Political Animal


October 22, 2013 3:01 PM The Santorum Invasion

By Ed Kilgore

If I can be allowed one more item on the Virginia governor’s race, I was much amused to read that Ken Cuccinelli’s beleaguered campaign is receiving some last-minute succor from none other than Rick Santorum, per a report from Politico’s Tal Kopan, who must have drawn the short straw for assignments:

Rick Santorum is signing up volunteers for a “strikeforce” to help Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in his bid to become governor of Virginia.
Santorum’s PAC, Patriot Voices, is recruiting supporters to go door to door Nov. 1-3 in Virginia to plug the Republican candidate for governor on its website.

What this doomed mission most reminds me of a similar phenomenon in 2006, when former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller invaded Pennsylvania to create some last-minute fantasy organization called “Democrats for Santorum” when ol’ Rick’s campaign had been written off as dead by just about everybody.

Here’s what I wrote about it at the time in my New Donkey blog:

You have to wonder why the Santorum campaign thinks flying in Zell Miller, who is neither a Pennsylvanian nor a Democrat, to launch “Democrats for Santorum” is going to do any good. Maybe they’ve bought into the old jibe (often attributed to James Carville) that Pennsylvania is composed of two cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with Alabama in between (hence the sobriquet, “Pennsylbama” or “Pennsyltucky”). Miller’s decision to play this bizarre role in a losing effort is equally puzzling, but I’ve long given up trying to figure out my former boss’ recent behavior. Maybe he’s going through some sort of Robert E. Lee delusion, invading Pennsylvania only to suffer defeat at Gettysburg.

Maybe Santorum thinks this reverse invasion of Robert E. Lee’s state will create some psychic chits his 2016 presidential campaign can cash. But I suspect my conclusion that Miller’s “Democrats for Santorum” stunt reflected a politician with nothing to do helping a politician with nothing to lose applies here as well.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


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