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Choose or Lose

By Steve Deace

There are only two Republican candidates who are out of the presidential race come January 4th if they don’t win the January 3rd Iowa Caucuses—and they’re the two candidates Christian pro-family/pro-life voters trust the most.

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum are each working feverishly to appeal to the same sizable stash of undecided (or soft committed) Christian pro-family/pro-life voters in the first in the nation caucus state. However, unless one of them can successfully close the sale to those voters, it is likely the end result will be a Balkanizing of this key constituency that will benefit Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney.

The other end result would be Christian pro-family/pro-life voters failing to take advantage of the most unpopular Democrat incumbent president running for re-election since 1980.

Four years ago a split between grassroots Christian pro-family/pro-life voters who supported Mike Huckabee and their national leadership, many of whom either openly supported Romney or whitewashed his liberal record in Massachusetts, ultimately led to RINO John McCain winning the nomination. This time many Christian pro-family/pro-life leaders are remaining silent or on the sidelines. Without a winsome standard-bearer like Huckabee in the race, many grassroots Christian pro-family/pro-life voters remain undecided.

Bachmann and Santorum are virtually identical to Huckabee on the pro-family and pro-life issues. However, they aren’t openly opposed by groups like Club for Growth, which hammered Huckabee four years ago. The Club for Growth says that Santorum’s record as a U.S. Senator was “above average” on fiscal issues. The group is “confident” Bachmann, who founded the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. Congress, would “be a pro growth president.” The talk radio conservatarians also are much fonder of Bachmann and Santorum than they were Huckabee four years ago.

Yet despite much less skepticism about their adherence to conservative orthodoxy across the issue spectrum than Huckabee had to overcome, Bachmann and Santorum are struggling much more than Huckabee did to put together a coalition capable of winning the Iowa Caucuses and elevating them into national relevancy.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this is the existence of one another.

Four years ago there were other solidly pro-family and pro-life candidates besides Huckabee running for president, but after Sam Brownback dropped out of the race following the Iowa Straw Poll, he was the only candidate seriously attempting to coalesce those people in Iowa. That gave Huckabee a free shot at contrasting himself one-on-one with the flip-flopping Romney, and history records Huckabee won that battle decisively.

Fast forward four years later and Bachmann and Santorum are simultaneously attempting to occupy the same anti-Romney space once owned by Huckabee, and it’s diluting this key voting bloc. Throw in the inroads Gingrich has made with these voters after several acclaimed debate performances and a well-received speech at the 2011 Values Voter Summit, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that there isn’t enough room for both Bachmann and Santorum to both survive and thrive.

Since it’s highly unlikely either Bachmann or Santorum will volunteer between now and January 3rd to drop out of the race and endorse the other, pro-family/pro-life activists in Iowa are probably going to have to help make this decision for them.

This puts an even heavier emphasis on endorsements from respected and recognized leaders like Congressman Steve King and Bob Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY LEADER, because undecided voters are looking for any sign that either Bachmann or Santorum is the trusted pro-family/pro-life field general to coalesce behind. Bachmann has already snagged the endorsement of Tamara Scott, the state coordinator for Concerned Women for America.

In the meantime, voters are conducting a tale of the tape between Bachmann and Santorum. Since both have largely earned the trust of Christian pro-family/pro-life voters, the debate now becomes about what other strengths they bring to the table that distinguishes one from the other.

Electability

Santorum is the only Republican running for president this year that has actually defeated an incumbent Democrat. However, he lost his last re-election campaign in 2006 by 18 points. Santorum hasn’t won an election since 2000, but Bachmann has won seven elections since then (if you count her victory in the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll). Primary polls show both currently mired in single-digits, but a coalescing of social conservatives behind either Bachmann or Santorum would raise their standing from second to first tier.

Bachmann has already had her turn as the GOP’s “flavor of the month” and usually it’s hard to ascend, descend, and then ascend again in the same campaign cycle. Meanwhile, Santorum is the one Republican candidate who has yet to surge. That could mean his surge is still coming, or it’s never coming at all.

