The Other McCain

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Santorum Praised by Rush Limbaugh, Endorsed by Florida State Sen. Plakon

Posted on | January 27, 2012 | 18 Comments

Wearing my Florida shirt at the CNN Jacksonville debate,
Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 (Photo by Dave Weigel)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.
On his radio program today, Rush Limbaugh singled out Rick Santorum for his understanding that “ObamaCare is ballgame,” as Rush put it. Limbaugh referred to Santorum’s strong performance in Thursday’s CNN debate, going after Mitt Romney’s own record on health care:

SANTORUM: What Governor Romney just said is that government-run top-down medicine is working pretty well in Massachusetts and he supports it. Now, think about what that means –
ROMNEY: That’s not what I said.
SANTORUM: — going up against Barack Obama, who you are going to claim, well, top-down government-run medicine on the federal level doesn’t work and we should repeal it. And he’s going to say, wait a minute, Governor. You just said that top-down government-run medicine in Massachusetts works well.
Folks, we can’t give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom. Whether the United States government or even a state government — you have Amendment 1 (ph) here offered by Scott Pleitgen (ph), who, by the way, endorsed me today, and it’s going to be on your ballot as to whether there should be a government mandate here in Florida.
According to Governor Romney, that’s OK. If the state does it, that’s OK. If the state wants to enforce it, that’s OK. Those are not the clear contrasts we need if we’re going to defeat Barack Obama. . . .
SANTORUM: Does everybody in Massachusetts have a requirement to buy health care?
ROMNEY: Everyone has a requirement to either buy it or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care. Because the idea of people getting something for free when they could afford to care for themselves is something that we decided in our state was not a good idea. . . .
SANTORUM: Just so I understand this, in Massachusetts , everybody is mandated as a condition of breathing in Massachusetts , to buy health insurance, and if you don’t, and if you don’t, you have to pay a fine.
What has happened in Massachusetts is that people are now paying the fine because health insurance is so expensive. And you have a pre-existing condition clause in yours, just like Barack Obama.
So what is happening in Massachusetts, the people that Governor Romney said he wanted to go after, the people that were free-riding, free ridership has gone up five-fold in Massachusetts. Five times the rate it was before. Why? Because…
ROMNEY: That’s total, complete…
SANTORUM: I’ll be happy to give you the study. Five times the rate it has gone up. Why? Because people are ready to pay a cheaper fine and then be able to sign up to insurance, which are now guaranteed under “Romney-care,” than pay high cost insurance, which is what has happened as a result of “Romney-care.”
ROMNEY: First of all, it’s not worth getting angry about.

Limbaugh said it is worth getting angry about, and many Republican voters who watched last night’s debate are probably reconsidering whether the media’s predetermined Mitt-vs.-Newt frontrunner narrative is overlooking the possibility that neither Romney nor Gingrich is the best choice to take on Obama. One Florida Republican who sees Rick Santorum as the best hope for conservatives is Florida state Sen. Scott Plakon, who endorsed Santorum Thursday:

Scott Plakon said: “Rick Santorum is a man who has consistently shown that he can be trusted to stand by his deeply held conservative principles regardless of the way the political winds blow and will be a steady, even hand in leading America towards prosperity and liberty again.
“He has consistently shown that he is willing to make decisions not for the next election cycle, but for the next generation. That is exactly the kind of leader and values we need to confront the failed policies and leadership of the Obama administration and to return America to the shining city on a hill that President Reagan spoke of.”

I caught up with Plakon in the “spin room” after last night’s debate and asked him about his switch from backing Herman Cain to supporting Santorum:

The latest Florida poll shows Romney pulling strongly ahead here. From my American Spectator column today:

Thursday’s debate, the 19th televised debate among Republican presidential candidates this year, certainly did not lack fireworks. And while many political junkies have become weary of watching these affairs, the event here on the campus of the University of North Florida may be as decisive as the South Carolina debates that were credited with helping Gingrich score a crucial win there Saturday. Polls this week in Florida show Romney pulling away, and the former Massachusetts governor had one of his best-ever debate performances Thursday, while Gingrich had one of his worst yet.
While arguments between the two Florida frontrunners got the biggest play, however, Thursday was also an impressive performance for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Polls show Santorum running a distant third in the Sunshine State, but he slammed both Gingrich and Romney for their previous stances on health care. . . .

