The GOP establishment is stupidly acting as if Rick Santorum made a gaffe in being willing to defend marriage before New Hampshire college students. On the contrary, it will help him in New Hampshire, where his job is to beat out Ron Paul for second, and it will help him even more in South Carolina, which is a must-win for him.
In my latest column, I more or less come out for Santorum:
I have not yet endorsed anyone in this presidential race. And unlike some values voters, I am not anti-Mitt Romney. Romney is a fundamentally decent, extremely capable man, who fought hard for marriage in Massachussetts. If he is the GOP nominee, I can vote for him with great good will and a clean conscience.
But when the guy who has taken more hits than any other for standing up for life and marriage fights his way with nobody’s help from nowhere to, well, Tuesday night — you have to cheer.
The left, which thought it had buried Santorum years ago, is going to go after him with a hatred unlike anyone else has yet generated in this race. They hate him with that special ire reserved for his virtues, not his vices.
They will go after him not just to defeat him, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud.
They will not succeed.
I wrote another column recently rebutting the claim that Romney flip-flopped on gay marriage, and I will continue to defend Romney from that charge. But Rick Santorum, with nobody’s help (certainly not mine!), has made himself a contender by appealing to voters as a fearless defender of enduring values.
When a man like Rick, who has been a hero for marriage and life, achieves what he has achieved in Iowa, you have to rally behind him.