Santorum Leaves The Race: Reax

Apr 10 2012 @ 4:33pm

Rick-santorum-drudge

by Maisie Allison

Santorum has officially suspended his campaign before Pennsylvania votes in two weeks, quietly acknowledging Romney as the nominee (without mentioning him) and referring to his daughter Bella's illness. Steve Benen admits that Santorum's run was "one of the most impressive things I've seen in presidential politics in quite a while":

For months, Santorum failed to raise money, failed to hire a campaign staff, failed to create a campaign structure, failed to create a base of supporters, and failed to impress in the endless stream of candidate debates. A couple of weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Santorum was in the low single-digits in national GOP polls — he was neck and neck with Huntsman — and was generally considered an afterthought, when he was considered at all. And yet, despite having very little money, no staff, no organization, few endorsements, an unimpressive legislative record, and a weak message, Rick Santorum managed to beat Mitt Romney 10 times during the Republican nominating race (Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana). 

Philip Klein likewise deems Santorum's unexpected campaign a professional success:

Nobody gave him a chance to do much of anything, given that rival candidates had more money and more sophisticated organizations. But he ran a tough, grassroots campaign, building off of a surprise victory surge in Iowa to drag out the race a lot longer than anybody thought he could, eventually winning in 11 states. Now he'll come out of the race with a much higher profile when he started and with an image as a tenacious campaigner.

Mataconis echoes:

What nobody accounted for, I think, is the impact that SuperPACs were going to have on the race and the manner in which they let a shoestring candidate like Santorum go much further than he otherwise would have. That, combined with the fact that the conservative base in the GOP spent much of January and February still wanting a way to voice their uneasiness with Mitt Romney, is what ended up helping Santorum get as far as he did.

Chait doubts Santorum will be viable in 2016:

Santorum’s success was entirely the function of his being a Republican not named Romney who happened to be there when every other alternative had either been destroyed by Romney’s money or collapsed on its own. It is truly rare for a campaign to feature both a wildly vulnerable front-runner and a long list of candidates who could probably have the nomination but chose not to run. In 2016 (or 2020, if Romney wins) one of them — Mitch Daniels, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, or someone else with political talent — will be on the ballot. The notion that Santorum might position himself as next in line is comical.

Ed Kilgore's view

There will be some what-ifs expressed about Santorum, particularly from those who think he self-destructed by getting a little too theocratic. I’m personally already on record as disagreeing. He danced with the ones that brung him: the people who think legalized abortion is a Holocaust, that same-sex relationships are a sign of moral collapse, that “traditionalist” Catholics and evangelical conservatives represent the only line of resistance against a Satanic takeover of the West, that a Middle Eastern Holy War is America’s destiny. 

Erick Erickson has already moved on

Romney’s campaign has used a money advantage to shut out the competition. As I said when he won Ohio, Romney will be the nominee. The way forward for Romney depends on the economy. For the longest time I did not think he had much of a shot against the President, but as I’ve said several times recently, the economy seems to be struggling, which gives Romney an opening.

Weigel downplays Santorum's efforts to stymie Romney's path: 

The first credible Mormon presidential candidate, a former pro-choicer who passed a mandate-based health care reform in his state, was never going to waltz to the nomination. If it wasn't Santorum taking Deep South states, it would have been someone else — a Rick Perry with the ability to make his synapses crackle from time to time, maybe.

Josh Barro wonders if Mitt will now abruptly tack to the center: 

Romney has shown an unusual ability to slide seamlessly from one position to the opposite. And even in the primaries, when he saw a political advantage in moving to the left–as he did with Rick Perry and Social Security–he did. With Santorum out of the way, the calculus will change sharply and Romney will have a lot more to gain from being a “moderate” than he did a month ago. We’ll see how much he changes as the weather warms.

Alex Seitz-Wald offers something of a Santorum highlight reel. Foreign policy highlights here