The Corner

Santorum. . .

He started this campaign basically with his convictions and a shoestring. He got amazingly far, all things considered. He came within a few points of dealing Romney a grievous blow in Michigan and upending the race. But he never had the money and organization to compete with Romney–and those things matter. Despite his working-class pitch, he was never able to extend his reach enough beyond his evangelical base. At times his message was compelling and fresh, but by the end it seemed to boil down to a critique of Romneycare (and increasingly over-the-top attacks on Romney). The downside to his passion and sincerity was a lack of discipline and a weakness for bluster. For all those reasons, he couldn’t catch Romney. But Santorum is a man of principle who lives his convictions and is never afraid to defend them. He believes deeply in the American idea. That he was able to do so well based almost entirely on off-the-cuff remarks throughout the campaign is a testament to his experience and his knowledge of the issues. He takes politics seriously. His argument that the breakdown in the family is undermining economic mobility and the America dream is important and too-often neglected. Finally, he had the grace to know when to bow out. Altogether, he should exit with his head held high. He came up short, but he was in the arena and fought valiantly.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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