Skip to comments.Santorum eager for Romney to grant him role at Republican convention
Posted on 08/06/2012 8:44:20 PM PDT by Qbert
Rick Santorum is organizing an event at this months Republican National Convention to rally conservatives in support of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, a key Santorum aide has told The Hill.
But Santorum has not yet received any promise from the Romney team, even in private, that he will be asked to deliver an address from the podium in Tampa.
The former Pennsylvania senators long-time senior strategist, John Brabender, warned that conservatives would be quite disturbed if they felt that Santorum was not accorded the prominence they believe he deserves at the quadrennial gathering.
One of Santorums key strengths is galvanizing the support of conservatives within the party, Brabender added. To have him front and center would seem strategically like the right thing to do. The event in support of Romney has been put together by Santorum on his own, according to Brabender, making it a more personal endeavor than an appearance by the former senator under the aegis of another group.
The event is scheduled to take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, Aug. 29, the day before Romney is set to officially become the Republican Partys presidential nominee.
With the event, Santorum is trying to bury any remaining ill-feeling from the hard-fought primary in which he was Romneys most tenacious opponent. Santorum endorsed Romney in an email to supporters in May, about one month after suspending his bid.
The question of how to deal with Santorum and other erstwhile rivals, such as former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is a tricky one in general for the Romney team.
But it is particularly acute in Santorums case. He displayed a deeper support then the other contenders in winning 11 contests during primary season. His forceful social conservatism makes him beloved among GOP grassroots supporters even as it also risks limiting his appeal to moderate, independent voters.
For Romney, the conundrum is how to pay due respect to Santorum and his supporters without pushing him into the spotlight to the point where he becomes a distraction. For Santorum, the dilemma is how to display loyalty to Romney while protecting his own staunchly conservative identity.
Hes never going to be in the inner circle, but [the Romney team has] to deal with him somewhat gingerly, because of his connection to the Tea Party people and the social conservatives, said Terry Madonna, a professor of public affairs at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania. You have to treat him delicately, but I would be stunned if you are listening to him on Monday or Tuesday at 9 oclock at night.
Were such a scenario to unfold, it might echo Pat Buchanans infamous prime-time address to the 1992 Republican convention. Buchanans fierce oration, which has become known as the culture war speech, included the assertion that there is a religious war going on in this country and culminated in a plea for conservatives to take back our cities and take back our culture and take back our country.
The speech was rapturously received in the convention hall, but even some Republicans feared that it alienated swing voters.
I will do anything to help the Republican Party make social issues the main focus of their convention, Democratic strategist Chris Lehane said with a laugh.
On occasions in the past where this had happened, he argued, the Republican Party was talking to maybe 20 percent of the country and not connecting with the other 80 percent and absolutely not connecting at all with the 5 percent who were going to determine the outcome of the election.
Brabender, for his part, argued that Santorum demonstrated an appeal during the primaries that transcended that of past insurgent candidates like Buchanan, and instead resembled Ronald Reagan in his quest for the presidency.
Even if Santorum is allotted a speaking slot of some kind at the convention, he might prefer not to emphasize his social views alone. Advisers including Brabender and his former campaign communications director Hogan Gidley believe that Santorum was unfairly pigeonholed during the primaries because of his professions of religious faith.
Gidley said that while Santorum is never going to relinquish nor should he relinquish his social views, more of the real Rick is going to come out as time passes.
In June, Santorum founded a new PAC, Patriot Voices, which Brabender said already has about 350,000 members who have signed a pledge stating their support for its principles. Through the PAC, Santorum has also endorsed a number of candidates for office, including two House hopefuls and one Senate aspirant last Friday alone.
Santorums endorsements were for Martha Zoller in Georgias 9th district, Nancy Cassis in Michigans 11th district and Wil Cardon in Arizonas Senate race.
The PAC could also serve as a vehicle through which Santorum might make early preparations for a 2016 presidential run, should Romney lose in November.
His aides are, predictably, vague but far from downbeat about such a prospect.
