Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rick Santorum's Fourteen-Minute Goodbye

Santorum bows out.

I did thirty minutes on the treadmill at my local "Y" as I waited for Rick Santorum to make his announcement. You can only use each treadmill at this "Y" for thirty minutes; so, when he had not yet spoken after my first thirty minutes,  I had to run over to the board and sign up for another treadmill so I could continue to exercise as I watched the news and waited.

Talk about breathless. My internist should write the Santorum campaign a thank you letter.

I was back at my new treadmill and hitting the start button and the timer just as Santorum began to speak. So I can tell you it took the candidate 14:05 to say what it had to say--which was; "The race is over for me."

He? Long winded. Me? Just winded.

He sure can talk, that Republican from Pennsylvania, whose grandfather mined all that coal with his bare hands. He was one of those acts that does not want to leave the stage. Which is understandable, I guess, for a candidate who has never had the nation's attention before and who so clearly relished it.

When he used the expression "air beneath my wings" I had to wonder what Dr. Freud would have thought of that slip. The air had gone out of his balloon and the tires on his Ford Truck, and his campaign. And the air coming from him was now just so much ... okay, I'll resist using the word "hot" as a low brow cheap shot.

Can I use gas bag? Naw.

It never looks good to throw rocks at a guy when he's already down. But this period won't last long. Santorum is young. He can run again, or, do what most guys in his position do: use all that name recognition to get a good agent and make a pile of money writing books, giving speeches and getting himself put on boards of directors.

Worse yet: he'll probably become a commentator. We certainly don't have enough of those.

From the chilly body language he expressed toward his wife as he gave her a cold peck and hug at the end of his announcement, I wonder what role she played in this decision? They have a child who is ill, and one never knows, when over arching ambition is involved, where the sunlight of truth can be found.

It reminds me of a scene in the film The Bad and The Beautiful when Lana Turner says to Kirk Douglas: "Its cold sitting on the ground." When he motions her to sit on his lap, and then treats her like an errant child, instead of like the sexy woman she is, she tilts her head and says; "Its cold not sitting on the ground."

That's how the world will feel to Santorum--but only briefly. For the rest of us: we now have a real campaign, that will start especially early and be far too long.

But, finally, it will have just two candidates to get that "air" going beneath their wings--maybe even a little poetic "wind" (we can only hope).

Lots of time for stumbles, triumphs, and world events of a momentous sort to intervene. Our brains may suffer from a severe overdose of stump speech clich├ęs; but at least my cardiovascular system will get a pretty good workout,

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