Would Rick Santorum Make a Better Candidate Than Corbett?

A pretty compelling argument.

Keystone Politics’s Jake Sternberger is floating a contrarian theory that arch-conservative Rick Santorum would make a better gubernatorial candidate than the (slightly) more moderate Tom Corbett. Here’s the argument, in a nutshell:

  • He can raise money from eccentric wacko birds like Foster Friess.
  • He can turn out the really right-wing social conservative “man-on-dog” types.
  • He’s a Penn State grad, which makes him not completely hated among all Penn State grads in the state.
  • He affects an economic populism that’s rare among conservatives these days.

 I think there’s some truth to this. There are regular reports of intra-party musing about a Corbett alternative, and he doesn’t seem to have a natural base of support besides the folks in the natural gas industry. His ability to make everyone hate him, as I noted in a piece earlier this year about his relationship to Penn State, is almost masterful. And now he’s become a gaffe-machine. That said, his biggest strength is probably the very status-quo-like vibe about him. If moderate Pennsylvanians for whatever reason get scared off by a SEPA liberal candidate like Allyson Schwartz, Corbett’s going to seem like a safe bet in comparison. No matter how much they don’t like him. Kind of like a certain 2012 presidential candidate.