Is Santorum a “big government conservative”?

posted at 1:30 pm on January 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

When one becomes a front-runner, the scrutiny starts — and Rick Santorum has just stepped into the arena with a surprising and inspiring finish in Iowa.  His reward? The closer look every second-tier desires and dreads as a consequence of getting called up to the majors.  David Harsanyi spells out the case for conservatives looking to oppose Santorum, calling him a “conservative technocrat”:

Rick Santorum, like most Republican candidates, fashions himself the one true conservative running in 2012. If the thought of big, intrusive liberal government offends you, he might just be your man. And if you favor a big, intrusive Republican government, he’s unquestionably your candidate.

People are taking a look at Santorum. Important people. People in Iowa. Even New York Times columnist David Brooks recently celebrated his working-class appeal, newfound viability and economic populism, noting that the former Pennsylvania senator’s book “It Takes a Family“ was a ”broadside against Barry Goldwater-style conservatism” — or, in other words, a rejection of that Neanderthal fealty for liberty and free markets that has yet to be put down. Santorum’s book is crammed with an array of ideas for technocratic meddling; even the author acknowledges that some people “will reject” what he has to say “as a kind of ‘Big Government’ conservatism.”

Santorum grumbles about too many conservatives believing in unbridled “personal autonomy” and subscribing to the “idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do … that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom (and) we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.” …

Today, Santorum tells voters that Medicare is “crushing” the “entire health care system.” In 2003, Santorum voted for the Medicare drug entitlement that costs taxpayers more than $60 billion a year and almost $16 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Santorum voted for the 2005 “bridge to nowhere” bill and was an earmark enthusiast his entire career.

These days, Santorum regularly joins a chorus of voices claiming that he would greatly reduce the role of federal government in local education. When he had a say, he supported No Child Left Behind and expanded the federal control of school systems. In his book, in fact, Santorum advocates dictating a certain curriculum to all schools. The right kind. It’s not the authority of government that irks him, but rather the content of the material Washington is peddling today.

Fair points all, and these will get threshed out in the next couple of weeks, as they should.  Of all the candidates, Rick Perry made the best mainstream anti-Washington argument, but turned out to be a poor debater and a questionable campaigner.  Bachmann probably came second, and look where the two of them ended up in Iowa, and where they polled in the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire.  Ron Paul gets a brief but positive mention in Harsanyi’s piece — but only on his foreign policy, which is anathema to most Republicans.  Like it or not, the candidates this time around who have accrued support have mainly been those that represent the establishment-centric viewpoint, a point Jonah Goldberg also makes:

For the last month or so we’ve heard a lot of posturing about the “conservative establishment.” I’ve been pretty skeptical about the uses and abuses of the term. But now that Rick Santorum has replaced Newt Gingrich as the anti-Mitt frontrunner, the term seems even more stale. Santorum has many strengths (and weaknesses), but let’s not insult our intelligence. He is no Washington outsider. The guy has been a fixture of the conservative and Republican establishment — however you want to define the term — for decades. A congressman, senator,  radio show host, author, Fox News contributor, leader in the 1994 Contract with America movement, activist, lobbyist, earmarker, endorser of Arlen Specter: This is not some tea party unknown. …

The simple fact is that none of these candidates are ideal and nearly everyone not writing-in Calvin Coolidge is compromising. The problem is people don’t want to admit they’re compromising.

If you want pure anti-establishment, then Ron Paul is your man in this cycle.  None of these candidates are without serious flaws, but then again, there really aren’t ever any flawless candidates.  Do we aspire to find the least flawed, most capable candidate in the race in primaries?  Of course, but that is always graded on a curve, in every cycle.

Santorum’s prescriptions for government solutions for conservative goals should be given a close look, but also, we should hear what Santorum has to say about how he proposes to move forward with them if elected.  Until now, no one has paid much attention to Santorum, so he has not had much time to make his case.  Harsanyi raises good points, and how Santorum responds will determine whether he can attract a wide base of support or follow the same path of “compassionate conservatism” that provided a dead end to Republicans and conservatives in the last decade.  At this point, Santorum’s credentials on the “conservative” part has me at least willing to hear him out.

