Skip to comments.Santorumís Quiet 2016 Campaign: Heís planning another insurgency
Posted on 06/18/2013 5:25:24 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Almost everybody has written off Rick Santorum as a 2016 contender everybody, that is, except Rick Santorum.
Behind the scenes, the former Pennsylvania senator is quietly preparing for another presidential run. Trips to Iowa are in the works, hes meeting daily with his advisers, and hes already fine-tuning his message for the early primaries.
Hints of that pitch came last Thursday during a fiery speech at the Faith and Freedom Coalitions summer conference. Santorum cast himself as a populist conservative. When all you do is talk to people who are owners, he warned, the GOP becomes nothing more than a social club for entrepreneurs.
For Santorum, it marked the start of his unofficial campaign. He tells me he plans to build upon his speechs theme in the coming months, positioning himself as a conservative outsider.
Some of the Wall Street folks have hijacked the party, he says. But we cant just be a party thats aligned with where the money comes from.
Santorum, who started his career as a congressman from western Pennsylvania, says the Republican party has failed to connect with the voters who were the foundation of Ronald Reagans coalition. Too often, he says, it strains to appeal to blue bloods, rather than blue collars.
In speech after speech, he talks about how he cant stand the power brokers from big East Coast cities who are trying to reshape the party. They dont like him, either. I wasnt invited, Santorum tells me, when I ask him whether he was part of Mitt Romneys Republican retreat in Deer Valley, Utah, earlier this month. Im not against entrepreneurship, and Im not against the policies of fiscal restraint, but weve got to find a way to talk to people about how they can improve their lives, he says. If you look at my career, Ive been able to win in Democratic towns where people work in coal mines. Weve got to find a way to become that kind of party again, to win those towns.
Santorum complains that the press is, naturally, ignoring his efforts to shift the GOP toward the working class. Of course they dismiss me, he says. They dont want to take me seriously. But he believes his message will gradually win support.
Ive always thought that the Republican party can do well with the middle of America, with people that work hard and have a family, he says. They want a party thats on their side, a party thats economically inclusive. Weve got to show them that we have a heart and that our policies create opportunity.
Thats why hes going back to Iowa in August. Its Santorums first trip there since the election. Hell headline a fundraising dinner for the Lyon County GOP and attend the state fair in Des Moines. I cant wait to reacquaint myself, he says. Itll probably be too warm to wear a sweater vest, but Ill have it ready in my suitcase.
Clad in that sweater vest, Santorum rode his Rust Belt rhetoric to a surprise victory in last years Iowa Republican caucuses. He ended up winning ten more primary contests, giving Romney, the eventual Republican nominee, a serious headache.
Repeating that insurgency in 2016 will be difficult, but Santorums team is ready to give it a try. His longtime strategist, John Brabender, stays close, as does Mark Rodgers, Santorums former Senate chief of staff.
Back in December, Brabender hosted a Christmas party in Northern Virginia for Santorums inner circle that served as a reunion and as an informal strategy session. Over drinks at the River Creek Club in Leesburg, Va., the senators friends and allies debated the pros and cons of another run.
By midnight, the consensus was clear: The boss, as his friends call him, should jump into the 2016 race, if at all possible.
For now, Santorums nonprofit organization, Patriot Voices, is his chief vehicle for staying in play. Hes working to develop the group into a film and educational outfit that informs voters about issues he considers important.
Brabender tells me that more than 400 chapters of Patriot Voices are being formed. Those clusters of Santorum supporters will likely be important as he maneuvers to run again.
Nadine Maenza, the finance director for his 2012 campaign, has also been keeping the senator in touch with his major donors, including Foster Friess. According to several sources, Friess, the top financier of Santorums super PAC, has privately said that hell once again be a major backer.
The presidential election is a long way away, Santorum says. I know were not on the front burner of anybodys mind right now, and theres a lot going on thats getting peoples attention. But Im going to stay out there, and youll see me in Iowa soon.
Robert Costa is National Reviews Washington editor.
Oh, dear. I like Mr. Santorum a lot, but as a candidate, he has not shown much staying power. He’s like a person who signs up for marathon after marathon, but never completes more than 8 miles of one.
Rick is an ass...... a loser ass.
Depending on who runs, I’d vote for him again. He’s imperfect but head and shoulders above Romney in my book.
I like Rick and he would have been a superior candidate vs. Romney.
I sent his campaign $100 but never did get the sweater vest...
Nice guy, solid on the social issues, a little squishy on big government, though.
But, frankly, he just doesn’t have the charisma.
I want Allen West. He’s not afraid, and he’s got charisma.
Oh, and he’s a CITIZEN.
you did a fine job
the problem is more than that
yes, there is a perception that all Republicans are bloodless old white men
yes there is a perception that all Republicans are hillbilly bubbas (depending on which caricature suits the Democrats better)
what needs to happen is that Republicans get a rep for being people who are of integrity, know how to address problems in a smart and frugal way and who don’t get played for fools by the Democrats
that explains why I keep getting the emails...
Santorum and three or four more conservative candidates in the primaries will give us Jeb Bush or Chris Cristie as the nominee.