I dont know where his heads at now, said Gidley. Ricks smart: Hes not going to rule something out only to have to reverse that later. Gidley, who previously worked for former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), said that both men were guided in their choices by prayer.
Irrespective of whether Santorum mounted any further bids for elected office, Gidley added, Hes not going anywhere.
When it comes to the more pressing matter of his role at the convention, however, Santorum is finding both support and dissent in unpredictable places.
Democratic strategist Paul Begala said in an email to The Hill that Santorum has earned a spot on the podium. Romney ought not insult Santorum and his supporters by excluding him.
But Ed Rollins, who at one point served as campaign manager for Rep. Michele Bachmanns (R-Minn.) presidential bid, said that if he were organizing the convention, I would not have any of the also-rans.
Rollins added: This needs to be Romneys convention. He needs to be the star, which means all these other figures Santorum, Newt Gingrich, whoever have to play very minor roles.
If Sarah Palin was speaking at another site nearby I would rather go see and hear what she visions best for America than the wimpy weathervane appointed ones being thrust upon America.
And you posted this to me - why?
To show how you helped Mitt - that’s common knowledge!
Your posts always had the LIBERAL bent to them!
He’s too smitten with himself, not America, for that. Another one w/no conscientious!
Santorum sent an e-mail in May and hasn’t been heard from since,but now thinks he deserves a role in the convention? Pouty boy has an inflated opinion of himself and a short memory of what voters said about him.
Notice the liberal here trying to tell us who is conservative and playing the DECEPTION role, once again, about romney.
After interfering with our election, he laid low and now thinking we forgot, he emerges.
I’ll never forget what the liar and deceiver did - and with his dirty hand tight w/Mitt since ‘08.
PA kicked the dirty manipulative lawyer out - good for them! The GOP’s ‘useful’ idiot!
HELEN THOMAS as a college junior in 1932!! Much older than Eleanor!!
Yep! By twenty years. Helen could be Eleanor’s mother. Now that’s a thought!
You are too funny. Complaining that I am the liberal because I want a true conservative in Santorum while you tout your beloved Romney this biggest liberal Republican ever to get the nomination. You say I slant liberal but you take the entire liberal cause and eat it. You bash conservatives like Santorum and Bachmann on a daily basis just so you can have your love Romney as our nominee. Well spit on you and your liberalism.
playing the DECEPTION role, once again, about romney.
No deception. I will yell from the roof tops that Romney is a big fat liberal who you love until we kick him to the curb and put up a real conservative either Bachmann or Santorum.
If the GOP nominated a ticket of Santorum/Bachmann we wouldn’t even carry PA or Minn.
Such a ridiculous statement and that is why you liberals are winning and getting your liberal candidates like Romney. You guys are so excited because you win the election regardless of if Romney or Obama win. Why do you guys hate conservatives so much?
I hope they feed you well and treat you nice. Are you allowed visitors?
Wow. You are so funny. Liberal always think they are funny when they aren’t. You can joke all you want, but this is serious business and we need to crush people who are out to destroy the United States. Such a pity that you are part of this group who want to continue to kill babies and have gay marriage with Romney. No principles at all.
You are a DECEIVER transparent to many!
You are a DECEIVER transparent to many!
So you are saying everyone is stupid but you? You think highly of yourself for ZERO reason. What an egomaniac you are.
And you are the biggest liberal on Free Republican and it is KNOWN to many.
I wouldn’t let Santorum within 100 yards of a mike. The guy is a fool and a religious zellot.
Here is the real Saintorum. This is a very strong hint of what he really thinks of the constitution and how this fools plays politics.
It’s already bad enough that Romney is going to be there.
I’d like to see real conservatives speaking at the convention, not this asshat.
“......I want a true conservative in Santorum.....”
There you go again, making me LMAO.
I was beginning to think that you had finally got the head meds that might be working for you.... guess not.
You are LOL funny, but I will pray for your complete recovery.
You must at least think we could do better than Romney....Please agree with that at least.