Can Santorum perform well enough in New Hampshire to get an extended look?  Lois Romano thinks the odds are long, but not impossible, and points out the strong Catholic presence in New Hampshire as an opening for Santorum:

With an attentive media contingent in tow, the former Pennsylvania senator hits the ground running with a two-hour town-hall meeting Wednesday night that will be followed by at least 10 more before Tuesday’s primary. He has spent considerable time here—and has an enthusiastic corps of supporters and volunteers in place.

“I’ve spent more time in New Hampshire and done more events than anybody but Jon Huntsman. And the same thing with South Carolina,” he said. “We feel very, very good that we’ve got the organization. And money is coming in better than it’s ever come in. And [after Iowa] we suspect we’ll have the resources to be able not just to compete in New Hampshire, but to compete all the way through.” …

“We know we can build on this momentum,” says Bill Cahill, a co-chair of Santorum’s New Hampshire campaign. “We’re going to make it happen with what we’ve got. We’re not going to staff up. Look, if he can come in at third place, it would be a phenomenon and spectacular. And we think we can make it happen.”

Cahill dismissed the notion that New Hampshire voters may find Santorum too socially conservative with his oppositions to abortion and same-sex marriage. “Conservatives play well in New Hampshire, and his positions on trade, tax policy, and national security are appealing. There’s a very large Catholic and ethnic populations here … The old Reagan coalition is still around for us.”

Conservative columnist Michael Graham says don’t count on it:

“We think South Carolina is extremely important, and we’re the only ones who’ve won a straw poll there,” Brabender said yesterday. “But we think that to be a legitimate presidential candidate, you have to, at the very least, be willing to compete in each region of the country. And that includes the Northeast.”

Team Santorum has diagnosed the problem right. Iowa has a history of backing conservative one-hit wonders like Huckabee, Pat Robertson (’88) and Pat Buchanan (’96) before sending them off to electoral irrelevance.

But diagnosing the problem doesn’t guarantee the campaign can find a cure. And Santorum is never — I repeat never — going to be competitive in New Hampshire. There’s a reason moderate-to-liberal Republicans like Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer congregate in Concord while social conservatives like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry charge on to Columbia, S.C.

The influx of independents and social moderates into the New Hampshire primary dilutes the strength of the conservative GOP base. Having Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Perry slicing it up hurts Santorum, too. Meanwhile Mitt Romney’s looking ever more likely to win big there and wipe out his “moderate” competition.

We’ll soon see.  At least Santorum will get the attention for which he has argued — and which may be a curse as well as a blessing now.

Don’t miss Jim Pethokoukis’ excellent look at the difference between the two candidates on economic approaches, and why both may be valid for Republicans in this cycle.


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pannw on January 4, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Well said. Joana should be ashamed of herself.

dukecitygirl on January 4, 2012 at 8:03 PM

What do you think the spending picture would have been like if 95% of libertarians consistently voted Republican and worked to force this issue of fiscal conservatism? Look at what the Tea Party has done in such a short time in that regard. Yet libertarianism and Libertarians have been around for as long as I’ve been politically aware, and what exactly have you done to affect the outcome? Virtually nothing. You’ve got a few newsletters from Ron Paul to show us all.

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 5:52 PM

The tea party has done NOTHING. The debt limit was raised, spending has never been higher, the 2010 “Republican House” have done NOTHING. That is why libertarians are beginning to split from the Republican coalition. You warmongers and bible thumpers are lying frauds. You shout “libertarians have to support us, we’re fiscally conservative!” when it is a blatant lie. A LIE. Meanwhile you guys relish in trampling civil liberties, and telling people what they can and can’t do in the privacy of their own home. Libertarians owe Republicans NOTHING. The rest of the Republican coalition has never done a single thing on the libertarian agenda. NOT. A. DAMN. THING. Meanwhile the libertarians have taken abuse from so-con warmongers and dragged the pathetic GOP across the 50% line more than a few times. And more than half of the posters here say they would never vote for Ron Paul, who represents the libertarian wing, if he was the nominee.

You want libertarian votes? Don’t make me laugh. Libertarians should and will treat the rest of the GOP the way the GOP has treated libertarians. You haven’t even seen libertarians split the vote, yet.

