Rick Santorum Will Spell Doom for Republicans in November

If it nominates Rick Santorum over MItt Romney, the GOP will lose the White House and elections at all other levels.

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While the NBA is caught up with Linsanity over the New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin, the GOP is going through Ricksanity.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum's rise in the national polls may be even more surprising than Jeremy Lin's unexpected success. How could that be? Well, Santorum did suffer the worst defeat ever by an incumbent GOP senator when he lost by 18 percent to Bob Casey in 2006. The problem is while the feel-good Lin story can bring nothing but good to the New York Knicks and the NBA, further electoral "heroics" by Rick Santorum spell trouble for the Republicans.

The reason is simple—Santorum is unelectable. His stances on social issues ranging from women in the military to women in the workplace to gay rights make American voters who are not part of the right wing of the Republican Party uncomfortable.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP hopefuls.]

The GOP would do well to wake up from its Ricksanity and remember that its way to victory in the presidential, House, Senate, and local elections are to have a big tent. The way to that big tent is to focus on economic issues, which are at the center of political discourse in homes all across the country, and on national security. As I have written before, if the GOP sticks to six little words—small government, low taxes, and national security, the party has a real shot at not only keeping the House of Representatives, but also taking the Senate and seriously challenging Barack Obama.

Rick Santorum has always chosen the opposite approach, he concentrates on social issues. While important to a sector of the Republican electorate, these issues are divisive and, as Santorum's last election in the swing state of Pennsylvania showed, swing voters do not support his positions on them. 

[See pictures of Rick Santorum.]

Head-to-head matchup polls have Rick Santorum losing to President Obama by as much as double digits while former Gov. Mitt Romney is within four or five points. The reason is that Romney's message on the economy and national security appeals not only to the staunch GOP electorate but also to the all-important swing voters. Studies show that the era of the split ticket voter is gone, meaning that someone who votes for a Democrat for president will vote Democrat for all other offices on the ticket.

Therefore, the GOP has a choice—it can either ride the Ricksanity train into November and face stunning losses both in the presidential and "down ticket" elections or it can nominate Mitt Romney who not only presents a strong alternative to Barack Obama but will also help other Republicans running for office in 2012.

  • See pictures of Mitt Romney
  • Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.
  • Read the U.S. News debate: Can Anything Stop Mitt Romney?