Why shouldn’t Rick stand down?

I am finally accepting that just like in 2008 I don’t have a clear conservative candidate to spend my vote on this November.  So now I have to wonder if it isn’t it time for all republicans to stand together in the battle against the left and President Obama?  If so, why doesn’t Rick Santorum get with the program?

I don’t think this race is about who is the more conservative anymore.  In fact, since Bachmann, Huntsman, Gingrich and Cain have washed out, hasn’t it only been about who can beat President Obama.  Santorum comes across as a social conservative for sure, but what else, if anything, sets him apart from Romney?

Some research into the issues:

Abortion:  Romney wants State control no federal involvement, wants to see Roe vs Wade reversed, wants parental consent, and to see Planned Parenthood defunded.                       Santorum wants to see a federal ban, reversal of Roe vs Wade, Parental consent and Planned Parenthood defunded.  Not much to choose from there, but how conservative is it to want the Feds involved?  This is Romney win.

Afghanistan:  Both want to stay the course.

Capital punishment:  Both are for. Both have concerns about wrongful convictions.

China: Both want to aggressively fight back against China’s economic war against the west.

Civil Liberties: Both are for wire taps, going so far as to say they would support tapping mosques if the intel supports it. Romney is for gay rights across the board. Santorum is against gay  marriage & adoption.  This is a win for Santorum with the religious right, but it’s a win for Romney with the more secular republicans.  Call this a tie.

Cuba and communism in general: Both oppose making any deals.

Education: Both initially for No Child left Behind, but are now touting state level controls. including higher math and reading standards and stricter teacher evaluation.

Energy: both are for increased domestic energy production and ending/limiting dependence on foreign energy.

Foreign Policy: Both think Obama has failed miserably here.  Both favor a firm stance against jihadists, Both see economic competition with Asia as a major issue but Romney has taken a firmer stance and articulated this much better.  This is a Romney win.

Gitmo:  Both are for keeping it functioning.

Guns:  Both are staunch supporters of the 2nd amendment.

Immigration:  While both are against illegal immigration and amnesty for illegals, Romney is more inclined to accept an influx of highly trained foreign workers while Santorum sees them as a threat to US workers.  Call this a win for Santorum, but who here other that the American Indian is not from immigrant stock really?

Iran:  Both want to subdue their nuclear efforts and believe Obama has failed miserably here.

Iraq:  Both want to stay the course.

Marijuana:  Both are against legalization.

North Korea: Romney wants to keep up the dialogue but he distrusts the North Koreans and favors a carrot and stick approach; while Santorum is against any direct contact and instead prefers a united effort with US allies to thwart their nuclear research and weapons proliferation to other nations.  He’s even gone so far as to suggest hat selective assassination would be okay. Call this one a statistical tie but I’m not sure that most of us would favor head of state assassination.

Welfare:  Both are for reform and favor a more Reaganesque ideal that the best welfare program is a job.

Stem Cell Research: Romney is for research without cloning new cells.  Santorum is against. This is a win for Santorum again with the religious right but not so with the secular base.  Another tie.

Health care:  Romney supported Obama Care Lite in Massachusetts.  This is a problem for Romney. Santorum’s plan is very similar to the one Gingrich proposed.  It allows people to buy their own health insurance with pre-tax dollars as well as join more traditional plans offered by employers. Low-income people who do not qualify for Medicaid would get tax credits to buy health insurance. It also features medical liability reform, the ability of insurers to compete across state lines, flexibility on premiums and deductibles, medical savings account and a special insurance program for those who find themselves with chronic diseases and preexisting conditions.  This is a clear win for Santorum.

Aside from the health care issue, there really isn’t a lot of difference between the two candidates. Since Romney seems to have the base pretty much running to his side now, exactly how important is health care compared to beating Obama?  We’ve already seen Mitt make the necessary adjustments to win over the last several months, so I’m sure he can make the leap to a more favorable Health Care policy too.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a plan similar to the Gingrich/Santorum one came about in the Romney camp as the “will of the people” became clear to them, or better perhaps, a deferral to the states, which would play nicely into his support for the plan in Massachusetts.

For the sake of party unity and winning the White House come November, I believe Santorum needs to stand down now. It was a nice run and it pointed out the deficiencies of the Romney campaign, hopefully for the better.  However, the party is wasting funds and energy when it should be coalescing into a singular force with the sole aim of defeating the incumbent.  We can shape Romney into something that we can work with, but we need to get going now.  Santorum, I think, is seen as a religious nutcase by many who will stay home rather than be seen as supporting his radical ideals.  In the end, a Romney just-to-the-right-centrist will have more of a chance to beat Obama than a far right zealot.  Give it up Rick. Newt, your done too. Let it go.

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