Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Rick Santorum for President of the United States

I am endorsing Rick Santorum for President.

Here’s the break-down on the other two leaders in the Republican primary, Romney and Paul:

Mitt Romney: When Mitt Romney was running for office in Massachusetts, he tried to assure Mass voters that he was solidly pro-abortion and pro-gay rights. And when elected, that’s how he governmed. The only thing that he has ever done to appeal to social conservatives is smile and look handsome, starting in 2006 – when he was out of office. I’ve written before about Romney’s pro-abortion record and Romney’s pro-gay-marriage record. He is a social liberal. The most socially liberal candidate in the primary.

Here is an excerpt from an assessment of Mitt Romney’s economic record from Club for Growth:

Because of his long tenure in public life, especially his presidential run in 2008, Mitt Romney is considered a well-vetted candidate by now.  Perhaps to his consternation, he has developed an unshakeable reputation as a flip-flopper. He has changed his position on several economic issues, including taxes, education, political free speech, and climate change.  And yet the one issue that he doesn’t flip on – RomneyCare – is the one that is causing him the most problems with conservative voters.  Nevertheless, he labels himself as a pro-growth fiscal conservative, and we have no doubt that Romney would move the country in a pro-growth direction.  He would promote the unwinding of Obama’s bad economic policies, but we also think that Romney is somewhat of a technocrat. After a career in business, quickly finding a “solution” seems to be his goal, even if it means more government intrusion as a means to an end. To this day, Romney supports big government solutions to health care and opposes pro-growth tax code reform – positions that are simply opposite to those supported by true economic conservatives.  How much Romney’s philosophy of governance will affect his policy goals if elected, we leave for the voters to decide.

There is no reason for us to counter Obama with Obama-lite.

Ron Paul: Ron Paul is the absolute worst candidate on foreign policy and national security, and bad on social policy, too. Ron Paul opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage, because he doesn’t think that the federal government should define traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman. He has a moderately pro-life voting record. NRLC says that he votes pro-life only 75% of the time.

Excerpt from the Club for Growth report on Ron Paul’s fiscal policy:

When it comes to limited government, there are few champions as steadfast and principled as Representative Ron Paul.  In the House of Representatives, he plays a very useful role constantly challenging the status quo and reminding his colleagues, despite their frequent indifference, that our Constitution was meant to limit the power of government.  On taxes, regulation, and political free speech his record is outstanding.  While his recent pork votes are troubling, the vast majority of his anti-spending votes reflect a longstanding desire to cut government down to size.

But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform.  It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of Congress develop and propose idealized solutions.  But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect.  In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation.

Ron Paul has not been able to move legislation to implement his pro-growth vision. His fiscal positions are excellent, but he has no record whatsoever of being able to build enough consensus.

Let’s meet Rick Santorum

Here’s an article that explains the pros and cons of Rick Santorum as candidate. I really recommend this article. It is from a Catholic web site, so there is Catholic stuff in it, but it mentions all the weaknesses and strengths that I’m familiar with – it’s a balanced article.

Excerpt:

As a member of the U.S. Senate from 1995 until 2007, Santorum was the prime author and champion of key pro-life bills, including the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a ban on partial-birth abortion, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a separate crime if an unborn child is harmed or killed during the commission of a stipulated list of federal crimes.

Santorum not only has signed the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life Presidential Pledge, but he has helped raise money for that organization, too.

Santorum believes that abortion is never justified, including in cases of rape or incest.

[...]Santorum has been similarly staunch in taking a stand against same-sex “marriage,” which has earned him the enmity of homosexual-activist groups.

[...]“Rick Santorum has been a hero of the movement in every sense on marriage, life and religious liberty. No one has been braver or taken more hits for his courage than Rick,” said Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage.

For Santorum, the issues of marriage and abortion aren’t just social issues — they spill over into his economic philosophy.

“You cannot have limited government if you have broken families, because someone has to pick up the pieces; and the ones who pick up the pieces are the taxpayers,” Santorum has said.

While some argue that an emphasis on social issues is detrimental to a politician’s chances of being elected, Santorum on Dec. 20 got two endorsements from family-issues leaders that some say could provide the needed boost in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses to make Santorum a first-tier candidate.

Santorum was endorsed by Bob Vander Plaats, a leading Christian conservative in Iowa, and Chuck Hurley, another family-issues stalwart. Both are affiliated with The Family Leader, which Vander Plaats founded. Hurley is president of the affiliated Iowa Family Policy Center.

“We care about any issue affecting the family, from the sanctity of human life to preserving a biblical view of marriage, and even issues such as gambling and economic issues,” said Julie Summa, spokeswoman for The Family Leader.