Read the whole thing, although I confess it was written in a condition of complete exhaustion. CNN neglected to provide coffee in the filing center, and I also ran out of cigarettes before the debate ended. I managed to file my column by midnight, then came back to the hotel room, fell asleep about 2 a.m. and didn’t wake up until 10:30 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Times reports on Santorum’s plans for Florida and beyond:

After remarks at Florida State University  geared toward social conservatives, Santorum rolled out the endorsement  of state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, a former top Herman Cain  supporter. Plakon told reporters he chose Santorum for his  conservatism, after Newt Gingrich’s recent “Obama style” ads turned  Plakon off.
“We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying in this  race for the long haul. I think we’re playing for the next states,”  Santorum told reporters afterward.
Still,  questions persisted because he’s not looking toward any celebration on  Election Night. He will be in Florida on Sunday and Monday for events,  including in Sarasota and Miami. No promises after that.
Said Santorum: “We’re just trying to figure out Monday from that  point  on what we’re going to do and if whether we’re going to stay here  on Election Day, when you really can’t campaign, maybe start going to   another state and start doing some campaigning. We want to use every   single day to campaign. And we’re sort of up in the air to exactly how  that works.”

Santorum’s plans are in flux, and so are mine. I’ve got a 1,500-word article due today for the March print edition of The American Spectator, and there’s an event tonight in Orlando where Romney is expected to get the endorsement of the governor of Puerto Rico. It’s about a three-hour drive, and the event starts at 8 p.m. Tempus fugits and deadline looms.

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Comments

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Gingrich isn’t all that great a debater unless someone feeds him a softball.  If he is confined to talking about his record, he lies consistently (unless you believe he is personally responsible for every positive development which occurred while he was in Congress but had nothing to do with any of the negative).

    If he talks about policies, he generally relapses into grandiosity and pandering with pork projects.  The “moon colony” combines both.  I’m a huge supporter of space exploration and believe its benefits improve human life and knowledge in a plethora of unpredictable ways.  BUT I also can count and own a calculator, and by my triple-checked figuring, WE DON’T HAVE ANY FREAKIN’ MONEY!!!

  • Anonymous

    Tabatha Hale may not listen…but as usual Stacy McCain is right.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UNZU74NIXQBSAAC5PR2B36VMWM Edward

    I’m a huge supporter of space exploration and exploitation and frankly I can think of a lot better things to do with cash than sink it into a moon colony or a manned mission to Mars.

    People in Washington and outside of it aren’t going to understand the problem until it really becomes a crisis.  Just that way I think.

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    FINAL DRUDGE POLL READERS FROM FLORIDA ONLY: ROMNEY 34.78%… SANTORUM 24.61%… PAUL 22.7%… GINGRICH 17.92%

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  • Charles Martel

    No money?  No problem.  As always, we can just borrow it from the Chinese!

  • http://twitter.com/richard_mcenroe richard mcenroe

    Rushbo bro David Limbaugh endorses Rick Santorum.  http://youtu.be/qoQVZuSjKa0

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  • Anonymous

    You know, I was actually at a seminar for Robert Heinlein’s centennial with the private spacecraft companies, and do you know what they said was a major obstacle: the fact that up to 100,000 feet altitude, they were under the jurisdiction of the FAA, not NASA, and the FAA was forcing their prototypes to meet safety standards for production small passenger aircraft.

    Just imagine a President who would just get the FAA out of the way! And wouldn’t cost a dime.

    (Of course, you had a candidate with an actual record of getting government out of the way, but he talked funny…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bart-Morgay/100001554351938 Bart Morgay

    Romney spells DEFEAT.

  • Anonymous

    I like that Plakon guy.  He has a knack for picking the right guy.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UNZU74NIXQBSAAC5PR2B36VMWM Edward

    Actually the biggest problem we face is that we signed the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty.  Which nobody on Earth really gives a rat’s ass about except that it crippled US R&D into nuclear rocket technology.  Even the -French- don’t give a shit about it since they’ve continued atmospheric testing without fail.

    As long as we have to rely on chemical rockets we’ll be crippled in space exploration and exploitation.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Who needs the ChiComs?  We can just borrow it from the Fed (you remember Smitty’s friends?) – they borrowed their motto from Tostitos:  “Spend all you want – we’ll make more!”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Why would Tabby listen to HIM?  She has more hair, bigger and firmer breasts, a better selection of hats, and nearly two years experience.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    Yeah, but the Newt-flavored Kool Aid drinkers don’t patronize Drudge anymore.  He’s part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy against their hero. 

  • Anonymous

    LOL.  You are too right about Newt kool aid drinkers.  

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