Rick Santorum's Convictions


The cover story of the November 6 National Review (not available online) is a paean to Rick Santorum by John J. Miller that makes me look forward to the Pennsylvania senator's defeat next week. If Santorum loses to Democrat Bob Casey Jr., "a GOP aide" says, "a lot of Republicans who aren't as gutsy as Santorum would conclude that social conservatism is for losers." And that would be bad because…?

I realize social conservatives are a big part of NR's audience, but Miller offers economic conservatives, the other major component of Frank Meyer's grand fusion, little reason to root for Santorum, aside from the fact that he supported welfare reform (so did Bill Clinton) and "has served as a leader" on Social Security, which seems to mean he favors Bush-style baby steps toward "personal" (not "private") retirement accounts. On the down side, he opposed NAFTA, supported steel tariffs, and considers Bush's immigration reforms "too lax."

Santorum, who is famously against gay marriage because of its implications for man-dog love, "was an architect of the effort to ban partial-birth abortion" and "demonstrated that he's willing to take political risks to promote a culture of life" by "visiting the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo in Florida last year." He brags that he is "public enemy number one of the pro-choice and gay community." You gotta love him for that. Well, maybe not, but Miller argues that you at least have to admire him for sticking to his beliefs. "Santorum is clearly a conviction politician," says Miller.

Except when he's not. When Pat Toomey, the former congressman who is now president of the Club for Growth, challenged Arlen Specter, one of NR readers' least favorite Republicans, in the GOP primary two years ago, Santorum sided with his fellow Pennsylvania senator instead of his fellow conservative because he figured Specter had a better chance of winning the general election. Miller attributes this decision to "Santorum's apparent unwillingness to stay away from controversy." In short, Rick Santorum has the guts to condemn gay marriage and to sacrifice his principles when it's politically expedient.

NEXT: Kerry's Gaffe

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  1. “Santorum is clearly a conviction politician,” says Miller.

    Yes. And the sooner he’s convicted, the happier I’ll be.

    Do we have any Flash developers in the house? I think a website would make a lot of friends real fast.

  2. When you say that someone in the GOP has “convictions” in light of the recent embarassments (“Duke” Cunningham, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, Bob Ney), it really takes on a whole new meaning.

  3. the Pennsylvania senator’s defeat next week

    I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope I hope

  4. Holy Christ, that Santorum was spewing some absolute rubbish.

    If you follow a code of personal responsibility, along the lines of I should be able to do what I want as long as I don’t hurt anyone else, you will, by default, be a responsible person, not only to yourself, but to those around you. Let’s say I have kids…not hurting others doesn’t just mean that I don’t beat my children, it also means they are provided for, physically, emotionally, and mentally. You better believe I’d change a number of my behaviours if I have children…so as to not hurt them.

    Fuck that guy…if he’s what the Republicans want representing them, they are off the deep end.

  5. you just know that someday, Ricky-boy Santorum is going to be caught with his pants down with a dog

    I can’t wait

  6. Based on what Santorum says he is against in that clip, I now know that BizaroSantorum would be my platonic ideal of a politician.

  7. Speaking of Santorum, anyone read the David Brooks piece in this Sunday’s NYT? Basically lauding Rick S. for his fight against poverty? I haven’t looked into it in detail, but it seems to me inconsistent with the conservative line on smaller government. Somehow, when LBJ declares war on poverty it’s bad, but when Rick Santorum does it, it’s good. Go figure.

  8. Rick Santorum comes across as someone who took a class in de Tocqueville but never did any reading.

  9. Ayn Rand is rolling over in her grave.

  10. I read the Brooks article. Pretty amazing. They say many of the neo-cons started off as communists in their youth. I think they are reverting back to form. The sooner the GOP purges itself of these nanny-state Republicans the better. Watching NR twist itself in knots trying to defend these losers is hillarious.

  11. Oooops….I only read the headline and I was hoping this was a thread about Santorum being convicted. Sorry.

    I was sure it was something good, too. Like bestiality. Or auto-erotic asphixiation.

  12. I dislike Santorum for his social conservatism (doesn’t seem like he’s too great in economis either), and he’s the Senator I most want to see lose (with the possible exception of my Sen., Allen), but I hate people misinterpreting that man-on-dog quote:

    It’s NOT, you know, man on child, man on dog

  13. I’m not a big Specter fan, though I don’t think Casey would be much better, and I don’t want to see the Dems get in power. Just the sight of Kennedy and Kerry being in charge of the Senate make me sick.

    But then again, gridlock might be better.

  14. oops, I meant to say I’m not a big Santorum fan.

  15. This guy is exactly what the republicans stand for right now. Smug, arrogant, hypocritical, governmentally lax, just plain unacceptable. It’s hard to even see how economic Conservatives could have aligned with these bastards in the first place. I hope all of us here who visit Reason vote so we can get some decent people in and get these guys out of office.

  16. Wow. I really, really loathe Santorum.

  17. …”demonstrated that he’s willing to take political risks to promote a culture of life” by “visiting the brain-damaged Terri Schiavo in Florida last year.”

    How brave of him! I am inspired by his empty gesture.

    The deeper the GOP digs, the more hysterical their apologists become.

  18. I sincerely pray Rick Santorum gets mauled by a pack of rabid dogs on the way out of his concession speech.

    for me he’s been the poster boy of everything wrong with the GOP pols that think that pandering to social conservatives is their ace in the hole.

    or santorum in the hole, whatev.


  19. Does National Review have any convictions? I’ve said before (and a recent article in the print edition of Reason said it well recently in reviewing the NR at 50 book I think) and will say again that NR should have “this ad paid for by the Republican National Committee” stamped on the cover.

  20. if nothing else, santorum gets props for trying to revive the western sexual magick tradition with his theory of the non-local effects of sodomy. (i.e. gay sex in nyc affects straight marriages in idaho).

    i should try to seed this with some of the conspiracy minded folks i know to prove the worldwide satanic occult government is in full force and LAUGHING IN THEIR FACES.

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