Image 01 Image 03

Stop making excuses for Santorum’s endorsement of Arlen Specter

Stop making excuses for Santorum’s endorsement of Arlen Specter

I previously posted about Rick Santorum’s endorsement in 2004 of Arlen Specter against a challenge from Pat Toomey, in what was a precursor to the Tea Party v. Establishment fights to come.

One of the unintended consequences of Specter’s reelection was that in 2009 Specter switched parties, and his vote was critical to the passage of Obamacare.

I don’t consider the endorsement a deal breaker on Santorum.  Santorm supported the establishment candidate he thought had the best general election prospects against a clearly more conservative challenger.

It is worth noting, however, that numerous Santorum supporters considered Newt’s endorsement of Dede Scozzafava in NY-23 over Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman a deal breaker, and used the endorsement as an excuse to hurl pejoratives at Newt’s character.  Newt endorsed Scozzafava for many of the same reasons Santorum endorsed Specter; until Hoffman’s late surge Scozzafava was viewed as the best general election candidate and was supported by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee.  (I supported Hoffman, by the way.)

I don’t excuse Newt’s endorsement of Scozzafava, it lacked vision.  Santorum supporters should stop excusing Santorum’s endorsement of Specter for the same reason.

Santorum supporters have come up with a variety of excuses for the Specter endorsement, the most recent being that Santorum made the endorsement to save Republican control of the Senate, ultimately thereby ensuring that John Roberts and Samuel Alito successfully were confirmed by the Senate.  This is typical:

So with Santorum’s help, Specter defeated Toomey in the primary by 1%, and was re-elected in the general election of 2004.

Thus, the GOP held its majority (actually gaining two seats) in the Senate. Specter got to remain Judiciary Committee chairman – after a very public pledge under pressure from nervous pro-life legislators – whereupon he proceeded to keep his promise, ushering through the confirmation of both Roberts and Alito to the Supreme Court in 2005 and 2006, respectively.

First, note that Republicans gained seats in 2004.  Reelecting Specter made no difference to control of the Senate.  Even if there were no other changes and the seat were lost to Democrats, there would have been a 50-50 split in the Senate with deciding votes cast by Vice President.  So helping Specter achieved nothing.

Moreover, it was not at all clear that had Toomey been the nominee, Republicans would have lost Pennsylvania.  The Democrat was Joe Hoeffel, a little known congressman who barely won his own district in the prior election:

Widely unknown outside Philadelphia and suburban Montgomery County, where he lives, Hoeffel, 52, narrowly won re-election to his House seat last year against a Republican political neophyte. He prevailed with 51 percent of the vote in a district closely divided by Republicans and Democrats.

I have been unable to find any public polling of a Toomey-Hoeffel match up prior to the Republican primary, although polling of a Specter-Hoeffel match up showed Specter winning comfortably, which is what happened.

So while there was a legitimate basis for saying Specter was a strong general election candidate, the warnings about Toomey’s general electability appear to have been a scare tactic similar to what we still see when an entrenched moderate/liberal Republican is challenged by a conservative.  The polling linked above also showed Toomey surging in the final weeks, so there would have been good reason to expect Toomey to carry that momentum into a general election.

John Fund, writing just before the primary election at the Jewish World Review, noted that it was not at all clear that Hoeffel could beat either Specter or Toomey:

Rep. Toomey’s April 27 challenge to Sen. Specter, a 24-year-incumbent, is more controversial because Al Gore carried Pennsylvania in 2000. Republican backers of Mr. Specter, such as the conservative Sen. Rick Santorum, say that Mr. Toomey would find it difficult to replicate Mr. Specter’s support in the vote-rich Philadelphia suburbs. Toomey backers, on the other hand, argue that the liberal voting record of Rep. Joe Hoeffel, the likely Democratic candidate, gives their man a real shot at winning in the fall. “Toomey is no more conservative than Rick Santorum, and Hoeffel is a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who just voted against a bill to protect children in the womb in murder cases like that of Laci Peterson,” says one Republican state legislator.

Tim Carney, writing at the time for National Review, noted that Toomey as nominee might actually help Republicans by exciting the Republican electorate:

Conservatives are fed many bad reasons to support Sen. Arlen Specter over Rep. Pat Toomey in next Tuesday’s Pennsylvania Republican primary. Among them are that a Specter nomination helps make sure that Republicans control the Senate and the White House next year. The reasoning behind these pragmatic justifications is flawed.

First, Specter on the ballot in November does not help Bush win the Keystone State and its 21 Electoral College votes. On the contrary, Specter hurts Bush by keeping the conservatives home….

The more sensible (but ultimately wrong-headed) argument for voting for Specter is that the GOP cannot afford to put another Senate seat at risk.

But Toomey will have, at worst, a 50-50 chance against Democrat Joe Hoeffel in November. Toomey, like Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.), will be able to tap the Reagan Democrats who are worried about their jobs, but go to church, own guns, love their children and oppose homosexual marriage for the simple fact that it is wrong.

And the Senate is not really at risk in 2004. If Pennsylvania is in play, there will be ten truly competitive Senate races in the country, six of them currently occupied by Democrats. Democrats would need to win eight of those ten races, and ward off possible upsets in Washington and California to get a majority of the Senate.

In other words, a Toomey loss to Hoeffel in November would not mean a Republican minority in the Senate, it would mean only a smaller — but more conservative — GOP majority.

Specter will take over as chairman of the Judiciary Committee if he is reelected. If he loses, the chairman will be conservative Senator Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.).

If the choice is between 53 GOP senators with Chairman Arlen “Bork” Specter or 52 Republicans and Chairman Jon Kyl, the decision is an easy one for conservatives.

Santorum did a lot more than just film a commercial endorsing Specter.  He traveled the state with Specter in the closing days:

Specter, the Philadelphian seeking a fifth term, hopscotched across the state with fellow Sen. Rick Santorum in an 11th-hour plea to voters before Tuesday’s primary. As recently as last month, few believed Toomey, a junior congressman from the Lehigh Valley, could retire the state’s senior senator. But a poll released on the primary’s eve showed Specter with a slight 6-point lead over Toomey, and below the crucial 50% threshold.

