There has been some talk, as of late, about the possibility of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich joining forces to prevent a Romney nomination, including the possibility of a Santorum/Gingrich ticket. Some (most?) of this has come from the Gingrich campaign.
[Gingrich's Wisconsin state campaign director Robert] Lorge indicated in a conference call this past week that there is a “possibility of consolidating Santorum and Gingrich delegates at the Republican National Convention in order to overcome Romney’s delegate math.”
“I imagine there’s going to be a lot of negotiation and compromising between the pro-Newt Gingrich and the pro-Rick Santorum delegates,” he said. “You may have a Newt Gingrich-Rick Santorum ticket. You may have a Rick Santorum-Newt Gingrich ticket. Nobody knows how that ticket’s going to work out. But I imagine it’ll end up being something like that.”
Naturally, some are asking if Rick Santorum should pick Newt as his VP running mate in order to secure the nomination. Rick was pressed on this yesterday by Sean Hannity. Rick said, “We need to consolidate” as he has said all along, but wouldn’t commit to a Santorum/Gingrich ticket in order to make that happen.
Why not? Well, Rick is a very logical guy. He would not have run for president, he has said repeatedly, if he thought one of the other candidates could beat Obama and could be trusted to bring about the real conservative change that would be good for America, particularly the repeal of Obamacare. Considering that he ran because he didn’t believe anyone in the field fit that criteria, and considering also that he has said repeatedly that he would make his VP choice based on whether he thinks that person could take over the duties of the presidency in a manner consistent with a Santorum administration in the event that something happened to him, it seems logical that he wouldn’t pick anyone in the current field to be his VP running mate.
Why did Rick believe that Newt Gingrich, specifically, would not be a good choice for nominee? One of the main reasons he has given has been that Newt has strayed on conservative principles, at times, in a very big way. This would include his time sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi to promote the idea of man-made global warming and Newt’s longtime support for the individual mandate, which Rick Santorum and most other conservatives believe to be unConstitutional. These things could, potentially, be egregious enough to Rick that he wouldn’t feel comfortable with leaving us all with a Gingrich presidency if, heaven forbid, something happened to him.
There could be another reason, though, and I think it is the most likely reason of the two that Rick would not pick Newt as his running mate. Throughout the campaign, it’s been clear that Newt considers Rick to be something of a “junior partner” and does not give him the respect that he deserves as a conservative champion in his own right. It is fairly clear that Newt does not consider Rick’s judgment to be as good as Newt’s judgment is. This sort of thing is not really a good mix for a Santorum/Gingrich ticket nor would it be good for the country to have a president whose vice president thinks he has better judgment than the president does. Could Newt go out and defend Rick’s position on something if he disagreed with it in a manner that would not cause people to question Rick’s judgment? I am not sure he could.
Rick would likely be served well politically, in the short term, if he were to announce that he has chosen Newt Gingrich to be his running mate. It might even be enough for him to get the nomination, but Rick doesn’t make choices that important for political reasons. If he were that kind of person, he would not have gotten as far as he has, and he would not make such a good president. He makes his decisions based on what he thinks is good for the country, not on what he thinks would be good for Rick Santorum. If he were simply a political animal, he wouldn’t make a very good president, now, would he? It’s not good for the country if a VP says things that would undermine the credibility of the president in public. Not that Newt would do that, but it seems clear that it’s a risk.
Having said all of that, I don’t think that Rick has put much thought into who he would pick to be his running mate. It may very well be that when he sets his mind to making that decision, he could look around and see that Newt is the best choice from among all those available. We could potentially see a Santorum/Gingrich ticket in the end, but the way things stand at the moment, the selection of a VP running mate doesn’t seem to be anywhere on Rick’s radar.
Pray for Wisconsin. Support Rick Santorum for president.