He dragged it out just about as long as he could; he dragged his feet and dragged his knuckles. He seethed, he moped and he whined. But, after much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) did the very bare minimum he could do when he “endorsed” his former rival Mitt Romney this week.
And when I say the very bare minimum that may be way too generous.
Santorum delivered his “endorsement” of Romney via email (!) at about 11 p.m. Monday. The actual words, “he has my endorsement,” were buried in the 13th paragraph of a rambling treatise posted on Santorum’s campaign website.
“Above all else, we both agree that President Obama must be defeated. The task will not be easy. It will require all hands on deck if our nominee is to be victorious. Governor Romney will be that nominee and he has my endorsement and support to win this the most critical election of our lifetime,” Santorum stated.
Santorum’s “endorsement” of Romney displayed what we saw so much of from Santorum on the primary campaign trail: ignorance, insolence, pettiness and pitiable self-righteousness.
And it’s exactly what Romney deserves.
Romney ran one of the most negative, cynical primary election campaigns in American history. But, perhaps more importantly he continues to stubbornly cling to a depthless courage when confronted with seemingly stark choices as he transitions from the primaries to the general election.
This week at a town hall meeting in Euclid, Ohio a Romney supporter declared, “We have a president right now that is operating outside of the structure of our Constitution…And I want to know – yeah, I do agree he should be tried for treason.”
But, instead of Romney rebuking the woman who accused President Obama of treason – a crime punishable by death – Romney was silent.
It was vintage Romney; instead of confronting her incendiary charge, he pussy-footed around it and spoke to her about constitutional principles instead and allowed her a follow up question.
Later, on the rope-line when Romney faced questions from reporters on whether the president of the United States should face treason charges his response was, “No, of course not.”
“I don’t correct all of the questions that get asked of me,” he added.
Just Romney being Romney…
Last month veteran rocker Ted Nugent – known as the “Motor City Madman” – delivered a welcomed endorsement to the Romney campaign.
At a National Rifle Association (NRA) convention April 17, Nugent, notorious for extreme, erratic views and hot conservative rhetoric declared if Obama is re-elected he (Nugent) would be, “dead or in jail.”
He referred to the president, Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Clinton as, “criminals.”
And Nugent added, “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Romney’s response through a spokesperson was, “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from…Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”
That will fix you Ted Nugent, gosh-darn it!
In March Rush Limbaugh sparked a political firestorm when he labeled Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” during his radio broadcast.
“It’s not the language I would have used.”
Romney’s dearth of leadership in the face of such garish ignobility is frightening and baffling at the same time.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) gained so many points from the right and the left when he was running for president in October 2008 by simply doing the right thing when he corrected an elderly woman who erroneously believed then Sen. Obama was an, “Arab.” That’s why Romney’s reticence is baffling.
But, Romney’s aversion to confronting bullies and fringe yahoos is frightening because he wants to be President of the United States. If he can’t check Ted Nugent it doesn’t seem viable he could effectively deal with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran.
So, Romney deserves the back of Santorum’s hand disguised as an “endorsement.” He deserves the tepid and tenuous embrace of the GOP establishment and the scorn and distrust of the Party’s right wing.
And ultimately he deserves to be reduced to history’s scrap pile of failed Republican presidential contenders.