I understand why Santorum went along with the White House and the establishment, and maybe he actually believed that the seat would be lost.

But stop with the ridiculous theory that Santorum helping to elect Specter was a principled action.  It was a political calculation not to stand up to the White House, which ultimately yielded no good as Republicans would have controlled the Senate regardless, and unintentionally yielded much bad in the form of the decisive turncoat vote for Obamacare.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Professor, you keep making excuses for a man who has no core values. Santorum has many faults but it is hard (impossible) to make a case that a man with no core values whatsoever is preferable over a man who has been consistent with his core conservative values while being suspect on other conservative values. Let’s start with Gingrich’s defense of the individual mandate.

Presenting Gingrich as the best not-Rombama choice carries no weight with most of us conservatives and the polls are showing it. We may not be thrilled with Santorum but it’s no contest between Santorum vs Rombama or BJ Gingrich. Santorum will get me to vote Republican. The others and it’s back to the LO3E for me.

    Santorum and Gingrich have both made some boneheaded decisions in the past.

    I am not convinced that one of the Maine twins wouldn’t have voted for the health care bill like they did for the stimulus bill back in 2009. Had Toomey been elected or had Specter not gone Benedict Arnold on the Republicans, the administration would have found some way to get one of the Maine twins to pass the legislation with their vote. I think history would have been calling on Olympia Snow again.

    Remember that?

    Snorkdoodle Whizbang in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    No Child Left Behind… Bridge to Nowhere… Debt Ceiling Increases… Medicare Part D… Refusing to redirect earmarks to Katrina disaster relief… Voted against a 10% reduction to the NEA… Voted for giving foreign aid to North Korea… Voted against Right to Work… Voted twice for congressional pay raises… Voted against Food Stamp reform… Voted against Medicaid reform… Voted for increased spending at the Department of Education…

    …and there is much more. As you can see, Phil, your guy isn’t exactly as pure as the driven snow either. You’ve asked the Professor when is he going to stop making excuses for his preferred candidate… I’m asking you when are you going to stop making excuses for yours?

      If Santorum’s past is the reason you will not vote for him, then you should apply the same to Gingrich, because in order to support Gingrich, you have to ignore his past.


      voted for the creation of the Department of Education under Carter (1979)
      Voted for NAFTA

      once out of office, he supported:

      Medicare Part D
      and perhaps the worst of all, supported the McCain/Kennedy Shamnesty bill.

      Came out in favor of the “global warming” theory, supported mandates for flex fuel regulations. And on and on and on.

      And until recently, he supported the individual mandate for health insurance and even supported Romney’s actions in Massachusetts re: Romneycare.

      In order to believe what Newt says now, you have to believe that he was lying to you before since he has now flipped on those stances.

      So please, if we are going to dig into a politicians past (which I feel is fair game), dig into all their pasts, not just Santorum and Romney.

      And while Santorum lost he last elecction, and Romney didn’t even bother to run because he knew he would lose, Gingrich quit when he realized he could not hold on to the Speaker’s gavel. He quit although he had just been reelected by the voters of his district. Perhaps that is why Palin supports him. They are both quitters.

      So let’s have a little honesty here for a change, can we?

        Mike Knight in reply to retire05. | February 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm

        Speaking of honesty – didn’t Santorum vote for Medicare part D?
        Didn’t Santorum say he thought NAFTA was good?
        What about ethanol? In early 2011, Santorum said, “Prior to 9/11, I was not a big fan of ethanol subsidies, but 2001 change[d] my mind on a lot of things, and one of them was trying to support domestic energy and this is part of it.”
        What about Santorum’s spending? In the 2003-2004 session of Congress, Santorum sponsored or cosponsored 51 bills to increase spending, and failed to sponsor or co-sponsor even one spending cut proposal.

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 12:02 am

          You seem to be under the misguided impression that I was defending Santorum. I was not. I find Santorum no more acceptable than I find Romney or Gingrich, and Ron Paul would be an unmitigated disaster. But it is duplicitous to point out the failures of one candidate to support conservative values and goals, and ignore the same thing in another candidate.

          I am not willing to support a candidate simply based on what they are saying now when they are trying to garner votes, when their records show that they held the exact opposite opinions when votes were not at stake. I have no illusions that any of the remaining candidates would actually do what they now claim they will do. For one, so many of the things said would have to have Congressional, and Senate support and approval, and I don’t believe that Republicans will take the Senate in November.

          There were candidates that I believed would have really tried to implement conservative standards in the Oval Office. But they were soundly rejected and are no longer viable. That is the great failure this election cycle. The very people who marched on D.C. and attended town hall meetings demanding a return to sound conservatve values, packed up and went home after November, 2010, and have not been seen since.

          I am tired of hearing how the “establishment” is picking our candidates for us. Are we lemmings to be led by pundits and talking heads? Have we become so mind numbing stupid that we no longer can exercise our voices by picking candidates who support our values? One has to accept that we have if we are to make the claim that the nation is being directed by some conspiratorial “establishment” that directs how we vote and who we support as our candidate.

          If honesty were in full bloom, here and elsewhere, we would admit that the conservative candidate we demaned in 2010, is no where to be found. We would look at records, and past statements, and realize that we are being told what the candidates think we want to hear, in spite of their previous records, which is quite different than what we are being told. And we would admit that the candidates, who truely did govern the way we wanted them to, were rejected.

          But it’s not.

          Mike Knight in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 1:20 am

          @retire05 – there might be better candidates out there, but the reality is that they didn’t have the guts to run and these 3 are what we have left and frankly they are best we have – especially, since they’ve been through all the debates and all the criticism.

