What They’re Saying About Christie’s Keynote Speech


Yi! News did not receive press passes to this year’s RNC, so we’ll leave it to the “experts” to let us know how Governor Chris Christie did last night. Here’s what some of them had to say in the hours after the keynote speech was delivered.

  • “Christie’s approach was a marked departure from previous Republican keynote addresses, which have often featured a rising politician willing to blast the Democratic nominee. Christie, for his part, did not mention President Obama by name. Instead, his 2,600-word speech introduced the country to his singular brand, which blends a brusque rhetorical style with a reform agenda…Ultimately, however, the speech was about a philosophy of leadership rather than the ascent of Romney or specific policies. People respond to conservative ideas, he said, but Americans need to elect a president who can communicate those ideas, not only on television but also on Capitol Hill.” – Robert Costa, The National Review
  • “It was a different address than many had been expecting. Christie spent less time selling Romney as a candidate and a potential president, and more time defining the way he sees the party’s future — in strokes related to fiscal conservatism. He mentioned Romney several times in the latter part of the speech, but not for the first 15 minutes or so…It was a reminder that Christie, who many Republicans had hoped would run this time and is a much-discussed candidate for 2016, is still seen as one of the future leaders of a party that believes this is a winnable election, but has hoped for Romney to wage a different, more aggressive campaign.” – Maggie Haberman, Politico
  • “[Christie] did not lash out in personal ways at Mr. Obama, hardly mentioning the president by name. Instead, Mr. Christie reserved his sharp words for a tough contrast between the Republican approach to solving problems and a Democratic approach that he said would continue to fail to turn around the American economy and the country’s broken political system…Primarily, the speech offered a challenge to the country to change course from an administration that he said was letting the nation’s economy drift. He said the status quo must change, and he praised Mr. Romney as the right man to take the country in a different direction.” – Michael Shear, The New York Times’ Caucus Blog
  • “[I]t was Christie who helped inject some much-needed energy into an arena that had been surprisingly subdued through the early evening. He came on stage punching the air. He clapped as he approached the lectern, returning the welcome he received from the delegates as if to say: Wake up, Republicans. He demanded that they stand up, and they did…He argued that it’s better to be respected than loved — which is one way to persuade voters to back a Republican nominee who trails the president in likeability. He said the campaign should be about big things — just what the Romney team has tried to argue at the same time it has been thrown off stride by smaller matters. He called the election a test of whether Americans are ready to hear the truth about the nation’s future and he said he is confident that those who challenge the voters will be rewarded. He said his record in New Jersey proves that point.” – Dan Balz, The Washington Post
  • “Political pundits noted that Christie’s speech was almost entirely about himself, with heavy emphasis on ‘I,’ while many on Twitter wondered if it wasn’t Christie himself who was vying for the White House. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow called it ‘an act of political selfishness.’ But a senior adviser to the Romney campaign tells POLITICO tonight that Gov. Christie was right on message: ‘Gov. Christie did exactly what we asked, which was lay out the problems facing the nation and close with Governor Romney as the solution,’ the senior adviser said.” – Dylan Byers, Politico’s On Media Blog
  • “The speech was touching at times, with personal moments that were unquestionably genuine. The delivery was smooth, and the home crowd gave him standing ovations when he hammered home conservative principles. But this was not the home run that Chris Christie had hoped for. The cheer for Anne Romney was louder, and lasted longer. As talented a speaker as Christie is, the town hall is his forum, and improvisation is his game. In this setting, he was good but not great.” – Tom Moran, The Newark Star-Ledger
  • “Christie ended the evening with his powerful and rousing call to American greatness, his summons to us to face up to the truth and to do our duty. Christie’s strong speech framed the choice in this election, and made clear which choice was to be preferred – and he did so, impressively, without appearing at all harsh or mean. In fact, he never mentioned President Obama by name. Christie managed to be at once polemical and positive – no easy feat.” – William Kristol, The Weekly Standard
  • “Christie, who stormed onto the stage clapping like a football coach in the fourth quarter, and delivered a gut-busting rebuke to the nation’s political leadership and to a self-indulgent culture…Christie explained how his mother, who died eight years ago, ‘told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected.’ He used that as an analogy for how he thinks the GOP must not shrink from offering solutions to the nation’s biggest problems – debt, deficits and a sagging entitlement state – that might be unpopular. ‘Tonight, we are going to do what my mother taught me. Tonight, we are going to choose respect over love,’ he said.” – Jon Ward, The Huffington Post
  • “These were speeches geared beyond the hall, to suburban women or swing voters, independent voters. Christie really did deliver that message when he talked about principled compromise, when he appealed to people who hate politics right now and hate Washington right now, about what will be said about this generation dealing with the kind of problems the country faces.” – David Gregory, NBC News

