Column: Romney's Deep Pockets Prevail
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
And then there was one.
On Tuesday morning, Rick Santorum formally announced that he would be suspending his campaign, clearing the way for Mitt Romney, who will be the Republican presidential nominee this coming November. The news came as a major surprise, as Santorum seemed prepared to duke it out with Romney until the bloody, bitter end — or at least until the campaign funds dried up, which they apparently have.
Santorum cited the health of his youngest daughter, who is three years old and was “born with a serious chromosomal disorder,” according to The New York Times. Money was clearly an issue as well, though, and in a fundraising letter he sent out, Santorum mentioned that the campaign was in debt and that it would be impossible for him to focus on defeating Barack Obama with such a burden weighing on him.
Santorum had made quite a name for himself up until Tuesday morning. His supporters heralded him as the only true champion of conservative values in a field of wishy-washy, center-leaning Republican candidates. Romney supporters saw him as a nuisance who served no purpose other than to take votes and media attention away from their beloved candidate, and everyone else laughed at him as a kind of comical Bible-thumping, America-loving, condom-hating Republican caricature.
He was accused of being a vicious mudslinger and of using overly inflammatory rhetoric — e.g. his remarking that JFK’s speech about the importance of separation of church and state made him “throw up” — but one thing he couldn’t be accused of was being disingenuous. The man always let his opinions be known, however insane and senseless they were, providing the American public with enough meme fodder to last us decades.
Now Romney is officially in the driver’s seat, though everyone knew it would eventually come to this. Romney continued to rake in millions in donations while Santorum’s funds ran dry, and by the end of February Romney had amassed over $75 million for his campaign compared to Santorum’s $15 million. And while there certainly is something to be said for campaigning well and putting up a good fight, one does not simply win in the face of that kind of disparity.
As is always the case in American politics, however, the end of one drama just marks the beginning of another, and so we now turn our eyes to the presidential election this November. Romney is going to have to make moves fast, as he’s up against an incumbent who is a superior debater, who has more loyal supporters, and, most importantly, whose pockets are infinitely deeper. On top of that, Romney has done a poor job of wooing female voters, 57 percent of whom favor Obama and a mere 38 percent of whom favor Romney, according to a recent poll.
Unwise as it may have been to alienate women in this way, perhaps Romney’s camp saw it as necessary in order to beef up his conservative credentials against Santorum, showing what a pernicious effect Santorum’s presence had both on American politics and on Romney’s ideology. Fortunately for Republicans, they’ll no longer have to deal with Santorum embarrassing Romney or their party. Until 2016, that is.