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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Big government Republicans don’t support Cut Cap and Balance.

vegconservative on January 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM

ROMNEYCARE – now there’s a big government Socialist Conservative

HondaV65 on January 4, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Limbaugh today is SERIOUSLY rebutting this charge on Santorum’s behalf. Limbaugh is singing his praises today.

Utica681 on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

YES, YES, YES, (sounding like Meg Ryan here), THE THREAD I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR . . . . . . .

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

If you liked Dubya’s compassionate conservatism, you’ll love Rick Santorum!

Publius 2.0 on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

The people creating and propagating the narrative that Santorum is a big government politician, are trying to use that designation as a pejorative.

What is ironic, is that the ones propagating this narrative are themselves big government proponents.

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Nothing beats big government than Romneycare

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Big government is big government no matter who is proposing it.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

I would guess that if he’s a big government conservative, he’s a smaller big government conservative than Romney or Gingrich.

I would have no problem supporting Santorum if he was nominated. No hesitation whatsoever. Romney or Gingrich would get my vote grudgingly but probably no effort beyond that.

dczombie on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

The godfather of Obama is the big government conservative in therace not Santorum

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

“Big government” and “Conservative” are oxymorons.

OhEssYouCowboys on January 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Government is already Big. So being any kind of Conservative in this environment is a good thing.

If my choice is Gynormous Big Liberal goverment looking to get bigger, or Big Conservative goverment looking to get smaller. I’ll choose the later.

Santorum really is the best conservative candidate, from my point of view.

Lawrence on January 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Alright! Another thread in the “Let’s beat up our candidates” category!

Yay!!!!

darwin on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

No. Rush was talking about this earlier. It’s the usual Dem attempt to twist definitions and associate the welfare/nanny state-type of Big Government with the type of government envisioned by the Founders: to protect and insure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It’s a mischaracterization and they’re scared to death of him.

PatriotGal2257 on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Well here we go. Not a perfect candidate, but someone I can support. Soemone who has just found his voice. Let’s see how we can tear him limb from limb.

I don’t know for sure that he would be a “big government” President. But I do know that Romney will be. Along with a whole hell of a lot of other things that I don’t want.

Have at it. Get out the long knives. Rip him to shreds. Leave only Romney to contend. Wouldn’t want anything else would we? Isn’t that what we do in this party?

It’s time to call it like it is. Romney is no Republican. Paul sure as hell is not a Republican. Enough is enough.

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I would like to hear Santorum explain how he can oppose personal autonomy, low taxes, limited government, reduced regulations, and keeping government out of our bedrooms, but still consider himself a “conservative.”

AngusMc on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Alan Colmes did Santorum a HUGE favor. That picture of him and his wife weeping got out the pro-life vote big time.

John the Libertarian on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

If you like Bush and love Huckabee, you’ll go full leg tingly over Santorum.

Next.

MNHawk on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Just what is a “big government conservative?” The term is a MFM lie, but let’s play the game.

If Santorum is a big government conservative, it’s because he seeks to use the government to do ONLY what it is constitutionally mandated to do – defense of the realm and our borders, law enforcement and the defense of the principles of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

It’s a total BS attack because they are scared shiite-less of him if he goes up against SCOAMF who is in favor of big government, i.e. the socialist leviathan that seeks to control us.

Rixon on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

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

Come again?

Kataklysmic on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Santorum really is the best conservative candidate, from my point of view.

Lawrence on January 4, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Is it his opposition to personal autonomy that is his biggest selling point?

AngusMc on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

I am so underwhelmed…

OmahaConservative on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

If you like Bush and love Huckabee, you’ll go full leg tingly over Santorum.

Next.

MNHawk on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

You don’t get it.

Rixon on January 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Santorum/Rubio!

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

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.

As a Pennsylvania resident, let me just say that Rick’s Greatest Hits – his stances on homosexuality, backing of shoehorning creationism into science class, that whole ugly episode from earlier this week involving his son, some of his more controversial statements and stances – are going to be one helluva good time to run through endlessly on the national stage.

Oh, and his big-government conservatism, support for Tom DeLay’s K-Street Project, etc., are all going to play well.

