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Rick Santortoise & the Hares: Will Slow-and-Steady Santorum Win the Caucus Race?

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by Andy Alexander

Last Thursday at the FOX News debate in Sioux City, the first question asked of Senator Rick Santorum was why he has “failed to catch fire with the voters” in spite of the fact that he has spent more time than any other candidate and has already visited every county in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

His response, “I’m counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me. That’s what this plan was all about from day one.”

The plan? Slow, steady, calculated. No flash, no buzz, no hype. Just good, old-fashioned work.

Work that involves visiting all 99 counties and having almost 350 town hall meetings here in Iowa. For the last nine months or so, the former Pennsylvania Senator has been crisscrossing the state of Iowa allowing the voters of Iowa to “kick the tires and ask the hard questions.”

We’re organizing,” Santorum said, “We have a very clear message. That’s the thing that’s going to pay off for us in the end. And we present a clear contrast that really nobody else in this race does.”

Nobody gives him a chance (at least nobody that “matters”). No one in the mainstream media is talking about him (at least not positively). But Rick Santortoise just keeps on running.

And what about the “hares”?

Hare #1: Mitt Romney

Romney, who entered this race as the favorite, and seemed to be on top for so long, just can’t seem to get over the 20% hump, and that’s on a national level. His performance here in the state of Iowa is bound to be less than his national polling status considering the fact that he has continued to dodge the state, choosing to spend neither time nor money here. That overconfident attitude will undoubtedly make a difference at the January 3rd finish line.

Hare #2: Tim Pawlenty

Remember him? That’s right, the other half of the “Minnesota Twins”. T-Paw hit the ground running early on here in Iowa. He seemed to be doing everything right. Laying the all-important foundational structure, hiring important people, Buying the ads, sending the mailers, shaking the hands and kissing the babies. But after a dismal straw poll showing, the Minnesota governor decided it was time to bow out of this race.

Hare #3: Michele Bachmann

Bachmann peaked leading up to her Iowa Straw Poll victory. Shortly afterwards however, she took the proverbial nap and has struggled to recover in this race ever since. In fact, following the big Iowa Straw Pool weekend, Bachmann made just one visit in five weeks to her former home state of Iowa. Will she be able to regain the lost ground? Only time will tell, but time is in short supply.

Hare #4: Rick Perry

The Texas governor made his triumphal entry into this race on the same day as the Iowa Straw Poll and managed to steal some of Bachmann’s victorious thunder. But then came the debates. To sum it up in a word, “Oops.” All of that early momentum came to a screeching halt. In hindsight, sleeping during the debates might have actually been a better idea.

Hare #5: Herman Cain

The Hermanator started this race early, making appearances in Iowa clear back in February. His oratory abilities and his “common-sense solutions” propelled him to front-runner status. But once he became a serious contender the attacks started flying. The questionable reactions to these allegations exposed the novice nature of the Cain campaign. The stumbles and ultimate collapse were inevitable.

Hare #6: Newt Gingrich

Cain’s exit from the race opened the door for the former Speaker to take the baton and surge ahead. Many Iowans were wooed by his intellect and logical political thought process. But they soon realized that he uses the same silver tongue to seduce the people on the opposite side of our issues (i.e. stem cell research, abortion, global warming, amnesty, etc…). And just this past weekend, attack ads from the Paul and Romney campaigns started rolling and Gingrich has so far been laying down on the side of the road catching some Z’s. Combine that with the lack of a grassroots structure and you have a rapid decrease of his lead.

Hare #7: Ron Paul

The latest public policy poll shows Ron Paul being the benefactor of the recent stumbles in the Gingrich campaign. The poll shows that he is now polling at 23%. As with most of Ron Paul’s poll numbers, these appear to be grossly inflated based upon support from non-typical sources. Most notably voters that identify as either Democrats or independents. Neither of those groups are likely to trudge through the snow and cold on January 3rd, stand in line to register as a Republican just so they can vote in the caucus.

Santorumentum: Latin for, “So You’re Sayin’ There’s a Chance?”

Over the past few weeks Rick Santorum has landed some major endorsements that could help propel him over the finish line and into a top-3 finish. One of those endorsements came in early November from Chuck Laudner, a long-time mover and shaker in Iowa grassroots politics. Laudner takes a similar approach to politics as Senator Santorum: Hard work. And that may have been a contributing factor to solidify Laudner’s decision.