Daikokuco on January 4, 2012 at 8:04 PM

chewmeister on January 4, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Reagan is rolling in his grave right now.

gyrmnix on January 4, 2012 at 8:05 PM

ironmarshal on January 4, 2012 at 7:57 PM

What do you mean by government going back to an “1800′s” mentality? If you mean staying out of other nation’s affairs, not making International treaties, ending foreign Aid to our enemies, and getting rid of the Fed them I’m down.

Burning people at the Stake and scarlett letters, eh not so much.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:07 PM

Meanwhile you guys relish in trampling civil liberties, and telling people what they can and can’t do in the privacy of their own home

Ah yes, protecting public safety and establishing a proper moral code for society…more radical concepts that I believe were at the core of the philosophy of the framers of the Constitution…but what did they know.

ironmarshal on January 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM

establishing a proper moral code for society

Whose moral code?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

ironmarshal on January 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Not that I support the concept of legislating morality but…

Surely you can see the fatal flaw of moral legislation at the federal level?

And morality at the expense of civil liberties is an immediate no-go.

gyrmnix on January 4, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Did anyone see Santorum’s defense about his questionable “Black people” comments on O’Reily?

“I’ve done more for Black COlleges than anyone else! I used to bring them to D.C. so they could receive more Federal Aid” SERIOUSLY said that.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Ah yes, protecting public safety and establishing a proper moral code for society…more radical concepts that I believe were at the core of the philosophy of the framers of the Constitution…but what did they know.

ironmarshal on January 4, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Socialist scum, the whole lot of them! /

Because we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Whose moral code?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

The right one, i.e.: the one of the person who made the statement.

Duh…..

alchemist19 on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Surely you can see the fatal flaw of moral legislation at the federal level?

And morality at the expense of civil liberties is an immediate no-go.

gyrmnix on January 4, 2012 at 8:14 PM

Not for the Santorumites.

It’s what animates them.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

And since we’re on the subject of big government vs. small government, I’ll take this opportunity to point out the greatest American President of the 20th century, Calvin Coolidge. We need another Coolidge, not another FDR.

gyrmnix on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Whose moral code?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:13 PM

How about Islam where 9 year old girls are of the age of consent?

Is that acceptable, or do you want to impose your social beliefs on others?

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State. -Thomas Jefferson

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:22 PM

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:22 PM

If Santorum were trying to establish any particular religion, or prohibiting the free exercise of another, then you might have a point.

He isn’t… and you don’t.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

How about Islam where 9 year old girls are of the age of consent?

Is that acceptable, or do you want to impose your social beliefs on others?

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Who is advocating that?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Jefferson is clearly outlining the separation of church and state, while also clearly outlining the free practice thereof.

I’m not so much afraid of Santorum, as I am of unchecked Executive power. Obama has clearly shown that he will ram through any legislation he sees fit, regardless of Congressional approval. Is it really so hard to believe that a (ugh) President Santorum would not do the same? Politicians are Politicians and Santorum is a radical Christian socialist.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

$1,000,000,000,000 in earmarks.

one billion.

is that conservative?

he lost to casey, but he will beat obama?

that’s insane.

reliapundit on January 4, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Who is advocating that?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:39 PM

Muslims who favor Sharia law.

Why does it matter if you aren’t going to impose your social and moral beliefs on them, then it should be allowed right?

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Muslims who favor Sharia law.

Yeah, and there’s lots of them running for office, isn’t there?

You’re just dying to impose your religious beliefs – which you confuse with morality – on us, aren’t you?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:44 PM

Politicians are Politicians and Santorum is a radical Christian socialist.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Yeah, but he’s the right kind of big-government politician amirite?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Jefferson is clearly outlining the separation of church and state, while also clearly outlining the free practice thereof.

Is this before or after he left church mass being held in the Congress building itself?

I’m not so much afraid of Santorum, as I am of unchecked Executive power.

As am I.

Obama has clearly shown that he will ram through any legislation he sees fit, regardless of Congressional approval. Is it really so hard to believe that a (ugh) President Santorum would not do the same?