Welcome to the race, Rick.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I don’t think Rick supports Romneycare ….

tarpon on January 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Is Santorum a “big government conservative”?

I guess we need to get the Bachmann capitulation out of the way before we got down to the first order of business – fisking the presumptive conservative front runner.

O/T
Ed Obama is on right now crowing about Richard Cordray appointment.

Obama Defies Republicans, Installs Cordray at Consumer Bureau

By Hans Nichols and Laura Litvan – Jan 4, 2012 11:26 AM CT

Dr Evil on January 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The godfather of Obama is the big government conservative in therace not Santorum

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 1:34 PM

Yup. Liberals will tell you who they fear.

Rational Thought on January 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

And if you don’t support Santorum, you’re a big-government libertarian/liberal who aligns with radical Muslims.

True story.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Alan Colmes did Santorum a HUGE favor. That picture of him and his wife weeping got out the pro-life vote big time.

John the Libertarian on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I have my problems with Santorum, but I do find it interesting that the libs are counting on people finding the story of Rick’s son so creepy. Parental love knows no ideology and I’m willing to bet there are many Democrat parents who will sympathize with the Santorums on this and who may have dealt with a child’s death in a similar manner.

Kataklysmic on January 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM

For 57 years now, I’ve been a Catholic. Anyone who votes for someone just because he is Catholic is the equivalent of a racist.

Kermit on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

If Santorum is a “big government” conservative then Romney is a “communist conservative”

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Crossing posting (from previous thread):

If Rick Santorum actually makes it to the Oval Office, he is NOT going to try and place “Big Brother’s eyes” in your bedroom, motel room (political opponents might try your motel room, however), cruise ship berth, railway berth, hunting camp/cabin, whore houses, parked vehicle, tent, restrooms on commercial jetliners, etc. (did I miss any?)
listens2glenn (from another thread)

I saved this to a Word Doc because I figure there will be multiple opportunities to use it again, and again, and again . . . . . . over the course of the upcoming months.

Does that violate any Hotair rules, Ed?

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Witness the “Fiscal Conservatives” sharpening their long knifes.

kingsjester on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Limbaugh today is SERIOUSLY rebutting this charge on Santorum’s behalf. Limbaugh is singing his praises today.

Utica681 on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Limbaugh has been in the “Not Romney” camp for some time. He’s tried not to come out and say it openly (since he has a policy of not throwing his support to or against any Republican in the primaries) but it’s been clear if you listen to his broadcasts, especially after major events like last night’s vote. That is part of the reason why Romney supporters slam Limbaugh constantly.

Doomberg on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

O/T
Oh no Obama is talking Pie Sweet Potato Pie in his speech about Cordray, someone gave him a sweet potato pie, he’s looking forward to eating his pie later….we all know what it means when he starts talking pie.

Dr Evil on January 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Oh, and his big-government conservatism, support for Tom DeLay’s K-Street Project, etc., are all going to play well.

Welcome to the race, Rick.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 1:39 PM

The K Street Project was an attempt to cut the legs out from under the lobbyists who mostly support Democrats and liberal policy; using the system to neutralize your (and the American people’s) enemies. I see that as a positive.

Rixon on January 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Santorum: Voted to expand Medicare.

He is not a conservative.

rickyricardo on January 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

From The Blaze link:

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.”

People are just projecting conservatism onto Santorum because they want him to be one, kind of like Huckabee.

I carried water for 8 years for Bush and voted for Santorum. Not happening again. Senators like Santorum, even more than Senators like Dodd and Schumer, are the reason the housing bubble inflated. Democrats are supposed to support stupid redistributive economic policies. Republicans are not supposed to logroll with them to promote their pet interests.

HitNRun on January 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Witness the “Fiscal Conservatives” sharpening their long knifes.

kingsjester on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

None of these guys are fiscal cons. They are all the same people who have been trashing anyone who might threaten their plans to coronate Romney. These are the “era of small government is over!” guys who liked to gloat during the Bush years.

Doomberg on January 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Rush made an excellent point today on his show. He pointed out that the announcement that McCain was going to support Romney came during Santorum’s speech last night. His comment on that was that if you don’t think the establishment is trying to kneecap any conservative in this race, you’d be fooling yourself.