          Every candidate (or potential candidate) is going to have warts – we are all human and sinners at that. You might be right about candidates saying things now that are different than their record, but that makes Newt even a stronger candidate. He has a very successful record of implementing conservative ideas. This has to outweigh any of the bad decisions he’s made – especially in the current situation that America is in right now. I don’t believe you can say that about the other candidates – how does their biggest conservative achievement compare:

          -Romney? He says he cut taxes and created a surplus in MA, but MA was at the bottom of states for job creation. That doesn’t sound very remarkable.
          -Santorum? He drafted the very important Welfare Reform under Newt’s direction.
          -Newt? He led the charge to balance the budget for four straight years after implementing the Contract with America. Not to mention the credit he gets for helping lead a takeover by the Republicans in the House.

          Tell me – what other candidate is out there right now that has a comparable record of achievemnt of implementing conservative ideas as Newt does?

          As far as pandering by policy, I think you can say Romney’s pandering to the middle class and Santorum’s pandering to manufacturing, but Newt seems to only be pandering to America (based on what I heard from his speech at CPAC).

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 9:37 am

          Mike Knight, I am fully aware of how Romney governed in Massachusetts. To the left. And I do not accept the premise that he did so only because Massachusetts is a blue state. He his what he is, and all the information I gathered on him in 2008 (which I kept) only adds to the hypocracy of his spin now.

          I also am not a fan of Santorum. He reminds me of a spoiled, petulant child that throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. He is also a hypocrite. He attacked Rick Perry on border issues when, if you read Santorum’s own border bill, Perry has basically taken it for his own.

          You say about Gingrich: “he has a very successful record of implementing conservative ideas.” Sorry, Mike, but that is nothing more than a campaign talking point. I don’t want talking points, I want actual facts. What “conservative” ideas did Gingrich manage to get passed throught the Congress. What bills did he write, or co-sponsor, that were what conservatives supported? Which Congress? 105th? 107th? As speaker?

          When did Gingrich change his mind about the individual mandate for health insurance, going so far as to praise Romneycare, and pushing for it through his own Center For Health Transformation? When it became clear that the American people rejected individual mandates and it became politically expedient? Man-made global warming has been one of the greatest hoaxes ever shoved on the American people. Yet, Newt supported legislation to combate something that is not science, but political. When did he decide that global warming was simply a ruse being foisted on Americans?

          I do know this much that is NEVER talked about on this board. Gingrich was forced out by other Congressmen, but instead of taking the hit, and remaining in Congress to try to at least have some influence in legislation, HE QUIT. He quit although he had just been re-elected. He packed up and went home in a twit. He served his ego, not his constituents who voted for him.

          I am under no illusion that there is even ONE candidate still standing that will serve conservative values well. They won’t. And I do know this; what ever Gingrich is selling, voters are not buying. Now, you can blame that on the “establishment”, low turnout, lack of campaign funds, yada, yada, but the truth is that Gingrich is not turning out people to vote for him and if he is going to be in this race, he is going to have to be able to amass enough money to compete with the financial leviathan Obama will throw at whoever is the candidate as well as motivate people to go to the polls/caucuses to vote for him. One state, South Carolina, is not going to cut it.

          Mike Knight in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

          @retire05 – Newt’s record of implementing conservative ideas is not a talking point but a fact. I’ve given you examples of his lead in taking over the House by Republicans, implementing the Contract with America and balancing the budget for 4 years straight, but don’t take my word for it – look at his ACU rating:

          As far as the individual mandate goes – I think he definitely could be clearer in the reasons for his past ideology, but for the most part his concern was always that individuals that make enough money shouldn’t get a free ride on health care. I don’t think that’s a liberal view at all, but you be the judge:

          Finally, as far as him quitting – you might want to review this transcript and re-think your position on whether or not he did it for selfish reasons:

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm

          Mike Knight, want to take each bill separately?

          Congressional Accountability Act of 1995: Gingrich did not write the bill nor was he a co-sponsor.

          Taxpayer Relief Act of 1999: John Kasich’s bill. Not a Gingrich bill and had no co-sponsors.

          Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act: Not a Gingrich bill and he was not a co-sponsor. Vetoed by Bill Clinton.

          So you are giving Gingrich credit for bills he neither authored or co-sponsored? Perhaps someone needs to explain to you that the Speaker of the House is only ONE vote and that it is the Majority Whip that works to get these bills passed.

          Want to try again?

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

          Mike, only Newt Gingrich knows the real reason he turned his back on his constitutents after they re-elected him. To me, the honorable thing would have been to finish his term and then resign. But it seems that Newt either wanted to control the ball game, or he was taking his ball and going home.

          When a candidate runs, they are saying “Vote for me and I will respresent you for the length of the term.” It is a promise that needs to be kept unless there is wrong doing and they resign over that. I don’t like quitters, no matter what reason they trump up.

          Mike Knight in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 4:15 pm

          @retire05 – I’m not sure what you’re looking for here. Did or did not Newt have a key role in the passing of the legistlation that I listed?

          The Personal Repsonsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act

          In 1996, after constructing two welfare reform bills that were vetoed by President Clinton[11], Gingrich and his supporters pushed for the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), a bill aimed at substantially reconstructing the welfare system. Introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., the act gave state governments more autonomy over welfare delivery, while also reducing the federal government’s responsibilities.

