Santorum To Collapse Just Like the Others Before Him

Previously by Dave Trotter: Beware of GOP False Flag Chicanery at the Iowa Caucuses

And now, a completely obvious prediction: Rick Santorum, the latest "anybody but Romney" Flavor of the Month, will see his numbers collapse unceremoniously before the South Carolina primary — just like Bachmann, Perry, Cain, and Gingrich before him.

After all, if Gingrich's conservative bona fides weren't sufficient for limited-government conservative voters, even casual scrutiny of Santorum's record of big government spending should prove to be particularly damaging with the same group. While ensconced in senatorial power, Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind, the $1 Trillion prescription drug benefit, and the Iraq war, for starters. And like Gingrich, Santorum’s also “not a lobbyist.”

What will undoubtedly offend evangelicals, upon discovery, is that Santorum notoriously supported the "pro-choice" Arlen Specter for reelection against the much more conservative, pro-life primary challenger Pat Toomey in 2004. Some have argued that Toomey's credible primary challenge against establishment incumbent Specter was the precursor to the rise of Tea Party candidates nationally. Given the chance to buck the Republican establishment as exemplified by George W. Bush, and throw in behind upstart Toomey, Santorum chose instead to scuttle the infancy of limited-government conservative revolution.

Santorum, it should be clear, is an establishment man — just like Romney.

Before he was summarily ejected from office in 2006, Santorum doubled down on George W. Bush's notion of "compassionate conservatism." In a long-belated response to Hillary Clinton's controversial book It Takes a Village, which offends by promoting secular statist dominion over American children at the expense of the family, Santorum wrote It Takes a Family — promoting religious-statist intervention into American family life — all to promote an eerily similar "common good," or as others have described it, "Communitarian Conservatism."

Rick Santorum is no Tea Party candidate, nor does his record reflect any allegiance to limited government principles.

Of course one must also award War Party credit where it's due: amidst a cluttered primary field of foaming interventionist neoconservatives, Santorum's hyperbolic fear mongering over Iran's infantile nuclear ambitions distinguished him during the debates — as an even more enthusiastic warmonger than most. He's seemingly never met a potential international conflict that he didn't embrace — Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Iran — and he's also an outspoken proponent of the domestic police state, voting for the Patriot Act, its repeated reauthorization, as well as the formation of Big Sis.

In terms of foreign policy and the domestic security state, Santorum presents no significant differences from Romney — or Obama.

In the general election against Obama, however, Santorum's prospects dim further. As an outspoken, big government "social conservative," Santorum stands very little chance of garnering support from liberals and independents. His foreign policy views won't gain anti-war moderate, liberal, or otherwise independent supporters from Obama, as Ron Paul would. Considering Santorum's shrill cries to launch yet another unconstitutional war with Iran, it's inconceivable that Ron Paul supporters would support him as the Republican nominee, if Gary Johnson is available on the ballot as the Libertarian Party candidate.

Of course none of this matters after Iowa, where Santorum's timely, inexplicable surge helped accomplish precisely the GOP establishment's immediate desire: that Ron Paul not win the Iowa caucuses.

Nevertheless, as Ron Paul noted in his Iowa concession speech, only two frontrunners emerged from Iowa with sufficient strength to continue to prosecute a successful national campaign: Paul and Romney. Ron Paul raised $13 million during the fourth quarter of 2011, $5 million more than he raised in the third quarter and his fundraising shows no signs of abating.

Furthermore, despite officially coming in third in Iowa, Ron Paul is currently tied in the delegate count with Romney and Santorum, with seven "soft-pledged" delegates each. The Iowa caucus results are non-binding, meaning that delegates can ultimately support whomever they like, regardless the caucus results. Paul's supporters who volunteered to be Iowa county delegates will play a direct role in determining how the state's delegates are allotted, part of a larger Paul strategy to force a long nominating process by concentrating on caucus states. The race is far from over, and Ron Paul will have funds to compete until the convention.

Where will things go from here?

Two dynamics have proven consistent thus far, making some predictions easy. (1) Aversion to Mitt Romney will likely continue amongst Republican primary voters, leading to the incessant rotation of the "anybody but Romney" Flavors of the Month. (Santorum's rise as the newest GOP Flavor of the Month, therefore, portends his imminent fall.) (2) The GOP establishment will continue to actively organize to prevent Ron Paul from winning state primary contests.

As a "social conservative," Santorum isn't expected to do well in New Hampshire, and I'm betting that scrutiny of his record will render him obsolete as an option before South Carolina. So who will serve as the next "totally unexpected" GOP establishment spoiler, to enable a Romney victory in New Hampshire and relegate Paul to third? The likely and obvious candidate is Jon Huntsman, who skipped Iowa and is already getting mainstream press about "pulling a Rick Santorum."

New Hampshire still uses the same institutionally vulnerable Diebold electronic voting machines as in 2008, so the odds of GOP establishment chicanery are even higher than in Iowa. After all, the establishment that Ron Paul threatens remains firmly in control of the levers and dials of the pollsters and the voting machines.

If Huntsman indeed serves the role of Romney-enabler in New Hampshire, as the new-new Flavor of the Month for the soon-to-be deposed Santorum, expect for him to yield to yet another establishment candidate by South Carolina. Perhaps Perry makes a momentary resurgence?

If the GOP establishment has its ultimate wish fulfilled, each primary will winnow the field a touch further, never yielding a significant victory to Ron Paul — and more importantly, never forcing an acknowledgement of the public's war-weariness — until in the very end, the "inevitability" of Mitt Romney is finally "proven" — through an exhaustive process of elimination.

In this vision, Romney v. Obama, the establishment presents to the American electorate the false "choice" between virtual mirror images: banker-owned warmonger R and banker-owned warmonger D. The military-industrial complex, big insurance, big pharma, big oil corporatists, and other crony collectivists will rejoice, regardless the outcome.

The American people will win more of the same in this story: more war, more debt, more groping, more surveillance, a former world reserve currency, and the ruins of a bankrupt empire.

The onus is apparently on Ron Paul supporters alone to be the monkey wrench in the establishment machine that prevents Romney's coronation.