Today we are going to focus on what is known as "No True Scotsman." It is a way of dismissing dissenting thought from the argument. Here's an illustrating example:
"No Scotsman hates haggis."
"My dad is a Scotsman, and he hates haggis."
"Well, no true Scotsman hates haggis."
I'm sure this sounds quite familiar to many of you who have found yourselves arguing politics with some mouthbreather whose brain is lacking a significant number of contours. It helps shove inconvenient anecdotal evidence without having to consider that maybe, just maybe, absolutes are a bad idea.
Rick Santorum is starting to realize his bleating about, "America wants a true conservative candidate," might not have been the validation he hoped for. Santorum started off by using another old standby for cheating in an argument, controlling the terms of the debate. Santorum espoused that Americans wanted a "conservative" candidate. Keep in mind, the definition of "conservative" is cautious and measured. It is only because of politics that the word has mutated into a shorthand for callous and socially stuck in the 1950's. Need proof? When Shrub was running for President, he proclaimed himself "the compassionate conservative." In other words, he needed the qualifier in there because conservative, by definition, is not compassionate. I don't know what's worse, that he actually trotted that bullshit out or that people actually bought it.
So, Americans want a "conservative" candidate. Someone who tries to think things through and not cause unnecessary hassle? Sure, I can go along with that. But Santorum created his own definition of conservative, and that was where the debate focused. His definition of conservative is not what the dictionary says. And it's not what most of the modern conservatives consider "conservative." Lots of modern conservatives support women's rights, gay rights, civil rights, everything. They've moved forward and joined the Century Of The Pacific. But Santorum's definition is intolerant and discriminatory. It basically says, "You don't want to be picked on or marginalized? Then change your way to be like us, and we'll leave you alone." It says all the conflict of the world is the fault of those being abused, not the ones doing the abusing.
Which brings us to "no true Scotsman." Santorum has been acting like a dick for a long time, doing stupid bullshit like telling Puerto Rico they should all learn to speak English and nothing else. With his campaign starting to run up debt, not pulling in as much money, and having far less to spend, Santorum is looking at losing his home state of Pennsylvania.
I've mentioned before how Mitt Romney's campaign strategy works well in states with heavy urban concentrations -- the more rural, the harder to get his message across. Pennsylvania, where Santorum has been struggling to establish a beachhead, has several of these places, and they occupy most of the state. Not a lot of rural area where Santorum can still pick up some of the state's 71 delegates so he can keep tilting at windmills. In the cities, ad time is expensive. Romney cut down on his purchases in February and limped through March so that he has some sort of war chest ready for this. Santorum needs ad money, and he doesn't have it. And remember, this is the state where he was voted out as Senator by an 18 point margin.
Santorum continues to talk about being the conservative candidate. However, he's overlooking what he thinks is a conservative, what the South thinks is a conservative, is not what these battleground states he needs to win considers conservative. He says, "A conservative doesn't support abortion rights." "Well, I'm a conservative, and I support a woman's right to choose." "Well, no true conservative supports abortion rights." Well, that gambit doesn't work, because people go, "Wait...what gives you the right to say I'm not a true conservative just because I don't think like you?" People revolt because saying such things is insulting.
One month ago, polls in Pennsylvania had Santorum with 45% and Romney with 19%, a 26 point lead. Now, it is Santorum ahead of Romney, 30% to 28% (margin of error? 4%. Uh-oh). Romney isn't the only one increasing his numbers. The number of undecided voters has also increased to 24%. Pennsylvania is a must-win state for Santorum, and his chances are starting to fade.
Meanwhile, several senior R's are putting the arm on Santorum and Newt Gingrich to knock off the bullshit so they can unite behind Romney and actually start arguing about Obama (this is why Shrub is going to endorse Romney in the next few days -- it puts all those southern states back in play, especially Texas. Despite the R's trying to distance themselves from Shrub or his dad. After all, there's an opportunity to pluck the strings that run the world coming up, so let's just overlook the vilifying, shall we?). They are still refusing, trying to hijack the nomination. Gingrich says he will stay in the race until the bitter end, and before you could say, "Don't you threaten me, you son of a bitch," he cut his staff. A third of them got their walking papers, and Gingrich is apparently going Priceline for his travel around the country. Well, he has taken out a loan, so he better save some money somehow. He also is apparently trying to keep the party rulers from smashing him into the ground like a tent peg, because he says, if Romney does get the nomination, he will support him.
April could be the month Romney drives a stake in the heart of his opponents. Assuming, of course, he can find the hearts to begin with. You can't find what isn't there.