          It started the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, which placed time limits on welfare assistance and replaced the longstanding Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. Other changes to the welfare system included stricter conditions for food stamps eligibility, reductions in immigrant welfare assistance, and recipient work requirements.[12]

          Gingrich and Clinton negotiated the legislation in private meetings. Previously, Clinton had quietly spoken with Senate Majority Whip Trent Lott for months about the bill, but a compromise on a more acceptable bill for the President could not be reached. Gingrich, on the other hand, gave accurate information about his party’s vote counts and persuaded the more conservative members of the Republican Party to vote in favor of PRWORA.[11]

          Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997

          In 1997 President Clinton signed into effect the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which included the largest capital gains tax cut in U.S. history. Under the act, the profits on the sale of a personal residence ($500,000 for married couples, $250,000 for singles) were exempted if lived in for at least 2 years over the last 5. (This had previously been limited to a $125,000 once-in-a-lifetime exemption for those over 55.)[49] There were also reductions in a number of other taxes on investment gains.[50][51]

          Additionally, the act raised the value of inherited estates and gifts that could be sheltered from taxation.[51] Gingrich has been credited with creating the agenda for the reduction in capital gains tax, especially in the “Contract with America”, which set out to balance the budget and implement decreases in estate and capital gains tax. Some Republicans felt that the compromise reached with Clinton on the budget and tax act was inadequate,[52] however Gingrich has stated that the tax cuts were a significant accomplishment for the Republican Congress in the face of opposition from the Clinton administration.[53] Gingrich along with Bob Dole had earlier set-up the Kemp Commission, headed by former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp, a tax reform commission that made several recommendations including that dividends, interest, and capital gains should be untaxed.[54][55]

          The Contract with America set the stage for the Congressional Accountability Act to be written

          Do you want to try again?

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

          Wikipedia, Mike?

          That will get you a big fact ZERO in a college course.

          Mike Knight in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 6:18 pm

          @retire05 – never mind; I guess you’re not interested in discussing the issues as you stated earlier. Instead of attacking wikipedia, you should attack the source that was used and noted – if you had a rebuttal to what was said, I would take you seriously. You’re obviously not serious and just trolling, so move along I’m done with you.

          retire05 in reply to Mike Knight. | February 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

          Mike, I understand Wikipedia is convenient. But you, nor I, have any idea who wrote those pieces. And I don’t take the opinions of someone who doesn’t put their name on what they write. For all you know, those entries could have been written by Gingrich’s PR person.

          BTW, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act was passed in both Houses only to be vetoed by Clinton. Guess Gingrich didn’t create any miracles there.

        Snorkdoodle Whizbang in reply to retire05. | February 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

        retire05 – you seem to be assuming that Gingrich supporters are willfully unaware of his ‘baggage’. I maintain that Gingrich supporters are quite aware of his ‘baggage’ but balance that against his actual, concrete achievements in advancing conservatism and the Reagan Revolution.

        Instead of focusing on which candidate is the ‘lest bad’, I think the electorate would be better served if we could focus on what the candidates have actually achieved and what they might well achieve if elected. If we could bypass the ‘scorched earth’ distractions and politics of negativity and instead have substantial debate on policies perhaps we could actually produce a real nominee instead of ‘the next in line’ strategy that the GOP has seemed to have adopted over the last several elections.

        Wouldn’t you agree?

          If you think the “scortched earth” tactic is not part of American electoral history, I suggest you study the race for POTUS between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Politics is bean bag compared to what campaigns were at one time earlier in our history.

          And you, like Mike, give me nothing but talking points. Be specific. Name the bills that Gingrich managed to get passed that served conservative values.

          The one word that no one ever uses in relationship to any of the candidates, including Gingrich, is TRUST. Do you trust Gingrich not to wander off and take to the couch with Nancy Pelosi again? What guarantee do you have that he will not change his mind about the issues just as he has in the past?

          It seems that the tactic here is to say “our guy is not as bad as the other guys.” That doesn’t cut it with me. You don’t like “scortched earth” but fall right in with the owner of this blog when he goes all scortched earth on other candidates.

          So convince me about Gingrich. Tell me the bills he authored, and got passed, that got government out of the way of the job creators, that reduced dependence on government, that didn’t send our money to China, and Russia, that protected the 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th Amendments. So far, all I have seen is a chameleon who changes colors depending on who he is pandering to.

          Snorkdoodle Whizbang in reply to Snorkdoodle Whizbang. | February 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

          retired05 –
          “If you think the “scortched earth” tactic is not part of American electoral history, I suggest you study the race for POTUS between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Politics is bean bag compared to what campaigns were at one time earlier in our history.”

          I’m well aware of the history of political campaigns… but that has nothing to do with what I said about scorched earth campaigning in this election cycle as anyone who read my comment well knows.

          “And you, like Mike, give me nothing but talking points.”

          No… I earlier cited Santorum’s documented record as a member of Congress and subsequently added my thoughts regarding the perceptions that somehow Gingrich supporters are unaware of his baggage. In fact I maintained that they were but balanced them against his accomplishments. Did you even read my comments before replying?

          “So convince me about Gingrich.” Why should I? I’m not here to convince you, or anyone else, about any of the candidates. Frankly, from your responses in this thread and in others I’ve seen, you rather strike me as someone who is pretty much only going to see what you want to see anyway.

          @retire05 – per your request, here are some specific pieces of legislation that Newt helped get signed while speaker:
          -The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996
          -The Congressional Accountability Act of 1995
          -The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
          -Newt shut down the Office of Technology Assessment in the 104th Congress
          -Not to mention that he was held largely responsible for the government shutdown in ’95 and ’96 that led to Clinton passing a balanced budget on Repulican terms instead of his own.

          So, Snorkdoole Whizbang, can we assume that your stand is that you don’t have to convince an undecided voter to vote for your guy, you just have to convince those of us undecideds how bad the other guy is?

          You presenting information about Santorum, but then saying everyone is aware of Gingrich’s baggage is bunk, pure and simple. Everyone is aware of Gingrich’s personal baggage, but not his political baggage.

          And if claiming that I have tunnel vision when this blog has become nothing more than an echo chamber for the uninquisitive makes you feel good at my expense, have at it.


    The Peoples Republic of California wears out most conservative thinkers long before their time, so I will forgive your absolutely unsupportable statements that Newt has no core values but Rick marches the straight and narrow conservative line. Try this on from PJ Tatler:

    Santorum was a pro-union congressman-turned-senator for 16 years, with notable votes against the National Right to Work Act and for the Davis-Bacon prevailing (read: union) wage law. He voted to increase the minimum wage six times and tried to put a union representative on an IRS oversight board. He also voted to exempt IRS union representatives from criminal ethics laws.
    For a country finally coming to grips with the public policy problems with unions—particularly government employee unions—Santorum would make an awful national leader. Don’t get me wrong, he’s saying the right words now, but back when he was in Congress he wasn’t exactly on our side.

