So this may be it. That’s the smart money. Actually it’s been the smart money for quite some time that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for President in 2012. And there are going to be a lot of responses to that reality. There are going to be the anti-Mitt types who will now consolidate around Newt Gingrich. Others will light up the airwaves and blogosphere pushing for a brokered convention.
But before any of that happens, I think it’s completely appropriate to take a little time to praise the efforts of one who might be the biggest surprise of the entire election season: Rick Santorum. I’ve made no secret of my support of Santorum for some time. I think he’s stood alone, at times, in this race and prior in pointing courageously to the breakdown of the American family and the decay of our nation’s moral fiber as the root of all of our problems.
Libertarians have wrongly accused him of wanting to govern people’s bedrooms. Liberals have attacked him in some of the most disgusting and depraved ways imaginable. They have attacked him personally by making up slang definitions for his name. They have attacked his family, laughing at he and his wife for the way they dealt with the tragic death of their infant child. They have knocked his priorities as he dealt with the concerns of a special needs child while on the campaign trail. And through it all, Santorum has fought valiantly for the cause of truth. In many ways, Republican primary voters – led by a strong conservative contingent – rewarded him for it.
And by rewarded, I mean transformed him from an also-ran joke candidate to the viable alternative to a vastly better financed and organized presumptive front-runner. He made Mitt Romney sweat it out. He made Mitt Romney a better candidate. He strengthened the Republican Party, and by extension the country.
And, as I would totally expect, Santorum left the race with dignity and with class:
After calling Mitt Romney Tuesday to say he is ending his presidential campaign, Rick Santorum announced the end of his presidential campaign during a press conference in Pennsylvania, his home state.
"We will suspend our campaign effective today," Santorum said in Gettysburg, Pa.
Few thought Santorum would make it this far.
Few indeed. And that’s what made Santorum special. It was the strength of his ideas, the relentlessness of his spirit, and the power of his convictions that propelled him as far as this. I look forward to his name being on the Indiana ballot where at least one more conservative voter who understands the critical role public morality and family strength play in saving America, will get a chance to vote for him.