Payne: Not Romney ends campaign

Posted by hpayne on April 10, 2012

Not Romney, a former senator from Pennsylvania, suspends campaign.

That’s how every headline should read in today’s news that Rick Santorum has thrown in his sweater vest. This GOP nomination was never about Santorum vs. Romney. It was about a conservative party desperately searching for someone other than pre-race favorite Mitt Romney to ride its 2010 tea party momentum to the presidency. Why? Because Mitt Romney is a seriously – if not fatally – flawed party nominee.

It is an irony of history that at a pivotal moment when the GOP needed a general to lead the country against government-imposed medicine – it got a general who had fought for government-imposed medicine.

And so Republicans searched for Not Romney. The two most serious Not Romneys – Governors Mitch Daniels and Rick Perry – disappointed. Daniels ran away. Perry ran like a newborn filly.

Bachmann, Pawlenty, Cain, Gingrich, Santorum. All fell short. My favorite Santorum moment came during the Michigan primary, when Romney was scrambling to win his birth state despite a massive ground game including endorsements from every major GOPer in the Mitten. Not-Romney – er, Santorum – came into the state three weeks before the primary leading in the polls but with no ground game. When I called around to get a MIView column from a Santorum surrogate, a state legislator, or businessman, somebody. . . I was told there was none. Only Chuck Yob came to Santorum’s aid. And he was stolen from the Gingrich campaign because Newt declined to campaign here! That was how fly-by-night the Santorum campaign was. And how weak a GOP candidate Romney is.

Santorum was simply the last man standing. Now he has taken his seat on the bench to cheer for Mitt against the Obama machine. “Mitt, Mitt, that’s our cheer. How the hell did we wind up here?”

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