    PolitiJim fills in some other things we didn’t know about Rick:

    . . . there is no measure to indicate that Santorum is more conservative than Newt Gingrich. He voted for pro-abortion Sotomayor for appellate court, voted with George Bush on ALL the big government ideas, twice endorsed extreme pro-abortion candidates over very good pro-life ones (Specter and Whitman), voted for No Child Left Behind, voted for anti-free market measures in favor of unions, and even opposed an anti-terrorism bill that Bush/Cheney insisted on to prevent US corporations from selling goods to Iran. . . . But you are uninformed if you think he didn’t “earn” a lower ACU score than Gingrich because he was “more” conservative.

    Why anyone thinks he is “electable” or “acceptable” as a conservative – much less someone who has the personal appeal to change the government system WITH NO RECORD OF DOING SO is beyond me.

    You do realize the guy has never actually RUN anything in his life, don’t you? (Except his charity which only gave away 11% of the money it took in. And his PAC which only gave away 18% of what it took in) He is a lawyer. He derided the 14 year effort of Newt Gingrich to not only put conservatives in power, but to take the GOP to their highest approval ratings (outside of 9/11) in modern history. Why is it ok to give a pass for Santorum to get historically defeated in a blue state he boasts that he can carry, when Richard Lugar, Olympia Snow, John Ensign were in blue states but won? Santorum plays all three of these arguments:

    – He had to vote liberally to stay elected in his state.
    – He got elected championing conservative causes.
    – He only lost in 2006 because it was a bad year for

    Must be that “new math” they teach in Pennsylvania. Those can’t all be true.

    Santorum is also known as a “fierce campaigner”… and he campaigned like that for Sen. Specter. So, the whole core values argument for Sen. Santorum isn’t one that is convincing to me. He needs to focus on solutions not trying to win the core value argument. As far as individual mandate, he endorsed Romney in 2008. In my opinion, There was no reason for him to weigh in other than if he wanted to get his name out in circulation for the next presidential go around.

    Hope Change in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    The polling HERE shows that people don’t agree with you, Pasadena Phil.

    You criticize with sweeping generalizations. You denigrate. There’s never any evidence. It’s an opinion, based on your opinion. Your opinion. Your. Opinion.

    I’ve examined Newt’s record over many hours and much review. Newt’s life story shows that he has deeply-held core values.

    This is a man who has looked at his past failings and gone through the painful process of coming to terms with himself to try; who has dedicated himself to trying always to become a better man.

    And I’m saying that Newt is a man who has dedicated his life to trying to understand how a great nation can keep itself strong, prosperous and safe, and how that nation might be a beacon of hope to others in other nations in this sometimes terrible world.

    Newt is the man with the plan, and you are utterly, but utterly, clueless about that.

    You prefer Santorum. Ok. No problem. But don’t try to shore up your preference as some moral choice on your part.

    You don’t have the tiniest clue what Newt is all about. You haven’t bothered to inform yourself. And you show it every time you post one of these ad hominem attacks.

    Watch Newt’s CPAC speech. it’s brilliant. Clear. We will totally sweep wins with these palns in the fall election if the American People decide to team up on this.


(I’m going for the “dislike” record. That should do it.)

    Nah, I’m finding I get more dislikes when I comment in an ABO fashion rather than particulaly against any certain canidate. (For example, Well Santorum said, X, buy Romney said Y, and Newt said Z, I really am more in line with Q personally.)
    In this case I’m tempted to say “Hindsight is 20/20” Both Newt and Santorum made political calculations. I can’t speak to Newt’s calculation (I’m unfamilar with the district) but Santorum was likely hoping to pull in a favor from Specter later (since he does wield some power in that state to be sure.) Regardless, I don’t really consider either endorsement all that crucial (and can’t believe people are digging into them to throw projectiles) but then I don’t put much faith in endorsements period.
    IMHO, the Specter thing points more towards the need for term limits (since that guy is the ultimate party switcher when it comes to escaping troublesome primaries.)

      Have you noticed that this blog has become a pro-Gingrich echo chamber? Only pro-Gincrich comments are allowed. The rest are discarded without any thought.

      That is one of the main reasons I abandoned blogging. I found it impossible to keep my comment section from turning into an echo chamber.

      Something you “conservatives” should think about. It’s not the brilliance of your analysis that attracts so many “likes”, it’s that you support Gingrich. This isn’t a discussion, it’s an orgy.

      BTW, I MUST be nearing the “dislike” record.

        This place is nowhere near as bad as Hot Gas, where you get flamed from all sides for staking out any opinion at all. Especially the crazy Romney trolls there. I don’t like the rating system here because of the herd mentality and group pressure against dissenters, but it does show where the views of the other people in the blog are without having them have to take time to directly respond to the original comment. You have to be willing to speak what you want to say without fearing about what other people will think about you. Gingrich and Santorum seem to have that down (at least against liberals).

        Nothing is as bad as the leftwing blogs though. Take a look at the Huffington Post, or even better DailyKos, for a couple of days and see how much of an echo chamber it really is.

          Perhaps you get no response to your comments because they contain nothing of value to comment on.

          heimdall in reply to heimdall. | February 12, 2012 at 10:58 pm

          You misunderstand me, I do not know where you think I was complaining about who is commenting where or whether they respond to me. People can respond or not respond to what I have said, that is their choice, and it doesn’t bother me regardless.

        BurkeanBadger in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

        My thoughts exactly, Phil. This is a fine blog and I respect Professor Jacobson immensely. But it has unfortunately devolved into a “Shut up! Newt is Awesome!” echo chamber of late. And it has become much more bitter and irritable. That’s to be expected though. True-believers of any candidate will become more defensive and prickly as their candidate flames out. And Newt Gingrich is most assuredly flaming out.