It’s a matter of trust,” Laudner said when asked for his explanation of his decision. “Santorum is not only a full-spectrum conservative, but he’s had actual conservative victories in his career.  I’m not looking for someone who checks the pro-life box on a survey. I want a pro-life hero who has been in the arena moving the ball.”  Laudner added, “He’s earned my vote. His conservative credentials and a 99-county tour deserve all our support. He looked me in the eye and asked for my vote.”

Laudner has spent the last month or so traveling the state to round up his network of troops for Santorum’s campaign.

The same day of the Laudner endorsement, conservative blogger/pastor/political activist, Shane Vander Hart came out with a list of 10 reasons why he will also be caucusing for Santorum.

Another huge endorsement came from influential, evangelical pastor, Cary Gordon of Sioux City. Pastor Gordon and Chuck Laudner, were two of the driving forces behind the ousting of the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices in the 2010 retention election. Laudner on the political, grassroots front, while Gordon addressed the pastors of Iowa by leading an effort called “Project Jeremiah.” Gordon sent a letter to more than 1,000 Iowa churches calling for the removal of the state supreme court justices who played a role in a unanimous 2009 decision that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa.

But it hasn’t been just pastors and grassroots political activists trying to help Santorum to an Iowa victory. Matt Schultz, Iowa’s very popular, up-and-coming Secretary of State, decided two weeks ago to support Rick Santorum saying that the Senator “is a strong advocate for faith, family, and freedom. He has a solid track record as a social and fiscal conservative from his time serving in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. As a Republican from a blue state, he has the experience to win in tough elections. Senator Santorum shares my core conservative principles and I believe he should be the Republican candidate to take on President Obama.”

Like Santorum, Schultz knows what it is like to be the underdog. In his 2010 race, few gave him a chance to win even the primary race. That would not deter Schultz. He relied heavily on a grassroots network to propel him to victory. Now, he hopes to become part of the boost to the finish line for Rick Santorum.

Santorum just keeps adding to his tail wind. In the days following the Matt Schultz announcement, two more prominent Iowa pastors backed the Senator. Walnut Creek Community Church pastor, Terry Amann, a former Mike Huckabee supporter and worker, as well as retired Assemblies of God pastor, Albert Calaway of Indianola both indicated their approval of Santorum.

Pastor Amann said of Rick Santorum, “By visiting all 99 counties in our state, Rick Santorum has proven that he will do whatever it takes to get the job done. He will be a refreshing change in Washington. He is exactly what we need in a president. I urge all Iowans to carefully consider giving your support to Rick Santorum.”

And Reverend Calaway took it to another level asking Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to endorse Santorum for the January 3rd Iowa Caucus. “There’s absolutely, positively no divine power vested in me for this, but if I had it, I’d personally love to pronounce Rick and Michele as lawfully wedded running mates,” Calaway told the Des Moines Register

But…He Can’t Win”

In a recent campaign swing through the northwest Iowa town of Storm Lake, Michele Bachmann’s husband Marcus told an Iowa voter that he should not caucus for Rick Santorum because “Santorum can’t win.”

The voter, Andy Wobbema of Storm Lake, replied to the persuasion attempt saying, “I’m not necessarily looking for the person who can win, I’m looking for the best candidate.”

If the Santorum campaign had a caucus voter for every time the phrase, “I like Santorum, but…he can’t win,” has been uttered over the past nine months, the race would already be over and January 3rd would be a mere formality.

The idea that Santorum can’t win seems to be coming from his dismal poll numbers. I spoke with Santorum’s Iowa Campaign director, Cody Brown, and asked him about what they are seeing. According to their internal data, objectively, over 50% of Iowa Caucus goers are yet undecided. “January 3rd is the only poll that matters,” Brown said. If any one candidate can secure half of those undecided voters, they could easily walk away with the victory come caucus night.

It’s still wide open here in Iowa,” Brown said. “Iowans shouldn’t pay attention to the polls, but they should pick someone they believe in, and someone who lines up with their worldview. Rick Santorum is that candidate. He has proven that he knows how to get things done and our message is resonating with Iowans,” Brown added.

