December 9th, 2009

Rick Santorum Finds That He’s Only Allowed To Inflate His Own Trial Balloon If He Blows Up Ex-Governor Palin’s Too

by Philip Baruth

Ah, memories. Back in the day, when Rick Santorum and Katherine Harris had each lost a high-profile election by historic margins, we wrote a post speculating about a joint venture in irrelevancy. The post was slugged “After Twin Losses, Santorum & Harris To Wed and Produce A Clutch of Huge, Frightening, Sanctimonious Offspring,” and although that partnership never came to pass, the prospect of it was enough to frighten a generation of impressionable young Independents into becoming Yellow Dog Democrats.

Since losing in 2006, Santorum haunts city parks, draped with bunting, picking fights about various slippery slopes.

But of course, there might be worse scenarios. To wit: Rick Santorum went on a little-known ABC news show recently to squeak his own Presidential trial balloon, and was immediately asked to speak at some length about Palin.

And like all the would-be GOP alpha males, Santorum was forced to do the little linguistic dance Palin makes necessary. In 2009-10, a Presidential contender must admire the ex-Governor’s spunk, chutzpah, looks, book sales, energy, independence, and web traffic, but must also manage to convey a shadow of hesitation, but just little enough to make an eventual joint ticket possible, in some distant, hazy, values-heavy future.

And so the question of Palin’s qualifications for the White House produced this bland, yet nicely calibrated response:

“I’ll let the people decide that. I think, you know, she’s done a lot to draw attention to herself that’s positive. She’s done some things that, you know, certainly are going to cause her to have to do some explaining if she runs for president. But right now I think she’s on a roll, she’s having a good time, she’s having an impact.”

You have to love the way Santorum alternates between avuncular colleague and Ricky Ricardo: exactly what ’splainin’ Sarah has to do remains unclear, but certainly ditching the Governor’s chair mid-term would seem to be high on the list. And even the positive is rendered negatively, you could argue, as no one wants to be charged with drawing attention to themselves.

All fond speculation, of course. Palin may not run; Santorum may savage her if she does. But it would be the crowning achievement of VDB’s life if it comes to pass, and we are able to engage the two in a cycle to end all cycles.

Like if Frodo, just before he went off to the Gray Havens, found out that Saruman was back, and had joined forces with the ex-Governor of Mordor. And they’d put together an army of Becks and Hannities that dwarfed anything previously assembled.

VDB can dream.