Yes actually it is. He has shown no signs that he would act that way, nor has he suggested radical programs. The opposite is true.

Politicians are Politicians and Santorum is a radical Christian socialist.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

He is nothing of the sort.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:48 PM

Yeah, and there’s lots of them running for office, isn’t there?

If the guy in office isn’t going to impose his morality on others then a 9 year old getting married should be no problem.

Unless you mean your morality should be the one imposed and its just other moral codes that should take a long walk on a short pier?

You’re just dying to impose your religious beliefs – which you confuse with morality – on us, aren’t you?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I don’t believe in God so my religious beliefs are non-existant.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:51 PM

If the guy in office isn’t going to impose his morality on others then a 9 year old getting married should be no problem.

I believe those laws were passed democratically in legislatures across most of the civilized world – not imposed from a unitary executive on high based on his individual moral code.

Unless you mean your morality should be the one imposed and its just other moral codes that should take a long walk on a short pier?

If you can find out where I typed that, you get a cookie.

I don’t believe in God so my religious beliefs are non-existant.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Silly rabbit – atheism is a religion, don’t you know.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

If the guy in office isn’t going to impose his morality on others then a 9 year old getting married should be no problem.

I believe those laws were passed democratically in legislatures across most of the civilized world – not imposed from a unitary executive on high based on his individual moral code.

And that means the moral code can be imposed? What then was the problem with Santorum again?

I don’t believe in God so my religious beliefs are non-existant.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Silly rabbit – atheism is a religion, don’t you know.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

I didn’t say I was an atheist, and even then only the militant atheists are likely to qualify.

So I guess imposing morality is just fine when its the morality we approve of? How exactly do you differ from the mythical christianists then?

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 9:05 PM

$1,000,000,000,000 in earmarks.
one billion.is that conservative?

We can quibble about how much is too much earmark spending or that there are too many stupid projects that get funding but the concept that Congress can and should allocate funds to specific projects is indisputable. Even Paul get earmarks.

ironmarshal on January 4, 2012 at 9:12 PM

How exactly do you differ from the mythical christianists then?

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 9:05 PM

He is infinitely better than them…just because.

Only the true moral reprobates are running around saying santorum is going to legislate sex..or whatever.

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Silly rabbit – atheism is a religion, don’t you know.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word.

Dante on January 4, 2012 at 9:16 PM

He is infinitely better than them…just because.

They like to pose the question as imposing morality because that plays into the anti-Christian bigotry they revel in. The fact that they too want their morality imposed is always left unsaid.

Only the true moral reprobates are running around saying santorum is going to legislate sex..or whatever.

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Well I for one don’t want 9 year old kids marrying nor do I agree with incest so I say we keep legislating rules for sex and stuff.

Someones moral code is going to be the law and since the founders were Christian by and large and that constitution thingie seems to have worked out well, I say we stick with what works until we find a better one.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 9:19 PM

sharrukin on January 4, 2012

Bravo!

pannw on January 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM

And that means the moral code can be imposed? What then was the problem with Santorum again?

Well, anyone who opposes Santorum’s big-government social conservatism is obviously a advocating 9-year-old Muslim child abuse or something.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM

If so, what does that make Romney? ANSWER: It makes Romney a liberal democrat (which he is, of course).

Pragmatic on January 4, 2012 at 9:59 PM

The fact that they too want their morality imposed is always left unsaid.

Who is imposing what morality?

What are you talking about?

Well I for one don’t want 9 year old kids marrying nor do I agree with incest

And that’s going to become the coin of the realm if people don’t support Santorum, right?

Someones moral code is going to be the law and since the founders were Christian by and large and that constitution thingie seems to have worked out well, I say we stick with what works until we find a better one.

sharrukin on January 4, 2012 at 9:19 PM

The Constitution is a secular document. Religion is kept out of it.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 10:00 PM

I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word.

Dante on January 4, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I do.

Are you new here?

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 10:04 PM

Romney is the worst of all the choices except for Paul or Hunstman. People need to wake up to the truth. I’ll take Perry any day of week because he knows how to govern. The illegal immigration issue is false because Romney, et al. will fold like a lawn chair when the Chamber of Commerce come calling and asking him to give illegals amnesty. Romney is the biggest wimp of the bunch and I don’t trust him (no principles). Please identify Romney’s conservative credentials someone, please (be specific)…where are his conservative bona fides?

