Unfortunately, the mainstream media is once again misrepresenting Rick Santorum, now with claims that his endorsement of Mitt Romney was ‘lukewarm’ or that it was ‘barely’ an endorsement at all. I don’t believe this false characterization is intentional. Rather, it’s based on continued lack of understanding of the kind of person Rick Santorum is and the nature of the conservative grassroots, particularly social conservatives. This lack of understanding is the same kind that caused so many to count him out as some kind of fringe candidate even as he had it in him to win eleven states. Santorum won eleven states because he is an incredibly persuasive person with average folks. His endorsement of Mitt Romney may not satisfy the media, but you can be sure that his email to supporters was written in such a way in order to bring them on board with Team Romney. Though not everyone will jump on board, the message is clearly written in such a way to have maximum impact on behalf of Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum believes that people deserve explanations about why he takes the positions that he takes. It is not enough to deliver a four-second sound bite. People deserve to know not only what a candidate’s position is, but also understand as deeply as possible why the candidate takes that position. It was important for him to explain to supporters that he had fully considered all of the important differences of opinion that he has had with Governor Romney in this campaign and not that he had simply brushed those under the rug for political gain. He is the same Rick Santorum that he has been throughout the campaign, and his supporters needed to hear that. He knows they deserved to hear it, and he provided that overview for that reason.
In today’s lightning-speed culture, too often, big media expects to drive narratives by latching onto a brief remark from a politician and running with it. This sort of behavior has contributed to a dumbing down of America. It is precisely this sort of thing that has resulted in so few people getting to know who the real Rick Santorum is. If you get your information only through big media outlets, you are probably under the impression that Rick Santorum is a fringe “culture warrior” who only talks about social issues. It was Rick Santorum’s ability to fly under the radar of big media, particularly in Iowa where he visited all 99 counties, that enabled him to win eleven states. Some, including GOP strategist Dick Morris, have noted that the Republican National Committee is banking on big media buys, primarily, to defeat Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the Left is focusing on organizing on the ground. Rick Santorum’s candidacy proves the impact of grassroots organizing such as Team Santorum’s “Call from Home” program and Saturday Sign Waves. Certainly, big media buys are important and go a long way, but it will take conservative grassroots organizing to put Mitt Romney over the top in November. It is my hope that the Romney campaign has come to appreciate this reality, but I do not count on big media to understand this given their continued insistence that Rick Santorum and across-the-board-conservatism are to be counted out at every turn.
Team Santorum will help to defeat Obama in November just as we helped Rick Santorum to win eleven states. The email endorsement that Rick Santorum sent to his supporters is an important beginning for that effort.