Thursday, February 16, 2012

The showdown: Santorum vs. Obama

By nature, Mitt Romney is a shape-shifting creature. Put another way -- he’s a phony, whether he means well or not. No need to pile up examples of his evolving views on important issues.

Nonetheless, when you categorize Romney, at this point in his career, he’s a friendly-to-Wall Street, establishment sort of Republican. So far, his campaign brings Bob Dole’s failed run for the White House to mind. Like Dole was perceived to have been, Romney seems to be the next in line

Except, Dole was funny. And basically, Dole was seen by Republicans and Democrats, alike, as an honorable man with genuine good intentions. Romney’s resume, especially his chosen method of becoming super wealthy, doesn’t exactly cast him in that flattering light.

Identifying with Romney the venture capitalist is difficult for at least 99 percent of us. At this point in the primary process, whether he would be a competent president hardly seems important to most political commentators. Instead, his authenticity has been scrutinized over and over, which is hardly Romney’s strong suit. 

On the other hand, Rick Santorum is a 24-carat ultra conservative. And, in spite of some of his rather extreme/wacky stands on some issues, he seems to me to be a likable guy. That same trait served Ronald Reagan well.

Blustery Newt Gingrich’s likeability factor is a joke. Flinty Ron Paul has his own agenda that doesn’t involve winning the nomination. It’s too late for a new candidate to jump into the fray.  

So, let's see a high-contrast Santorum vs. Obama contest. The GOP should put it all on the line under that war-mongering, anti-abortion, Tea Party banner. It will be a lively debate, pitting an unapologetic this against a card-carrying that. So, by all means, let's see it.

No compromises.

No apologies.

Democrats would probably say it will be 1964, again. Republicans will probably say it will be 1980, again. Both sides seem convinced more voters agree with them. Maybe such a clash of ideologies will settle a few things, somewhat, once the dust clears and a winner emerges. Maybe not.

Either way, let’s get this showdown on.

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