A Guide To The 2012 RNC


The Republican National Convention is upon us and Mitt Romney’s time has finally come.  The RNC is a celebratory but serious four-day event filled with three days of speeches from Republican Party leaders culminating in the Republican Presidential nomination of Romney.  After a long and hotly contested primary period where Romney was constantly pressed and challenged by his rivals, the RNC will serve as both a validation of Romney’s candidacy and an outlet for the American people to hear and understand his vision for the nation.

Though Monday officially marked the beginning of the convention, Tuesday’s “We Built It” day is the true start of the events.  With a focus on President Obama’s claim that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” Tuesday’s speeches will likely stress the American ideals of individualism, smaller government and reduced regulation in the private sector.  The speaker list is long, featuring  Congressional leaders and Republican governors in key swing states. But the two most important speeches will be delivered by Ann Romney and the RNC’s keynote speaker, New Jersey Governor and Seton Hall School of Law alumnus, Chris Christie.

Expect Mrs. Romney, a gifted orator, to personalize her husband, helping Americans understand who Mitt is away from the campaign trail.  Mrs. Romney will also likely attempt to appeal to women and tell them that if Romney is elected, their interests would be safely protected under his administration.  Women voters always play a key role in presidential elections and Mrs. Romney’s speech will aim to close the gap between Obama and her husband.

Gov. Christie, a rising star in the Republican Party, will almost certainly go on the offensive as only he knows how.  Never one to shy away from controversy, expect Christie’s speech to present harsh truths about President Obama’s administration that the media tends to downplay.  Look for Christie to highlight how smaller government is successful as long as the person in charge is willing and unafraid to make tough and unpopular decisions.  Finally, expect the governor to speak to Romney’s background as a successful businessman who will make the tough decisions to fix the broken American economy.

Wednesday’s “We Can Change It” day marks the official rise of Paul Ryan as the future of the Republican Party.  While the speaker list is impressive [former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, 2008 nominee Sen. John McCain (AZ) and Govs. Bobby Jindal (LA) and Susana Martinez (NM)], the night will be about the vice presidential nominee.  Officially announced as Romney’s running mate only a few weeks ago, Ryan is considered to be one of the most knowledgeable and informed Congressman regarding our country’s budgetary, fiscal and healthcare issues.  Already proven to be an adept public speaker, Ryan’s speech probably will attempt to explain to Americans the stark contrast between the Romney-Ryan ticket and the Obama-Biden ticket. Ryan likely will focus on how Romney’s ideas and solutions  will bring America closer to its founding principles of smaller government and individualism, and that four more years of Obama will lead the country down an unprecedented path of “debt, doubt and despair.”

Thursday’s “We Believe in America” promises to be an important and historic day for the Republican Party. In the 7 p.m. hour, Newt Gingrich, Romney’s fiercest rival during the primary season, will lend his support to Romney.  Gingrich’s support is important, as his followers represent a portion of the party Romney struggled to connect with during the primaries.  During the 8 p.m. hour, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will re-emerge on the national political scene, delivering a speech specifically focusing on the importance of fixing the educational institutions in the United States. To begin the 10 p.m. hour, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) will introduce Romney. Rubio is Republican Party’s new leader amongst the Hispanic-American population and represents an important link between America’s fastest growing population and the party.

After Rubio’s introduction, Romney will step up to stage and deliver the most important speech of his lifetime.  While Romney undoubtedly will stress the differences between his and Obama’s vision for America, the most important objective for Romney is to relate to the American people. For the better part of a year now, Romney has been unfairly cast by the media as out of touch with the common American, more or less because he is a self-made millionaire who does not need to work two jobs while struggling to live.  Romney’s speech will surely appeal to the Republicans in attendance and watching at home, but it is the degree to which his words connect with independent and undecided voters that will ultimately determine the success of his address.