Organization

Santorum is the first candidate to visit all of Iowa’s 99 counties, but Bachmann could be the first to have county chairmen in all 99 counties. Of the numerous little birdies I have spoken to in recent days about comparing and contrasting the organizational strength of Bachmann and Santorum, most give the edge to Bachmann.

Tea Party Ties

One little birdie I spoke to who lives outside of Iowa and admires both Bachmann and Santorum said the following: “Bachmann has spent the last four years speaking at Tea Party and pro-life, pro-family events all over the country. They know her already and will work for her. She is also the head of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress. As a leader of a coalition of 25 Tea Party groups, I can attest that Tea Party activists know little about Santorum, but they all know who Bachmann is. We really don’t have the time to educate social conservatives and Tea Party people as to who Santorum is. Time is too short.”

The reason this matters is because while you cannot win the Republican nomination without Christian pro-family/pro-life voters, you also can’t win it with just Christian pro-family/pro-life voters, either, unless you manage to get every single one of them. Barring that miracle, either Bachmann or Santorum will need to rally support from another grassroots faction of Republican primary voters to be a threat to defeat Romney for the nomination.

Illegal Immigration

This is an issue that ranks near the top for a lot of Republican primary voters. Both Bachmann and Santorum opposed the McCain-Kennedy amnesty compromises. But according to Numbers USA, Bachmann is the tougher of the two on illegal immigration. This is another issue that helps a candidate like a Bachmann or a Santorum expand their base of support beyond true-blue Christian pro-family/pro-life voters to form a potential winning coalition.

Right to Work

Iowa has been one of the main battlegrounds for the Right to Work issue the past few years. National Right to Work has spent considerable resources in the first in the nation caucus state fighting pro-union Democrats, and is at least partially to thank for the election of many of the state’s new breed of no-compromise Constitutionalists in the Iowa Legislature.

One thing I learned from the Right to Work people while they were working the state is how little they hide their disdain for Santorum, who opposes a National Right to Work law. Many of these Right to Work people are currently working for or supporting Paul’s presidential campaign. My guess is if they sense a coalescing behind Santorum should threaten Paul’s prospects in the Iowa Caucuses, they will come out guns blazing against Santorum. These are folks who don’t set their phasers on stun.

Experience

Neither Bachmann nor Santorum has a wealth of executive experience, but their legislative experience in Washington makes them among the most well-informed on foreign policy issues.

Intangibles

I’ve said this several times the past six months, but if Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were Governor Michael Bachmann instead, then she’d have a lot better poll numbers. That’s because voters in general are not used to voting for women (let alone legislators) for president. I don’t know a single likely conservative Iowa caucus-goer that doesn’t overall love where she’s at on the issues, but a lot of times those that are the most skeptical about voting for a woman are women. For instance, one objection to voting for a woman I hear from other women is what message will that send the radical Islamists who degrade women? Will that be seen as a sign of weakness on our part? If you think I’m overestimating the gender factor, consider that large pockets of Minnesota are among the most progressive in the country. Yet Bachmann is the first woman that state has ever sent to the U.S. Congress. Iowa never has elected a woman.

Bachmann has also earned a reputation for being repeatedly late to events, something that annoys Iowans that are used to being feted by candidates. That’s the kind of word-of-mouth advertising no candidate needs.

On the plus side, Bachmann probably won the record-turnout Iowa Straw Poll because of her staunch opposition to raising the debt ceiling last summer. Santorum criticized Bachmann for her no-compromise stance on the debt ceiling issue, which clearly most Iowa Caucus voters agreed with.

On the other hand, unless you’re already a Santorum supporter the first two things that immediately come to mind when you hear his name may be Arlen Specter and Christine Todd Whitman. That’s because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about Santorum’s endorsements of these two pro-infanticide RINOs from Iowans. Sometimes it’s almost as if Santorum did nothing else in the U.S. Senate other than those two endorsements.

I also hear Santorum get knocked for talking too much like a legislator and not enough like a president, and many blame that for the reason he’s yet to have his turn as the “flavor of the month.”

Conclusion

If you’re one of the Christian pro-family/pro-life voters who doesn’t want Romney and doesn’t yet trust Gingrich, then you’re looking strongly at Bachmann and Santorum as your champion. Especially since Rick Perry is a virtual non-entity in the state, despite being the only one currently running network TV ads. Perry just hasn’t been able to overcome a slew of disastrous debate performances and gaffes.

