In the end, Santorum used his sick child as a political prop

Rick Santorum (AFP Photo/Jeff Swensen)

Rick Santorum resisted but could no longer stand up to the pressure from a Republican establishment that wanted him out of the GOP Presidential sweepstakes.

His determination to stay in the race against increasing odds appeared steadfast.  The former Pennsylvania Senator wanted to remain until his home state primary even as polls said he faced a loss there.

But GOP leaders stepped up the heat, warning Santorum that he was finished with the party if he didn’t get out now.  When his daughter Bella – battling a rare disease – went into the hospital over the weekend Santorum had the excuse he needed to get out with what little dignity a political junkyard dog could muster.

Said Santorum as he announced the “suspension” of his campaign at Gettysburg, PA:

Over and over again we were told, “Forget it, you can’t win.” We were winning, but in a different way. We were touching hearts; we were raising issues that frankly a lot of people didn’t want to have raised.

In reality, Santorum wasn’t winning.  The math wasn’t there.  He could slow former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s inevitable march to the nomination but he couldn’t stop it or win the nomination on his own.

“We knew it was over before Bella went into the hospital,” a Santorum aide tells Capitol Hill Blue.  “When the latest numbers came in from Pennsylvania the decision was made to put up the ‘Going Out of Business’ sign.  It was just a question of when.  The kid’s hospitalization gave us a way to bow out.”

As polls rolled in showing him falling further and further behind Romney in Pennsylvania and calls from GOP leaders telling him to quit coming in daily, Santorum pulled the plug and made it seem like he was more concerned about his daughter than run for President.

But three-year-old Bella has suffered from birth with Trisomy 18, a rare genetic condition that hampers development in children.  She was hospitalized earlier in the campaign.  Santorum didn’t pull out then.

Spouses and children are often used as props for staged campaigns and Santorum knows how to play the family card, be it a tearjerker story about his father or a seriously ill child.  In his speech in Gettysburg Tuesday, he even threw in a story about his grandfather.

In the end, Santorum bowed to pressure from the GOP establishment and the numerical reality that he could not win.

Politics is theater and Santorum played his part right up until it was time to exit, stage right.

(c) Copyright 2012 Capitol Hill Blue

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4 Responses to "In the end, Santorum used his sick child as a political prop"

  1. Hal Brown  April 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

    No mention of the Palin prenatal political prop?

  2. Sandy Price  April 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

    I see Santorum’s backing out with a different opinion. The man must have known that the Republican Party has never before been considered the ride for success. The plan for a Christian nation started just after the end of the WW2. Santorum jumped on board when he felt America was in trouble and needed Jesus. I can understand this as I came from a Christian background.

    He was wrong in believing the leaders who drove him on his campaign. His attack on his fellow Republicans was considered a gutter attack but Gingrich and Romney played the same game. The GOP sunk into the gutter and should lose in November.

    They are all abusers of American values. This entire campaign sounds like a political hockey game.

  3. Jim B.  April 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    As Doug implies, it does not say much for Santorum’s honesty. “Saving face” was much more important for him.

    Also, I wonder if telling the truth — he doesn’t have the numbers to support a nomination — is just too much of a downer for an “everything is sunshine and the glass is more than half-full” type of guy like Santorum. It may be too hard for him to face his followers while facing the truth.

  4. woody188  April 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they staged Bella having to go back to the hospital. Politicians like to talk about morals and family values but the reality is, politicians are just prostitutes for the wealthy.

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