enough variety, there’s always George Pataki and Rick Perry yet to board the bus.