In the final hours of the Values Voters Summit, social conservative icons like former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins expressed optimism about the libertarian influence on the conservative movement and Republican politics.
“So economic conservatism—libertarian types can say, oh, well, we don’t want to talk about the social issues. Without the church and the family, there is no conservative movement. There is no basic values in America in force, and there is no future for our country,” he said.
When Santorum was leaving he said to reporters that he thinks the libertarian influence in the Republican Party isn’t necessarily a bad thing, contradicting several statements he has made before.
“I think it can be very positive but you have to understand I am a conservative not a libertarian,” he said.
When asked who is a bigger threat to social conservatives he said, “Liberals, hands down.”
During a press conference Perkins went so far as to suggest Santorum has played a large part in this alleged libertarian-social conservative alliance.
“I think Rick Santorum, I think his candidacy, was a large part of that by making the economic argument for marriage and the family,” said Perkins, standing outside the Values Bus, a touring bus for the FRC.
“If you look at the libertarian viewpoint, which I share in terms of a wanting a smaller government, I want less government, well how do you do that? You strengthen the American family. Because if you look at the government that has expanded, it has expanded to make up for where the family is in decline and that is a large part of the large deficit,” he said.
Perkins added that this is a key point of agreement for libertarians and social conservatives.
“So, right here is a good starting point to bring libertarians and social conservatives together. It’s an economic issue, but it’s a cultural and moral issue, too,” he said.
Pete Bond, an attendee from Delaware said he’s sees common ground with libertarians on things like opposition to Obamacare.
“Obamacare is a big one because it infringes on religious freedom,” said Bond, 65.
He added that it forces taxpayers to pick up the tab for abortion and sterilization.
“The legalization of drugs, though, is something I can’t condone,” he said.
Not all though were excited about this chummy libertarian-social conservative alliance.
“You libertarians and us conservatives side with each other on 85 percent of everything, however we don’t on life,” said Jim Yarborough, an attendee from Texas.
Yarborough isn’t impressed with the pro-life libertarian arguments because they don’t come from the Judeo-Christian perspective.
“The sanctity of life trumps all other decisions. Sanctity of life is the key issue,” he said.