        He’ll keep going until Super Tuesday, I’m sure. But after he loses every state (often coming in third or even fourth) except *maybe* Georgia, and after Sheldon Adelson refuses to write any more checks, I expect him to suspend his campaign and parlay it into a very lucrative book deal and lecture circuit gig. And then, after an intense few days of impassioned jeremiads and tirades about the evils of Mitt and the naive spoiler shill Santorum, this blog will return to what it was before last November: a civil place full of intelligent and interesting discussion of politics and policy from a conservative perspective.

        This can’t come too soon.

        Hope Change in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

        Your comments do not give me anything to think about. You don’t like Newt. You express that by attacking him as a person. So what.

    Hope Change in reply to Pasadena Phil. | February 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Ok, Pasadena Phil, go for the dislike record. But why? I mean, what’s the point of that?

    What would you like to see improve for our country. That’s something I would be genuinely interested in knowing.

from wiki

“Specter was first elected to the Senate in 1980. He is the longest-serving Senator in Pennsylvania’s history; no one else from the state has been elected to five terms in that body.”

“Senators are given preferential treatment in choosing committee assignments based on seniority. Seniority on a committee is based on length of time serving on that committee, which means a senator may rank above another in committee seniority but be more junior in the full Senate. Although the committee chairmanship is an elected position, it is traditionally given to the most senior senator of the majority party serving on the committee. ”

no spector no roberts or alito. this not difficult is it?

    William A. Jacobson in reply to newrouter. | February 12, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Jon Kyl would have been judiciary chair. Alito and Roberts still would have been confirmed. Simple. And Democrats never would have reached 60 votes to break the Obamacare filibuster when Specter jumped ship. Pat toomey in Senate =no Obamacare. Simple.

      I watched the Alito hearings, and I remember with relish how Specter laid the smack down on Teddy Kennedy. Now name a single redeeming quality in Dede.

      In other news, I think all of these posts on this pro-Newt blog confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that Santorum’s surge is real.

        Mike Knight in reply to Astroman. | February 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        The surge might be real, but so are the warts that will keep Santorum from ever appealing to the general public. Newt has baggage too, but it won’t be as polarizing and caustic to the general public. That said, here’s the real question:
        Which candidate has a proven record of challenging the status quo and winning?
        -Romney? Nope – he tried and failed (too many democrats he said)
        -Santorum? Nope – he didn’t even try when faced with voting pro-union (says it was right for his state)
        -Newt? Yep – and he paid the price for it too, but at least America benefited from it. Newt got blamed for shutting down the government in ’95 and ’96, but it was needed to get the budget balanced on the Republican’s terms and not Clinton’s. Some establishment Republicans didn’t like that too much and they’ve shown they’re still upset with their recent attacks on Newt.

        BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Astroman. | February 12, 2012 at 8:55 pm

        A bit of universal political logic here.

        The Senate spot was an absolute must. hold.

        The other one did not matter. By 2012 revised standards Dede is a SEVERE conservative anyhow.

also spector helped santorum get the senate gig

Stop making excuses for Santorum’s endorsement of Arlen Specter


Given Santorum’s behavior as Senator (and his landslide ejection from the position), IMO the Democrats can’t believe their good fortune that he is a contender.

StrangernFiction | February 12, 2012 at 6:29 pm


My main concern right now is who has the vision to get our country back on track and knows how to do it and it isn’t Santorum. I don’t care how much he goes to church, it won’t help create jobs or solve our problems. People voting on that are only about 20% of voters and is short sighted to say the least to vote for someone based on that.

This thread needs a picture:

    heimdall in reply to Dynamism. | February 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Come on guys, someone could easily post up the infamous photos of Nancy Pelosi and Gingrich on the couch. I love Gingrich and what he did in congressional hearings after, but come on, both Gingrich and Santorum have had bad optics in their past decisions.

    I hope one or the other defeats Romney.

    But look, its easy to do it to Gingrich too:

kinda of weak to blame santorum for what spector does 5 years into the furure

Screw Santorum. I want government out of my pocketbook AND out of my bedroom.

Every single candidate has their areas of expertise as well as ones showing great flaws in character, voting record, contentiousness in governing or conservative perspective.

Both Gingrich and Santorum have big earmark attachments, being on the wrong side of issues, endorsing wrong people. I really don’t see a dime’s worth of difference between the two, except Newt is a better speaker, and Santorum has no personal scandals. Neither have administered over a state government’s finances nor have even held a real private sector type of job.

Romney, OTOH, has people up in arms about the depth of his conservatism. Somehow everyone’s expectations are that he should have been able to overrule an 85% democratic legislature, turning it around to implement a 100% conservative agenda. For instance, when the fed threatened to withhold 385 million in medicaid funding, if the state didn’t decrease their number of uninsured, he should have been a Clint Eastwood type saying, “Make my day! Go ahead and take that funding away. I’m not going to touch any kind of healthcare reform!” Instead, the fool went ahead with a mandate only affecting the uninsured, didn’t raise taxes because of this reform, and now it’s only liked by two/thirds of the adults there, and is said to have either improved health care or kept it at the same level of care by 88% of the physicians in MA. This was all done on a state level, a 70 page bill. But of course it is the same as the 2700 page Obamacare bill, Does that mean that 2630 pages of Obama’s bill are blank?

Somehow, I see the details of Mr. Romney’s healthcare bill as being appropriate for his state, a policy which exercised state’s rights, something this man has continuously emphasized in his public speeches. I am a firm believer in state’s rights myself, seeing that with such individuation there is far greater of an opportunity for each citizen to express what they want from their state government, sans the interference of the federal government. Therefore, Romney’s term as governor of MA reflected that state’s party demographic of a 12% Republican registration, along with a populace that supported social liberalism. Despite these odds he still managed to balance the budget, extinguish the projected deficit and created a finsncial cushion in it’s place, basically leaving the state better off than when he took office.

I find nothing out of sorts with that kind of record.

