Santorum: If the idea of government-granted rights wins out, government will own you

posted at 1:55 pm on February 10, 2012 by Tina Korbe

Rick Santorum’s is a familiar face at CPAC. He’s been here in years when he was little more than a sidenote in the programming, and he’s been here in years, like this one, when his is the face attendees crowd to see. But, year in and year out, what he has stood for has not changed. That consistency was especially evident in his speech today,  in which he expounded on his — and, indeed, Americans’ — long-held conviction that men are endowed with rights by their Creator — not given those rights by the government.

“We know there’s a lot of excitement here because this election is about big, big things,” Santorum said. “We know it’s about big things; it’s about foundational principles. Every speech I’ve given from the 381 townhall meetings I did in Iowa, I talked about founding principles. This campaign is gonna be about a vision, about who we are as Americans.”

That vision? No more and no less than the one outlined in the Declaration of Independence, the document that Santorum said explains the “why” of America.

“Are we going to believe, as our Founders did, that our rights don’t come from the government, that they come from a much higher authority?” Santorum asked today. “There are those in the Oval Office who believe that’s not the case, that rights do, in fact, come from the government, and they have gone around convincing the American people that they can give you rights. We see what happens when government gives you rights. When government gives you rights, government can take away those rights. When government gives you rights, they can coerce you in doing things in exercising the rights that they gave you.”

Santorum cited Obamacare as a perfect example of a government trumped-up right and predicted a dire outcome of government-defined rights.

“As a result, government will own because you will have to pay tribute to Washington in order to get the care you need for your children,” he said.

The major reason Santorum entered the presidential race, he said, was because he saw Obamacare as a “gamechanger.” As a longstanding supporter of bottom-up solutions to out-of-control health care costs and lack of access, Santorum is in an enviable position — at least from the perspective of his competitors — to make Obamacare a central issue of the race in 2012.

But it won’t be Santorum’s only issue. Among other topics, he touched today on jobs (his economic plan, he said, harnesses “supply-side economics for the working man,”) and energy (which he said is an issue we must not allow to be demagogued), drawing clear contrasts between his positions and the past positions of his competitors.

He left his audience with a question and a challenge: “Why would an undecided voter vote for a candidate the party is not excited about? We need conservatives now to rally for a conservative to go into November, to excite the conservative base, to pull with that excitement moderate voters and to defeat Barack Obama in the fall. … Please walk out of this gathering and choose the candidate that you believe is the right person to lead this country, so you can say, ‘I have done my duty. I have kept my honor.’”


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