If you think your moral conscience can easily justify voting for either Bachmann or Santorum, then the wisest course of action could be to look at secondary factors that distinguishes one from the other—and convince the like minded among you to do the same.

Otherwise, principled pro-family/pro-life voters will split their votes between two principled candidates, and find themselves at the mercy of a flawed process that is all too eager to sell them out.

 



  • hatefalseweight

    Here are the Platform Statements on Family / Marriage and the Sanctity of Life from the Constitution Party website: ( you’ll notice that they are precisely the position Ron Paul takes).

    Family

    We are opposed to amending the U.S. Constitution for the
    purpose of defining marriage.

    No government may legitimately authorize or define marriage
    or family relations, as affirmed by the 10th amendment, delegating to
    the people as our founders understood the family as necessary to the
    general welfare.

    We affirm the importance of Biblical scripture in the founders’ intent
    as eloquently stated by Noah Webster: “The moral principles and
    precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our
    civil constitution and laws… All the miseries and evils which men suffer
    from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war
    proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts in the Bible.”

    The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between one man
    and one woman. The marriage covenant is the foundation of the family,
    and the family is fundamental in the maintenance of a stable, healthy
    and prosperous social order. No government may legitimately authorize or
    define marriage or family relations contrary to what God has
    instituted.

    Sanctity of Life

    We affirm both the authority and duty of Congress to limit the appellate
    jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in all cases of abortion in
    accordance with the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2.

    The pre-born child, whose life begins at fertilization, is a human
    being created in God’s image. The first duty of the law is to prevent
    the shedding of innocent blood. It is, therefore, the duty of all civil
    governments to secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born.

    To that end, the Constitution of these United States was ordained and
    established for “ourselves and our posterity.” Under no circumstances
    may the federal government fund or otherwise support any state or local
    government or any organization or entity, foreign or domestic, which
    advocates, encourages or participates in the practice of abortion. We
    also oppose the distribution and use of all abortifacients.

    We affirm the God-given legal personhood of all unborn human beings,
    without exception. As to matters of rape and incest, it is
    unconscionable to take the life of an innocent child for the crimes of
    his father.

    Defense (green stamp bonus)

    We condemn the presidential assumption of authority to deploy
    American troops into combat without a declaration of war by Congress,
    pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

    Under no circumstances would we commit U.S. forces to serve under any
    foreign flag or command. We are opposed to any New World Order, and we
    reject U.S. participation in or a relinquishing of command to any
    foreign authority.

    The goal of U.S. security policy is to defend the national security
    interests of these United States. Therefore, except in time of declared
    war, for the purposes of state security, no state national guard or
    reserve troops shall be called upon to support or conduct operations in
    foreign theatres.

    ————————-
    Those of us who don’t want to be “fooled again” actually studied the constitution and christian principles undergirding it and simply refuse to vote for anyone who refuses to abide by it.   Mrs. Bachmann and Mr. Santorum don’t come anywhere close to this standard. 

    They just offer more of this pseudo-christo-zio-anglo-globo gobbledgook which will just end up empowering this wicked NWO system.   Why don’t you ask Hucksterberry what he thinks?  Hah!  He’s telling people to vote for the charlatan Romney. 

    • David j Shedlock

      No he isn’t telling people to vote for Romney.  He only suggested that if he is the nominee we shouldn’t set it out.

      Either the platform you chose to highlight was deliberately crafted to support Paul or you are taking it out of context.  All officials have a duty to protect life, not just turn it over to somebody else, such as the states.  Paul also supported the killing of Terri Schiavo.  He is only partial pro-life.

      • Sure he did….

        “Paul also supported the killing of Terri Schiavo.”

        That is a complete lie. He objected to congressional interference with a family matter.

      • hatefalseweight

         What Mr. Hucksterbee should say is this. The formula is very simple.  Take 100,000 Iowa Republicans , become Biblically and constitutionally educated, and throw in $100 each.   That’s $10 milllion.  Give it all to 1 person that meets a threshold of adherence to constitution.  That is their job description, not this rabbit trail of confused “values”.  Find a candidate. Produce one. Many will step forward if they see people are serious.  Save your gas money and time going through all this foolishness.  This isn’t that difficult if one knows what they’re doing in the first place. Rinse, recycle repeat in every state.
         