Free Market vs. Pro Business: The Difference and Why It Matters


The terms “free market” and “pro business” tend to get jumbled together as if they are one and the same. That is especially the case during a presidential election year, particularly one that pits a titan of business against a career politician/academic. Democratically aligned campaign staffers and left-leaning columnists conflate the two terms with shocking regularity. Republicans, meanwhile, have done themselves no favor by too often falling into the same trap when crafting policy; they assume that pro business policies can all be justified as free market.

The problem, of course, is that, while not technically mutually exclusive, the terms are in practice often opposed. Consider, for example, a recent article in Tech Crunch about Google’s growth in lobbying spending. As the article notes, Google’s Q1 2012 lobbying spend was three times higher than it was in Q1 2011. The piece listed many of the areas in which Google lobbied:

“…Google’s lobbying strategy focused on SOPA, patent reform, data privacy and accountability, online advertising regulation, intellectual property and trademark issues, cyber security and online privacy, renewable energy, freedom of expression and censorship, immigration reform and the Startup Visa Act, science, technology and math education, free trade, broadband access, freedom of expression and intellectual property in international trade agreements, “openness and competition in the online services market,” cloud computing, tax reform, internet standards of service and more[.]”

Two things struck me about this passage. First, Google probably pays more attention to public policy than most politicians. Second, though by definition pro business, this list is by no definition free market!

As a brief intellectual exercise, I listed out the policy areas mentioned in the article, the likely goals of Google in those areas and then whether the areas/goals were free market or pro-state. This is by no means an exact science; I have no inside knowledge of, nor do I speak for, Google – the policy goals were determined from my understanding of digital marketing and politics. Finally, each policy area has more goals than I was able to list.

Rather than methodological perfection, however, my point was to examine the diversity of “pro business” lobbying activities even within one (albeit giant) firm. The results can be seen in the chart at the top of the page (click to enlarge).

As you can see, some of what Google is lobbying for is free market: lower taxes, self-regulation, etc. But as a technology firm, Google also lobbies for many activities that are decidedly pro-state and anti free market: increasing federal funding for education (in subject areas where Google needs more educated employees), renewable energy initiatives that would ultimately lower their server maintenance costs, and more.

Google is acting as a self-interested person would, pushing for its specific needs rather than voting on principle. This makes Google the rule rather than the exception, and it is hardly surprising. The federal government has made it abundantly clear that to succeed, you have to play ball, both to avoid crippling prosecution and to receive taxpayer money. Thus, the most innovative firm in the world spends an annualized $20.1 million on costs that have nothing to do with actually improving their products or services.

Liberals may want to pause before lambasting big business, as they increasingly seem to support the growth of government. Conservatives should make a sharp distinction between pro business and free market policies if they are to ever be taken seriously as the party of limited government. All of us, meanwhile, should recognize the very real difference between the two descriptors.

What Super Tuesday Meant For Each Candidate


Mitt Romney narrowly won Ohio late last night and added to his crucial delegate lead by winning a total of six states on Super Tuesday. (Credit: AP)

After a late night tracking the polls, the Midnight Man returns to break down what Super Tuesday meant for the four remaining GOP candidates.

1. Strong and steady will win the race.  Once again, Mitt Romney performed strongly, winning in Ohio, Vermont, Virginia, Idaho, Alaska and his true home state of Massachusetts. While these results are anything but shocking, the theme of any primary race is that delegates matter, and Romney continues to gain delegates at a faster pace than any other candidate. He unofficially now has 404 pledged delegates, a substantial 239 delegate lead over his closest competitor, Rick Santorum. Perhaps even more important than his wins, however, are his second place finishes in Tennessee, Georgia and Oklahoma. His rival candidates, along with the liberal media, have continually labeled Romney as being incapable of winning in the South. They have proclaimed that he is too far to the center to appeal to the strong, conservative base in what have been traditionally red states. Well, the strong results in these states demonstrate that Romney has a foundation in the deep South that he will certainly build upon if nominated. Romney’s campaign has to view last night as a success and will look to perform well and strengthen his position as the Republican frontrunner heading into next week’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.

