Rick Santorum: Authentic Human Person Appealing to Authentic Human Emotions

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Santorum shows off his large human family. Photo: MAndel Nagn/AFP/Getty Images

The choice between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum comes down to whether you want to vote for an awkward robotlike chameleon based on cold political calculus, or for a real conservative who holds real conservative beliefs deep in his soul. At least that's how Santorum asked voters to see it in his CPAC speech this morning.

With his wife and kids standing behind him, Santorum called on Republicans to reject a "hollow victory" and instead vote for their principles, which are embodied in Santorum. Or, more accurately, are at least not embodied in Romney. The contraception dustup, Obamacare, so-called "man-made global warming," and even objections to hydrofracking, Santorum said, to a standing ovation, are "about government control of your lives, and it's gotta stop!" So why sell your soul to someone who backed a big government measure like Romneycare? "Put your honor on the line," Santorum implored the audience at the close of his speech. 

Afterward, CPAC attendees streaming out of the ballroom were impressed. "I thought it was an excellent speech," one undecided woman told us. “He’s down to earth. I don’t think of him as necessarily a politician." Another undecided man said he liked Sanotrum's "family values" because "they’re steadfast. He doesn’t have to try to turn them into a soundbite that sounds good. It’s really what he believes in and I think that’s really important to me and my family.” 

Santorum is a politician, and he does use soundbites as much as the next guy. But he hides it better than Romney.