Summa said that the board of The Family Leader unanimously supported Santorum but decided that only the two leaders, not the organization, would endorse him because some of their conservative Christian constituency supports other candidates.

“When you listen to Senator Santorum speak,” Summa added, “he ties everything back to the family, including economics. Our economy is better when we have strong families.”

And here is the Club for Growth report on Santorum’s fiscal policy, which is his weakest link.

Excerpt:

On the whole, Rick Santorum’s record on economic issues in the U.S. Senate was above average.  More precisely, it was quite strong in some areas and quite weak in others.  He has a strong record on taxes, and his leadership on welfare reform and Social Security was exemplary.  But his record also contains several very weak spots, including his active support of wasteful spending earmarks, his penchant for trade protectionism, and his willingness to support large government expansions like the Medicare prescription drug bill and the 2005 Highway Bill.

As president, Santorum would most likely lead the country in a pro-growth direction, but his record contains more than a few weak spots that make us question if he would resist political expediency when it comes to economic issues.

It’s not that weak for a weak link, is it?

My concerns about Rick Santorum are mostly on fiscal policy. I don’t like his vote against NAFTA in 1993, and I don’t like his plan to focus corporate tax cuts on the manufacturing only - I want across the board tax cuts. His support for Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey was hard for me to get over, too. But it’s minor – there is no perfect candidate.

Rev. James Leonard points out that Santorum has a good pro-growth record:

First, Santorum was the first of the candidates to endorse the Ryan plan. No statist would ever do so. Santorum has pledged to cut 5 trillion dollars in the next 5 years.

Second, Santorum co-sponsored and fought for a balanced budget amendment that failed by a single vote, prompting Santorum to demand that the RINO (Hatfield, OR) who voted against it be stripped of his chairmanship. He did so even against such stalwart Republicans as Jesse Helms who defended the RINO. Santorum’s fight led to the RINO’s early retirement.

One final thing: Rick Santorum introduced an amendment to No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 to encourage critical thinking on issues like evolution and global warming in the schools. That’s good, but it’s also good that Rick has been pushing away from the idea of a federal role in education at all. Another plus.

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6 Responses

  1. Wintery, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ll be voting Santorum in the Caucus Tuesday. And I woke up as a Newt guy this morning, until it hit me that Rick Santorum is most consistent conservative on the ballot and this post just reaffirmed I’m making the right choice.

  2. anzusgirl says:

    This is the video that started it all for me. I could hardly believe my eyes and ears when I saw this man’s heart… I shared it on my Facebook page and sent it out to every one of my friends. I particularly liked the way Rick spoke about his wife, Karen… Mama Bear. We can hardly wait to see her as First Lady!

  3. Marshall Art says:

    I have to say that he has always been on my radar. Together with Bachmann, he is the most conservative of the crowd in my opinion. He has the track record to back it up. The question was always whether or not he had a chance. But then, as far as the primaries go, I vote for the guy (or gal) who most mirrors my personal position. WF Buckley always encouraged voting for such a person as long as they had a chance of winning (That is, the choice should reflect both qualities.) But the fact is that anyone has a realistic chance of winning if the those who want such a person get behind him or her.

    To that end, I find it rather maddening to know that few pundits will get out and support the most conservative and lean more toward most electable. It is a theme one hears constantly from Michael Medved, for example. The thing is, these are the very people that are capable of making good cases for the most conservative candidates and if they care as much as they insist they do, should be out there making that case. In some ways, they are the BEST people for making the case because their forums are five days a week for three to four hours per day. The Limbaughs, Levins, Medveds, Hewitts and all the other conservative talk show hosts need to be focusing on why the most conservative choices should be supported.

    I damned well don’t want Paul. I don’t want Romney. Gingrich is also the wrong guy for the job. (though the latter two would be useful as cabinet members or advisers) The pundits claim to be conservative and the less conservative candidates, like a Romney, wouldn’t stand a chance if all these people spoke in support of the true conservatives. Who cares if the libs speak of conservative voters being sheep or “ditto heads” or whatever.

  4. I am voting for Rick Santorum. I like the job he did as Senator representing Pennsylvania (my home state). He did a good job on the Armed Services Committee dealing with defense issues which make me confident he will have an effective foreign policy as President.

  5. digdigby says:

    Our crisis in America is a moral crisis. The fact that Santorum does not compromise on his Catholic moral beliefs in the least does not mean he will ‘impose’ those beliefs on America but rather that he has a solid core of moral absolutes. THIS is the key reason I just, for the first time in my long life donated money to a political campaign.

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