Posts Tagged 2012

Time Out: Rick Santorum Puts Presidential Hopes on Hold


Rick Santorum has ended – for now – one of the most improbable presidential campaigns in modern American history. From bouncing through the cornfields of Iowa in a pick-up truck owned by a guy named Chuck, to his emergence as the main competitor to GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, the former Pennsylvania senator revived a political career once given up for dead.

Perhaps the most important decision Mr. Santorum made was the one to quit. The delegate math made it clear he could not win the nomination outright, forcing him to pin his hopes on the unlikely scenario of a contested convention in Tampa Bay. The main impact of his continued presence in the race would have been to force Governor Romney to spend resources better deployed against President Obama in the upcoming General Election.

Some will say he quit now fearing another career-ending loss in Pennsylvania’s April 24th primary. Polls were mixed, and it is quite possible Santorum could have pulled off a slim victory. But again delegate math comes into play. There is absolutely no relationship between the presidential vote and the awarding of delegates. In Pennsylvania, delegates are elected three per congressional district completely independent of the presidential vote. While Santorum might have prevailed in the popular vote, it is clear Romney’s superior organization would ultimately carry the day by winning more delegates.

Thus with Pennsylvania shaping up as a Pyrrhic victory at best, Santorum wisely chose to preserve his well-earned status as a national voice for social conservatism – and his prospects for 2016 should Mitt Romney lose to Barack Obama – by bowing out now. Having done so, Mr. Santorum is now free to roam the country in support of U.S. Senate and congressional candidates helping to build a governing Republican majority. Going forward he has ensured that he will be an influential and important voice in the policy debate.

Not to be underestimated in Rick Santorum’s decision to suspend his presidential campaign is his family situation. Many politicians trot out their families as props to burnish their “real guy” credentials. Nobody doubts Rick Santorum’s sincerity when it comes to his commitment to family. With young daughter Bella’s second hospitalization of the campaign it became clear over Easter weekend that his family needs him more than his nation.

That he chose his family speaks volumes about Rick Santorum. It should also be noted that Mitt Romney pulled his attack ads off the air when Bella entered the hospital last weekend. That was a rare note of personal grace in the cut-throat world of presidential politics. It should also signal to skeptical conservatives that while there may be questions about Mitt Romney’s principles, his character is above reproach.

The end of Senator Santorum’s active presidential campaign also effectively ends the contest for the Republican Presidential nomination. Newt Gingrich soldiers on, but his goal is to impact the party’s platform and the issue debate. Clearly the smartest man in the field, it is a role to which Mr. Gingrich is ideally suited. As for Ron Paul, the Texas congressman never seriously competed for the nomination, but will continue his quest to build a movement based on solid economic policy and questionable foreign policy.

There was a time during the presidential contest where Rick Santorum might have snatched the nomination away from Mitt Romney. A series of verbal gaffs and an unfortunate emphasis on social issues at a time when the economy is the top priority of voters scuttled his momentum. But, Mr. Santorum’s timely and graceful exit from the race shows he has matured as a politician knowing, as former President George H.W. Bush pointed out, when to “fold ’em.”

The big question now is can the Republican Party unite behind Mitt Romney as its standard-bearer? It is clear that a majority of primary voters preferred someone – anyone – to Mitt Romney throughout the process. But the presumptive nominee proved himself to be an able competitor. He will need the skills honed throughout the tough primary process to take on a president who has failed at governing, but who excels at campaigning. It will also take a united Republican Party to prevail in November. My bet is the GOP will come together behind Mitt Romney; if for no other reason than all factions of the party agree on one thing: Barack Obama must not get four more years in the White House.

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

It’s Debatable: Candidates’ debate performances have defined 2012 race


Presidential debates have a rich history of making – or breaking – candidates. It began with the very first such debate held in 1960 when John Kennedy’s confident, youthful appearance doomed a sweating Richard Nixon to defeat. The latest candidate to feel the sting of a poor debate performance is Rick Santorum.

Pennsylvania’s former U.S. Senator narrowly lost the Michigan primary to Mitt Romney after having held a double digit lead in several polls just two weeks ago. After winning a trifecta of states on February 7th, Santorum surged both nationally and in Michigan. All that stood between Rick Santorum and an embarrassing, perhaps campaign-ending, rout of Mitt Romney was one debate in Arizona.

That debate did not go well for Santorum. True, there was not one “gotcha” moment or a major gaffe, but Santorum allowed himself to be on the defensive, sank into Washington speak, and permitted Romney to paint him as the beltway insider. Meanwhile, the former Massachusetts governor appeared poised and confident, in command and on the attack. Most analysts agree Santorum regained his balance the second half of the debate, but the damage had been done.

Santorum’s poor performance in the Arizona debate followed what was perhaps his best debate performance, the final meeting of the candidates prior to January’s Florida primary. In that debate, it was Santorum who was on the attack, pinning Romney to the mat on Romneycare and emerging as the strongest personality on the stage. That performance helped fuel Santorum’s wins in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

There have been 20 debates among the Republican Presidential candidates this year and those forums have played an out-sized role in shaping and defining the race. Texas Governor Rick Perry entered the contest with a huge lead in the polls, but stumbled badly in his first debate performances, even suffering brain freeze while listing the three federal cabinet departments he would eliminate. Since those debates were his first exposure to a wide national audience, they created a bad image of Perry in the minds of voters; it was an image he was unable to overcome.

Conversely, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich owes the fact that he remains in the race to his superb debate performances. In the early debates Gingrich was the adult in the room, talking serious policy and keeping the focus on Barack Obama while the others bickered like children. In the weeks leading up to the South Carolina primary, which he won, Gingrich turned in perhaps his best debate performances greatly enhancing both his stature and his standing in the polls. Again, at the final debate in Arizona, Gingrich appeared the most presidential.

