Romney Should Tell Santorum to Keep His Endorsement

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The media made a big deal out of recent presidential race drop-out Rick Santorum's qualified endorsement of rival Mitt Romney on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" this week. He adamantly refused to endorse Romney as a candidate until the Republican National Convention. But Romney should not worry overly much if Santorum ever endorses him, which he grudgingly said he would do once Romney was the GOP nominee. He should hope the former senator continues to withhold his endorsement, because even though the two politicians are considered conservative, Santorum's brand reeks of ethnocentrist religious extremism, something Romney will be moving away from in order to gain votes in upcoming 2012 general election.

In fact, Romney already has. Take, for instance, his victory speech on Tuesday evening after winning the five primary contests held that day. He told supporters that a new campaign was beginning that night and he supported the statement with general comments and talking points about the state of the nation, his vision for a better America, and what he would like to do to effect changes to policies currently in place under the Obama administration.

At the same time, there was no mention of guns, no mention of religion, no mention of race, no mention of immigration -- all divisive and inflammatory topics used in one form or another along the way during the campaign. Romney attacked Obama's leadership abilities and reinforced the idea that the Obama administration's policies were ones that would prove ultimately economically destructive to United States as a nation.

And although all politics might be local, when it comes to a national message, making polarizing statements that the president is a socialist or has every intention of undermining the religious values of the country (contentions that are easily refuted by taking the time to study the president's actual political positions, voting history, and record while in office) is often counter-productive. Most rational voting Americans see these allegations and attacks as distorting and appealing to those blinded by racism, ideological extremism, and abject ignorance. As a good chunk of those voters are part of the massive Independent voting bloc, Romney understands that capturing their vote necessitates a move away from the more benighted arguments against the Obama administration.

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was and remains the epitome of that type of benighted conservative thinking: alleging that Obama is not a real Christian or that he is one of political convenience, or allowing ignorant supporters to refer to President Obama as a Muslim without correction or calling President Obama a socialist.

But those polarizing non-issues and unsubstantiated attacks aren't the worst of it. Romney should decline Santorum's endorsement because of his statements regarding Romney. Although we know that he will not, that political decorum will rule, Santorum has said a few things about the presumptive GOP nominee that are far from flattering.

Like calling him a socialist, which he did on a radio program when decrying Romney's position on Massachusetts' health care system, which was the basis for Obamacare. Like equating Romney's backing of the Brady bill and increase of taxes on gun licenses in Massachusetts with Obama's views on guns, although he never truly pointed to anything truly anti-gun that Obama has supported. Like telling Iowa voters that Mitt Romney becoming the GOP nominee for president "truly frightens" him because his stance on issues will not contrast enough with those of the Obama administration, whose policies are destroying America.

Apparently Santorum's reluctance to endorse is due to Romney being a little too much like Obama.

Or maybe he's too far removed from Santorum's extreme Right positions.

Either way, he says he won't endorse until the Republican Party makes the nomination official in August.

Perhaps Mitt Romney should tell Rick Santorum where he can put his apparently forced endorsement. Or, remaining civil, he could tell him that he simply would prefer the former senator to keep it. It would be a refreshing change to the hypocritically back-slapping that goes on in the name of party solidarity. And who knows? Such a move might garner a considerable number of voters making decisions on character and real political issues as opposed to fear-mongering, unsubstantiated allegations, and outright ignorance.

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