Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum now appears to be neck and neck with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican nomination for president, and one wonders what will happen once Santorum’s rocket has burned out.
While Santorum has appeal to the GOP right, as does former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, there’s little doubt Romney will prevail. He has the organization, the money, and right now, a lead in delegates.
While primary campaigns are meant to test the mettle of the candidates and compare their ideas, the ultimate test will be of organizational skills versus brief flashes of ideological glitter.
A lot of people who are attracted to Santorum say, “He’s just like us.” But think about that for a minute. Do you really want somebody to be president who is just like you? Wouldn’t you rather elect somebody who knows how to achieve things on a national scale and get things done?
Santorum is beloved of the right, and for good reason. But Romney isn’t exactly a Marxist. And despite the fact that self-styled conservatives have yet to take a shine to him, he’s still ahead in the race. In other words, he’s getting the job done without affection or much help from the conservative establishment, which would rather spend its political capital on appealing candidates who nevertheless fall short at the ballot box.
If the California GOP primary were held tomorrow, Romney would win it, even though the state’s Republican pooh-bahs probably would give him little more than lukewarm support. But that’s all right — he’d have the state’s delegates.
We forget that when Ronald Reagan ran in 1980, he had little support from the establishment, but was able to win anyway because he knew what he was doing.
Expect to see that happen with Romney, all things being equal.