An item over at the Weekly Standard blog quotes Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum as taking his rival hopeful Ron Paul to task for his too narrow interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the sanctimonious Santorum states:

My understanding of our founding documents and the purpose of this country is different. I would argue that [Paul’s] understanding of the Constitution was similar to the French Revolution and the French understanding of the Constitution. 

So what does Santorum mean by this? Well, he suggests that he wants to incorporate the Declaration of Independence into his version of Constitutional interpretation. Why? Santorum argues:

Ron Paul has a libertarian view of the Constitution. I do not. The Constitution has to be read in the context of another founding document, and that’s the Declaration of Independence. Our country never was a libertarian idea of radical individualism. We have certain values and principles that are embodied in our country. We have God-given rights. 

The Constitution is not the “why” of America; it’s the “how” of America. It’s the operator’s manual. It’s the rules we have to play by to ensure something. And what do we ensure? God-given rights. And so to read the Constitution as the end-all, be-all is, in a sense, what happened in France. You see, during the time of our revolution, we had a Declaration of Independence that said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, [that they are] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Hmmm. "Not about radical individualism?" Why not? Because Santorum claims: 

So we were founded as a country that had God-given rights that the government had to respect. And with those rights come responsibilities, right? God did not just give us rights. He gave us a moral code by which to exercise them. 

See, that’s what Ron Paul sort of leaves out. He leaves out rights and responsibilities that we have from God that this Constitution is to protect. And he says, “No, we just have rights, and then that’s it.” No, we don’t. America is a moral enterprise….

So Santorum goes on about "rights and responsibilities" allegedly derived from the Declaration of Independence.

However, you will not find the words "responsibility" or "responsibilities" in the text. You will find "right" and "rights" mentioned 10 times. For what it's worth "God" and "Creator" and "divine Providence" are mentioned once each. 

So what about Santorum's canard about Paul's failure to include insights from the Declaration as resulting in an allegedly radical French interpretation of the U.S. Constitution? Here Santorum demonstrates his historical ignorance again: 

The French had 21, I think, constitutions, but their constitutions were initially patterned after the American Constitution. Gave radical freedom, like ours does. But their founding document was not the Declaration of Independence. Their founding watchwords were the words, “liberty” and “fraternity.” Fraternity. Brotherhood. But no fatherhood. No God. It was a completely secular revolution. An anti-clerical revolution. And the root of it was, whoever’s in power rules.

Just like the French constitutions cited by Santorum, our Constitution does not mention God or any of His many euphemisms in its text. But what about Santorum's claim that there as "no God" mentioned in the French Republic's "founding document"?  Well, that's just wrong. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was adopted by the National Assembly in 1789 as it plainly states....

... in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being....

So both American and French declarations mention euphemisms for the divine, and both American and French constitutions do not. 

Seems like Paul knows a bit more about the Constitution than does Santorum.