David Frum

02.10.12

Santorum: We're Not Going to Win With Money

This year's CPAC is taking place in a climate that is unusually receptive for Rick Santorum. The contraception mandate and the Susan G. Komen scuffle have put social issues at the forefront of this conference.

Unsurprisingly, Santorum's speech capitalized on this. When he discussed the scandal over the contraception mandate he reiterated a line that has frequently been uttered at CPAC: "This is not about contraception. This is about economic liberty, it's about freedom of religion, it's about government control of your lives and it's got to stop."

The main anti-Romney lines were: "We are not going to win these elections because the Republican candidate has the most money to beat up their opponent" and "Why would an undecided voter vote for a candidate of a party that the party is not excited about?"

The most commonly used word by Santorum was "Contrast", both in terms of Santorum providing a contrast between himself and Romney, and between the eventual GOP nominee and Obama.

But the speech didn't knock it out of the park. One of Santorum's better speeches from the campaign trail has to be his speech after the Iowa caucus, where Santorum spoke about his working class background and his personal life story. Sticking to the CPAC talking points deprives Santorum of a chance to connect his personal story with one issue that doesn't always interest conservatives: upward mobility.