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Santorum’s Big Government Problem

Santorum’s Big Government Problem

Rick Santorum recently released  an attack ad on Newt Gingrich criticizing him as a big government conservative touting the line, “Rick Santorum for President. He doesn’t just talk a good conservative game, he lives it.”

Why is Santorum drawing attention to his fellow candidates’ records of big government, when Santorum is so deeply mired in a long history of advocating for more government, more often?

Santorum is a classic example of a “big-government conservative.”  While Santorum did not advocate for federal health care mandates, he has pushed hard for the expansion of federal power throughout his career.

Looking at Santorum’s broader record in Congress reveals that he is plenty comfortable with having the federal government tell you what to do on a large number of issues, only when it comes to health care mandates does Santorum become wary.

Michael Tanner of the National Review explains this aspect of Santorum’s record in Congress well.

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.

British columnist James Delingpole echoed the sentiments of Tanner saying “The truth is Rick Santorum is so left on the issues that matter he makes even Mitt Romney look like a red meat conservative. Be very afraid, Republican America. This is how bad things are.”  I’m not sure I’d go that far, but certainly Santorum is no small government guy.

Although Santorum has promised spending cuts of $5 trillion over 5 years, his long record of supporting big government policies suggests that those cuts will be filled with plenty of avenues for new spending.

Santorum certaily is a social conservative, but he’s not a small government conservative.


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Windy City Commentary | February 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm

If Santorum would have endorsed Toomey over Specter in 2004, perhaps Toomey would have beat Specter in the primary, Toomey would have beat the Democrat in the general, and Specter would not have been the 60th vote for Obamacare in the Senate; therefore, we would have no Obamacare. Sometimes doing something that doesn’t seem like a big deal (like endorsing Specter), turns into a Big F’n Deal. In this case it was Specter turning into a Democrat and supporting Obamacare. It was said the Democrats couldn’t have done it without him.

I don’t think Santorum has the vision thing quite down.

    Soooo… speaking of the whole “vision thing,” we ought to support Newt, because Newt had the whole vision thing down by being for a federal mandate on healthcare? Seriously?

    Santorum is disqualified because he succumbed to endorsing Spectre, but Newt gets a pass on endorsing Dede Scozzafava?!

    Santorum is a seriously flawed candidate, and that I am (I guess) reduced to supporting him at this point, but he’s no Newt/Romney/Paul/Obama.

      Hope Change in reply to Astroman. | February 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Astroman, Astroman —

      Newt was for the individual mandate because he was trying to solve the problenm of free riders in the medical system who have the means (I heard him say in one video $75,000 per year), don’t buy health insurance, need medical care, get medical care, then fail to/refuse to pay for the medical care.

      Newt has said he concluded that the individual mandate is unconstitutional and totally unworkable.

      And you know he was never for cap and trade, right? Newt testified against cap and trade the same day that Al gore testified for it. This was back in the 90’s, I think. All kinds of information is in Newt’s speeches all about this stuff.

      One of the things Paul Weyrich said about Newt in this article from PolitiJim is that Gingrich is willing to learn and he won’t just stay with an idea once he sees it is not workable.

      Getting elected is just the first step. Rick Santorum is not ready to run the kind of transformational change, on the scale we need, to undo what Obama and his Leftist (and Establishment RINOS) have done.

      This is an enormous change, that the American people are going to make. No one could figure it out from the oval office, even if one were so inclined, and there is nothing in Santorum’s record to show that Santorum even understands what Newt is proposing.

      Don’t you see? Maybe Rick Santorum has all kinds of good qualities. But we need an ace on this.

      We need someone who is ready now. Not someone who has to learn on the job.

      I wish you would consider giving Newt a chance. Look to see the plans that are already being designed for the FIRST DAY in office, for example.

      Getting elected is just the beginning of the job. Newt gets that. Newt is already putting together proposals for how to get Obamacare repealed on his FIRST DAY IN OFFICE.

      Newt plans to run as a team with House and Senate candidates. Have a specific plan for exactly what they’re going to do if we elect them. By October, the plans will be specific and all up on line for every American to read and decide.

      Rick Santorum would very possibly lose to Obama. For goodness sake, Santorum lost his last Senate race by 18 or 20 points. There’s got to be a reason for that.

