Morris on Santorum

What he got Right. What he got Wrong.

Says Dick Morris of Santorum’s demise…when he “grabbed at the support offered by the Christian right…he got lost in the Evangelical ghetto…became tainted as the evangelical candidate…(which) limited his appeal and turned off legions of secular conservatives.”

On this one Dick is wrong. Santorum had no choice. Even though he won the Iowa caucuses, no one knew it until weeks later. And coming off defeats in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada, and short on cash, Santorum was in no position to reject the support of the evangelical community, the Christian right or whatever ever one might want to call the values voters.

It was only after he accepted their endorsement that he began to win again—Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri—not what you’d call Bible thumping southern states.

In 1980, Reagan also embraced the values voters and they embraced him. They became an invaluable part of his coalition, and helped him defeat George Bush 41. He would not have won the nomination without them.

Santorum did make a mistake that Reagan did not. Santorum went off message in Michigan, and in Ohio, states rich with Catholic, blue dollar voters. Catholic Santorum in Michigan said he wanted to puke when he read a speech given by Catholic John Kennedy. In Ohio he allowed himself to be drawn into a contraception debate instead of his plan to help the middle class climb the rungs of the economic ladder.

That was Santorum’s mistake, and it is not the fault of the values voters who endorsed him.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

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