KickandSwimMom on January 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

He’s regarded in Pennsylvania as a Murtha Republican.

Brian OConnor on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Witness the “Fiscal Conservatives” sharpening their long knifes.

kingsjester on January 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

It will be a whos-who of anti-christian bigots posting half truths and smears. What a confession!

tom daschle concerned on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Am I going to regret asking “what story?”

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

People are just projecting conservatism onto Santorum because they want him to be one, kind of like Huckabee.

I carried water for 8 years for Bush and voted for Santorum. Not happening again.

HitNRun on January 4, 2012 at 1:43 PM

So, you’ll end up putting Romney in the White House instead. Yeah, THAT will fix it. So many brilliant minds on are side. That must be why we’re always winning.

Gregor on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

So, you’ll end up putting Romney in the White House instead. Yeah, THAT will fix it. So many brilliant minds on are side. That must be why we’re always winning.

Gregor on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Yeah, I know. “Our” side. I rushed it. Shoot me.

Gregor on January 4, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Alan Colmes did Santorum a HUGE favor. That picture of him and his wife weeping got out the pro-life vote big time.

John the Libertarian on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Maybe it was on purpose.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Federal mandated curriculum. This is going to be easy.

Anti Rombots, its not the moderate positions that kills your truecon candidates its the self righteousness which leads to hypocrisies and ultimately disappointment.

swamp_yankee on January 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

He’s for just as big as it takes to take care of business according to the Constitution and no more. Stop cutting people off at the knees before they can really get their message out.

Kissmygrits on January 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I carried water for 8 years for Bush and voted for Santorum. Not happening again. Senators like Santorum, even more than Senators like Dodd and Schumer, are the reason the housing bubble inflated.

Look, I understand Santorum is probably not your first choice. However, if we don’t get rid of Obamacare, we WILL go bankrupt, and it won’t be “twenty years down the road.” We know from Romney’s record and his recent statements that he is never going to repeal it. We at least have some chance that Santorum might do it – we have absolutely no chance at all with Romney.

Doomberg on January 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Santorum was around during the big-spending Bush years(well, 6 of them anyway). But he was also in the Senate when Clinton and Newt were balancing budgets and reforming welfare. So I’d say at worst it’s a wash for the guy. He also has nothing like Romneycare or 2 divorces to answer for like Mittens and Newt respectively.

Doughboy on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Ed M(Romney lover)……

Where is the piece on the Socialist proclaimed “conservative” Romney and his benchmark Romneycare?

When will you do a piece on Romneycare and how abortions are paid for and Planned Parenthood by Ronmneycare law, has a seat on the Romneycare board? When? Why isn’t Right to life on that board?

Who cares about whether Santorum is Big Govt or not..really.
He has NEVER imposed a “mandated” social medicine on any American…EVER!!

coach1228 on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

As others have said, if Santorum is not a fiscal conservative, what does that make Romney?

When you’ve got the field you have folks, since all of you are playing pragmatism, you’re dealing with shades of gray.

Other than Ron Paul, where do the remaining candidates stand on the fiscal conservative spectrum? It would seem that Santorum is to the right of Romney.

Romney is this cycle’s John McCain. Ron Paul is Ron Paul and Rick Santorum is Mike Huckabee. Newt Gingrich is this cycle’s Mitt Romney! Oy!

Logus on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

If Perry isn’t going to be the nominee and Gingrich is crumbling, then I might as well get behind Mitt. I absolutely refuse to vote for someone who has explicitly said he doesn’t support the idea of personal autonomy. I didn’t think anybody could be worse than Mitt, but Santorum absolutely is.

I mean it. If Santorum is the nominee, then I’m sitting out the election. And considering that I believe Obama to be the worst president of my lifetime, possibly the worst president in history, it takes a truly horrendous candidate to make me sit this election out. Santorum is that candidate.

Caiwyn on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

How is Ron Paul the anti-establishment candidate? He’s put in more years at the Federal level than any other candidate. And while he’s been there he’s not changed the upward trajectory of the National Debt at all. Sure, he’s a kook on foreign policy but he’s an establishment guy when it comes to bringing home the pork and running for re-election every two years.