And then there is Mitt Romney. While the others have sprinted and stumbled, he has been the marathon man. Romney has never been the star of a debate, nor has he committed a campaign-defining gaffe. Reflective of his managerial personality, he has simply done what needed to be done – nothing more, nothing less. And it is that consistency throughout the debates that has allowed him to weather periodic surges by the other candidates.

Fortunately for Rick Santorum the primary calendar gave him time to recover from his poor performance in the Arizona debate. He was on the upswing when Michigan voters went to the polls, falling just short of inflicting a humiliating defeat on Romney. Given that Michigan is Romney’s state of birth, and his father was a popular governor there years ago, Romney should have stomped Santorum. That it took a self-inflicted wound by Santorum to give Romney an anemic three percent win illustrates the fact that the former Massachusetts governor still has not closed the deal with the vast majority of Republican primary voters.

The good news for Pennsylvania Republicans is that our state’s presidential primary will actually matter this year. Romney leads in delegates, but needs to end up with more than Santorum, Gingrich and Ron Paul combined. A treasure trove of delegates is at stake on April 24th, when both Keystone state voters and those in the state of New York go to the polls. It will be a pivotal day. Whether or not the nomination is decided that day is, well, debatable.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Left Intensifies War Against Christians


PA ‘Year of the Bible” resolution latest front in battle

By Lowman S. Henry

In recent weeks the radical Left has stepped up its war against religious liberty in general, and against Christians in particular. The Obama Administration’s assault on the First Amendment under the guise of “health care” regulations requiring churches to provide “services” which run contrary to their faith has sparked national outrage. Here in Pennsylvania, a House Resolution recognizing the influence of the Bible on life in America has come under attack.

House Resolutions rarely stir controversy, but one declaring 2012 as the “Year of the Bible” has incited passions among those groups whose mission it is to scrub all reference to Christianity from the public square. Of course those of us who are Christians have a constitutional right to practice our religion, and thus rightly view such efforts as an attack upon our God-given liberties.

A read of the actual resolution finds that not only is it on solid constitutional grounds, it is historically factually correct. The resolution observes that the Bible has “…made a unique contribution in shaping the United States as a distinctive and blessed nation…”   It goes on to state “…Biblical teachings inspired concepts of civil government that are contained in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States…” The influence of the Bible, as well as the Magna Carta and other civil instruments did indeed inspire and influence America’s founding documents and legal system.

The House Resolution concludes: “The history of our country clearly illustrates the value of voluntarily (emphasis added) applying the teachings of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families and societies…” It ends by declaring 2012 the “Year of the Bible” in recognition of “the formative influence of the Bible on our Commonwealth and nation…”

Perhaps had the legislature declared 2012 to be the “Year of the Magna Carta” it would have gone unnoticed. But by recognizing the central role the Bible and the teachings of Christianity played in the formation of our nation the radical Left has gone into a tizzy. Perhaps it was the resolution’s exhortation to “study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures” that got their attention. But what part of the Holy Scriptures should we abandon? Should we now allow murder, adultery, theft or any other errant behavior condemned by the Bible?

As we wade through the Year of the Bible controversy it is important to frame the debate appropriately. It is not, as the Left would posit, about freedom from religion. It is not about equality, neutrality or diversity. It is about the denial of religious freedom, a right so valued by our Founding Fathers it was ensconced in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights.

For the American Left’s social welfare state agenda to succeed it is mandatory that religion, specifically the Christian religion, be replaced in the hearts and minds of the people by the state. Therefore, they are attempting to rewrite history. The fact is the signers of America’s Declaration of Independence from England pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to protect the self-evident rights to which we were “endowed by our creator.” Thus the core of the argument is whether or not God or government bestows rights upon us. Throughout the course of American history rights have been accepted as God-given. That is the history the Left now seeks to rewrite.

This is why it is so vital for the Left to recast the constitution’s Establishment Clause as a Separation Clause. The First Amendment clearly states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment (emphasis added) of religion…” It then goes on to guarantee the right to practice religion by stating “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” It is precisely that right that the Left now seeks to deny Christians in America.

The “Year of the Bible” resolution is just the latest battle in the Left’s long war against religion. The resolution is historically accurate, constitutionally sound and wholly appropriate. The House should stand its ground and allow the resolution to remain in effect. To do otherwise would be to violate the right of Christians to the “free exercise” of our religion.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

2012 PA Leadership Conference Panel Topics Announced


Four interactive panel discussions to be presented at conference

Harrisburg, PA – The 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, to be held March 23rd and 24th at the Radisson Penn Harris Convention Center in Camp Hill (Harrisburg), will feature four interactive panel presentations including Right-Sizing State Government; Marcellus: How Shale We Proceed?; Obama’s Regulatory Overkill; and Reaganizing the PA GOP. The panels will be interactive, with conference participants having the opportunity to submit questions to panelists.

Selected as moderators of the panels are:

Right-Sizing State Government

Matthew Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation

Marcellus: How Shale We Proceed?

Gregory Wrightstone, PA Coalition for Responsible Government

Obama’s Regulator Overkill

Hon. Colleen Sheehan, Villanova University

Reaganizing the PA GOP

Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring, USA

Also added to the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference schedule is a debate among the Republican candidates for United State Senator which will take place at the conference’s concluding luncheon on Saturday, March 24th.

Featured speakers at the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference include Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume; U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform and John Gizzi, Political Editor of Human Events.

Additional featured speakers, panelists, and seminar topics will be announced in the near future.

Complete information and registration for the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference is available at www.paleadershipconference.org.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment