Santorum Helps Romney Survive - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Santorum Helps Romney Survive
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Quin, I can’t see how Santorum could have won the debate when his most powerful moment came when he went after Newt Gingrich as someone who, for all his brilliance, you never know might “pop off” next. It’s insights of that sort that could slow Newt’s surge, especially in the wake of Newt’s explosive opening at gentlemanly John King’s expense. So by going after Newt the way he did Santorum only helped Mitt Romney maintain his lead in the South Carolina race, making Romney de facto winner.

It was interesting nonetheless to see Santorum and Gingrich go at it in such personal terms, particularly given their heretofore all but forgotten closeness on the road to 1994. Back in the day Santorum used to openly acknowledge his debt to Gingrich and GOPAC and all they taught him about a Reaganite conservatism he hadn’t known much about. This time, it was rather embarrassing to see the onetime student attempt to put the mentor in his place, when he charged Newt with doing nothing to expose the House Bank scandal in the runup to the ’94 elections. Newt’s response to that pretty much wiped the floor with upstart Rick, a reminder that they don’t operate on the same level. That particular exchange would not have meant much to anyone who doesn’t remember that golden era, but to my mind it captured Santorum with all his limitations.

Similarly, Santorum pleaded for understanding that he now supports right to work legislation having once opposed it. It was the sort of argument he wasn’t willing to extend to Romney on his changed views. Don’t see how such high schoolish debating behavior is the stuff of a winner.

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