Iowa caucus: facade or substance?

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January 4, 2012 is a day of reflection. Reflecting on the numbers of the Iowa Caucus seems to be one of the nation’s most popular sports today.

If you’re a news junkie or a casual observer chances are that you have already heard all of the pundits analyze how each candidate will win or lose their bid for the presidency. Numbers, numbers, and more numbers dominate most analyses. What you hear very little about is the substance, or lack thereof, of the speeches of the two frontrunners.

Mitt Romney facade

Romney’s speech was well-crafted and slick – pretty much garden variety soundbites. Sadly, as pleasing to the ear as his words may be, and as pleasant to the eye as he and his family may be, they were little more than ear and eye candy. And like candy of all types, his words and appearance may be pleasant but do little to satisfy. An empty suit may look good while hanging on a rack somewhere, but don’t expect it to stand up to the Washington elitists and halt the assault on our liberties and way of life.

The numbers show that most believe that Romney can beat Obama. Perhaps that’s little more than appearances, of which he is master. We often say if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it’s a duck. In this case Romney may look like a president, walk like a president, and sound like a president, but fair warning – he may only be a duck.

His latest supporters may disagree with me – none other than that paragon of conservatism, John McCain. Or how about Governor Chris Christie? To those around the country, Governor Christie’s endorsement might carry great weight (no pun intended), but to many here in New Jersey, the scales regarding his conservatism tip in another direction. We regard him as the Governor whom we had to coerce into pulling out of RGGI (Cap & Trade to the rest of the country); and who stood valiantly against a rogue court only to acquiesce to their unconstitutional decision with a whimper. Nor can we forget his pledge to purge the courts of ideologues only to appoint a judge who supports Shariah Law. Christie may be a nationally-respected Republican governor, but many in New Jersey believe he would be a Democrat in most other states. With endorsements from the likes of McCain and Christie, one must ask if it’s true that birds of a feather do flock together.

But what about Mitt Romney’s ability to beat Obama? Really? Has anyone noticed that Romney is one of the few candidates that have escaped the Democratic smear machine? Surely if BO thought Romney could successfully challenge his bid you would have seen a barrage of negative media assaults. All the candidates have been vociferous about how they would dismantle Obamacare, including Romney. However, Romney is the only candidate that would be unable to do so. BO would have a field day pointing out how Romney’s advisors helped craft the legislation that would ultimately hammer nails into the coffin of our US economy. Beat BO? Contrary to popular opinion and the ravings of many pundits, it is highly unlikely that Romney’s stand against Obamacare would be interpreted as anything but hypocritical by the country’s electorate.

Rick Santorum substance

Rick Santorum. Man of substance?

Rick Santorum as the junior Senator from Pennsylvania. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License

What about Santorum’s speech? If heartfelt stories that chronicled his reason for running and subsequent rise in the polls can be interpreted as substance, then Santorum’s speech can be considered the antithesis to Romney’s. True, Santorum is a sinner and suffers from errors in judgment like the rest of us. But one of the comments in his speech last night tells much about the man. He thanked God for those who cling to their Bibles and guns. While Romney would probably not be adverse to saying the same if he thought it could win him a few votes, that statement came straight from Santorum’s heart.

There is more to the Santorum story than the man himself. There is the Iowa clergy who did what clergy have forgotten to do for far too long. They took a stand. The results of this bold act are stunning. It catapulted an underdog into the winning circle. While compassionate conservatives don’t always make good presidents (especially if they happen to live in Texas), real conservatism should be a prerequisite for any candidate who is expected to turn this country back to its noble roots. The understanding that our rights come from God and not from government is what distinguishes big government supporters from small government supporters. However, a wise understanding of compassion vs. entitlements is a rare commodity that is frequently misunderstood. Is Rick Santorum a man who understands the difference? I can’t answer that but those in the clergy who endorsed Santorum believe they can. As a person whose life motto is “For God and Country”, I can only fantasize about what a vibrant and involved clergy can do to turn this country around. Is this the beginning of a great awakening in America? Time will tell, but this writer will continue to hope.

And I will also continue to hope that America will not be lured into believing that the perfect conservative savior exists somewhere. As far as I know only one Perfect Man ever existed in this fallen world – anything or anyone else is simply an illusion. In the meantime, I will also continue to hope that America will look behind the facade of slick politicians to see if any substance exists. And then, I will hope that America will choose substance.

Related:

Iowa wrap-up: a new race

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RoseAnn Salanitri is a published author and Acquisition Editor for the New Jersey Family Policy Council. She is a community activist who has founded the Sussex County Tea Party in her home state and launched a recall movement against Senator Robert Menendez. RoseAnn is also the founder of Veritas Christian Academy, as well as co-founder of Creation Science Alive, and a national creation science speaker.

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