The best way to win in politics is to choose the right opponent. When your opponent is making a strong effort to get one particular candidate nominated to be his adversary in the general election, it is worth paying attention.
Clearly, in Michigan – where Democrats could and did vote in the Republican Primary – there was an orchestrated effort by the unions and Democratic leaders to get people to vote for Rick Santorum. Democratic activist Michael Moore openly urged support for Santorum in Michigan. It is beyond dispute that Barack Obama wants Santorum, not Romney, to be his opponent in November.
I am not taking sides in the Romney-Santorum-Gingrich primary contest. But it is worth noting that Obama’s people believe – passionately – that Romney would be the toughest one to beat. They feel that he has an appeal to independent voters and women which could rob Obama of his chances for a second term.
By contrast, they are eager to face Santorum. They believe that his positions on social issues will give them a steady diet of negative sound bites to use against him, distracting voters from the economic issues that could lead to Obama’s defeat.
They would feature Santorum’s claim that birth control is bad for women and bad for society in that it precipitates out of wedlock births and sexual promiscuity. They can’t wait to pounce on his opposition to amniocentesis on the grounds that it leads to abortion. And they will probably use against him his opposition to the separation of church and state articulated by John F. Kennedy in Houston as he ran to be the first Catholic president.
Of course, Obama doesn’t fully realize the extent to which Santorum would mobilize the Republican base and how vigorously he campaigns, but Obama’s desire to face the former Pennsylvania Senator in November should give pause to each of us as we cast our primary ballots.
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