Santorum Out, Economy and Jobs In?

Gee, the GOP presidential primary debacle race kidda ended with a whimper yesterday as Rick Santorum said he was ending his campaign. And I guess that finale comes with a considerable sigh among conservatives, who now have to decide whether to enter the election booth in November and vote against Obama, or stay home and watch Fox News.

I expect many will sit this one out. I just don’t see them turning out enthusiastically for Romney. Here’s from the NYT:

Rick Santorum, with an abrupt decision to end his campaign Tuesday, cleared the way for Mitt Romney to claim the Republican nomination while dashing the hopes of social conservatives who had propelled Mr. Santorum’s surprisingly successful challenge to the Republican establishment.

And:

Conservative leaders praised Mr. Santorum’s decision and his campaign that brought their issues to the fore. But they raised doubts that Mr. Romney could convert their flock.

“I just think it’s going to be a much harder lift to take someone who seems like a moderate and try to get conservatives excited about it,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.

Richard Viguerie, a veteran conservative activist who became a close supporter of Mr. Santorum, said Mr. Romney would have to work hard at winning many others over, especially after such a hard-fought campaign. “After having destroyed every conservative that came on the scene,” he said, “you can’t say ‘You have to line up behind me.’ No, no, no. Conservatives are not going to jump until they hear where Governor Romney wants to take everybody.”

And Santorum in exiting didn’t jump on the Romney bandwagon — at least not yet. Also from the NYT:

If history is any guide, Rick Santorum will probably hold a news conference in the near future and solemnly proclaim his support for Mitt Romney, and praise him as the right man to lead a post-Obama renaissance in America.

It will be a jarring moment.

For more than four months, Mr. Santorum has been the public face of the most searing assessments of Mr. Romney’s character and record. And despite Mr. Santorum’s decision to suspend his campaign Tuesday, it will take time for that acerbic commentary to fade.

According to the pre-April 10 Rick Santorum, Mr. Romney is guilty of “lying to the American people,” being the “ultimate flip-flopper” and “the worst Republican in the country” to oppose President Obama on health care.

“We can’t nominate such a weak candidate,” Mr. Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week” three weeks ago. “I’d love to be able to get one-on-one with Governor Romney and expose the record that would be the weakest record we could possibly put up against Barack Obama.”

Oh well.

I don’t agree with Santorum on most issues. But I give him credit for believing in something — and then staying true to his convictions while in the spotlight of the campaign and debates and under the microscope of what really is (with Fox News being the exception) an Obama-supporting, liberal mainstream media, especially network TV news broadcasts and the quasi-entertainment programs like Today.

But unfortunately for Santorum, and the other GOP candidates, they managed to get sidetracked from the issues that matter most: the economy and jobs. Obama’s record here is pathetic; we’re at best in the midst of a jobless economic recovery (yeah, I know, it’s Bush’s fault — LOL) and those jobs that are being created and filled are at the lower end of the economic totem poll.

Here’s from WaPo, ” An economic recovery that leaves workers further behind“:

Why is this recovery different from all other recoveries?

Many of the reasons are widely known: Rebounding from a financial crisis takes an excruciatingly long time; the huge decline in housing values has reduced Americans’ purchasing power; large corporations are making do with fewer employees — at least, in this country.

But what really sets the current recovery apart from all its predecessors is this: Almost three years after economic growth resumed, the real value of Americans’ paychecks is stubbornly still shrinking. According to Friday’s Bloomberg Briefing, “the pace of income gains is well below that of the past two jobless recoveries and real average hourly earnings continue to decline.”

The Bloomberg report cites one reason for this anomaly: Most of the jobs being created are in low-wage sectors. According to Bloomberg, fully 70 percent of all job gains in the past six months were concentrated in restaurants and hotels, health care and home health care, retail trade, and temporary employment agencies. These four sectors employ just 29 percent of the country’s workforce but account for the vast majority of the jobs being created.

Among the economy’s better-paying sectors, construction still has an unemployment rate of 17 percent. Given the persistence of mass foreclosures, the continuing decline of housing values and Republicans officeholders’ reluctance to allot public funds even for paving roads, construction isn’t coming back anytime soon.

Strikes me that the candidates — Romney and Prez O — should be floating solutions to these issues.

And if they can’t find them, then I guess we’ll have to wait for Hillary in 2016.

Just sayin’.

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