2. A big night for Slick Rick. Is it just me or did former Pennsylvania Senator Rick  Santorum remind you during his speech last night of a slick, used-car salesman, with his comb-over and generic metaphors? Yet, despite his questionable appeal and boring speech, Santorum had a successful evening in his own right, claiming much-needed victories in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. As Santorum stressed during his speech, his campaign’s financial resources are tight, and these victories may provide the necessary proof his supporters needed to provide his campaign with additional funds. The wins also demonstrate that Santorum truly is the Republican conservative’s alternative to the more moderate Romney. Newt Gingrich may claim to be the alternative, but in reality, the large losses to Santorum in Tennessee and Oklahoma prove that the conservative masses are more attracted to Santorum’s message. If Newt were to exit the race in the upcoming weeks, the Santorum campaign might yet put a serious scare in the Romney camp.

But despite all of last night’s success, Santorum’s night is marred by one unforgiveable mistake and one huge failure. In Virginia, Santorum (as well as Gingrich) failed to meet the deadline that allows a candidate to be placed on the ballot. This is a terrible oversight in a race where gaining delegates is the most important goal. By allowing Romney to go head-to-head with Ron Paul, Santorum’s campaign fell short of what is expected of a presidential campaign. If he is going to win the nomination and eventually defeat President Barack Obama, these mistakes cannot and should not be tolerated. Further, Santorum’s close loss in Ohio should not be spun as a moral victory, but a huge failure. Until a week ago, Santorum had a double-digit lead in the polls over Romney. Ohio, along with Florida, is quite possibly the most important state in a national election and Santorum’s inability to carry it last night does not bode well for his ability to beat not only Romney, but also President Obama.

3. The self-proclaimed “tortoise” needs to gain speed.  During his speech last night, former Speaker Gingrich called himself the tortoise in a race filled with bunnies, and proclaimed that come August’s finish line in Tampa, Fla., the tortoise will win the Republican Primary, too. Well, with all due respect Mr. Speaker, keep dreaming. Yes, you won in your home state of Georiga, but what else did you and your campaign accomplish last night? A review of the results shows that outside of your victory, you finished in third or fourth in the other nine state primaries and caucuses. While you hope for strong results in the upcoming primaries in Alabama and Mississippi, the results in Tennessee and Oklahoma demonstrate that your likely finish is in third place, behind the well-funded, well-organized Romney and the outspoken social conservative Santorum. Two-dollar and 50 cent gas sounds nice and would certainly help many Americans struggling to live daily, but your bold vision and large ideas are not resonating as loudly with the Republican base as you might believe. Congratulations on your victory in Georgia, but expect disappointment in the near future.

4. Goodnight Grandpa Paul.  Texas Congressman Ron Paul is now zero for 23 in the Republican primaries and caucuses. There is not much more to say. Thank you Rep. Paul for a spirited campaign, but your time as a presidential candidate is effectively over. While your base is strong and free-market message clear, the Republican Party clearly does not believe you should be the Republican nominee in 2012.  The Midnight Man kindly asks that you step down and endorse whoever you believe is the strongest candidate going forward. Your message has been heard, but it is time to leave the race and let Romney, Santorum and Gingrich fight it out for the Republican nomination.

The Midnight Man is a contributing writer to Yi!, focusing on politics as well as golf, hockey and Bucknell basketball.

Three Things to Track on Super Tuesday


Super Tuesday is the proverbial turning point for Republican presidential candidates. It’s the day that, according to political analysts, has the ability to change the landscape of the 2012 GOP primary race.

Yet these so-called experts, many of whom are employed by left-leaning media institutions who want to prolong what has been a heated Republican primary process, have failed to recognize one crucial reality:

The race is over.

It’s quite possible that the race for the GOP candidacy ended two weeks ago when former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney defeated his fellow candidates in the Arizona and Michigan primaries. Since those two major victories, the Romney campaign has gained an enormous amount of momentum. He has claimed a subsequent victory in the Washington caucus. He has surged nationwide in polls against President Barack Obama. Most importantly, he has taken a slight lead in the Ohio primary polls over Rick Santorum.

So regardless of how well Santorum performs in Tennessee and Oklahoma, or if Newt Gingrich wins in Georgia, it is clear – to some – that the Romney machine will not be defeated.

It is quite possible that today is the day that officials declare that the Romney hype train has transformed from a steady and slow moving freight into a high-speed, high-powered locomotive that will be extremely dangerous and difficult to beat come Election Day.