I don’t think Rick could ever win the nomination, but he could pull enough votes to help the RINO candidates win as McCain and Romney won while conservatives split their votes among several candidates.
Conservatives better decide on a candidate early in 2016, or we’ll get another RINO.
RE: Rick is an ass...... a loser ass.
So, who would you vote for in a Santorum vs Clinton match?
If a tree falls in the forest and on one is there, does it make any noise??
Actually I’d support him over about 70% of potential supposedly GOP candidates...er...make that 80% as Rubio just fell off my list.
RE: yes, there is a perception that all Republicans are bloodless old white men
yes there is a perception that all Republicans are hillbilly bubbas (depending on which caricature suits the Democrats better)
Santorum will only be 58 in 2016
Santorum comes from the big city of Pittsburgh, not a hilly billy small town.
yeah he’d be perfect, but the Republicans gotta put their money where their mouth is and come up with some frugal workable solutions to some thorny problems.
They gotta come up with how not to be seen as heartless, but the party of solutions that provide jobs and economic opportunity for all
To combat Romney ~ early 2012 we had two losers : Newt and Santorum both failures with not surprising results.
I fear we will see the same repeat with Rubio in the Romney slot this time,
Here we go agin....
Free Republic is out of the activism business these days, but between now and say july 2015 shoud reactivate the force and ability.
Specifically, Free Republic should begin active discussion on the best way to design and then implement a conservative presidential primary. By the time the 2016 Republican primary is held up there should be one preselected conservative candidate.
The debacle of 2012 must not be repeated. So long as conservatives kill each other in the pre Republican primary battles the dissention will again assure no conservative Republican Presidential candidate.
the sound of one hand clapping
That is a joke.....
It will never come to pass
Santorum is one of the mostly good guys.
He has his shortcomings, but of the last round of candidates I would rate him right below Palin, and maybe Rick Perry.
Would very much like to see Palin and Cruz both run next time.
The dude has a point re: the obtuseness of the GOPe, but who doesn’t?
As a presidential candidate, however, he’s a liability for the cause—both playing into the worst stereotype about the priggish Republican and splitting the conservative vote in a way that helps the chosen RINO candidate.
In both ways, his ego is the problem.
To those in big cities, anyone from Western PA comes from a hillbilly small town.
That, however, is not one of my issues with Santorum.
I’m not sure re: the natural born bit re: Cruz, but I’d like to see a Palin/Cruz ticket.
The tea party could be helpful in two critical ways, if it set its minds to it: 1) kill Rubio’s amnesty bill, and 2) help unite conservatives behind a single candidate before the primaries, so you don’t have one RINO against six or seven vote-dividing conservatives.
Agreed. Now if you could suggest a way to do such a thing and make it work it would be appreciated.............
He was a surprisingly strong unapologetic conservative candidate who could have been (or still could be) groomed for a national run
Santorum was torpedoed by the Romney money machine that managed to buy, with several hundred millions dollars, Mitt a usually whoppng 35% of the vote - from GOP voters. The Gingrich gadfly never even approached Santorum in popularity
Lost GOP senate race in PA (never to be forgiven by some FR)
Supported Specter for Senate and Specter USSC vote (ditto above)
Enrolled his kids in state-paid PA charter school even though he lived in VA (liberal lefties decided a PA senator is not a PA resident while ignoring an entire entrenched stable of Democrat carpetbaggers in DC)
Didn't go back to PA when he lost Senate, stayed in VA and got job working for K street “lobby” firm- lobbying for CONSERVATIVE CAUSES (oh, the shame, a carpetbagger, a lawyer, an ex Senator, decides to get a job, stay in DC and not uproot his family from their $600,000 “mansion” (sarc if you familiar with NoVa real estate)
Has stay at home wife, homeschooled kids and a mentally challenged mortally ill daughter and not ashamed to embrace them and his family values in public (For the reaction this incurs in libs, and the MEDia propaganda attacks, see Palin Derangement Syndrome)
Th establishment democrats AND GOP have and will do their best to ridicule and tear down Santorum because they fear him - I for one am not joining them
RE: I want Allen West. Hes not afraid, and hes got charisma.
And he couldn’t hold on to his own seat for a second term.
At least Santorum got re-elected.
RE: Lost GOP senate race in PA (never to be forgiven by some FR)
I guess the “sin” of losing an election or primary means we would never vote for an Allen West or even a Ronald Reagan and Abe Lincoln.
or a “quitter” like Palin, eh?
Hey......I already provided the big thought..... now the details can be discussed and laid out in a coherent manner
In the old days, FReepers would put forth an idea and it would be discussed and accomplished.
Good God NO! He’s a waste of time and money!
Hey, start a thread, go for it.
Palin / Cruz 2016.
two insurgents are better than one!
Santorum would make a great Scty of HHS in a Palin administration
and Gingrich as WH press secretary
I know, dream on
And in the last two election cycles, we did.
Besides, Rick is "entitled" to the nomination under the GOPe rule of advancing the runner-up in the previous election cycle. This system worked out well for Reagan and Bush I. Not so well for Dole, McCain and Romney.