      I see comments on line from Pennsylvanians who say they would not vote for him and hope he would not be elected to anything again. I’ve read that he defrauded Pennsylvania of more than $100,000 by claiming his children were living in Pennsylvania for years when they were all in Washington, D.C., and really the house he owned in Pennsylvania was vacant and empty of furniture.

      Maybe Santorum is a social conservative. But if he has voted for spending like Bryan Jacoutot has written in this post, conservatives won’t vote for him. He’ll lose to Obama.

      I wish you’d consider giving Newt another chance. IMO Newt is the man with the plan.

        Astroman in reply to Hope Change. | February 4, 2012 at 11:57 pm

        Hope Change, Hope Change –

        So Newt was for the healthcare mandate, but for the best of reasons. So what?! Giving everyone a house sounds like a good thing, even if everyone can’t afford one. What’s the worst that could happen?

        You see, good intentions aren’t enough. And we need leaders who see mistakes BEFORE they’re implemented, not afterwards. Who knows WHAT a president Gingrich would put into place, only to later realize… whoops!

        The healthcare mandate wasn’t a little oops, it fundamentally transforms the relationship between private citizens and the government. That Newt was unable to see this for years points out that he isn’t ready for prime time. This is corroborated by the fact that Newt was suckered into sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi for the sake of global warming. Global warming is yet another scam Newt bought into for a time which has the goal of taking away our freedom.

        No, I want a leader who doesn’t destroy our country with the best of intentions, and once out of office turns around and says, “whoops.” Just say no to Newt.

    You have to give Santorum a bit of a break on some of these issues. For example, he was part of the Senate Republican leadership, and, as such, it was his job to get members reelected, regardless of his personal attitude toward any of them. Actually, it was “W” Bush who screwed up on Specter. Bush likewise had to endorse Specter at least pro forma, but he came to PA and campaigned enthusiastically for Specter– Bush was loyal to a fault. Then Specter turned around and opposed Bush throughout the rest of his term.

    Likewise, earmarks were at the time a tool of leadership, giving rewards to members for going along on other stuff. Earmarks started becoming an issue in the later years of
    Santorum’s term. Now most Republicans claim to be against them, but a lot of these opponents are newly reformed sinners.

    Where Santorum falls short, in my view, is in his failure to embrace the limited government theme, which is animating grass roots Republicans, and his clinging to the idea of government controlling the economy, as in his preference for manufacturing industries. He’s willing to preserve “a little bit” of corporatism in his policies. Mistakes such as this have a tendency to grow out of proportion.

    Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are all deficient to some extent in my view. A vital question is whether a strong Republican Congress would have the clout to correct the mistakes that any one of these guys is likely to make.

    Santorum-helped keep senate majority> Santorum backed most likely to win candidate in 2004; Toomey was likely to lose the general election for Senate if he beat Specter in the primary;since Bush lost PA,so Santorum backed most likely to win w/deal to elect Alito&Roberts putting country before principles we gained two conservative SCOTUS justices&the following election Toomey won the Senate.

That’s my take on Santorum also. I liked him better before I knew so much about him.

Santorum is a product the social issues split between the parties. Truth be told, there’s only a small difference between the style of policies between socially oriented groups the difference is in their starting points. So Santorum would use the tax code to encourage behavior or businesses he favors just like liberals do (except they’d encourage different behavior).
I don’t see this going away anytime soon. As long as Democrats are tied to abortion and gay marriage, the republican party will be the shelter for the social conservatives (who are act liberal in the enforcement of their policies) and as long as Republicans require the social conservatives to overpower the democratic bread and circuses style vote buying….

“I don’t think Santorum has the vision thing quite down.”

“In high profile-decisions, Roberts and Alito have bolstered the conservative wing, which includes Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and occasionally Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Former Reagan administration Justice Department official Doug Kmiec, who is professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University, said, “The headline of the term so far” is that “Anthony Kennedy in the presence of John Roberts and Sam Alito has rejoined the Reagan judicial philosophy.” (President Reagan nominated Kennedy to the court in 1987.)”

you can thank rick santorum for that

    Ragspierre in reply to newrouter. | February 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Hatch and Spechter did yeoman work helping good judges and justices on the courts.