Pragmatic on January 4, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Romney is the worst of all the choices except for Paul or Hunstman. People need to wake up to the truth. I’ll take Perry any day of week because he knows how to govern. The illegal immigration issue is false because Romney, et al. will fold like a lawn chair when the Chamber of Commerce come calling and asking him to give illegals amnesty. Romney is the biggest wimp of the bunch and I don’t trust him (no principles). Please identify Romney’s conservative credentials someone, please (be specific)…where are his conservative bona fides?

Pragmatic on January 4, 2012 at 10:05 PM

He’s an earmarking big-government Republican…oh, wait. So is Perry. So is Santorum.

Hmmm.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM

The tea party has done NOTHING. The debt limit was raised, spending has never been higher, the 2010 “Republican House” have done NOTHING. That is why libertarians are beginning to split from the Republican coalition. You warmongers and bible thumpers are lying frauds. You shout “libertarians have to support us, we’re fiscally conservative!” when it is a blatant lie. A LIE. Meanwhile you guys relish in trampling civil liberties, and telling people what they can and can’t do in the privacy of their own home. Libertarians owe Republicans NOTHING. The rest of the Republican coalition has never done a single thing on the libertarian agenda. NOT. A. DAMN. THING. Meanwhile the libertarians have taken abuse from so-con warmongers and dragged the pathetic GOP across the 50% line more than a few times. And more than half of the posters here say they would never vote for Ron Paul, who represents the libertarian wing, if he was the nominee.
You want libertarian votes? Don’t make me laugh. Libertarians should and will treat the rest of the GOP the way the GOP has treated libertarians. You haven’t even seen libertarians split the vote, yet.

Daikokuco on January 4, 2012 at 8:04 PM

See…right there….”warmongers”….”bible-thumpers”….”lying frauds”…..”insert-next-epithet”…. Really, what’s next in your list of names? Poo-poo-heads? Is that next?

And you’ve got no idea why many Republican think many libertarians are nuts? Including the chief nut Ron Paul?

If libertarians owe Republicans nothing, why is it that so many libertarians have such a big “Republicans Owe Us” chip on their shoulder? If that is the way of things, form a party….oh..you have….how’s that going? Your best libertarian candidate had to go Republican to get any traction. And when he can’t get the nomination, he’ll screw anyone in his way including Gary Johnson.

Maybe you think that changing Washington culture and conversation from “Spend as much as you want” to “we’ve got to watch spending”, had nothing to do with the Tea Party – but you’d be wrong. It’s a start. But changing Washington for good takes sizable majorities. How are you going to deliver those? With Ron Paul’s very effective leadership? Oh, he’s been there how long already and he’s accomplished what with his very effective message?

And why would anyone here, or you for that matter, vote for Ron Paul, based on acceptance of the libertarian ideals? I mean…..ISN’T GARY JOHNSON THE LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE? IF JOHNSON IS THE LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE, WHY ARE YOU GOING TO VOTE FOR RON PAUL AS A REPUBLICAN?

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

He’s an earmarking big-government Republican…oh, wait. So is Perry. So is Santorum.

Hmmm.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM

So what godless pervert are you supporting reprobate?

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 10:25 PM

He’s an earmarking big-government Republican…oh, wait. So is Perry. So is Santorum.

Hmmm.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Perry has incidences where he overused the power of government, but creating Congressional earmarks is not one them.

ZGMF_Freedom on January 4, 2012 at 11:18 PM

And why would anyone here, or you for that matter, vote for Ron Paul, based on acceptance of the libertarian ideals? I mean…..ISN’T GARY JOHNSON THE LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE? IF JOHNSON IS THE LIBERTARIAN NOMINEE, WHY ARE YOU GOING TO VOTE FOR RON PAUL AS A REPUBLICAN?

