Fighting Health Care Reform Fatigue
03-26-2010
If you are feeling a little exhausted from following a year’s worth of health care reform battles and are in need of an antidote for political observer fatigue, I have three words for you: Rick, Santorum, Iowa. Yes, our favorite presidential election cycle ingénue is headed back to Iowa yet again. This has Marc Ambinder over at TheAtlantic.com wondering whether the former Pennsylvania senator is seriously contemplating a run for the Republican nomination, or is just using the coverage of his trips as a platform for inserting himself back into the national political discourse.
 
As I have argued several times before, the two questions are inseparable for Santorum. He needs to seriously consider a run for the presidency, in order to insert himself (at least temporarily) back into the political discourse, and Iowa’s socially conservative Republican electoral politics has provided the perfect platform for him to do so. This is a separate issue from whether he realizes that he has no chance of winning the nomination (which I think he does).
 
It is the same reason why other Republican political elites like Newt Gingrich seem to flirt endlessly with a run for the nomination, although in Gingrich’s case his party poobah status would give him other options even without the constant presidential chatter. Santorum is not in that position, however, and therefore must approach his flirtation with a seriousness that will bring him the kind of earned media he needs to get himself back in the game. Plus, he seems to be having a lot of fun. That is not something you can easily say about a lot of other politicians lately.


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