    StrangernFiction in reply to tsr. | February 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    And he stands by Romneycare. Says it’s working. You Romneybots……..*shaking head*…………..

    heimdall in reply to tsr. | February 12, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    So therefore, with your reasoning, if a populace supports forced abortions for their citizens under a certain age or for rape, that is just great as long as a majority supports it? Why is forcing people to buy a product any different? Is it okay for government to force us to buy a chevy volt or fluorescent light bulbs just because its energy efficient? I’m sorry, but just because a majority supports something does not mean it is right, otherwise there is a tyranny of the majority. Using governmental force to compel us to do things like that with the barrel of a gun is wrong and evil.

    Mitt Romney didn’t try to rid governmental oversight or encroachment on life in Massachusetts, he expanded it. Who is fighting for the minority in the state of Massachusetts who were/ are opposed to the healthcare laws enacted by the government there, since Mitt Romney did not veto the bill. He only used a line item veto, taking out the “bad parts” (which were passed again anyways) of the bill and kept the “good” parts. Huh, I think that was what he was claiming he wanted to do late last year/early this year on Obamacare, yet when in front of the conservative rubes in the debates he wholeheartedly supports repeal of the law.

    tsr is passing around the Romney Kool-Aid. first of all there is nothing appropriate about mandated health care which can only result in higher health care costs and less services. That is exactly what has happened with Mass-Care. Prices are rising at 20% per year despite a huge influx of Fed money from Obama to offset some costs. 17,000 healthcare jobs have been lost in Kennedy country since Romney signed the legislation. Then there massive number of Free Riders who pay a small penalty tax to keep their premiums down until they get sick — when they sign on for care, only to dropout when the health problem is resolved.

    As for Newt’s personal baggage, his lack of success in his marriages has nothing to do with political and leadership skills. Unlike ten Presidents before him, Newt, at least, married his mistresses. If Newt was involved in earmarks which likely happened, the size of and scope could not have been anywhere near the $2 billion that Romney and Utah’s Mormon congressional delegation secured from Congress for supporting the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. That amounts to $833,333 for every athlete who participated in the games.

      Where are you seeing there are “less” services because of MA health care?

      Healthcare reform was not something Romney went into office, like Obama did, as a fulfillment of a campaign promise. He got involved with this reform because of the impending prospect of defunding medicaid by the feds. The mandate was also not structured to bring costs down, but rather to insure more people, hopefully bringing down the cost of ER care that was being used as expensive walk-in care. Finally, the healthcare plan, that was eventually passed by the 85% dem legislature, was revised by said legislature, and not the one presented by Romney. He did, though, sign the bill. I keep reminding people of that huge percentage of dems in the legislature, as being an almost insurmountable force. We have something like a 65% dem advantage here in CA, and look how loony and out of control our state is! At least Romney was able to get MA out of its deficit, with a balanced budget and a small surplus, to boot.

      Regarding Gingrich’s personal baggage — it matters. Not wanting to pay child support matters, too. Not wanting to pay for his own college education, when he is criticizing students today for being lazy, matters, because it is plain hypocrisy on his part. As speaker, he is the one credited for the avalanche of earmarks that has overwhelmed our budget in recent years. He used them in order to get votes. He also is credited, along with the Senate Majority leader, for eliminating budget caps which led to higher government spending. His early accomplishments were neutered, IMO, by some of his brash and irresponsibile actions that followed. After all, it was the conservative faction, not the moderate or liberal ones of the party, who eventually turned on him, primarily for not backing enough of the conservative agenda they set out.

        Please read all about the mounting problems of Mass-Care from the single payer advocates themselves. Based upon failures in Canada and England, it is not hard to perceive that the system is coming apart at the seams.

        As for the child support/alimony story, it might just be as bogus as the tale about Newt’s visit to the hospital to tell his “dying wife” that he was divorcing her. If you read the stuff in the liberal media perpetrated by their Democratic allies who hated Newt can turn up all kinds of unverifiable BS. Divorces are ugly and truth is usually a casualty. Just the other day I read where Newt is most certainly bi-polar because his birth Mom was.

        Your buddy, Mitt, has been lying about Newt being drummed out of the House because of the bogus charge made against him regarding the college course that the IRS said was a non-political activity. Nine million dollars in false attack ads and you still drink the Kool-Aid. If this brand of politics trips your trigger, fine; but I would rather that the candidates discuss these issues face to face. Mitt has refused to do a one-on-one with Newt. I certainly can understand that position, because Mitt doesn’t handle losing well.

aguyfromjersey | February 12, 2012 at 8:14 pm

As a side note, If I click on Alan Grayson’s banner ad, does the Professor make money?

Lest we forget, there is the severe contrast between the only Speaker to ever pass four consecutive balanced budgets and the PA Senator who was largely involved in maintaining his power by securing over a billion dollars in earmarks during his three terms, while voting for billions more — including the Bridge to Nowhere. Rick is just the economic genius we need in these troubled financial times, don’t you think? Ask Santorum and he will say that we have to reform earmarks — right on Rick! You were very impressive in getting spending under control as the #3 guy in the majority leadership.

Off topic, but I’m betting tomorrow is Aqualung.

completely off topic, but funny— lifted from GP….

Sarah Palin was asked for her reaction to the HBO shlockumentary on her life today on FOX News Sunday. Sarah responded after viewing the clip that she’s created more Palin impersonators than Barack Obama has created jobs.

“I think we’re going to call that the Sarah Palin Employment Act. And, you guys need to thank me for employing more people probably in their imitations of Sarah Palin than the president has put Americans to work… It is a stimulus act, yes.”

One of many great insights about Newt:

“Justin, at

So let me get this straight: Santorum our ‘Man-on-dog’ candidate is the ‘real Conservative’ according to Rush and Levin. But one of the leading Reagan Revolutionaries, Newt Gingrich, isn’t?

Santorum who proudly defends his billion dollars in earmarks as a Conservative, but the chief architect of the 1994 Republican revolution that took control of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, isn’t?

