Mini-Rumination: Santorum=McGovern

Rick Santorum=George McGovern.


Look at how many times Democrats managed to nominate presidential candidates who had virtually no chance of winning the general election.  What was the secret to their non-success?  They held primaries with multiple candidates who distinguished themselves by moving to the left.  Sure, it helped those candidates win the nomination, but it also killed any chance they had to win in November.

Think about it.

George McGovern:  waaaaaay too liberal.

Walter Mondale:  too liberal.

Michael Dukakis:  too liberal.

John Kerry:  too liberal.

The Curmudgeon would argue that Jimmy Carter was too liberal, too, but that the public was so fed up with Republicans in the years immediately following Watergate that almost any Democrat with a pulse would have gotten elected.

Republicans learned their lesson in 1964 when they nominated Barry Goldwater, a guy so far out of the mainstream that he literally scared people.  Even Ronald Reagan, revered by Republicans today, wasn’t extremely conservative, nor were the Bushes.  Bob Dole and John McCain were mainstream Republicans who fought off more conservative challengers.

Normally, Republicans do things the smart, pragmatic way, but they’re on the verge of joining Democrats in the pantheon of stupid politics with their current infatuation with Rick Santorum.  Santorum is just like McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry:  a guy who is pursuing the nomination by appealing to the extreme element in his party and who is being embraced by that extreme element without regard to his electability when he has to stand for election before, you know, real people and real Americans and not just the lunatic fringe.

The Curmudgeon suspects that Republicans will eventually come to their senses and dismiss Santorum just as they dismissed the other flavors of the week during this campaign:  Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachman, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christie, and Mitch Daniels.

If they don’t, they will be committing the equivalent of Democrats nominating George McGovern in 1972:  political suicide.

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  • Scott  On February 24, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Agree. Romney is the only candidiate that has a chance of appealing to mainstream independants and moderate Democrats. What are the Republicans thinking? I know, I know…they’re not thinking.

    • foureyedcurmudgeon  On February 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Well, as i wrote, I think they’re guilty of the same thing Democrats have been guilty of in the past: thinking with their hearts instead of their heads. In a perfect world, a guy like Santorum may be what they prefer. But they’re losing sight of the big picture, which is whether it’s more important to have the perfect guy and risk losing the election or more important to win the election with someone who’s more to their liking but not ideal. I don’t begrudge them going with principal and losing with honor but don’t appreciate the outsized reaction to losing they had when Obama was elected (essentially, starting this Tea Party stuff before the Obamas even knew where the second bathroom is in the White House).

      I think I’ll have something more on Santorum in a few days.

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