About once every couple of days or so, I hear something that reminds me why I love politics. While March Madness has earned my attention, as it tends to do every year, I saw this news story and couldn’t help but comment on it.
Remember the 2012 Republican primary season? Well how could you forget should be the better question? But perhaps the biggest storyline of the primaries was the problems Mitt Romney had in securing the nomination. To the surprise of many, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum derailed Romney’s momentum every time the eventual nominee would look like he had the nomination in the bag.
Of course, Santorum would just be too controversial to win the nomination but some pundits suggested that if it weren’t for the presence of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Santorum might’ve made the race a lot tighter.
Gingrich, who was an early frontrunner who faded then re-emerged from irrelevancy every few months, saw his campaign come to an effective end following his surprising win in the South Carolina primary but still kept campaigning out of sheer vanity. The vanity, mixed with Gingrich’s delusions of grandeur, continued up until early-May when Romney had the race on lock.
But it turns out that the two foes almost joined forces to topple the Romney menace. Well, that’s probably what it sounded like in Gingrich’s head but seriously this almost came to fruition.
The best part of this idea is not just the idea of Santorum/Gingrich or Gingrich/Santorum on a presidential ticket but the idea that it didn’t become reality because they could not agree on who should’ve been on the top of the ticket. Yes, that was what sunk the idea.
Now unity tickets are usually the speculation of national pundits as opposed to ideas based in reality. But every now and then, it comes up and the most recent example I could think of was the alleged claim that John Edwards approached Barack Obama in 2008 about being his VP in exchange for the endorsement of Edwards. Good call by Team Obama there.
But to run for President, you have to have some greed and if you are still in the race; then you must have some ulterior motive. Gingrich would never drop out in submission to another candidate and Santorum could not realistically expect to gain all the voters that Gingrich would forfeit.
Would the “unity ticket” have worked? Probably not, Romney had a huge fundraising effort and any spare delegates were picked up by the Ron Paul campaign through caucuses and conventions. Still, the egos of two candidates set aside the Republican Party’s best shot at preventing Mitt Romney from running.
If the “unity ticket” won, then Barack Obama probably would’ve been the happiest person on the face of the Earth.
Though I would be a close second.