        If you’re not going to do these minimal requirements for maintaining a free country, then forget it.  You’re causing more harm than good.  You’re going to end up in a satanic police state with war and oppression on your soil.  That’s what these NWO criminals have scheduled for America. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1659912158 Kevin Subra

    Steve, I agree with your article, but you didn’t help me down the path of decision at all. ;>D

    • Anonymous

      I can help you, Kevin. Bachmann is America’s Margaret Thatcher, with her solid record of political and moral clarity and no compromise, which is the only way we survive as a nation. There can be NO DEALS with the enemies of freedom, no thoughts of the next election cycle at decision-making time, and she has always been in this for ALL the right reasons, and would rather NOT serve than compromise her principles.

      • A True Conservative

        Solid record of political and moral clarity my foot. Bachmann voted FOR the extension of the PATRIOT Act and she is pro torture as stated in the foreign policy debate. I’m sorry, but neither of those actions are the actions of someone with political and moral clarity.

      • Mom2riandkayl

        Vicki, I’d love to think she’s America’s Margaret Thatcher, but I found her appearance on Leno very disappointing.  She didn’t stand firm w/ no compromise there.  Also, I think she thinks too much falls under the 10th amendment.  I don’t believe that states have the right to do wrong.  I want to be sold on her, but I just can’t be.  (Plus I’m one of those women who have trouble with the thought of voting for a woman.)  

  • Anonymous

    Steve, your book is titled, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.” I think there are only 2 candidates who have consistently shown they are who they say they are: Paul and Bachmann. Santorum showed he would play the political game and compromise when it suits the elephant suits (yes, I’m talking about his endorsements). Everyone but Paul and Bachmann is a potential “fooler.” But given Paul’s insistence (at the Thanksgiving Family Forum, for example) that the federal government should not weigh in on the major moral issues of the day, and given his willingness to allow our enemies (Iran and, thus, al-Qaida) nuclear capability, that leaves us with only one choice: Bachmann. 

    Now the rubber hits the road. Bachmann is far from presidential. She showed at the Forum that she’s a broken record of a campaigner. She showed during and after the straw poll that she’s a lousy organizer. I cannot see her winning the nomination, and I see her being destroyed by Obama if she did.

    Pragmatism vs. conscience – the great debate in the GOP! 

    I’m still tempted by the all-in position on conscience, the notion that I am accountable to God for my vote, and He is accountable for the results. In other words, “Vote for the right person, and leave the results up to God. If that means Obama is re-elected (gulp!), it is God who ‘sets up kings.’”

    Is that too Calvinistic? Shirking responsibility? Do those principles even hold water in a democracy?

    I don’t know. Thus, I don’t know who to caucus for.

    • hatefalseweight

      Dr. Paul’s position is that of the constitution party – there is much in the way of defunding , restricting judicial tyranny by legislation, issuing executive orders, appointing only attorneys general to the whole country that would ensure that the feds would stand down and not enforce any of the “laws” like FACE or bogus RICO laws that Clinton passed against clinic blockers.  States would have complete freedom, like South Dakota did last term, to end abortion, and ignore any federal rulings to the contrary. 

      You’d reverse the entire labyrinth of funding and enforcement and revert to a 1972 state.  I think you’d find, if you do your homework, that many of the states were passing abortion laws at that time, and Griswold v. Connecticutt brought in the “right to privacy”  over the Pill, not abortion.    If you were going to be serious about the whole issue, all the chemical potions would have to be banned, and you’d see a great deal of the “pro-life” support evaporate.

    • David j Shedlock

      Review, I support your conscience position – vote for Bachmann, if you can’t vote for Santorum.  The problem with Paul is that he is in the political bed with libertarians who hate the protection of the unborn, accept homosexual marriage and are generally pacifist.  Paul may or may not be these things, but those who he is beholden to are.  

