Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rick Santorum: The Bad and the Good...


I was hoping Rick Santorum, returning after his years in the political wilderness after his loss in 2006, was going to be a fiscal hawk, small government, states rights guy.  To some extent he is improved. Rick Santorum is spot on when he is discussing curtailing entitlements.  Rick Santorum is wrong about earmarks though, because while only a small fragment of spending, earmarks are Congress' "walking around money" that makes entitlement curtailing and any other reform so damn hard.  We need to scale back entitlements (the sooner we do it the less pain it will entail) and we need stop doing the practice earmarks to keep Congress honest.


But I am troubled by the video above.  I was troubled when Glenn Reynolds noted it the other day.   I know it is edited, but my gut reaction to this is I cannot see that Rick Santorum beating Barack Obama in the general.  This concern is more than just debate style.  Rick Santorum sometimes comes off as sanctimonious.


Update:  Rick, a libertarian would never have bragged about this!  


Libertarian is a broad term.  Libertarian does not mean libertine. [Update:  Small "l" libertarian also does not always mean Ron Paul supporter.]   Small "l" libertarianism is very consistent with what our founders envisioned and with conservative values.  Bluntly, I do not think Rick Santorum can win a general election with this attitude about libertarians and tea party supporters.  We need their votes.  We need to have Ron Paul not run third party and we need to peel off some of his supporters (or at least not have them vote for Obama). [Update:  That does not mean we have to buy into everything Ron Paul stands for--we can and should pick and choose what are acceptable positions from what are not.]    Rick Santorum lost Pennsylvania by 18 points in 2006, not just because that was a bad year for Republicans, but because Santorum lost touch with what Pennsylvanians cared about.  I do not care for all of Rick Santorum's social conservative vision for America but that is not a deal breaker for me.  I am not a big fan of where there Griswold case has led as jurisprudence, but I also do not believe the government needs to get involved in contraception as public policy.  But hey, he probably does not agree with all I stand for too.  They way we deal with issues like that is through federalism. State by state.  It may be messy, but it is the better way to go. 


I am not a Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich fan.  They both have serious flaws.  I want to like Rick Santorum.  But I know America is not eager to elect a social conservative scold. We want a leader who will reverse the harm caused by the Democratic Party and Barack Obama over the last few years.  As Grover Norquist laid out at CPAC, we need the House, we need sixty Senators, and we need the White House.  And for Rick Santorum to be effective in signing legislation getting rid of Obamacare and controlling the budget deficit (which I do believe he is serious about) he needs to get elected.  This election is bigger than any one man running.  Rick Santorum needs to get elected so he can sign legislation and nominate conservative judges to the federal courts.  But I fear if he keeps going down the social conservative road as his emphasis he is never going to get that chance.  And if he manages to get nominated and goes down this road, he will blow the general election.  He needs to be the smiling happy and confident warrior that Ronald Reagan was


I am not asking Rick Santorum to abandon his principles.  I am asking him to get his priorities straight.  As he rises in the polls and challenges Mitt Romney for the lead in this race, the media fire storm will be fierce and they will focus on all these videos far more than I am doing.  


Update:  This is depressing

11 comments:

  1. I agree with Grover Norquist on taxes but his Islampophilia is a complete turn-off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked Norquist's CPAC speech--but we are not trying to elect Norquist but a candidate to beat Obama. Norquist laid out a concise plan for a new administration (that all the candidates should adopt): repeal Obamacare and adopt the Paul Ryan budget. If a GOP congress and president pull that off they are heroes. Anything beyond that is gravy.

      Delete
    2. I can agree with him (as I do) on economics/taxation but his Islamic pandering is nauseating and I cannot get past it. JMHO.

      Delete
    3. If you have a link on that, let me know. Thanks.

      Delete
  2. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/561786/posts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is weird reading that story going back to 2001. And from The New Republic and Franklin Foer no less. I never saw that before. I almost expected reference to Jim Baker and the Carlyle Group. Thanks. Link

      Delete
  3. Grover Norquist (and several of the anti Israel paleocons such as Pat Buchanan and Scott McConnell) thinks that Muslims are a natural constituency for conservatives because they lead conservative religious lives.

    Btw yor blog is now on the blog roll of Blogmocracy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really like Blogmocracy. I am honored to be on his blog roll. Blogmocracy is on my blog roll.

      Delete
  4. Unfortunately, social cons tend to confuse choosing appealing language and setting priorities with abandonment of principles. It may have to do with the culture they were brought up in and the role models they looked to. They seem unwilling to learn, to step outside their bubble and acknowledge that there are all kinds of folks who are not the same as them but can be their allies. Instead, they imagine themselves already dominant, which is a colossal mistake. Leadership is about building coalitions, not about assuming you are already where you need to be, and getting angry and frustrated that the magical thinking isn't bringing the results.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I haven't yet seen a social con who makes that kind of "mistake" suddenly wake up, enlarge his perspective, learn a more inclusive vocabulary and put all that stuff behind him. Not saying I wouldn't like to see one succeed.

    ReplyDelete

I had to stop Anonymous comments due to spam. But I welcome all legitimate comments. Thanks.