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Rick Santorum “Open” To Running In 2016

Rick Santorum Pulplit 2

Rick Santorum isn’t ruling out another run for the White House:

Former Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is open to running again in 2016, he said Sunday.

“I’m open to looking into the presidential race in 2016,” Santorum said on “Meet The Press.” “But we’ve got a little ways. We’ve got elections in 2014 to focus on.”

If Santorum does get into the race at some point, it’s hard to see where he would fit in. With the Republican Party now seemingly showing signs that 2016 will be a battle between a libertarian wing led by people like Rand Paul and a more establishment wing led by people like Chris Christie, there doesn’t seem to be much room for a guy like Santorum whose chief claim to fame is his link to the social conservative and evangelical wing of the party. This puts him behind the curve of where the GOP seems to be headed in many respects, and also makes it unlikely that he would end up having access to the kind of donors that drove candidates like Mitt Romney in 2012. More importantly, looking at the polls, it seems as though Republican voters aren’t too eager to have him in the race:

Early polling suggests that Santorum could face an uphill battle. While the field of potential Republican nominees is fractured, he trails far behind names like Rand Paul, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. In the HuffPost Pollster average, which combines all publicly available polling, Santorum comes in eighth place, with an average of less than 4 percent support.

In the end, Santorum may end up being a one-hit wonder like Mike Huckabee, who ended up staying out of the 2012 race. That’s likely to disappoint the sweater vest industroy, though.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    “I’m open to looking into the presidential race in 2016,” Santorum said on “Meet The Press.” “But we’ve got a little ways. We’ve got elections in 2014 to focus on.”

    I guess it depends on how many conservative billionaires are lines up to support a theocrat like Santorum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  2. BleevK says:

    If he wasn’t open his name wouldn’t be Santorum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. CSK says:

    I wonder if he’ll repeat his promise to harangue the American public about how contraception is “not okay” for married Christian couples. If so, I hope someone asks him if contraception is “okay” for Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/Sikh/ Buddhist/Shinto/atheist/agnostic married couples?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  4. Argon says:

    @BleevK:
    Yes, here’s to Santorum’s big opening…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. If Santorum does get into the race at some point, it’s hard to see where he would fit in.

    He came in second in the 2012 primary. Given past history, that means 2016 is “his turn”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. there doesn’t seem to be much room for a guy like Santorum whose chief claim to fame is his link to the social conservative and evangelical wing of the party. This puts him behind the curve of where the GOP seems to be headed in many respects

    Yeah, just look how bad hard core social conservatives like Cucinelli, Jackson, and Obenshain did in the Virginia GOP this year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  7. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    He came in second in the 2012 primary. Given past history, that means 2016 is “his turn”.

    Well, that’s the problem with judging from past history–patterns are only valid till they’re broken. For example, when Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary last year, past history would have predicted he’d emerge as the nominee–he’s the first GOP candidate ever to win that primary and fail to win the nomination. But of course it was never plausible that he’d be the nominee, even after his SC win. Because he’s, you know, Newt Gingrich.

    Similarly, it isn’t plausible that Santorum will ever be a GOP presidential nominee (though it’s marginally more likely than Gingrich), even though he was the runner-up in the last race, a position that usually leads to the nomination the next time around (though not always–see George W. Bush). Santorum’s best chance was probably 2012. Now he’s history.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  8. stonetools says:

    With the Republican Party now seemingly showing signs that 2016 will be a battle between a libertarian wing led by people like Rand Paul and a more establishment wing led by people like Chris Christie, there doesn’t seem to be much room for a guy like Santorum whose chief claim to fame is his link to the social conservative and evangelical wing of the party. This puts him behind the curve of where the GOP seems to be headed in many respects, and also makes it unlikely that he would end up having access to the kind of donors that drove candidates like Mitt Romney in 2012

    Doug’s dismissal of so-cons seems like wishful thinking to me. Given the tidal wave of anti-abortion legislation pushed by Republicans at the state level and the success of so-cons in filling the Virginia GOP ticket, reports of death of the so-cons seems exaggerated.
    Indeed, both Rand Paul and Chris Christie genuflect to the so-cons themselves. Rick Santorum will start the 2016 campaign with a fervent and ready made base who will be especially strong in Iowa and South Carolina. I would not count him out at all.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  9. Moosebreath says:

    @stonetools:

    “Doug’s dismissal of so-cons seems like wishful thinking to me. Given the tidal wave of anti-abortion legislation pushed by Republicans at the state level and the success of so-cons in filling the Virginia GOP ticket, reports of death of the so-cons seems exaggerated.”