Govicide on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

So, you’ll end up putting Romney in the White House instead. Yeah, THAT will fix it. So many brilliant minds on are side. That must be why we’re always winning.

Gregor on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

What, Santorum is suddenly a serious candidate because he kissed every baby in Iowa?

He has no shot at all to beat Romney and even less to beat Obama. He wouldn’t have a chance even if he was a conservative – did you click my link? “The Santorum Amendment” alone would make him a laughingstock – never mind how the public will react to his obsession with gays. And they will react, because he’s demonstrated an inability to shut up about them.

It’s still down to Gingrich and (in case of a surprise SC comeback that’s looking increasingly unlikely) Perry.

HitNRun on January 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Maybe it was on purpose.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Alan Colmes part of a Rick Santorum conspiracy? I guess anything is possible, but that’s reaching.

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Santorum was around during the big-spending Bush years(well, 6 of them anyway). But he was also in the Senate when Clinton and Newt were balancing budgets and reforming welfare. So I’d say at worst it’s a wash for the guy. He also has nothing like Romneycare or 2 divorces to answer for like Mittens and Newt respectively.

Doughboy on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

I hate that Newt’s divorces are lumped in with Romneycare as evidence of “they all suck”.

Newt could get married and divorced every week from now until the end of time it wouldn’t affect my life or yours one bit. Romneycare on the other hand gave way to Obamacare. Which will make all our lives worse for many years to come.

angryed on January 4, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Anti Rombots, its not the moderate positions that kills your truecon candidates its the self righteousness which leads to hypocrisies and ultimately disappointment.

swamp_yankee on January 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Proud Anti_Rombot here…..I kind of like that. I think I’ll print myself a t-shirt that says that. Of course there is absolutely nothing inconsistent in calling Romney a conservative, now is there. All of his policy IS consistent. It’s just that it is consistently what Obama would have done if he were Governor of Massachusetts.

I don’t want America turned into what Mitt turned Massachusetts into.

Santorum isn’t perfect. But he is a hell of lot better than anything out there.

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

A society of rugged individuals is simply not a society.

Don L on January 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Rick Santorum is the walking embodiment of Bush-era big-government social conservatism and foreign nation-building. He represents all that went wrong with the GOP and the conservative movement under Bush. And he has ZERO leadership experience. It would be absolutely insane to nominate him. I’ve been in the Anyone But Romney camp since day one, but if it comes down to a Romney vs. Santorum contest, Romney wins that showdown by a country mile. They are both statists, but at least Romney has a sterling record in the private sector, executive experience, and will make this election a referendum on Obama. Rick Santorum would 1.) make this election a referendum on the GOP’s social conservative policies; and 2.) Allow Obama to tie our nominee to Congressional gridlock (the institution currently earning the approval of a whopping 11% of Americans). Santorum would be an unmitigated disaster.

Lawdawg86 on January 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

I am afraid he is!…but then I look at Newt…look at Mitt…and…I have to look at Perry and Santy…and the less of all the evils…as usual! It’s a shame!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The next debate will be interesting.

Gig Em’
Perry 2012

workingclass artist on January 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM

I understand Santorum is pro amnesty for illegals. He may deny it and attempt to define his “path to citizenship” in some other terms, but there it is.

He is not a real conservative. The problem is, we do not have a conservative in the race. We have different flavor socialists running against a marxist azzhat.

Words and definitions matter.

dogsoldier on January 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Santorum invariably shills for federal power over state and local authority. He has a democrat worldview, with a theocratic bent (which is unfortunately associated with conservatives/republicans).

Daikokuco on January 4, 2012 at 1:58 PM

If Perry isn’t going to be the nominee and Gingrich is crumbling, then I might as well get behind Mitt.

I absolutely refuse to vote for someone who has explicitly said he doesn’t support the idea of personal autonomy. I didn’t think anybody could be worse than Mitt, but Santorum absolutely is.

Caiwyn on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Do you realize how idiotic that statement is? Do you? So, you think Romney supports personal autonomy? Gingrich? Perry? Really? Rick Gardasil Perry?