This primary process has been a roller coaster ride to be sure. However, when Mark Levin and Rush Limbaugh start spouting preposterous pontifications the time has come to sound the alarm.

Furthermore, it is time to hold these men and others to account for their absurdities… I submit to you that neither Levin nor Limbaugh have been accurate about Speaker Gingrich’s record. Furthermore, neither has taken a critical look at Senator Santorum’s record.

Let’s get started…

Brian Domitrovic writing in Forbes on 1/30/2012 called out Mark Levin by name in his article: Gingrich’s Connection to the Supply-Side Revolution Confirmed

Newt Gingrich has taken a remarkable amount of flak for making claims that as a young Representative in Congress thirty some years ago, he was part of the group of supply-side revolutionaries that developed and pushed through the Reagan economic reforms, in particular the historic tax cut of 1981

The criticism, oddly enough, has in the main come from conservatives. Radio host and author Mark Levin spoke for many last week when he made a blanket denial:

“I like Newt Gingrich a lot. But he had nothing to do with the development of supply-side economics. …It pre-dated his election to the House by several years. So he didn’t help Ronald Reagan develop supply-side economics. He wasn’t even on Ronald Reagan’s radar at the time. I’m not trying to be controversial or rude, but I want you to know the facts.”

Domitrovic continues:

I myself have been marveling at the back-and-forth about these details in supply-side history, in that I remain the only professional historian ever to have written on the topic.

The article goes on to examine the difficulty in actually getting the Reagan Tax Cuts through congress. Then Domitrovic writes:

In stepped – Newt Gingrich. Gingrich, a second-term Representative, led an “Economic Recovery Working Group” in the House whose purpose was to show “what each member can do to help the Reagan tax cut” against its Democratic alternatives.”

Original quote link:

Other Newt insights:

I wrote in my endorsement of Newt Gingrich today – I had been leaving the option open for Bachmann and Santorum through most of the fall of ’11. As Gingrich was attacked I researched the REAL story of his success/failures and was simultaneously berated by Sanitariums that Santorum was “true”. Trying to be open minded I wanted to see what the record showed.

I was stunned on both accounts. Not only did I find Santorum had a ghastly record of backstabbing conservatives (, he also was profoundly “big government” as documented by AmericanFreedomByBarbara – here:

On the other hand, although I was a voting adult through the 90’s i was completely unprepared for the revelation at singularly responsible Gingrich was for both Reagan’s adherence to conservative principles – but also for expanding conservative popularity far beyond what Reagan could achieve. (

You can read my sappy endorsement here( but based on fact – not only is Gingrich far superior in conservative causes resulting in legislation – he left the GOP Congress with a 60% approval rating. Santorum as the #3 leader in the Senate lost the Senate to Democrat control altogether. Rick Perry made a good point at CPAC. The reason we lost in 2006 was because the GOP no longer decided to be fiscal responsible.

And Gingrich did it with a liberal President and control of only 1 house of Congress!

do we really want to take a gamble for inspiring a nation, reforming government, mobilizing other congressional races to a lawyer from Pennsylvania who not only has never managed more than 50 people in his life let alone lead a movement – but who WE didn’t even want until Perry, Cain, Bachmann and Palin were no longer available?

Here’s a more direct contrast (more like a confrontation) between Newt and Rick from back in the day. It is excerpts from James E Rogan’s Catching Our Flag: Behind the Scenes of a Presidential Impeachment. I think Trent Lott’s role is especially interesting, considering his mild(er) treatment of Gingrich these days.

Where oh where is this “vetting” we’ve been hearing so much about?

I’ve always had something nagging in the back of my mind when observing Romney giving a speech or participating in a debate.

I finally recognized Romney’s mannerisms as similar to those of Captain Queeg from the Caine Mutiny. The way he attacks his own sentences; he utters the first word, bites it off, does a manic ‘heh’ and then starts over again. The same mannerisms are reflected in his manic attacks on Gingrich.

It seems strange to me that so many conservatives who wish to keep the government out of our bedrooms insist on peeking in the bedrooms of our candidates.

Just an observation.

great video if you haven’t seen it yet:

I’m for Newt but what I see is that we could add all the errors committed by Newt and Rick together and still not come up with anything as close to being as bad as Romney’s record of: No Hits, No Runs, All Errors.

I don’t like Rick Santorum. I’ve never liked him. Rick Santorum is the epitome of why liberals hate conservatives. Oh, he checks all the right boxes on that score. So I’m biased right from the start and I could on and on and on about why I loathe this guy so much. But, that’s all just my former ingrained liberal mindset. I know that. I’ve tried to look beyond all the things I can’t stand about him because I’ll vote for him if I have to.

But there is one thing I’ve learned about Rick Santorum that I just cannot get past. While looking into the whole Specter endorsement thing I discovered something even worse. Rick Santorum went to South Carolina and campaigned against Jim DeMint during DeMint’s last re-election. Yeah, you read that right. That’s unforgivable.

I have supported Santorum over both Romney and Newt. The Doug Hoffman incident was not a deal breaker by itself, but certainly another sad incident of conservative betrayal in Newt Gingrich’s career.

But the recent comment of Rick Santorum saying is goal is to drive libertarians out of the GOP and conservative movement left me cold. Is he serious? He really is a nanny stater who is just a more “conservative” pro life version of Mayor Bloomberg?

So we are down to three very flawed GOP candidates. And to reverse the damage of the last four years we need to take House, Senate and White House. Or we are screwed.

I was feeling good after CPAC and Grover Norquit’s speech. What a difference a day can make.

Texas has had a pretty good run of late economically. I think the governor there is a Republican. Can’t remember his name, but maybe he’ll enter the race?

    “a pretty good run of late”? Really? I guess you consider the last 10 years “of late?”

    But it obviously that voters don’t want someone who actually has a record of doing all the things they clamored for. They really want some sooth talker who graduated from the Dale Carnegie School of Public Speaking who takes on the liberal press.

    Unfortunately, it is not the liberal press that will be the opposition candidate to the GOP nominee.