    I would not vote for any of them for President.

    I am not sure why you think that Santorum had something to do with Alito and Roberts. After GWB nominated Alito, Santorum met with the candidate and said something like: Hey, He’s a good guy! Big Whoop.

    Santorum supported the Bush Big Government mode, but what else would he do?

    Hope Change in reply to newrouter. | February 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    newrouter — why?

Our problem is not Big Government. Our problem is that Big Government has not been implemented properly.

Gosh, that sounds familiar…

I would not be happy voting for Santorum either at this point, because he is not a fiscal conservative in his approach to social issues for which I don’t think money should be spent by the federal government.

I am still scratching my head over Malkin’s Santorum endorsement.

She knows what he is, and ran with him anyhow. I guess it is her puritanical nature asserting itself.

    Hope Change in reply to Ragspierre. | February 4, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    I read speculation that because Michelle Malkin is associated with Hot Air, she actually supports Romney, and so the endorsement of Santorum is actually just anti-Newt.

    I don’t know.

    I’ve always liked and respected Michelle Malkin. She is an outstanding investigative journalist. I can’t believe she would do anything underhanded.

    But even a genuinely conservative person, I think, can see that Rick is helping Romney at this point. Which is just catastrophic.

    I wonder where Santorum’s money comes from. I don’t know. Something doesn’t seem right to me.

    The Romney people seem to have a pipeline to where money gets printed. Is Goldman Sachs or some surrogate donating money to Romney from the billion dollar bailouts? They all seem to be swimming in money while unemployment get worse. So, so unacceptable.

Well, why not shade the truth? Everybody else does and they usually get away with it. Maybe he figured it was worth a shot.

I don’t think there is a politician alive who doesn’t enjoy spending OPM and then dictating how we should live our lives.

Although I wish the voters would stop re-electing these guys.

Eh, this is pretty weak stuff.

I’m not a fan of earmarks, but the REAL problem is entitlements. And the healthcare mandate (Obama, Romney, and Newt) is essentially tied to creating yet another entitlement monstrosity.

I’d take earmarks over Obama/Romney/Gingrich-care any day of the week.

We should’ve selected Perry, but of the remaining three candidates (Paul is disqualified – Martians are not “natural born” citizens), Santorum is the least dangerous to conservatism and America.

    Ragspierre in reply to Astroman. | February 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Conservatives support free trade. Santorum has not.

    Conservatives are against tariffs (which require BIG GOVERNMENT. Santorum supports them.

    Enough for me.

      Astroman in reply to Ragspierre. | February 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      OK… so who is better that is in the running? I’ll take tariffs over Romney/Newt who get suckered in by global warming any day. And certainly before I’d take a nuclear Iran courtesy of Paul.

      So a tariff candidate is worse than the healthcare mandate, global warming candidates? Worse than the nuclear Iran candidate? I just ain’t seein’ how that makes any sense.

        Hope Change in reply to Astroman. | February 5, 2012 at 12:24 am

        Astroman. “Suckered in”? No. Go find out the facts.

        You can support whomever you like. But you are repeating talking points that are untrue against the candidate you don’t like.

        Newt said in 2008 that the earth’s climate is always changing, that we don’t know exactly what is causing warming if there is warming, and that it is gigantic hubris for people to think human are causing it. he also said that he does not support passing legislation curtailing human activity based on the theory of global warming.

        Here’s a brief excerpt: “I DOUBT IF WE KNOW TO WHAT DEGREE ARE HUMAN BEINGS CONTRIBUTING TO GLOBAL WARMING” NEWT ON CLIMATE CHANGE – National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, PA – March 20, 2008 – 2:59

        “THE BUSINESS OF GOING GREEN” – March 20, 2008 – National Constitution Center – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1:22:02

        Newt is trying to show that conservatives care about the planet and care about the environment. I agree with him. I care about the planet and I care about the environment. I just don’t like communism.

