Why Rick Santorum Can Win

What a difference actual votes make.

Out of nowhere, the final conservative challenger to the Mitt Romney machine has emerged, and his name is Rick Santorum. Since I am not a Romney guy, I have, like most other conservatives unhappy with this Presidential field, migrated around between various alternatives. Only to see them crash and burn. Resulting in disappointment and a sense that soon we must bow to the inevitable: Nominee Mitt Romney.

Suffice it to say, I am delighted that Rick Santorum is the last man standing. He is a seasoned and capable politician. He is articulate, passionate, and principled. There are always the inevitable things that conservative purists will grumble about, but I live in the real world. I am not looking for the perfect candidate.

What people want to know is this: can he win? This is the ONLY question people holding off supporting him are asking. The ONLY reason people are on the Romney bandwagon is the mistaken belief that only he can beat Obama.

I believe Rick Santorum can win, for a few simple reasons.

1. Santorum is proposing a 0% corporate tax rate for manufacturers (Romney? 25%). This will play extremely well in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. These are all considered crucial swing states, and I believe he can carry them. He is the grandson of a coal-miner, and is as blue-collar as establishment politicians can be said to be "blue collar." Santorum wants to appeal to the "Reagan Democrats," those blue collar, family-values voters left behind by the extreme left-wing turn taken by the Democrat Party (think: Occupy Wall Street). I think he can be persuasive.

2. Santorum can carry that other crucial swing state, Florida. How, you might ask? Two words: Marco Rubio. With Senator Rubio (R-FL) as the Vice Presidential nominee, Florida will be in the "R" column.

3. Put all this together, if a Santorum/Rubio ticket carries Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, there is no path to reelection for Barack Obama.

Oh, but you say! Isn't Rick Santorum... extreme? Won't he be vilified and attacked for his convictions on social issues? How can he overcome the onslaught of a left-wing media machine pounding him day after day for his pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-religion views? Well, to that concern I simply say this: Rick Santorum has been around the block. He's run for many offices, heard all the attacks before, and will not be taken off guard or surprised by them. In other words, he is not Sarah Palin circa 2008. He has answers for all the objections and attacks. He is not defensive, but rather quite winsome in answering these attacks. He is well-aware that politics is a full-contact sport, and he will handle himself well. I would also add that the media attacks on Romney have already written themselves, given that Romney has held every political position known to man in the past 20 years. That does not put him in a more favorable or "electable" position.

This post is simply about electability. Do not buy the hype that only Romney is "electable." No matter how many times it is written, no matter how many times the powers-that-be say it, it does not make it true. In my opinion, emerging out of a thus-far extremely disappointing primary season, with all the dissatisfaction conservatives have had over this lackluster field, is a possible Santorum/Rubio ticket. I will take that every day of the week and twice on Sundays. By golly, it is even a ticket worth getting - dare I say? - excited about.

One final thing: the Kingmaker in South Carolina is Jim DeMint. DeMint has a grudge against Santorum over a dust-up regarding opposition to earmarks. Let me say this: on the priority list of things to worry about, earmarks are at the bottom. Don't believe me? That is why opponents to them always call them a "gateway drug" to government spending. Got that? Critics admit that earmarks are small potatoes when compared with our real spending problems. Regardless of even that, Santorum is now on record opposing earmarks.

My point is simply this: If Jim DeMint loves his country, he should bury the hatchet with Rick Santorum. At very least, if he lets a petty grievance of the past cause him to seek active frustration of Santorum in South Carolina, my esteem for him will greatly diminish.