Santorum suspends campaign ‘we were winning’

Updated
Santorum suspends campaign 'we were winning'
Santorum suspends campaign 'we were winning'
AP

Rick Santorum left the race for the Republican presidential nomination this afternoon, thus actually ending suspending a campaign that has been effectively over for some time now:

“Ladies and gentleman, we made the decision to get into this race at our kitchen table against all the odds,” Santorum said in remarks to reporters in Gettysburg, Pa. “We made a decision over the weekend that while this presidential race for us is over for me and we will suspend our campaign effective today. We are not done fighting.”

His most curious remark? (Today, I mean?)

“We were winning in a very different way, because we were touching hearts and we were raising issues that frankly people didn’t want to have raised,” he said.

The “winning” bit may be fodder for teasing and jokes, but given that Santorum’s public persona is more crusader than politician, it’s fairly unsurprising to me. Also, I’m not tempted to laugh at Santorum’s departure for two reasons: his family situation, and the fact as a journalist and one of his former constituents, I’ve never found him to be a laughing matter, “Google problem” or not.

No, the most curious part of those comments was the stuff he said right afterwards. I’ll leave it to you to judge how Santorum not only “touched hearts” by attacking women’s reproductive rights, calling for more war, entertaining birtherism and other brands of xenophobic baiting – but how those and many other topics on which he based his campaign for president differed all that much from the standard, so-called “establishment” Republican platform.

After all, Mitt Romney opposes abortion and scapegoats Planned Parenthood. When it came to Iran, he was perhaps the most strident in his saber-rattling. He proudly accepted the endorsement of Donald Trump, who, to be kind, is at least birther-curious – and thus far, isn’t shunning the support of Russell Pearce, the recalled state senator behind Arizona’s draconian immigration law who claimed Romney’s immigration views are “identical to mine.”

Santorum was this guy well before he ever ran for the 2012 nomination. But now, it seems that he’d like to be remembered as an iconoclast, someone who forced the party and the country to listen to his ideas. But when your main competition is Romney, and he absorbs your talking points like a sponge – how much did it all really matter?

Santorum suspends campaign 'we were winning'

Updated