Backers of Santorum should think ahead to November, and pause

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 28, 2012
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Romney has the stuff to defeat a sitting president whose popularity is on the rise, whose campaign coffers are massive and whose operatives will wage the most angry, divisive campaign in history. We know this because Obama's first term is characterized by angry, divisive government.

Part of the appeal of Santorum is selection of a man thought to be more capable of taking Obama on, particularly in the debates. This assumes that swing-state voters will make their November choice based on debating skills rather than governing skills. It assumes that independents won't be focused on the economy but on the GOP nominee's charisma and right-to-life credentials.

Reagan beat a sitting president, capitalizing on the extant bad economy — as well as on Jimmy Carter's leadership lapses. He didn't beat Carter because he was anti-abortion. He won because he offered to take the country in a new direction. He attracted Republicans, independents and “Reagan Democrats.” The 2012 Republican nominee must do likewise.

Mitt Romney doesn't have Reagan's cache. No one does. But who has the best chance of withstanding what will come against him in the fall? Who can fix a troubled economy? Who can reset foreign relations and affirm American exceptionalism? Ask not who would be the most vocal opponent of abortion but who can run this country.

At this point, though, only one question needs asking: Who can put together the building blocks of constituencies that will defeat Obama? The answer is Mitt Romney.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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