Thursday, December 22, 2011



Boost For Santorum


He is liked by Rush Limbaugh (whose heart belongs to Sarah Palin), who remarked yesterday: "I know that if Rick Santorum were elected president, I wouldn't have one doubt any day what he would be fighting for, not one. And it would be great if he could get there."

He is liked, apparently, by Mike Huckabee, who commented "I've been saying for several weeks now that Rick Santorum may be the surprise candidate coming out of Iowa ...he's going to greatly outperform (his poll numbers) and surprise some people because the caucuses are so much about intensity of support." He explained that the public nature of a caucus "puts pressure on people that's a whole lot different than" a primary and for Santorum "evangelical voters aren't going to have to defend that vote and nuance it some way." (And we know how uncomfortable Republicans are with nuance.)

And Bob Vander Plaats, leader of Iowa-based evangelical group, The Family Leader, likes Santorum. Or so it seems.

The organization's seven-member board declined to make an endorsement in the GOP presidential race but Vander Plaats's personal endorsement of the former Pennsylvania senator, according to Huckabee, offers "a significant boost at exactly the right time for him."

The nod may prove just enough to catapault Santorum into fourth place in the Iowa caucus, which presumably would be sufficient for him to continue his campaign. But it appears to have come with a price- and that price, it seems, is financial. On Tuesday, the Des Moines Register


confirmed that Vander Plaats had asked for help in raising money to promote the endorsement.


Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley said his campaign made no deal to drum up cash to pay to help promote the endorsement.


“I don’t know about the discussions other campaigns had, but we never agreed to raise a single penny,” Gidley said. “We’re focused on our own campaign, and that’s where our resources will be spent.”


Vander Plaats said he’d like to have the money to do television advertisements to promote his personal endorsement of Santorum, and he urges Santorum backers to contribute money for that purpose.

There are two problems with that denial. The campaign may have been asked for a contribution rather than being asked "to drum up cash" (and we'll be glad to accept a check, Master Card or Visa, thank you very much). And it may not have made a "deal" but instead have come up with a sort of arrangement (short of a deal) or an accommodation.

The candidate himself did little to clear up the uncertainty. Politico reports that Santorum told CNN


"What he talked about was he needed money to promote the endorsement and that that would be important to do that," Santorum said, referring to Vander Plaats.


Yet the candidate added: "There was never a direct ask for me to go out and raise money for it."


Asked by CNN what Vander Plaats had asked for, Santorum replied "He didn't say, 'Well I need X dollars from you' or anything like that. No," Santorum said."

No, not a specific sum of money. And "raise money for it" sounds a lot like "drum up cash." Perhaps the money could come from the campaign or another source, whether direct or indirect. Further, "a direct ask" would have been unlikely; these things tend to be understood, with or without the classic nod and a wink.

Even if there were an agreement, or favor returned in some manner, Santorum remains, I think, one of only two of the candidates (the other being the father of a U.S. Senator) who consistently believes what he says, though typically way wrong. Still, the moment should not pass by without an inquiry as to whether this particular dark horse can be bought.




HAPPY CHANUKAH MERRY CHRISTMAS


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