Good grief people. Stop being fools.

Gregor on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

darwin on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Well, if we leave it up to the MSM to question and not ask questions ourselves… what do we end up with?

Yakko77 on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

I hate that Newt’s divorces are lumped in with Romneycare as evidence of “they all suck”.

Newt could get married and divorced every week from now until the end of time it wouldn’t affect my life or yours one bit. Romneycare on the other hand gave way to Obamacare. Which will make all our lives worse for many years to come.

angryed on January 4, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Oh, Newt’s got plenty of other baggage. But the divorces will be hyped ad nauseum if he were the nominee. And don’t think for one second that wouldn’t hurt him badly with social conservatives and women voters.

Doughboy on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Any candidate who believes (whether they verbally admit to it or not) that federal government has a duty and the power to regulate/mandate social behavior beyond what is constitutionally allowed…Should be thought of as highly suspect.

Anyone remember prohibition?
Anyone at all?

Santorum referring to gay sex as “man-dog”, seems to forget that men and women perform those types of acts on each other all the time. No one ever complains, nor do most people ever know. The act results in no children being created, and yet social cons could care less, but if it’s “gay” sex, social cons scream about “IT’S UNNATURAL BECAUSE NO CHILDREN ARE BEING CREATED!” — I call BS.

Individuals have a right to believe, think, and do as they wish, WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF CIVIL/CRIMINAL LAWS. What two consenting adults agree to do (sexually) is no more the business of federal governmen, that it is for the obama “food police” to tell each of us what we can and can’t eat.

If we REALLY want to go down this road as conservatives…We had better prepare for what happens when the opposition gets a-hold of such power.

We have bigger fish to fry right now, and will for the foreseeable future. Santorum seems govt involvement in social issues will fix everything.

What a simp.

Talismen on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

So now the Tea Party candidate is an anti Goldwater technocrat who thinks the Feds should have more control over education and mandate federal curriculum.

swamp_yankee on January 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM

He takes his dead child to bed with he and his wife. How ever you feel about that, it will be grossly exploited, and will turn off moderates republicans, independents and disaffected democrats. Let’s not forget that he also wants to end birth control and the right to privacy. Now, that’s not very mainstream…is it?

rubberneck on January 4, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Two things:

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.

Not only on a curve, but on personal perceptions of what’s important.

Secondly, is it safe to say that conservatism has moved further rightward as liberalism has moved further left? And as such, what was considered pretty conservative thought during the Clinton administration might be considered fairly moderate now. Is it fair to allow candidates to tack right with the movement, or should they be forever pigeonholed based upon past positions?

BKeyser on January 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Is Santorum a “big government conservative”?

Yes.

NotCoach on January 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Welcome to the Machine Ricko…

Seven Percent Solution on January 4, 2012 at 2:01 PM

When will you do a piece on Romneycare and how abortions are paid for and Planned Parenthood by Ronmneycare law, has a seat on the Romneycare board? When? Why isn’t Right to life on that board?

coach1228 on January 4, 2012 at 1:51 PM

He had a Dem legislature. What could he do? When he’s president with a Democrat legislature he’ll be totally conservative and stuff. It’s on his web site. Ignore what he did as governor, only believe what his web site says.

/Romney supporter

angryed on January 4, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Oh, Newt’s got plenty of other baggage. But the divorces will be hyped ad nauseum if he were the nominee. And don’t think for one second that wouldn’t hurt him badly with social conservatives and women voters.

Doughboy on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Maybe. I don’t see social cons caring that much over this. They wouldn’t like it but is it enough to make them sit out a Newt/Obama match up? I don’t think so.

Women voters…the same women voters that voted for Clinton 60/40 knowing full well he was a serial adulterer? Again, I don’t buy it.

It’s 2012 not 1812. People get divorced. It’s not that big a deal.

angryed on January 4, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Rush made an excellent point today on his show. He pointed out that the announcement that McCain was going to support Romney came during Santorum’s speech last night. His comment on that was that if you don’t think the establishment is trying to kneecap any conservative in this race, you’d be fooling yourself.