Here are three other themes to track on Super Tuesday:

1) Ohio – The Most Important Primary – Clearly the most relevant primary of the day, Ohio promises to be a close, hard-fought battle between Romney and Santorum. The latest polls suggest that Romney has a minor lead, with Gingrich and Texas Congressman Ron Paul far behind. However, with endorsements from former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as well as Congressional leaders Eric Cantor (R – Va.) and Tom Coburn (R – OK), a victory for Romney seems probable, as do the valuable candidates that will likely result. A Romney victory in Ohio is extremely important, as it will likely demonstrate to party leaders that he is capable of winning in Ohio, a vital battleground during general elections.

2) Delegates Matter – In order to win the GOP nomination, a candidate must collect a total of 1,144 delegates from state primaries and caucuses. According to unofficial estimates from various news outlets, Romney currently has a 120 delegate lead over Santorum, with Paul and Gingrich in third and fourth, respectively. When the polls open Tuesday, more than 400 delegates will be up for grabs in 10 state contests. The outcomes from these primaries are undoubtedly essential to each candidate’s campaign. The delegate count for each man after Tuesday will be a critical factor as to whether they decide to remain in the race.

3) Who Will Fight On? – This is the question political pundits will be asking around 11 p.m. Tuesday. Romney, who I believe will be the eventual Republican candidate, clearly will continue and use his predicted victories Tuesday to spread his message throughout America. Depending on how he performs in Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma, Santorum may have to re-evaluate his candidacy. If he were to lose in Ohio and either of the other two key states, the Santorum campaign will struggle to raise enough money to compete in the coming weeks. Gingrich, who vows to carry on until August’s Republican National Convention, will undoubtedly remain in the race, even if his campaign’s financial resources are limited. Regardless of Tuesday’s results, Paul is almost certain to stay in the race, as he continues to ride the coattails of his small but dedicated base of supporters.

The Midnight Man is a contributing writer to Yi!, focusing on politics as well as golf, hockey and Bucknell basketball. 

The Mystery of Ohio


On Tuesday, Ohio – along with nine other states – will hold its Republican presidential nomination contest. In the run-up to “Super Tuesday,” however, the Buckeye State has commanded the lion’s share of media, and candidate, attention. And rightfully so.

Ohio’s primary awards 66 delegates. While they are allocated proportionally, a large defeat would be crippling for either Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney. Its centrality to the general election cannot be overstated. Since 1944, only one candidate (J.F.K.) has lost Ohio and won the presidency. Thus, both Santorum and Romney desperately need an Ohio win to convince an uninspired base and unhappy establishment that they are viable threats to defeat President Barack Obama.

But how did we get here? Why is Ohio such a bellwether?

Numbers tell part of the story. Ohio has three major metropolitan areas and 18 votes in the Electoral College (compare that to the 14 votes populous New Jersey has). It has the ninth largest economy in the country. But size alone does not give a state importance in presidential politics. Just ask California (55 votes) or Texas (38).

What makes Ohio such a bellwether is its striking similarity to the country as a whole. It is a veritable microcosm of the broader nation in a number of ways.

Much of this similarity lies in its political diversity. The state spans the ideological gamut. The cities proper (Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati) are by many accounts liberal, but are surrounded by suburbs that range from Reagan Democrat to borderline libertarian. Between the metro areas lie heavily rural pockets that, as a whole, are largely Jacksonian.

A stark display of this diversity became apparent to me the last time Ohio found itself in the limelight. On the infamous night of “The Decision,” I attended a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert about 45 minutes south of Cleveland (ironically, about 10 minutes from where LeBron James was born). Skynyrd was promoting their “God and Guns” album, and the crowd was a petri dish of political scientists’ archetypes. There were college students guzzling Bud Lights; Baby Boomer couples adorning polo shirts and khakis; working class men and women sporting tattoos but not sleeves; and suburban 20-somethings (like myself) trying to mesh. It was not the typical liberal portrayal of Middle America as uneducated, poor hillbillies waving Confederate flags. Rather, it was an inclusive group that had both wealthy and lower class attendees. Many of the same people wearing tattered jean shorts drove home in BMW’s.

