My Reservations About Rick…

Rick Santorum

GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum

So, according to the talking heads, Rick Santorum is the newest GOP front runner, and is therefore unstoppable (like the others were in their turns at the top). If he is going to successfully run against Mitt Romney, and displace the projected GOP nominee, and then go on to face Obama in the general election, people need to give him a closer look, instead of just making him their “Not-Mitt” pick. Now, I get a strange feeling from the guy, especially when he claims to be the only conservative candidate left with a shot in the primary (Newt claimed the same thing at one time). I would never vote for (or not vote for) a candidate because of a feeling, and I would not ask anyone else to do so either. So, I did a little research, and from what I have read, Santorum’s claimed conservancy is shaky at best.

My first concern is that Santorum was a legislator. Now, I realize this sounds this minor, but I think the mindset of a man with a legislative background is different from a man with an executive background. The legislator wants to build consensus, and reach compromise. I would rather have a candidate who has lead something, via governorship or as a business executive. Rick Perry would have perfectly fulfilled my idea of a candidate with leadership skills and was someone who understands that building a consensus takes time you may not have. I offer the current president, as example of a person who looks to build a coalition of yes-men and enablers (his cabinet/czars/advisers), and seems to be awkward and stiff when pushed to make a decision, which frequently turns out to be problematic.

Another concern I have is the things Rick supported while he was in the United States Congress. Bills and programs that do not seem too “conservative” to me. For example, legislation like “No Child Left Behind”, which not only grew educational and federal government bureaucracies, but mandated testing and tracking of school children, was something supported by Santorum. Just within the last month, it was given a waiver in ten states. While in the Senate, Santorum sponsored the “GAS Act”, which would have created a new, Federal Trade Commission-run “Competitive Pricing Task Force” to study energy pricing, and levy fines if the seller was determined to be fixing their prices after a release of strategic petroleum reserves by the president. Thankfully, the bill went nowhere, and the chance for bureaucratic growth was stymied.  In my mind, all this legislative double-talk would have done nothing more than increase the size of government bureaucracy for (ultimately) arbitrary reasons.

Santorum has also shown a few lapses in judgment. He supported George W. Bush’s failed judicial nominee, Harriet Miers, saying that the fact she had never been a judge before did not matter. A closer, more critical review of her (and increasing criticism by democrats and others), led him to retract his support. He voted for a Chuck Schumer-sponsored bill that restricted abortion protesters from blocking or impeding access to abortion clinics. While I do not think those choices are in and of themselves bad, for a politician like Santorum, that has espoused so many conservative beliefs and voted so conservatively for so long – it really makes his rare, occasional departure from those conservative  ideals unexpected and seem radical to me. Despite all this, I would still see myself as able to hold my nose and vote for him.


Arlen Specter (D), now unemployed

Unfortunately, I still have not mentioned what I consider to be the worst of his transgressions. He has bragged about working with Barbra Boxer, and he even bragged about the number of earmarks he has supported.  In the worst behavior Santorum exhibited, he supported Arlen Specter in the 2004 Senate race against conservative Republican, Pat Toomey. Ironically, some of the same supporters who donated to Santorum, found themselves at odds with his support (of Specter), because the donators supported the more conservative Toomey instead. Again, that may not seem too bad when considered only on that fact. However, as we know, Arlen Specter continued to veer increasingly-leftward in his politics after winning a narrow race against Toomey, and Specter ended up switching party allegiances, becoming a Democrat, and then losing his election following that switch. The worst part of the whole mess, was that it was Specter who cast the crucial 60th vote for Obamacare. Here is Specter, bragging about both his switch and vote. As we have found this last week, now the Obamacare fiasco has been used to try to force religious agencies/employers to cover things completely contrary to the tenets of their faith. While it may be unfair to blame Santorum for all the fallout from his support for Specter, he certainly does not have clean hands in the ongoing messes either.

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