KickandSwimMom on January 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Good grief, Santorum is not a conservative. No one running in the GOP primary this year is a conservative. They are ALL compromise candidates. You don’t want Romney? Fine. You don’t want Gingrich? Fine. No to Perry? Fine. But stop with the pretense that Santorum, who never met an earmark he didn’t love, who voted against NAFTA, who worked with Tom Delay to set up the “K Street Project,” is a conservative. No one is trying to “kneecap” the conservative in this race, because there is no conservative in this race. They are all better than Obama — every single one of them — but NONE can be called conservative. So you’ll have to choose. Does religious zealotry win out over corruption and big spending? Pick Santorum. Does debate performance win out over corruption, ugly personal baggage, and self-aggrandizement? Pick Gingrich. Does burning the mother down win out over bouts of insanity? Pick Paul. Does electability win out over a record of center-left policies? Pick Romney. Does religious zealotry and a pretty good jobs record win out over open borders and cringe-worthy gaffes? Pick Perry.

There are no conservatives here, but still, they are ALL better than Obama. Far better. Miles better. So pick one. But don’t pretend you are picking “the conservative in this race.” He doesn’t exist for 2012.

Rational Thought on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

We know from Romney’s record and his recent statements that he is never going to repeal it. We at least have some chance that Santorum might do it – we have absolutely no chance at all with Romney.

Doomberg on January 4, 2012 at 1:50 PM

WOW!!!

You haven’t been paying attention.

Gunlock Bill on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Oh, Newt’s got plenty of other baggage. But the divorces will be hyped ad nauseum if he were the nominee. And don’t think for one second that wouldn’t hurt him badly with social conservatives and women voters.

Doughboy on January 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

I am a female and a social as well as fiscal conservative and I can forgive Newt’s divorces. As a matter of fact for me they don’t even enter my radar. Romneycare, now that is something I just have not been able to get over.

Mind you if he is our nominee (Romney) I will vote for him over PBHO. I will not be happy about it but I’ll do it.

dmn1972 on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Romneycare pays for abortions

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Ron Paul is the known small government Conservative, but he doesn’t have a chance…right?

Decoski on January 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Bachmann, Perry, Newt and now Santorum? When are we going to hear about Romney’s socialist past?

celticdefender on January 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Ron Paul is the known small government Conservative, but he doesn’t have a chance…right?

Decoski on January 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM

That is right, because he’s crazy.

dmn1972 on January 4, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Romney is a big government liberal who needs to be banished from the republican party. He has spent the last 8 years running for office and is still yet to convince anyone.

A conservative from Massachusetts is a liberal in mainstream terms since Massachusetts is basically made up of socialist, communists and Marxists

social-justice on January 4, 2012 at 2:09 PM

They say that conservatism is a three-legged chair. Santorum clearly has two of the legs in the bag: Social conservatism and defense conservatism.

The only question that remains is this: Do you think Rich Santorum, as POTUS, will reduce the size of Government?

The answer is obviously “yes”. He will slash the size of government. Of course it won’t be as heavy handed as a Bachmann or Paul, but it will do for a start.

Brian_AL on January 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Romneycare pays for abortions

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Shhh. Don’t say that. It’s hateful to point out Romney is more liberal than Obama.

angryed on January 4, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Many people want to give Romney a pass on his liberal tenure as governor of Massachusetts because of the political make-up of that state. Well Pennsylvania isn’t Massachusetts but it is a solidly blue state and Santorum was the most conservative senator that state has had in over seventy years. Mr. Romney was a typical New England Republican.

celtic warrior on January 4, 2012 at 2:11 PM

A society of rugged individuals is simply not a society.

Don L on January 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

They are out in the mountain states, especially Alaska.

Unless you want to claim “there’s no societal structure” in those places.

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Maybe it was on purpose.

SouthernGent on January 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Alan Colmes part of a Rick Santorum conspiracy? I guess anything is possible, but that’s reaching.