The 99 county tour and grassroots efforts of the Santorum campaign is starting to pay dividends. Santorum’s organizers have secured supporters at almost every caucus location in the state. “This gives us a huge strategic advantage,” boasted Brown.

People Vote, Polls Don’t

Another problem with this whole “He can’t win” notion is that the polls don’t vote, the people of Iowa do. And the people of Iowa are starting to take a liking to Santorum.

At last Wednesday’s premiere of Mike Huckabee’s Pro-Life Documentary, The Gift of Life, the Former Arkansas Governor encouraged the attendees to take note of the candidates that took the time to be a part of the event. While he understood the busyness of campaigning, he also commented that the four who were there: Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum made it a priority. Although Huckabee stopped short of making an endorsement he pointed out that these four candidates endorse life.

Of the four candidates, Santorum received the largest ovation from the Hoyt Sherman Theater’s capacity crowd. His speech brought laughter and tears from the pro-life audience.

After the candidates gave their stump speeches only two stayed for the screening of the film: Gingrich and Santorum.

The scene that followed those on the screen were quite interesting. The cameras and reporters flocked around Gingrich, while the vast majority of the common folk were drawn to Santorum. Once Gingrich departed, the cameras descended upon Santorum like vultures on roadkill. Following the interview with the press in the foyer people were still wanting to shake the Senator’s hand and express their gratitude for his moving speech. It would not be a stretch to say that if there were a caucus taken among the crowd that night, Rick Santorum would have won in a landslide.

Can The FAMiLY LEADER’s Leaders Make Santorum the GOP Leader?

Yesterday, Santorum landed two huge endorsements, Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER, and Chuck Hurley, President of the Iowa Family Policy Center, the education division of The FAMiLY LEADER.

These endorsements may be the confirmation that many undecided social conservatives here in Iowa have been waiting for. During his remarks, Vander Plaats mentioned that he feels that Iowans are looking for leadership in helping them decide which one of the strong, pro-life, pro-family candidates to support, while also minimizing his role of “king-maker”.

Hurley echoed the sentiments of Rev. Calaway that there would be a coalescing between the pro-life, pro-family candidates in the race.

After the announcement, the aforementioned Iowa Secretary of State, Matt Schultz tweeted to Iowa Congressman Steve King, “Hey @SteveKingIA, it’s time to get in the game and join me and Team @RickSantorum.”

It’s time for more Iowa caucus voters to help thrust Senator Santorum over the finish line to an Iowa Caucus victory on January 3rd.

Andy Alexander is a guest contributor to stevedeace.com and a Rick Santorum supporter.



  • http://profiles.google.com/chad.steenhoek Chad Steenhoek

    Nice article Mr. Alexander.  Keep up the good work.

  • Reuben Andreessen

    Rick Santorum has a solid record as U.S. Senator. He merits serious consideration for support in his run for the Presidency.

    • ME

      He has a solid record as a U.S. Senator of being a big government neoCon, nothing like ignoring the Constitution on a regular basis…. The ONLY good thing about him are his views on social issues, but his “fix” for the issues are flawed.

      • Mark

        …Nothing like making sweeping, incendiary remarks without any FACTS or substance to back them up.  If you’re going to accuse someone of “ignoring the Constitution on a regular basis” you’d better provide credible examples to support your claim.  Otherwise you’re no different from the Lamestream Media.  If you have actual facts, I would like to hear them.

        • James

          Patriot Act, Federal Prescription Drug Benefits, No Child Left Behind, Going to war without a declaration of war by congress.

        • Me

          Im sorry, things that are common knowledge shouldn’t have to be referenced; however since you apparently didn’t pay any attention to his time in the Senate.

          As James covered below: PATRIOT Act, Prescription Drug Benefit, No Child Left Behind, undeclared war.

          A Data Mining Amendment to S. 1753 (National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act of 2003)

          Support for federal aid to farmers and food aid. H.R. 2673 in 2003 (ie. stealing your money and my money and redistributing it, same thing as welfare)

          Support for excessive spending measures, if Bush wanted money Santorum was right there to say ok. (2004 Omnibus appropriations, 2005 budget, etc.)

