Twitter

On The Recent "Santorum Surge"

Dana Milbank sums it up best:
The “Santorum surge” in recent days has little to do with the candidate himself and everything to do with the fact that he is the last man standing after voters discarded all the rest. There’s little time left to scrutinize Santorum before the Iowa vote — and in his case, that’s an exceedingly lucky thing. Given more time in the spotlight, he would reveal himself as a hard-edged Dan Quayle.
I'm not sure that I would qualify the recent attention that Rick Santorum is getting as a "surge" -- it's more of a "boomlet". Regardless, in this writer's opinion, Rick Santorum is one of the least conservative candidates in the Republican Primary and would have ZERO chance of winning an election against Barack Obama -- much less Mitt Romney.

Oh sure, Santorum's pro-life bona fides are strong, and the conservative Evangelical voters simply love the former U.S. Senator from the Keystone State. But, when you look at his rhetoric, the sweater-vested candidate veers far outside of conservatives principles. Case in point:



Way back in 2005, Jonathan Rauch wrote of Rick Santorum:
In his book [It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good ] he comments, seemingly with a shrug, “Some will reject what I have to say as a kind of ‘Big Government’ conservatism.”

They sure will. A list of the government interventions that Santorum endorses includes national service, promotion of prison ministries, “individual development accounts,” publicly financed trust funds for children, community-investment incentives, strengthened obscenity enforcement, covenant marriage, assorted tax breaks, economic literacy programs in “every school in America” (his italics), and more. Lots more.

Though he is a populist critic of Big Government, Santorum shows no interest in defining principled limits on political power. His first priority is to make government pro-family, not to make it small. He has no use for a constitutional (or, as far as one can tell, moral) right to privacy, which he regards as a "constitutional wrecking ball" that has become inimical to the very principle of the common good. Ditto for the notions of government neutrality and free expression. He does not support a ban on contraception, but he thinks the government has every right to impose one.
My emphasis. (head nod: David Boaz)

Hardly what I would consider conservative.

Bottom line: Santorum may be getting a small bump going into the Iowa caucuses today, but it will be fleeting. He has a very slim (at best) chance of winning Iowa and no shot of winning a state like New Hampshire.