The Corner

Santorum and Social Conservatives

Very little of Maggie Gallagher’s rambling post is at all responsive to anything I wrote. I didn’t say that Santorum’s stance on social issues had particularly alienated women, for example, so I have no idea who Gallagher thinks she’s arguing with in denying it. Nor do I see the point of her closing cliche: “It’s up to the voters.” Of course it’s up to the voters. Who denies that it’s up to the voters?

On one point, however, we really do have a disagreement. I do not believe that social conservatives would be committing “suicide” if they decided that Santorum’s approach to the social issues is the wrong one. Of course, reaching that conclusion would require us to view him not as our “hero” but as a politician who has both good and bad qualities and should be evaluated without sentiment or illusion.

P. S. I do think it is peculiar for Santorum supporters to say that he’s really a terrific politician and complain that it’s only all the spending against him that has caused him to suffer defeats. Does Gallagher think that Democrats will be too sporting to run negative ads against Santorum if he is the nominee?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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