Across these various classifications exists a number of sometimes overlapping, sometimes conflicting interests and concerns, just like in American politics. Agriculture is hugely important to some in the state, as it creates something like $90 billion of annual economic output. Farmers want both low taxes and taxpayer subsidies. They compete with manufacturing interests, which push for tariffs and other import controls on the very same equipment used by farmers. Ohio’s large population of academics favors sustainable development and largely centralized urban planning that brushes against both agricultural and manufacturing interests. Urban social liberals often find themselves at odds with a state that is roughly 3/4 Christian. And on the list goes.

Ohioans are broadly representative of a nation that Washington D.C. and Manhattan often forget about. Many people in the state make a living driving trucks, herding cattle and melting steel. They hunt, they fish, they watch NASCAR and yet they can’t be bucketed with the monolithically rural deep south.

This same representativeness makes Ohio a tough state to campaign in and creates unique problems for both Romney and Santorum. For the former, there is a serious problem of genuineness. Romney’s persona is ill-suited for a Midwest state that values passion and conviction. This disarms what is his biggest strength, and could also be Santorum’s biggest weakness: policy “flexibility.” A candidate in Ohio must be able to talk to free-market advocates one day and protectionist manufacturers the next. Furthermore, while the state is fairly religious, residents are most concerned with preventing another 15 straight months of 10+ percent unemployment.

If Santorum were better known to Ohioans, he would almost certainly lose. He is too extreme to appeal to the many shades of Republican in the state. But that is not the case; many primary voters have only had very limited exposure to the former Pennsylvania senator. He will likely win Ohio this time around.

If he makes it to November, the incumbent will win Ohio and re-election. And the trend will continue.

Brian is a contributing editor who writes about politics, social media and the uniquely fantastic existence of being a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan. 

A Brief Evisceration of Rick Santorum


Our boy? Credit: Associated Press.

Rick Santorum is the latest Republican presidential nomination candidate to emerge as a serious threat to Mitt Romney, leading national polls by upwards of 15 points a week prior to the Arizona and Michigan primaries. The RCP Average has Romney in the lead as we approach Super Tuesday, coming off one sloppy win and one nice win in two states that he should have crushed. But to date, it has been a struggle for the former Massachusetts governor.

This shouldn’t be too surprising. Primary voters tend to be more passionate than general election voters; the juxtaposition of the fiery, intense Santorum and “Romneybot 2.0” certainly plays to the former’s advantage.

Unlike the other former GOP national poll leaders, however, Santorum is widely believed to be capable of sustaining his success and giving Romney a true run for his money. The New York Times’ Nate Silver argues why he thinks the former Pennsylvania senator has a legitimate shot at winning the nomination. As a liberal supporter of President Obama, this probably makes Silver giddy. As a libertarian who is offended by much of the Obama presidency, it makes me extremely worried. Indeed, even a close defeat for Santorum in the primaries would be a negative development for the Republican Party.

Rick Santorum is a big government conservative. He fundamentally believes that government has the authority and duty to cultivate better, more moral citizens through whatever programs and laws it sees fit. As Reason’s Jonathan Rauch noted in 2005:

A list of the government interventions that Santorum endorses includes national service, promotion of prison ministries, “individual development accounts,” publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, strengthened obscenity enforcement, covenant marriage, assorted tax breaks, economic literacy programs in “every school in America”

Combine this with his consistent opposition to gay marriage, and you have a candidate who, if in office, would use your taxpayer dollars to impose his own sweater-vested ethos upon you.

Furthermore, on economic issues, Santorum’s calls for less government belie his actual policy positions. He voted for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D (aka the Prescription Drug Bill), the “Bridge To Nowhere”, and countless other expensive boondoggles financed by debt. On economic policy, Santorum is closer to George W. Bush than Ronald Reagan.

Santorum combines the worst elements of Republicans and Democrats. (Did I mention that he was a noted influence peddler?) In the short run, his very presence harms Republicans’ chances of taking the White House. As evidenced by Romney’s recent awkward claim of being “severely conservative”, Santorum has already forced the tone of the primaries rightward. Independent voters are going to decide the general election; the more they see Romney and Santorum arguing about who did more to ban homosexuals from marrying, the worse off Republicans will be in November.

In the long run, Santorum’s rise paints a picture of the Republican Party that no normal 30 year old or younger would ever think about identifying with. The GOP is already far from cool. Rick Santorum will make it toxic.

Brian is a contributing editor who writes about politics, social media and the uniquely fantastic existence of being a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan.