Is Rick Santorum a real alternative to Mitt Romney?

New GOP frontrunner Rick Santorum (AFP Photo/Chip Somodevilla)

For months, right-wing Republicans have searched for a lasting”alternative” to frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Flash-in-the-pan pretenders came and went: Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, et. al.  For a while it looked like former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich would seize the mantle but that prospect scared the hell out of most Republicans and he has faded, once again, into political obscurity.

Now the part of the elephant appears to have a new — perhaps lasting — alternative: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, an extreme right-winger that scares even some of the party’s most fervent conservatives.

In most national polls, Santorum is the new frontrunner.  His positive ratings now reach as high as 67 percent among Republicans — ahead of Romney.

Will it last?  Some GOP strategists tell Capitol Hill Blue it could, more so from weariness from voters who want somebody — anybody — but Romney.

“There is a weariness in the ranks,” says GOP strategist Ron Alderman. “What you see out there is a feeling that ‘hey, we could do a lot worse than Santorum.'”

Santroum’s surge may also stem from President Barack Obama’s own surge in popularity with voters.  The newest polls show Obama beating any of the four remaining GOP contenders in head-to-head match ups and the President’s job approval hitting 50 percent for the first time in three years.

“The four remaining Republican candidates may be running for the right to be a sacrificial lamb to Obama,” Alderman says.

Santorum’s fundraising has surged since he three-primary win last week but his campaign cash still still lags far behind Romney, who is set to spend at least $1.2 million in TV ads in the upcoming Michigan primary where polls show Santorum leading.

But while a majority of Republicans now appear to prefer Santorum over Romney, that support is weak compared to the 76 percent level of support eventual GOP nominee John McCain enjoyed at the same point in 2008.

With a volatile electorate, anything can — and probably will — happen between now and the GOP convention this summer and the election in November.

But — at the moment at least — Republicans appear to finally have a viable alternative to Mitt Romney.

Whether or not they can live with that alternative is still unknown.

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7 Responses to "Is Rick Santorum a real alternative to Mitt Romney?"

  1. Sandy Price  February 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

    If these foolish candidates keep destroying each other there will be no GOP left for the Convention. The whole damn thing could cave in and leave nothing but more hatred and anger. The GOP is so full of anger that no one in their right mind would step in to ease the water. This morning I saw Santorum in Idaho where the center of white supremacy lives and he got a standing ovation. He was made for these people. All SAntorum has to sell is his faith and promise to keep it going in the government.

    What has Romney got to sell? Had he kept his moderate points of view, he would be sitting on the top of the White House. But he caved in and he always will. We need to put the call out for some spine and balls but we may have to wait until a woman runs.

  2. woody188  February 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Santorum must be running the most successful campaign in the history of the United States. With a mere fraction of the donations and money of most major candidates, he has some how not only managed to stay in the race, but also come out on the top of the heap in many instances.

  3. Sandy Price  February 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Woody, does his brand of extremism appeal to you? I’m shocked that so many Republicans want him in the White House.

    I’m hoping that Halperin and Heilmann are going to write up this election as they did at the end of the Bush 43 term.

    I sometimes get the impression that all the previous voters ran away and a new bunch arrives with new reasons for their actions.

    This last campaign is based on having the government get involved in our personal choices. If your wife thought she might be pregnant would you want a doctor to stick a sonic probe up her privates to see how far along she might be? This action is what the voters of Virginia want. This is much more intrusive than a sonogram. In my day, once the blood work came back with a positive, the probing was no longer necessary. In many cases the intrusion brings bacteria that hurts the fetus and mother.

    As I wrote to Rachel Maddow this morning…It is time to bring back the Midwives. If women are healthy and not afraid of birth, there is no reason to even see a doctor. Giving birth is not a punishment for having sex and can be done with little stress.

    However this is arranged it should be done under the approval of the mother. Many men would rather play golf but many women have their babies with their mothers or friends to guide them.

    • woody188  February 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      No, Santorum does not appeal to me at all. I don’t typically find myself attracted to religious extremists with histories of ethics issues.

      I don’t necessarily believe that many Republicans do want him Sandy. I believe the whole primary is a sham. There is no way that Santorum can spend so little and be so successful. That’s why I posted what I did trying to spread awareness.

      • KishinD  February 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm

        It’s also worth noting that in South Carolina, Gingrich won the primary after cancelling a campaign event due to lack of attendance. Does that seem right to you?

        I’m concerned about the reek of fish from the entire American electoral process. This November, I’ll be organizing an exit poll in my state to attempt to expose voting fraud, and will be urging #Occupiers across the country to do the same. I want more evidence that this government is illegitimate before making the case that it needs to be flushed.

        Flushed as in “Keep the Constitution and Amendments, put the majority of representatives on trial for treason, and create a better, simpler system of laws.” The exact form of the temporary provisional governing body of representatives and the selection process is TBD. The number of representatives per state should be proportionate to state population, an equal number elected and randomly selected, and blah blah blah. I have clearer ideas, but they’re lengthy and not quite complete.

        The point is: the people with the authority to change the status quo within our current systems are the ones benefiting most from our current systems, and the election process practically guarantees that any new faces will be ready to play the same games. In short, the rules are so broken that they can’t be fixed without first fixing the rules: a catch-22. The only solution is for the American People to establish a body outside of the current system, which has the power to act on the current system.

  4. griff  February 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I guess what the Republicans really need is a virtually unknown black smooth-talking, presidential-looking one-term congressman cum community organizer in order to win this year.

  5. Sandy Price  February 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you Griff. I think we found the perfect man!

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