Rick Perry suspended his campaign for the presidency after a disappointing finish in the Iowa caucus in January. Rick Santorum suspended his campaign this week in the face of disappearing chances for success.
In both cases, the candidates were acting like statesmen. And a statesman is exactly what America needs to counter the unstatesmanlike conduct displayed daily by Barack Obama. We wish Santorum had caught the statesman bug earlier, as did Perry, Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty. Still, the prospect for an Obama second term is far more clouded because Mitt Romney can now focus exclusively on Obama instead of wresting the GOP nomination from Santorum.
Yes, the primary reason that Perry, Pawlenty et al left the race was the self-evident futility of continuing their campaigns. But that futility is equally true of Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, who've yet to leave the race. Santorum himself stopped short of doing what he should have done Tuesday, which was to endorse Romney. That would have been statesmanlike.
One of the roles any president must play is that of the statesman. And one of the definitions of statesman is showing wisdom in directing the affairs of government. Obama typically turns everything into a campaign speech, as he did during his recent Oklahoma visit. This could be written off as election year antics were it not for the fact that the president has done this from the day he won the 2008 election.
Obama's wisdom is in short supply. His vanity knows no bounds. Romney is the opposite.
Before Perry left the race and during a visit to the New Hampshire state capitol, he took note of the portraits hanging in the building: “You have a portrait of our nation's first president, George Washington, who not only led us to victory in the American Revolution but who voluntarily relinquished power after two terms in the vein of a true statesman.”
Better the vein than the vain.