Forget Santorum

Rick Santorum5388 Forget Santorum

The Rick Santorum tide is rising.  The conservatives coalescing around him seem to have found the long-awaited  ”anti-Romney” candidate.  Currently, Santorum is in a virtual dead heat with Romney amongst Republicans nationally.  He is leading in the polls in Michigan, which is disastrous for the Romney campaign.  If Romney can’t win in Michigan, he probably won’t win in Ohio, where he is also trailing Santorum, and he would have a tough time convincing the rest of the party that he could beat Obama in the general election.  The electability argument goes out the window.  In addition, the narrative of an “anti-Romney” coalition never materializing due to Romney winning the very conservative and Tea Party vote in his Florida and Nevada primary wins would be shattered.  It would revert to a point that never really went away, concerning the base not fully accepting Romney as the Republican nominee.

Rick Santorum’s wins in the Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota caucuses is a repudiation of Mr. Romney, and the momentum it has carried is undeniable.  It just shows how conventional wisdom is inadequate in analyzing this race.  On an episode of This Week that aired mid-January, Ron Brownstein, the editorial director for the National Journal, likened Rick Santorum’s campaign to Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense and found it hard to see how Santorum could overtake Gingrich as the anti-Romney.  In the end, Mr. Santorum has succeeded thus far.  While he has galvanized the base by exploiting social issues, particularly  President Obama’s poorly orchestrated mandate on Catholic institutions providing contraception (which New York Times columnist David Brooks appropriately called “an act of bureaucratic greed,”) it is irrelevant to the economic issues that will be the basis for the 2012 election.  I’m not a die-hard social conservative, but I do feel abortions should be reduced and the family unit should remain strong.  However, abortion and contraception are not existential threats, unlike our inevitable debt and deficit crisis, that will destroy the country.  Before conservatives fall in love and fall in line, they should look closer at Senator Santorum’s entire record.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Rick Santorum’s record as a conservative is lacking.  When you look at his voting record, thanks to Erick Erickson of RedState.com, you’ll find that Sen. Santorum voted against Medicaid reform, food stamp reform, and a flat tax.  He voted twice for a congressional pay raise and internet taxes.  His vote for the Medicare Part D increased the unfunded liability for the entire program by $7 trillion dollars.  That represents 20% of the entire liability Medicare faces in the long-term.  Sen. Santorum was also perfectly fine increasing taxes on tobacco, also known as taxing the poor, to fund the prescription drug benefit for Medicare and voted to end marriage penalty tax relief in order to slap more fees on “big tobacco.”  Does this sound like a conservative Republican or a tax and spend liberal?

Concerning the issues of freedom and immigration, Sen. Santorum voted against adding 1,000 extra border patrol agents, but supported giving illegal aliens earned income tax credits. He voted against the National Right to Work Act but twice supported the unionization of FedEx.  Lastly, he voted for a uniform federal mandate, which would allow arsonists, rapists, drug dealers, and other ex-convicts the ability to vote in federal elections.  This is not the record of a conservative.  The vote for Medicare Part D alone is a reckless exercise in the expansion of government.  Refusing to add extra border patrol agents  to regain our territorial integrity and allowing earned income tax credits to go to illegal aliens is inexcusable.  Our looming entitlement crisis and struggling economy are the central issues concerning our long-term fiscal health, and the “consistent conservative” running has a record of fighting reform and increasing taxes.  Mr. Santorum hopes to tread water on abortion and contraception since those are the only positions that he can truthfully call himself a conservative on.  I think as a movement and a party, we can do a lot better.

Related posts:

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  2. Iowa Voting Irregularities Kept Santorum From Becoming The Anti-Romney Candidate Vote irregularities in the Iowa caucuses led to Mitt Romney…

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