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I doubt it, but if it was to inoculate him from that old story so be it. It’s low hanging fruit that shouldn’t be touched in the first place. It’s not like I am more inclined toward Santorum because of it. I just want it taken off the table because it’s personal. It was headed into the Palin’s not Trig’s mother conspiracy territory. Colmes: They took their dead baby home to play with it (really that was their motivation/) Colmes didn’t think that sounded like a yucky thing to say maybe he’s lost his ability to tell? It’s really just old gossip.

Dr Evil on January 4, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Rational Thought on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

I disagree with your religious zealotry charge against Santorum. I highly doubt he is as bad as many here (who are paid Romney people) are saying. I will hear him out and see just how much of a zealot he is.

KickandSwimMom on January 4, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Bottom line: Santorum is NOT Obama. Romney is NOT Obama. Gingrich is NOT Obama. Perry is NOT Obama. Rinse and repeat.

While the “perfect” candidate is not running, the worse POTUS in my lifetime is still in the White House. I’ll be happy just to get him out of there before the damage becomes permanent.

IF Santorum is able to go all the way with his White House quest, I’m sure he’ll help repeal Obamacare, reverse a bunch of executive orders, and attempt to work with a GOP lead Congress to undo some of the more extreme elements of Democratic rule from the last few years.

It is going to be a long, long election cycle. Hold tight.

itzWicks on January 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

And this is why I’d have a hard time supporting a candidate like Santorum. Socially, I’m pretty conservative myself, I loath abortion, and I hate the anti-religious garbage that is taught in most schools. But, I do NOT want to replace one brand of heavy handed intrusion with another. Particularly when I feel said brand may be passively hostile towards less mainstream religions.

Plus, I don’t think Santorum can beat Obama. If there’s anything that could galvanize democrats and send independents back to the left, its a candidate that may be overtly hostile towards homosexuals. Like it or not, most people do not want to these groups singled out, and Santorum has shown ample willingness to do just that. That doesn’t mean we can never again have a candidate that is willing to protect the sanctity of marriage, but it has to be a candidate that can be subtle about it, and on social issues Santorum isn’t subtle.

Just to be clear, I’m not trying to antagonize anybody here. I readily suspect some people will take it that way, and may take issue with my views even if they don’t think I’m being antagonistic. Still, nothing ventured nothing gained. Somebody has to be willing to make these points, might as well be me.

WolvenOne on January 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

By the way new Rick is softer on illegals than Perry or Newt. Opposes E Verify completely.

swamp_yankee on January 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM

If you liked Dubya’s compassionate conservatism, you’ll love Rick Santorum!

Publius 2.0 on January 4, 2012 at 1:33 PM

+1000

Calm down everybody….IT”S JUST IOWA!!

You’re crazy if you think Iowans will vote for a small government conservative. One question for you all….Who Won Iowa Four Years Ago??
They seem to have a thing for big government christian nanny staters.

A. Weasel on January 4, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Romneycare pays for abortions

liberal4life on January 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Is this one of your posts where you’re just giving helpful advice to the other side, or one where you’re showing who you fear most? I keep getting those confused.

Rational Thought on January 4, 2012 at 2:16 PM

It’s a mischaracterization and they’re scared to death of him.

PatriotGal2257 on January 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Just like they were scared to death of Cain, and Bachmann, and Palin…right? Rick Santorum has a clear record of voting for earmark after earmark, while also supporting the expansion of the federal prerogative with regards to health care and education.

How is that a mischaracterization?? It’s how he voted, period.

ernesto on January 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Rick, would you please start saying:

“Government is not the solution to the problems, government is the problem.”

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I disagree with your religious zealotry charge against Santorum. I highly doubt he is as bad as many here (who are paid Romney people) are saying. I will hear him out and see just how much of a zealot he is.

KickandSwimMom on January 4, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Yep…..and if anyone thinks that Mitt won’t be portrayed as a religious zealot, anti-gay-marriage, control-freak because of his Mormon religion, you’ve got another thing coming. How is Mitt going to explain how “white” Mormonism is and always has been?

Really, exactly how can you be Mormon without being zealous?

oldroy on January 4, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Am I going to regret asking “what story?”

listens2glenn on January 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Riffing on a comment from an earlier thread.

No biggie.

Good Lt on January 4, 2012 at 2:19 PM

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