Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘santorum’

Adios, Santorum!

Posted by Richard on April 10, 2012

Rick Santorum has ended his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Good riddance. Apparently, he was headed for a humiliating defeat in his home state of Pennsylvania. Jennifer Rubin:

The race has been a foregone conclusion for weeks, but Santorum did indicate that the weekend and the illness of his daughter did cause he and his wife to reflect on the race and their responsibility as parents. In defeat he was humble and sincere, and in recapping the race he charted the improbable course of his campaign. For cynics, it was maybe the first speech of his next campaign, an option he leaves open by not fighting to the bitter end and by not making himself a pariah in the race. That he never mentioned Mitt Romney by name or offered congratulations is, well, sadly reflective of a smallness that he revealed from time to time.

Why didn’t he win it? Well, the real question may be how he did so well with virtually no name recognition or money or support at the get go. In part, he won by working his devoted base in Iowa and waiting for others to drop out until he was the the receptacle for the not-Romney voices in the party.

But ultimately his lack of organization, executive prowess (needed to organize a national campaign) and inability to stay on a blue-collar economic message doomed him. He is eloquent but excessively combative. He is well read but condescending toward fellow Americans. He was ultimately his own worst enemy.

Those of us of a libertarian or free-market conservative bent objected to Santorum’s self-described “Big Government conservatism,” history as a spendthrift and pork lover, rabid social conservatism, and comparative disinterest in economic and fiscal matters. In recent weeks, he’s tried to change that, speaking out (sometimes eloquently) more and more about federal spending, regulation, and the financial cliff this country is approaching. But many of us suspected that this was a matter of campaign strategy, not the result of a personal epiphany.

Of course, the same thing could be said about Mitt Romney. Or just about any other prominent politician. Sigh.

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Anybody but Santorum

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2012

I mentioned my dislike of Rick Santorum the other day. I’m not alone, and RedState’s Erick Erickson, a social conservative himself, has shown that you don’t have to be a libertarian to reject Santorum’s self-described “Big Government conservatism” (emphasis added):

Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservative is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.

I and some friends, none of us Romney fans, have set about exploring Santorum’s record since Wednesday morning.  Here now is a non-exhaustive list of what we have found. It does not even include his support for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, debt ceiling increases, funding the bridge to nowhere, refusing to redirect earmark allocations to disaster relief along the Gulf Coast post Katrina, etc.

This is not the record of a man committed to scaling back the welfare state or the nanny state. Had he been up for re-election in 2010 instead of 2006, this is the record of a man who the tea party movement would have primaried. The only real justification for supporting him now is he is not Mitt Romney, but I still believe we can do better.

Check out Erickson’s very, very long list of Santorum’s votes for more spending, more taxes, more entitlements, more gun control, etc., etc., etc.

Adam Bitely of Americans for Limited Government, a free-market conservative, shares Erickson’s concerns about Santorum’s big government conservatism.

A real libertarian, Cato’s David Boaz, has also put together some damning evidence demonstrating that lovers of liberty must oppose Santorum, including this disturbing quote from Santorum when he was on NPR in 2006 (emphasis added):

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. … This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

Not only do I find that an egregious point of view, I think his conclusion is flatly wrong. As Boaz noted, there has been an individualist society where government leaves people alone. “It’s called America.”

There is no Reagan in this Republican field, and there isn’t even a clearly best choice (I was somewhat of a Perry fan until he joined Gingrich in attacking Romney with leftist anti-capitalist, class-envy rhetoric). But there’s no doubt in my mind that Santorum is by far the worst of the lot. If there’s one thing libertarians, free-market conservatives, and social conservatives should be able to agree on, it’s that, as Erickson said, “we can do better.”

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Romney was looking better, briefly

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2012

When Rick Santorum surged into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in Iowa, I actually started to warm up to Romney. I’d certainly prefer him to Santorum, a rabid social conservative who makes Michele Bachmann look like a libertarian.

But then John McCain endorsed Romney. I heard Rush Limbaugh say on his show today that if he were running for the Republican nomination, the last thing he’d want is McCain’s endorsement. I’m with him on that.

Ah, well, I’m still a registered Libertarian, not about to change, and thus just observing these bumbling Republicans from the sidelines. But I sure hope they get their act together and choose someone who can oust Obama, someone who knows how to defeat a failed socialist president.

So how do you defeat a Democrat who’s moved the country sharply to the left, greatly grown the government, wrecked the economy, and then blamed the resulting mess on the American people? There’s a blueprint, a proven successful strategy. And it doesn’t involve moving to the center or worrying about whether you’ll drive away the moderates and independents. It’s the Reagan campaign in 1980. Morning in America, dude.

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