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Libertarianism 101: libertarian (small L) /= Libertarian (big L). Just as the democrat party has traditionally incorporated socialists and enviroweenies, the Republican party has traditionally incorporated libertarians. A small fraction socialists and greenies are involved in various third parties, and a small fraction of libertarians have thrown in with the big-l Libertarian party. Do you not understand the nature of a 2-party system?

But don’t worry, I suspect you’ll get your wish and the libertarians will seperate from the GOP. Then the GOP won’t be winning major elections at all. And the libertarians won’t be any worse off than they are now.

Daikokuco on January 4, 2012 at 11:32 PM

…sorry I wasn’t paying attention for a second. Ok, so what are my choices going forward?

* Big Government Moderate Republican
* Big Government Conservative Republican
* Limited Government Libertarian Republican

Is that it?

freestyle on January 4, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Exactly. Oh and the third choice is also a lunatic who panders to paranoid conspiracy theorists and racists.

Plus you can also vote for Obama.

So many fun choices this time around!

RINO in Name Only on January 4, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Rick Santorum “may” be a really nice guy, but he is a big government “passionate conservative” in the vein of George Bush… and this is not going to play well in South Carolina:

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2012/01/04/this-wont-play-well-in-south-carolina/

Rapunzel on January 4, 2012 at 11:33 PM

“Of all the candidates, Rick Perry made the best mainstream anti-Washington argument, but turned out to be a poor debater and a questionable campaigner.”

And yet, “conservative” commentators will complain that The Right cannot resist eating its own.

I don’t even KNOW Rick Perry all that well as a candidate. But I sure as hell know what the “conservative” chattering classes (as it were) make of him. .. And that’s kinda sad. There was the “heartless” faux pas, and there was the “brain fart” incident in one of the bi-weekly debates (not that any of us have ever had one of those).

Aw screw it. No one is interested in the Perry campaign outside of the “optics’ deemed to be surrounding it.

minnesoter on January 5, 2012 at 1:53 AM

He’s out. He’s gone. He’s toast.

NEXT!

minnesoter on January 5, 2012 at 1:59 AM

Oddly the conservative purists who hated Newt Gingrich will be shocked to find that although not THAT dissimilar, Santorum might be LESS of a conservative than Gingrich.

(Links and Santorum weaknesses here: http://www.politijim.com/2012/01/hey-rick-congrats-and-lets-get-real-ok.html)

Santorum has 3 Big policy problems and 3 big “other” problems

Policy problems are his 2005 “Compassionate conservative” speeches begging for government to do MORE in spreading the wealth (links above), his vote for Medicare Senior Drug and not just his embrace of pro-abortionist Specter – but his undermining of Bob Casey a STAUNCH pro-life candidate.

You can read his other problems at the link like his very questionable mortgage, but perhaps his 2 biggest issues are A) he is at least uninspiring (if not annoying) and B) he’s a lawyer that not only hasn’t managed more than 20 people at a time in his life, he can’t even get his OWN social conservative similars to follow him.

PolitiJim on January 5, 2012 at 3:00 AM

Policy problems are his 2005 “Compassionate conservative” speeches begging for government to do MORE in spreading the wealth (links above),

I’ve been saying Santorum is a Christianized Marxist and, as a Catholic, a Liberation Theology subscriber, but his supporters will simply argue a strawman and reply he isn’t a Savonarola and won’t impose forced Mass attendance.

Has anyone said seen him on Bill O’Reily? His answer on the “help black people” thing? Amazing. This man calls himself a conservatism and people just accept it naturally. It’s fascinating.

joana on January 5, 2012 at 7:12 AM

joana on January 5, 2012 at 7:12 AM

1. Try decaf.

2. Why do you hate Christian Conservatives?

kingsjester on January 5, 2012 at 7:16 AM

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 10:23 PM

The tea party had a lot to do with bringing spending to the national conversation. And where did the tea party come from? That’s right, Ron Paul’s grassroots support.

gyrmnix on January 5, 2012 at 7:33 AM

Politicians are Politicians and Santorum is a radical Christian socialist statist.

1984 in real life on January 4, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Fixed it. The problem with using the power of government to accomplish conservative “values” is that you leave in place the mechanisms that can be used to achieve liberal values in the future. Give government the power to do things you want, you also give it powers to do things you don’t want.

