If you think Rick Santorum can get independents, go for it, folks. Senator Santorum, who enjoyed a magnificent triumph in three states last night, deserves a lot of credit, as he would no doubt be the first to tell you, for hanging in there. He has been impressive in recent debates. And a grateful nation thanks Mr. Santorum for seemingly having dispatched Newt Gingrich back under his bridge, at least for the time being. But last night was not good for the Republican party. I think the voters last night were acting like my favorite Cousin Harry, who yearns for a “real conservative” and refers to Mitt Romney as McCain (a McCain presidency is looking pretty good right now; it was during the campaign, not a presidency, that McCain lost his nerve). Mitt Romney speaks conservatism like a second language — that is because it is a second language for him. Is that such a bad thing? Sure, he needed somebody to tell him not to flaunt that coveted Bob Dole endorsement. He needs to quickly absorb some of the language and ideas that are first nature to movement types (e.g., Walter Williams is good on the minimum wage, Mitt). I hate it when others beat me to ideas that I’ve been playing with, but William Tucker did the other day, proposing that Romney, with his temperament, could be another Ronald Reagan. With a conservative Congress, the sky is the limit. In a way, Santorum has replaced Gingrich as the conservative feel-good candidate. As I said, if you think he can win in November, be my guest. I worry that he doesn’t have the kind of broad appeal needed to beat even a disaster like Barack Obama.
— Charlotte Hays is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.