02/09/2012 (10:29 am)
Barack Obama has made a serious, tactical error.
The attack on the Catholic Church in ObamaCare is deliberate and timed for the election. He hopes to use it to pretend that the Republican candidate, whoever that might be, is a big, scary religious fanatic who is against contraception. He believed his focus group data that said most people would side with an assault against the archaic, corrupt, fanatical, religious idiots.
His focus groups were wrong. It’s going to explode in his face.
America is still a religious nation, and most people are not so stupid as to think that this is really about contraception. It’s about religious liberty, everybody knows it, and nobody likes being told what to believe.
So here’s how the election stacks up:
Obama v Romney becomes “middle class v 1%.” Romney tries to make it “Democrat establishment v successful businessman,” but it won’t sell. Obama wins easily. (Oh, and Obama would run to Romney’s right, and would be believed. Seriously.)
Obama v Gingrich becomes “known, sane President v unstable loon,” while Gingrich tries to make it “big government v better ideas.” It’s a tossup. Gingrich would champion religious liberty correctly, but Obama wins this if Gingrich self-destructs, which is, unfortunately, frighteningly likely.
Obama v Santorum becomes “status quo v scary neanderthal,” but what the people will hear is “big, oppressive, anti-religious government v ordinary people just trying to live their lives.” THIS is where the Republican party wins big. Not only does Santorum win this match-up, he would have coattails. Santorum would play well among Northeast Catholics, in the Midwest Bible Belt, and even in black churches. Republican candidates should win across the board in this scenario.
Barack Obama has handed the Republican party the issue of individual, religious liberty on a gilt-edged platter. Rick Santorum is the correct candidate to take advantage of this.
We have an opportunity.
(A note to my readers about Newt Gingrich:
I have represented Gingrich consistently on this blog as the best thinker in the Republican party. I still believe that he is that. I think that any Republican administration would be stronger with Gingrich on the White House staff as a political strategist.
However, after watching him flail and toss out bizarre, speculative policy options and distasteful attacks as he was losing the Florida primary, I have had to face the fact that the man simply lacks the personal character to sustain a long campaign against the Democratic party machine, let alone run a country like the United States. I could be wrong about this, but I have decided to put my vote behind Rick Santorum as the most viable, “Not-Romney” conservative candidate left in the race.
To be frank, I’m relieved at the thought of not having to defend Gingrich’s mercurial character. Rick Santorum is an unambiguously good human being.)