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Ralph Reed baits the trap for Mitt Romney with a Washington Post opinion piece in which he warns Mittens he has to channel Little Ricky Santorum to win. (He does very little to address the point that Little Ricky himself couldn't win, but whatever.) It's pretty clear that he's trying to get some cash out of the Romney campaign to do his manipulative thing:
Santorum has been denounced as a sore loser, a religious extremist, a crank. MSNBC host Martin Bashir referred to him as a theocratic version of Stalin. One columnist alleged in the Daily Beast that Santorum would use the power of the presidency to impose “his ideal of a Christian America” on the nation. The New Yorker compared him to Islamic extremists who seek to execute their opponents, adding that we need separation of church and state so that “Santorum and his party can’t impose dominion of one narrow, sectarian, Bible-based idea of the public good.”
But Santorum and his supporters may have the last laugh. From John C. Fremont to William Jennings Bryan in the 19th century to Barry Goldwater, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Ronald Reagan in our time, losing presidential candidates have previewed the ideological trajectory of their parties — and often of the nation.
Romney would be wise to remember this in his general-election campaign. Of course he can’t neglect independents, or women, or Hispanics, or other nontraditional Republican constituencies. But his immediate task is to consolidate conservative support and unify the party. The best way to do that is to appropriate the best parts of Santorum’s message.
I wonder who would be best suited to help Mittens do that? Hmm, let me think a minute. Oh yeah, the most weaselly unindicted Abramoff co-conspirator of them all!
Reed has been renting out his services to various Republicans for a while. His specialty? Riling up the fundie base to get the troops out there and vote against whichever Godless heathen the Democrats are running, just on general principles. (Would it be rude to point out that Ralphie couldn't get his own self elected to the Georgia state legislature?)
So if Mittens wants to play that same old game, I'm sure Ralph is just the right man. Assuming Jack Abramoff doesn't decide to give a tell-all interview, that is.