Rick Santorum deserves credit for his impressive primary victories in Mississippi and Alabama. Newt Gingrich led us to believe he would win both states. He didn’t, but he has vowed to fight on as the “real” conservative candidate, as opposed to Mitt Romney who only “says” he is a conservative.
Romney still has a substantial lead in delegates, but lags in one vital category: enthusiasm. If candidate Barack Obama gave his supporters the political equivalent of a sugar rush in 2008, Mitt Romney is broccoli. It’s his Mormon faith; it’s his perceived liberal tendencies while governor of Massachusetts; it’s his inability as a very wealthy man to connect with average voters; it’s all of the above and probably more.
Rick Santorum is the Latin Mass in an age of contemporary Catholic worship. He is an Underwood typewriter, not an iMac computer. He is the U.S. Postal Service, not email. Santorum believes deeply in God when many others either do not, or focus more on themselves than on any higher power. He is a family man in an age of divorce, cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births. In short, he may be too good for us; too picture-perfect; too religious and too much of a scolder.
Voters want to know where the country has gone wrong, but they don’t want to believe they are responsible for steering it in that direction, or that they made a mistake four years ago in putting so much faith and trust in President Obama. They want more of John F. Kennedy’s 1960 slogan “we can do better” and less of “you could do worse than elect me.”