I take back everything I said.
Mitt Romney is not a lock to win the Republican nomination for president. According to many polls, including this one from The New York Times, he and Rick Santorum are now in a statistical tie for first place in the campaign to be the GOP’s standard-bearer against Barack Obama.
Now, this may be a temporary blip. Public opinion polls are notoriously time-sensitive. They accurately capture attitudes and opinions for a very brief window of time. It may be that Mr. Santorum enjoys this time at or near the top among Republican voters for a short period, then sinks to join Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and the others.
But it may signal a disturbing and longer-lasting trend for one of America’s great political parties. Remember, Republicans have, in the past, elected Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower to the presidency and Robert La Follette, Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney (Mitt’s dad) to governorships. We may be watching the Republican party permanently evolving away from its Main Street, corporate, fiscal conservative roots, into the exclusive party of socially authoritarian, evangelical Christians.
[Sorry, I guess “evolving” was an inappropriate word to use in the previous sentence; after all, this new style of Republican doesn’t believe in evolution.]
Here’s Santorum, talking about the necessary (not advisable, not preferable, not ethically important, but necessary) connection between his understanding of God’s law and American civil law.
This is what Republicans want their political party to be about, to stand for? They must be insane.