I wouldn’t count on that. Santorum is part of the GOP establishement. That’s why he supported Spectre. Everybody in the establishment supported Spectre, from the Bush family on down. It is puzzling though as to why he is running. No money to speak of and no name recognition nationally and a failed senate run. If the establishment wants Romney to win, why Santorum? To fill in the numbers? To take away conservative votes from Newt (or any of the other conservative candidates)? So Santorm is now piling on Newt. Where are the negative ads about Romney? Goodness knows there is a bundle to choose from and gets better every day. Maybe in the future we will see what Santorum was promised to run. If my theory is right, that is.

I find that I am getting more and more cynical every day. I have lost faith in the prcess. I have wondered if the GOP informed or even promised obama that Romney would be their candidate so he could win. Maybe that’s why he started this OWS movement and trashng Wall Street before that. It’s almost like he knew who the candidate would be. Just sayin…

Glad to see someone take a real look at Santorum’s record. The link from Redstate is a great round up of how he has actually voted. He is not a small government guy and he’s not a fiscal conservative. He’s just slid under the radar while Romney was taking out the other guys.

Still, one concern has to be what Newt is going to say after his planned press conference tonight, after the NV caucuses are over. Would Newt drop out if he’s not in 2nd place or 1st place? Would Newt then support Santorum? The whole specter of possibilities are mind boggling.

Of the four remaining contenders for the GOP nomination, Newt is the one I strongly prefer but still none of the four is close to being perfect. Yet Newt has articulated what I want in the next president better than the rest and he’s certainly done much better overall in the debates.

However, if Newt drops out, then I want Sarah Palin to re-enter the fray, she at least will not only espouse those very same conservative views that Newt has this time round but been more consistent in how she’s performed; Katie Couric’s interview ambush excepted.

When I listen to Newt speak, I come away knowing exactly what he intends to do and how he intends to do it. Newt has a plan and a vision which he lays out for all to see. So while Santorum, Romney and Paul are piling on Newt, he is the only one giving me hope for the future right now. The only thing I’m getting from the three stooges, Curly, Larry & Moe, are double talk nonsense, noise, eye pokes and pratfalls.

I don’t disagree but it occurs to me that up until 2010, finding elected officials of any party who actually understood the problem with big government was very difficult.

Ridiculously big spending has been the order of the day for a LOT of days. It’s nice that it’s changing but also no surprise that the majority of candidates are only starting to recognize the change.

While I do support Newt over the field, I would support Santorum if it was him vs. Romney. Come to think of it, without Romney this race would be a lot less stressful. With Newt or Rick, at least there’s some hope of government being reigned in.

    Hope Change in reply to Since1776. | February 5, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I don’t know, Since1776, that’s not the the impression I just got about Santorum from Bryan Jacoutot’s post. the whole point is, he won’t rein in government spending.

Very interesting. I knew about the earmarks but not some of the other issues. My beef with Santorum has been more on electability and lack of qualifications – but this interview at PolitiJim for the job of President was VERY insightful. (parody) –

Keep this up, and you guys will convince me to vote for nobody.


TeaPartyPatriot4ever | February 4, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I really didn’t know too much about Rick Santorum’s record as a Rep. in Congress.. I didn’t know that he pushed for big govt, with massive earmarks, as well.. But then again, I expect that from every politician, from either side of the political aisle. They are corrupt in one form or another, as far as the people are concerned, as unfortunate as it is, that’s where the bar now starts from, all corruption, all the time, everywhere, then working one’s way back towards respectability as a servant of the people.

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | February 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Why do Bristish columnists, and or their trash tabloid so-called journalists like the UK Guardian, like to comment on American politicians, except for their PM, as we never stick our noses into theiir political affairs..

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | February 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Why do British columnists, and or their trash tabloid so-called journalists like the UK Guardian, like to comment on American politicians, except for their PM, we never stick our noses into theiir political affairs..

This is why Palin says vote Newt rather than Santorum, though she gave Santorum a wink once. Of the two, Gingrich has a record of SRR, Santorum is good on pro life issues, that’s about it. Not good enough. Small government will ensure pro life issues cuz government won’t be funding abortion.

[…] on lock down. Its the fiscal conservatism part that’s raising eyebrows. Article linked here This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Doubling Down On The […]

[…] out there, too much the ideologue, too myopic, too . . . just too.  Santorum, on the other hand, while certainly flawed in many ways, is–to my mind–the most conservative candidate still in the race.  As […]