Santorum:Winner

Santorum delivered  an effective victory speech after winning Tuesdays contests. His opening thanks were directed toward the voters, God, and his family. His family provided particularly strong pathos. His wife was right on stage. He addressed his children at home, specifically to Bella, his daughter who had recent health issues, but is better. In doing all that, he reinforced his value of family. The camera was tight on him, so some of the excitement was subdued. The second major section of the speech was the rally against Obama who “isn’t listening”. He repeated “Did he listen when…” to gain momentum from the crowd and to capitalizes how neglected the conservative audience felt about Obama. The next, minor part of the speech aimed at Romney. He hit and missed here. He said, “I don’t stand here to claim to be the conservative alternative to Romney. I stand here to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama.”  The repetition was well used. He also showed his confidence that he will be Obama’s opponent in the Fall. However, he drew on an overused line that Romney won’t  be a strong enough contrast to Obama. It is one thing to point out flaws of a candidate, but saying he is too far left sounds a bit like a photographer trying to get all the first graders in the group photo shot. He moved to jobs, saying “I care about 100% of America”. This hit on Romney’s gaff about not caring about the poor and the Occupy movement together.

A second round of Obama attacks followed.  This portion of the speech was probably the most powerful. He paints the current administration as one that doesn’t believe Americans are “capable of liberty” so they must tell us what is best. His example of this is Obamacare. On the surface, the right to healthcare seemed like a good thing. However, Santorum argued that when government gives a person rights, that person is indebted to the government and must exercise that right in the way government sees fit. This is a stark contrast to God given, intrinsic rights that a person has just because they are human, according to him. One might argue, however, that a government can manage to mess those up too. This is a great philosophical moment that is made real with the example of the Catholic Church, its resistance to parts of Obamacare, and the interception of a letter from a bishop voicing his concerns. It is an example that tempers the conservative philosophy of small government and will probably come up in the general election, especially if Santorum is Obama’s opponent. He closed with a call to action for continued support, especially in Missouri where the delegates haven’t been awarded. The claim that range the loudest in closing is that “liberty is at stake.” If this doesn’t create kairos, I don’t know what would.

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