Haven’t you heard? The media has already told us who the candidates will be.
Hillary and Chris Christie.
We will see several of the 2012 retreads trying to make waves and gin up support for 2016.
Santorum doesn’t bring much more than he brought in 2012. He was only semi-successful as the go-to-instead-of-Romney when all of the other contenders fell off their bandwagons.
The whole primary debates stage had lackluster wannabes.
Most of the ‘new’ names circulating for 2016 are not much of an improvement.
Bush? Not another one.
Rubio. Crashing and burning, thanks to his cozying up with Schumer.
Christie. Making more headway with the Dems than with the Right.
Ryan. He is on the amnesty bandwagon with Rubio.
Paul. He is sort of for this, sort of for that, sort of against this, sort of against that.
Palin. Great speaker, but Left, the MSM, the Dems, and the GOPelite continue to try to taint her. And resigning as governor hasn’t helped. Perhaps, she should run for some lesser office first.
Walker. He is getting some praise.
McDonnell. He seems to be having some ethics problems due to questionable spending habits.
Soon, we will be seeing the ‘x isn’t perfect, but ...’ posts.
The main question will be whether the conservatives get triangulated again with numerous bandwagon candidates diluting the pool, thus favoring the GOPelite preference.
This all sounds so familiar — because it could easily be a three-peat of 2008 and 2012.
I remember when it was going to be Hillary vs. Rudy Giuliani.
Santorum also suffered one of the great Senate humiliations, as a sitting senator he lost by a larger margin than Christine O'Donnell.
Santorum was kicked out of the Senate by more than 17 points.
We also learned that his lifetime devotion to the radical pro-abortion Arlen Specter NEVER ENDED until Specter finally and formally switched to the democrat party, it turns out that Santorum had been supporting him, even for the 2010 election.
RE: Santorum was kicked out of the Senate by more than 17 points.
That was 2006, a HUGE Republican rout that put Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as Speaker and Senate Majority leader respectively.
At a time when the War in Iraq wasn’t going well and Bush’s approval ratings was the pits.
As for being pro-life, Santorum is UP THERE among the top legislators who has CONSISTENTLY fought for the life of the baby up to and including preserving the life of his own handicapped child.
I’d vote for him over Romney ( and did ) and Hillary in a heartbeat.
Nobody even came close to the history making humiliation of Rick Santorum with their narrow losses and close calls, as he proved to be a great embarrassment to the GOP with his 17 point wipeout.
Santorum didn’t just lose, his constituents destroyed him and finished his political career.
Santorum’s devotion to the radical pro-abortionist Arlen Specter has never been explained, from Specter’s presidential campaign to remove life from the party platform, to finding out that Santorum was still supporting him for 2010.
Specter is a glimpse into Santorum’s secret politics.
RE: Arlen Specter
I said this before in our back and forth last year -— GRATITUDE AND LOYALTY for Specter’s consistent and solid support of Santorum.
This DOES NOT MEAN that Santorum supports Specter’s pro-choice agenda.
Rick is just not the guy. He should make another Senate run and vote conservative and anti big govt for 6 years and then he might be more credible.
Here is Santorum endorsing Specter's 1996 presidential campaign and campaigning with him, to make the GOP a pro-abortion party, this was years before Santorum became a Romney man.
Specter SUPPORTED a lot of Santorum’s causes up to and including fighting for such conservative justices like Clarence Thomas ( he actually made Anita Hill look like the liar she really is ).
Specter also supported Samuel Alito in the midst of all the opposition against him.
He also supported MANY of the conservative judges that were nominated.
You can push and push to tell me that Santorum is really a pro-choice supporter in disguise, that does NOTHING to convince in light of his VOCAL OPPOSITION against abortion.
Santorum on Abortion After Rape: Accept God’s Gift
In an age where Todd Akin is vilified, such a stand is a potential political liability, but HE TAKES HIS STAND PUBLICLY.
Santorum will never win political office again and he knows that, he is now looking for an income niche, he wants to earn some sort of devoted and loyal audience that will keep him in some kind of work, running an organization, TV, perennial candidate, something.
So in your view, the anti-Reagan, pro-choice until he ran for office in 1990. Rick Santorum, was correct to support and campaign with Specter to remove life from the GOP party platform in 1996, and to devote himself to supporting Specter even in 2010, until Specter finally had to become a democrat to get Santorum to quit promoting his politics.
This is some kind of devotion, baby.
If you want me to agree with you, then this is one statement I can agree with.
In light of younger blood like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Santorum’s chances are slim.
BUT IF HE WERE THE NOMINEE FOR ONE REASON OR ANOTHER, I’D VOTE FOR HIM IN A HEART BEAT.
However, your continued pushing the ball on his being a supposedly pro-choice politician in disguise is TOTALLY UNCONVINCING.
Santorum is a shallow phony, a political professional, who is desperately looking for a place to land.
Although he was a Romney man, his luck in the 2012 primary earned him a small national audience of true believers, not enough to win an office ever again, but he hopes that it is enough to find a way to make a living.