          NICS Compliance Act.

          The list goes on….

          Santorum is nothing but a big government NeoCon. The only difference between him and Obama are how they go about screwing over the people.

  • James

    Rick Santorum endorsed pro-abortion Arlen Spector over more conservative pro-life Pat Toomey.

    • Scott M

      And as a result, Rick Santorum made sure that GWB got to appoint two super conservative Supreme Court Justices.  And Pat Toomey made it to the Senate later anyways.  How is this a bad outcome?

      • James

        Because the Supreme has no right to tell the rest of the nation and states that abortion is ok. So why have we wasted 30 plus years on this merry-go round while millions of babies are butchered? We have lost the battle because we have conceeded our natural right to life to 9 justices.
        I have voted pro-life my whole life and at the Federal Level zippo has been accomplished except passing on millions of votes with no result. We need to battle this at the bottom up and start saving lives immediately. Rick is just like every other conventional pro-life candidate submit to ‘sodom and gomorrah’ (DC) to tell us what morality is.  

  • http://twitter.com/Alexander_ThGr8 Andy Alexander
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shirley-Freeman/1680934935 Shirley Freeman

    A great story. But, Rick Santorum, the candidate with the quiet power we can trust, has made brilliant, all-out plans to restore Made in Amerca–our good-paying manufacturing jobs. Those jobs, with energy and construction jobs,will again provide a path for the unemployed without college degrees to work and enter the prosperity of the Middle Class…in a restored, prosperous United States. That’s not slow! It requries Rick’s steady, consistent, rugged leadership, but it’s inspiring! This plan along with Rick’s plans to cut taxes for families and strengthen marriage, cut $5 Trillion from our deficit in 5 years, audit the Federal Reserve, encourage tort reform in the states and implement it in Federal agencies, cut and simplify taxes overall, reduce regulations to common sense levels …these plans are moving America! These plans can ignite our country with renewed hope and confidence!

  • Anonymous

    I have a question for Andy. Lets say pretty soon Rick doesn’t get enough support and decides to drop out. Does he endorse Mitt Romney like he did 4 years ago? And lets say that Bachmann is still in the race, and right before Super Tuesday he goes on TV and endorses Romney. Do you think he would do that again like he did to Huckabee 4 years ago?

  • Anonymous

    You credit Ron Paul’s support to: “Most notably voters that identify as either Democrats or independents.”  I have a message to you — any candidate who has a prayer of beating Obama next year will need to get a good portion of the independent vote – that’s a fact.  How many independents support Rick Santorum?  How many Democrats have said that they can’t wait to cross over and support Santorum?  I would also think that political donations and support from the US military would also be wanted, if you want to claim that our fighting men and women support the foreign policy initiatives of a Presidential Candidate.  Who does our military support 2 to 1 over all other Republican candidates combined?  The answer shouldn’t really be all that shocking. 

  • Mikewest

    I believe our Lord and commander has given us
    crystal clear instructions for this very moment in time concerning the upcoming
    elections in the following scriptures.

    “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the
    people ABLE MEN, such as FEAR GOD, MEN OF TRUTH, HATING
    COVETEOUSNESS…” (Exodus 18:21)

    “Take you WISE MEN, and UNDERSTANDING,
    and KNOWN AMONG YOUR TRIBES,
    and I will make them rulers over you. “ (Deuteronomy 1:13)

    Sadly, the mistake most Christians make today is by ignoring
    these clear and specific scriptures above. Instead they will draw deep lines in
    the sand over particular shared VALUES and ISSUES versus making a
    candidate’s RELATIONSHIP with Christ the top priority. This often
    compromised requirement should be first, foremost and non-negotiable. Surely it
    would be the same model for choosing a wife, husband, business partner, church
    leader, and most importantly how God Himself will chose one day whether we are
    allowed to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    The confusion comes from theologians who wrongfully justify
    this elevation of values over relationship based on the “no religious test for
    office” clause in the constitution. However, this man-made document’s main
    purpose is to restrain the gov’t not the people. It’s because of this very
    clause that protects our individual right to have a religious test! When you
    think about it, everyone has a religious test. We all choose to worship someone
    or something.