Look Polish on January 5, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Now that he is on Romney’s RADAR, Santorum’s record will be exposed. Santorum was onboard with the ‘Bridge to no-where’, has voted for many a pork-ladden bill, and has actively defended his record for supporting and voting for PORK. I am no ‘anti-christian bigot’ – I like the guy’s status as a Christian, but the troubling issues with Santorum has nothing to do with the fact that he is a Christian just as the reasons Obama has to go have nothing to do with Obama being black.

easyt65 on January 5, 2012 at 9:37 AM

gerrym51 on January 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Which is all good if you believe someone else should pay for your drugs, whether they want to or not.

GWB on January 5, 2012 at 9:56 AM

Actually, quite the opposite. The Republicans don’t need the MA, NY. CA, etc voters that don’t like Santorum’s stand on say abortion or gay marriage. They do need the conservatives in PA, WI, etc who aren’t going to vote for a wobbler like Romney.

Santorum lost in a blood bath year for Republicans, but again to contrast with Romney, he stood and fought…and Romney’s hand picked successor lost by significantly more then Santorum’s defeat. If you want to call that a plus for Romney, well, I guess we’ll have to disagree.

18-1 on January 4, 2012 at 7:25 PM

I have no idea why do you believe that suburban voters only exist in MA, NY and CA.

We need suburban voters in places like the SEPA suburbs or the exurbs around Milwaukee and the Twin Cities or in NOVA to have any chance of winning.

I’ll repeat: Santorum lost by that margin because those suburban voters in PA, who tend to be fiscally conservative but socially moderate, will easily vote for a socially conservative like Toomey or Santorum up until 2000 (or Casey), but not for a strident social conservative like Santorum became.

Again, the GOP can’t win without wealthy socially moderate white suburbans. Without them, it’s the McCain map.

joana on January 5, 2012 at 10:12 AM

kingsjester on January 5, 2012 at 7:16 AM

I don’t hate Christian Conservatives. My favourite senators are Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. I’m a conservative and a Christian myself.

I hate big spenders, pro-regulation, big government politicians like Santorum.

The difference between me and some here is that I don’t give Santorum a pass on his socialist leanings just because he’s a Christian.

Understood?

joana on January 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM

kingsjester on January 5, 2012 at 7:16 AM

I don’t hate Christian Conservatives. My favourite senators are Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. I’m a conservative and a Christian myself.

I hate big spenders, pro-regulation, big government politicians like Santorum.

The difference between me and some here is that I don’t give Santorum a pass on his socialist leanings just because he’s a Christian.

Understood?

joana on January 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I agree with you as well. Religion is important but I advise that politicians don’t use it as a bludgeon like Santorum does. I feel morality is essential but the government shouldn’t be promoting it because then we risk becoming as despicable as the progressives are. Remember what George Washington stated about government, in that it’s a dangerous fire that shouldn’t be trifled with.

Pitchforker on January 5, 2012 at 11:07 AM

And that means the moral code can be imposed? What then was the problem with Santorum again?

Well, anyone who opposes Santorum’s big-government social conservatism is obviously a advocating 9-year-old Muslim child abuse or something.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM

I believe sharrukin needs to learn the difference between religious morality and religious dogma.

The age of consent in Islamic tradition is dogma. Religious dogma should never be codified in law in a free society, and to use that as a basis of argument is a total strawman. In The Book of Exodus, chapter 21 discusses the rules for owning, selling, and freeing slaves. It says a father may sell his daughter into slavery. Is that dogma of the Judeo-Christian religions one that we should codify into law in our “Christian society”? And if we can pick and choose which Judeo-Christian dogma to legislate, then why would any tenet of the Islamic faith that we find distasteful or non-applicable to modern society be any different?

Besides, an age of consent is a perfectly legitimate thing for a legislature to address since it has implications outside of sex and marriage, such as entering into legally binding contracts.

