A Brief Evisceration of Rick Santorum

BY BRIAN RUDDOCK

Our boy? Credit: Associated Press.

Rick Santorum is the latest Republican presidential nomination candidate to emerge as a serious threat to Mitt Romney, leading national polls by upwards of 15 points a week prior to the Arizona and Michigan primaries. The RCP Average has Romney in the lead as we approach Super Tuesday, coming off one sloppy win and one nice win in two states that he should have crushed. But to date, it has been a struggle for the former Massachusetts governor.

This shouldn’t be too surprising. Primary voters tend to be more passionate than general election voters; the juxtaposition of the fiery, intense Santorum and “Romneybot 2.0” certainly plays to the former’s advantage.

Unlike the other former GOP national poll leaders, however, Santorum is widely believed to be capable of sustaining his success and giving Romney a true run for his money. The New York Times’ Nate Silver argues why he thinks the former Pennsylvania senator has a legitimate shot at winning the nomination. As a liberal supporter of President Obama, this probably makes Silver giddy. As a libertarian who is offended by much of the Obama presidency, it makes me extremely worried. Indeed, even a close defeat for Santorum in the primaries would be a negative development for the Republican Party.

Rick Santorum is a big government conservative. He fundamentally believes that government has the authority and duty to cultivate better, more moral citizens through whatever programs and laws it sees fit. As Reason’s Jonathan Rauch noted in 2005:

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”

Combine this with his consistent opposition to gay marriage, and you have a candidate who, if in office, would use your taxpayer dollars to impose his own sweater-vested ethos upon you.

Furthermore, on economic issues, Santorum’s calls for less government belie his actual policy positions. He voted for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D (aka the Prescription Drug Bill), the “Bridge To Nowhere”, and countless other expensive boondoggles financed by debt. On economic policy, Santorum is closer to George W. Bush than Ronald Reagan.

Santorum combines the worst elements of Republicans and Democrats. (Did I mention that he was a noted influence peddler?) In the short run, his very presence harms Republicans’ chances of taking the White House. As evidenced by Romney’s recent awkward claim of being “severely conservative”, Santorum has already forced the tone of the primaries rightward. Independent voters are going to decide the general election; the more they see Romney and Santorum arguing about who did more to ban homosexuals from marrying, the worse off Republicans will be in November.

In the long run, Santorum’s rise paints a picture of the Republican Party that no normal 30 year old or younger would ever think about identifying with. The GOP is already far from cool. Rick Santorum will make it toxic.

Brian is a contributing editor who writes about politics, social media and the uniquely fantastic existence of being a long-suffering Cleveland sports fan. 

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Author: R. Byrnes

Ryan is the founder and editor-in-chief of Yi! News.

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