    Back to looking at the verses
    above, these are just a few of the many reasons I place Dr. Ron Paul as the choice
    of any serious Christian voter.

    1.     
    As a real constitutional scholar and avid
    student of our founder’s vision of a very, very, very limited federal gov’t,
    he’s quite “ABLE” to keep his
    oath of office. As someone who takes his oaths very seriously, he will no doubt
    actually uphold the constitution in its original intent. Based on his years of
    public service, he has shown nothing but respect and unwavering loyalty to this
    providential document.

    As the only Austrian economist
    that supports gov’t accountability and individual responsibility, he’s clearly
    the only one able to really change
    this economic crisis by exiting the wars, the wicked United Nations &
    International Monetary Fund. I also believe by truly limiting the gov’t, the
    Church will be set free to be unlimited and will be indirectly assisted into
    another great national revival.

    2.     
    As a seasoned congressional leader who’s notably
    known as “Dr. No” for his willingness to stand alone based on his personal
    convictions, He’s shown time and time again to be a man that “FEARS GOD” more so than mortal
    men of his own party or constituency.

    3.     
    Dr. Paul has proven over the years to a solid “MAN OF TRUTH”. His life’s record of
    honesty to his family and the many people he has served is impeccable, widely
    respected and without comparison to his peers. As a humble born again follower
    of “The Truth” Jesus Christ, he refuses to go around proudly proclaiming his
    righteousness in order to gain political favor. Unlike the many politicians of
    our day who conveniently give deceptive, insincere, and pompous speeches filled
    with self-righteous God-talk designed to fool gullible Christians. Verifiable
    actions need to precede words.

    4.     
    If there was ever an ISSUE that needs further
    exploration and expansion by the Christian community this is it! “HATING COVETEOUSNESS”. Here Dr.
    Paul has teed off like no other modern day Christian Statesman by countless
    stands against one political group taking from another. He’s clearly against
    Obama’s Social Welfare in taxing the rich to give to the poor. And on the flip
    side, he’s against Republican Corporate Welfare that takes from the poor tax
    payers and bails out wall-street bankers. He has been a giant congressional watchdog
    in advocating contentment across the board.

    5.      MEN or Male

    Like all other ordained
    institutions including the family and Church, God’s highest standard is clearly
    for men to take the lead.

    Finally, in researching and looking over Dr.
    Ron Paul’s life-long commitments to his faith, family and 30 year record of
    humble Christian service, it appears that no one comes closer to matching up to
    these 5 specific gold standards from Jehthro.

    However, if you are like some that just
    can’t get past some secondary “issue”. I would strongly recommend what Dr. Paul
    said at a recent debate. He was asked “what one book would you recommend for every
    citizen to read?” he responded aside from religion and more specifically
    dealing with civil gov’t and politics, he said “The Law” written by Frederick
    Bastiat in 1850 during the years leading up to the French revolution. It’s a
    classic book on the ideas of preserving individual liberty and freedom by
    restraining governmental socialism. It goes back to the “old path” and thoughts
    of our founding fathers and their vision of America. He is absolutely right in
    promoting this book that clarifies a lot of civil issues, in my mind it lines
    up with everything I know to be scriptural.

  • Ethan

    Mikewest, you speak out of both sides of your mouth or in other words, you cannot have it both ways.  Either you embrace the Truth of the Bible or you embrace the Constitution as the means test for standing for chief magistrate of a nation.  One cannot say that Dr. Paul is qualified because of his gender then, turn around, to support the same candidate who stands outside of the same Law that you believe he represents.  The Scripture does not leave it to Dr. Paul to be lukewarn on the issues of homosexuality, sodomy, shedding of innocent blood, or the practice of witchcraft (legalized hallucinogens). The Scripture clearly condems such practices. His “leave it to the states” attitude is unacceptable.  On the other hand, the Bible qualitfications for a civil magistrate (a minister of justice) or Chief Magistrate (a name given to OPUS) is gender neutral -Deborah-. The qualifications are to Fear of the Lord; knoweldge of the Law; hater of bribes; and able to adjudicate without prejudice.  The benefit of Michele  Bachmann, sir, is that you won’t have to make excuses, or apology or offer an explanation on January 4th to your neighbor or the Lord, for that matter, at the Judgement Seat of Christ.