      He has already aligned with these folks on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

      • A True Conservative

        You obviously haven’t looked at his FULL voting record. You think he isn’t for protection of the unborn? I would like to direct you to the Sanctity of Life Act, which was killed by the committees that it was sent to, while they were headed by REPUBLICANS.

        As for he opinions on sending the issues to the state level. Have you ever stopped to consider that for the past…. forever…. republicans have been using abortion and now gay marriage as just ways to get elected. If they really had the desire to make strides they had the opportunity under Bush Jr and Dr. Paul bringing back the Sanctity of Life Act, but they failed because its not a true issue for them its a way to be elected. If you think anything will be done at the federal level anytime soon when a state like Mississippi won’t pass a personhood amendment you are a fool. The only way any action will be taken on either issue is if the states are allows to stop the abominations.

        The US was founded with the idea of being pacifist in all things except a direct threat to the US. Learn history.

        Don’t ask, Don’t tell was a gimmick to make conservatives feel good and at the time it was passed pissed most of them off. I agree that action was/is needed but DADT was not it.

  • A True Conservative

    I’m sorry I wont support Warmongers, people that believe torture is acceptable or anyone that supports the freedom killing PATRIOT Act. If your values include unnecessary wars, torture and elimination of our freedoms then yes, one of these two will be great.

    If you believe that that torture is immoral, that we aren’t the worlds police and that we have a duty to preserve the freedoms that have been so hard fought for you MUST support Dr. Ron Paul.

    • hatefalseweight

      What’s wrong with you? It says right in the Bible that when someone flees to a city of refuge , he should be taken out and drowned , till he confesses to anything you wish to accuse him of, no witnesses needed.  Actually, it says just drone-bomb the city of refuge and kill him and dozens around him, no witnesses or judicial hearing necessary.

      And you print money out of thin air and make the drones with this stolen money and then charge the citizens the bill for this practice and turn them into tribute paying
      wage-slaves and debt peons when they can no longer pay the freight.  And then eventually start droning them, too, when they complain.

  • P Tanner1

    So…. Who do YOU support? Have you made up your mind? 

    • hatefalseweight

       For anyone with a thorough understanding of history and the Constitution, this should have taken about 2 seconds to make a decision.    Why don’t you ask people who are closer to 78 (than 38)  that didn’t vote for the Bushes , Doles, or any of the other globalist phonies and weren’t fooled and didn’t need to go around asking the rest of the fooled what the problem is?

  • Susie

    I really have a good feeling about Michele B!! Let’s get behind this women -  people! It’s the right TIME!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1481354920 Craig Bergman

    I think you draw the entirely wrong conclusion from most of the correct data.  But your opening sentence explains the error.

    Bachmann and Perry are out on January 4th.  Santorum is the only one of the three who can stay in just by exceeding his weak expectations. Cain too is on very rocky ground and a 4th or 5th place finish by Cain is political death.

    We could go into New Hampshire with a Paul, Romney, Gingrich and Santorum being the last men standing.

    Under that plan, Paul is capped and will not do as well in New Hampshire as in Iowa.  So any delusions the non kool aid drinkers may have will be dispelled heading into South Carolina.

    Santorum’s best great hope is a firewall and a serious grassroots push there.  If anyone of them could make the case you are trying to make, this is it.  This is the only hail Mary out there.  The rest are punts or turnover on downs.

  • David j Shedlock

    Steve, the truth is that the intangibles are also a mixed bag. Unless one of the sacrifices for the country, they will split the vote.

  • Jill

    Look you know both of them well enough Steve to have them both on your show. You had had them on your show separately.

    Call them up and tell them that you want them to DEBATE EACH OTHER.  Tell them that you do archive your shows and there is enough pro-family people out there to make links to the debate go viral. 

    Tell them it is just going to be the two of them but it will be face to face.  It will be debate structured where you and the Amen corner will ask the questions and there will be a chance for both of them to ask questions of each others. And yeah, it will be tough and rough and messy because that is what the winner would have to face with Obama anyway. 

    Three Hours. Gosh that is more than an hour a piece (assuming ads and the questions themselves and yeah I am totally lowballing it)

    Would they not accept that?

  • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com Shane Vander Hart

    In that same discussion you linked to regarding Right to Work, he said he would sign right-to-work legislation if it came to his desk.