Debate Club

Only Santorum Addresses Values Issues that Concern Voters

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Electability is notoriously difficult to measure. Democrats cheered when Ronald Reagan was nominated in 1980, because they thought he was the least electable Republican. And many wise Republicans were sure Vietnam War hero John McCain would be much more electable than the relatively unknown Barack Hussein Obama.

Despite its limits, the electability standard is worth considering. I'm surprised that Gov. Mitt Romney is regarded by some as the most electable Republican candidate. Romney has lost more elections than he's won, and this year he has run decidedly worse in virtually every state compared to his vote total in 2008.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Mitt Romney.]

Romney is more moderate than former Sen. Rick Santorum, and that's supposed to be a plus for him. Some commentators believe that only a moderate Republican can win a majority of voters. But apparently moderates disagree with that analysis. Recent polling shows Romney's standing among moderates has plummeted.

People often conflate independents and moderates. But a significant share of independents are disgruntled conservatives who will vote Republican only if the party nominates a conservative candidate like Santorum.

We are not living in an ordinary time in America. The conventional wisdom tells us that this election will be determined by economic issues. But polls show that many Americans sense that the country is on the wrong path not just economically but also on matters of the heart. To millions of Americans, our widening virtue deficit is just as worrisome as the fiscal deficit.

And better than any of the other candidates, Santorum has been able to speak to Americans' concern that for our nation to regain its strength, we must address fundamental cultural issues such as out-of-wedlock birth and absentee fathers. He is the only candidate who's been willing to tell the American people what the Founders believed—that only a virtuous people can remain free.

[See pictures of Rick Santorum.]

Finally, Santorum's popularity stems in part from the sense that many voters have that he understands them and their concerns—that he is a regular guy who can empathize with the challenges they face. This is a real asset in an election year in which Barack Obama seems willing to run a divisive, class warfare-based campaign.

Republican economic policies will help the working class of America. But it will take a candidate with working-class roots to effectively make the case on Election Day.

Gary Bauer

About Gary Bauer Former Presidential Candidate


Other Arguments

#3
60 Pts
Romney Is More Electable, But Needs to Clean Up Campaign

No – Romney Is More Electable, But Needs to Clean Up Campaign

Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst

#4
22 Pts
Rick Santorum's Rise Is No Surprise

Yes – Rick Santorum's Rise Is No Surprise

Tony Perkins President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council Action

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