Sage advice still for those learning the ropes or wanting to be taken seriously, as the other old adage goes 'better to keep your mouth closed and thought a fool than to open it and prove the fact." (no comments on that please, I know, I know).
To me this wisdom of the ages relates to Rick Santorum at this crucial time. He has had a dream run, with three unexpected primary wins, and is leading Romney nationally and, vitally in the Ohio and Michigan polls. If he wins Michigan a "home state" for Romney then all bets are off as far as who might be the nominee, and if someone else enters the fray. Simply put, Michigan can be a deal breaker.
However, as we have seen throughout this campaign, once a non-Romney gets into a leading position the wheels start to come off and another non-Romney, or a retread non-Romney rises to take his/her place as the case may be. This has not happened to Santorum, yet, if it ever does happen, but there were signs of speed wobbles recently.
His main backer made a silly statement about women preventing pregnancy "the old fashioned way by keeping an aspirin between their knees" which was later apologized for. This was nothing to do with Santorum directly, but there was, via his opponents and the Dem's, guilt by association. Santorum was tarred with the brush of old fashioned religious extremism.
Instead of then following the mouth breathing advice and not saying anything to draw attention to the matter, or issuing a bland, possibly apologetic statement, Santorum mounted a full blown rebuttal which came across to some as whiney. Certainly so to his political enemies, and which reinforced Santorum's association with the statement maker, and thus religious extremism, in the minds of many.
I would have thought that that would have been a salutary lesson and such matters would be left alone, and Santorum would then concentrate on his economic and general social message. However the opposite has happened and Santorum launched a full blown attack on President Obama's religiosity.
From Yahoo AT THIS LINK
Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator known for his social conservative views, said Obama's agenda is based on "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology." He later suggested that the president practices a different kind of Christianity.
"In the Christian church there are a lot of different stripes of Christianity," he said. "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."
At first glance such an attack seems inexplicable. But, as the article points out, Santorum does not have the financial armoury that Romney has, and by playing to a perceived strength i.e. to gee up his fundamentalist base so they turn out in strength he can, through feet on the ground, overcome Romney's financial power.
The attack on President Obama as somehow holding to a non-Christian ideology (Marxist no doubt) would play well with its intended message recipients, even with the later qualification that Obama is "a type of Christian."
Much is at stake, and if Santorum's plan works and he takes Michigan and Ohio, he can worry about what the wider population will think of him if he is the nominee at that point. One thing is certain though by taking the path he has, in order to win, he will have indelibly fixed the image of a religious, fundamentalist, ideologue on to himself for better or worse.
It may turnout to be better if Santorum just leaves that aspect alone until after Michigan and Ohio. Even if he loses by a small margin he will garner a large number of delegates in these proportional primaries, and will be seen as more than a one dimensional, easy target candidate for the future. For the moment Santorum looks like he has decided to go for broke. Perhaps the better option would be do say nothing, we shall see.
From my point of view, I hope whatever strategy he decides on works, and he gets enough delegates to keep on going whilst denying Romney enough to get the nomination and the end result is a brokered convention. I just can't see Santorum winning the general election,especially if he is classified as a religious extremist.