    Exactly. Doug has an image of a Republican Party which is the one he wants it to be, not the one which is really there.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  10. JohnMcC says:

    @stonetools: My thought was the same as yours, sir. If the Repubs offer only a Paulist candidate and a Giuliani-type (socially tolerant, business friendly) candidate, the Family Research Council wing of the party will need their own spokeman. Santorum probably knows more about the Republican Party than Our Gracious Host.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. Moosebreath says:

    @JohnMcC:

    “the Family Research Council wing of the party will need their own spokeman”

    I think it’s more than that. Doug has a vision of the Republican Party where the social conservatives are a rounding error and the libertarian wing is the majority. In fact, it is the other way around.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Moosebreath: I’ll pull this up on the iPad in a minute and give that a second upvote. Dr. Krugman has a much clearer idea of the Republican Party.

    For a long time the Republican establishment got its way by playing a con game with the party’s base. Voters would be mobilized as soldiers in an ideological crusade, fired up by warnings that liberals were going to turn the country over to gay married terrorists, not to mention taking your hard-earned dollars and giving them to Those People. Then, once the election was over, the establishment would get on with its real priorities — deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy.

    At this point, however, the establishment has lost control. Meanwhile, base voters actually believe the stories they were told…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. rudderpedals says:

    It’s true that past performance does not guarantee future satisfaction but it counts for something sometimes. Aren’t Romney McCain and Dole examples? The man just promised to run. It’s his turn. History repeated itself tragically with McCain and Romney already, Mr. Santorum will bring the farce.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. Kylopod says:

    @stonetools:

    Doug’s dismissal of so-cons seems like wishful thinking to me.

    Agreed. But I still don’t see Santorum as a likely nominee. In most of the recent GOP presidential contests, there has been at least one candidate to represent hard-core so-cons. In 2012 it was Santorum, in 2008 Huckabee, in 2000 Alan Keyes, and in ’92 and ’96 Pat Buchanan. All these candidates had a role to play in the primaries, but none of them came close to being nominated. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen the next time around, but I don’t think Santorum is the one who could pull it off.

    Frankly, I think that under ordinary circumstances Santorum would have always been a fringe candidate. Politicians whose last election involved being voted out of office by nearly 20 points are not normally considered viable presidential material. Nor is Santorum particularly charismatic. He was able to keep Romney from the prize for so long last year because (a) A substantial portion of the GOP couldn’t stand Romney and were scrambling desperately for any alternative (b) In a field full of clowns and a few shockingly weak “conventional” candidates who all went on to implode, Santorum looked almost reasonable by comparison.

    For these reasons I don’t think Santorum was the standard GOP runner-up who goes on to be nominated the next time. He has a better chance now than if he hadn’t run in 2012, but he isn’t someone with some huge following. He’ll be remembered–rightly–as the last “anti-Romney” left standing, and other than that there’s little to make him appealing enough to GOP voters that he’d end up winning. He’d also probably be competing with several candidates whose so-con credentials are impeccable, including Paul Ryan, who would be the first nominee since Reagan to oppose abortion without a rape exception.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Tillman says:

    I’m just going to sit here and ignore them all till mid-2015 or so.

    People complain that Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween are consuming more and more shopping days, but jockeying for position to get the nomination for President from a political party is so much worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. Pinky says:

    @rudderpedals:

    Aren’t Romney McCain and Dole examples?

    They’re examples, but from the middle of the party. The right tends to have less loyalty to longtime politicians, and I suspect that’s even more true in the Tea Party era.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Sejanus says:

    In the unlikely event in which frothy wins the nomination, I predict two things will happen:

    1) Doug will vote for whomever the libertarian candidate will be, since a Democratic candidate who wants to slightly raise taxes is just as bad as Santorum. Granted, Santorum is 99.99% likely to lose to whomever the Democratic nominee will be, but when it comes to Santorum 0.01% is still too much of a risk to vote for a third party candidate.
    2) James will find some excuse to vote for Santorum anyway, arguing that beneath the hate mongering socon lies a responsible and sober moderate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  18. Paul Hooson says:

    No God No!- I like my rock music, a little naughty Internet laughs now and then and my chopper motorcycles just fine, Thank you. I don’t need Pastor Rick Santorum to tell this 58 year old biker how to live…I’m very content with the way things are now…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  19. ernieyeball says:

    @Paul Hooson: I don’t need Pastor Rick Santorum to tell this 58 year old biker how to live…

    It’s a good bet you don’t anyone else to tell you how to live either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Kieran Kelly says:

    Is it too early to start talking about impeaching the next President?
    http://usanity.com/2013/08/08/bipartisan-move-to-impeach-next-president/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0