When John Adams spoke of the basis of the Constitution laying in morality, and being only suitable for a moral people, he was not speaking of codifying Christian dogma into law. He was well aware that such actions where equally as inherently dangerous to a free society as a total lack of morals. He understood that once you being to legislate based on religious dogma, then you are legislating a particular religon and eroding the free exercise of all religions. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, that path leads to pure theocracy. His commentary was against the notion of a complete lack of morals and outright anarchy. ALL primary religions adhere to a basic set of morals which outlaw things like murder, theft, and the like. That was the moral basis for law that he was addressing.

gravityman on January 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Newsflash – every Republican is a big government “conservative”. That is to say, not conservative at all. At least not where it matters most.

Benaiah on January 5, 2012 at 1:59 PM

We need to get the facts out…. There is no quibling Santorum is a firm social conservative … this election is not about social conservatism…. it is about the economy and less government intrusion. In that regard Santorum fails miserably:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/287068/santorum-s-big-government-conservatism-michael-tanner

snip…………

When Hillary Clinton was justly excoriated by conservatives for her book It Takes A Village, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives, Rick Santorum countered with his book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, which advocated greater government involvement in our lives. Among the many government programs he supported: national service, publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, and economic-literacy programs in “every school in America” (italics in original).

Santorum’s voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style “big-government conservatism.” For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind.

He never met an earmark that he didn’t like. In fact, it wasn’t just earmarks for his own state that he favored, which might be forgiven as pure electoral pragmatism, but earmarks for everyone, including the notorious “Bridge to Nowhere.” The quintessential Washington insider, he worked closely with Tom DeLay to set up the “K Street Project,” linking lobbyists with the GOP leadership.

He voted against NAFTA and has long opposed free trade. He backed higher tariffs on everything from steel to honey. He still supports an industrial policy with the government tilting the playing field toward manufacturing industries and picking winners and losers.

In fact, Santorum might be viewed as the mirror image of Ron Paul. If Ron Paul’s campaign has been based on the concept of simply having government leave us alone, Santorum rejects that entire concept. True liberty, he writes, is not “the freedom to be left alone,” but “the freedom to attend to one’s duties to God, to family, and to neighbors.” And he seems fully prepared to use the power of government to support his interpretation of those duties.

Rapunzel on January 5, 2012 at 3:45 PM

On Dec. 7, 2005, the Romney administration unveiled the final orders. “These carbon emission limits will provide real and immediate progress in the battle to improve our environment,” then-Gov. Romney said in a press release touting Massachusetts as “the first and only state to set CO2 emissions limits on power plants.”

This is enough to drop Romney on the list. Add in healthcare mandates, and I don’t see why anyone would want him as the Republican candidate. Except maybe the Democrats.

And I notice joana has no response. Romney has an absolutely atrocious record on real issues. All she can carp about is Santorum’s pro-union votes.

AJsDaddie on February 11, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Paul is not a state’s rights guy, he is an anti fed spending and regulation guy. If he were a state’s rights guy he would also support the individual states determining their social policies (abortion, gay marriage, etc, etc). He doesn’t, or rather he speaks as if he doesn’t.
gyrmnix on January 4, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Do you guys do any research? Honestly. Do you have any idea who these candidates are and what they stand for? Or did somebody just hit some of you with the Paulbot stick?

Ron Paul: Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy”. Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards.

He thinks Texas can pass anti-sodomy laws. That’s about as state rights as it gets. C’mon now, keep up with the rest of the class.

At least the Romney shills usually have a fact: it may be a single cherry-picked fact, and they may repeat that same fact a hundred times regardless of its relevance, but it is a fact.

AJsDaddie on February 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM

He voted against NAFTA and has long opposed free trade. He backed higher tariffs on everything from steel to honey. He still supports an industrial policy with the government tilting the playing field toward manufacturing industries and picking winners and losers.

Explain to me how NAFTA favors American workers. Include a single instance where our trade deficit has gone down after a tarde agreement has gone into place. Instead, our markets get flooded with cheap products built by cheap labor that domestic companies can’t compete with.

http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp147/

I’m okay with a government tilting the playing field towards manufacturing. In fact, I wish they would do so. I’m no Reed Smoot, but I’m okay with some tariffs. As to picking winners and losers, I’ve never seen a Santorum vote that sides with one American company over another. That would be the Democrats, whether its auto companies or Solyndra.

AJsDaddie on February 11, 2012 at 6:54 PM

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