Thursday, January 10, 2008

Santorum Attacks McCain's Conservative Credentials

Pro-life stalwart Rick Santorum takes on McCain's conservative bona fides in this interview:
[O]n the economic side, he was against the President’s tax cuts, he was bad on immigration. On the environment, he’s absolutely terrible. He buys into the complete left wing environmentalist movement in this country. He is for bigger government on a whole laundry list of issues. He was…I mean, on medical care, I mean, he was for re-importation of drugs. I mean, you can go on down the list. I mean, this is a guy who on a lot of the core economic issues, is not even close to being a moderate, in my opinion.

And then on the issue of, on social conservative issues, you point to me one time John McCain ever took the floor of the United States Senate to talk about a social conservative issue. It never happened. I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it’s marriage or abortion or the like.
(emphasis added)

Now, there's a legitimate line of attack on McCain's conservative credentials, unlike other less legitimate exercises we've seen.

Nevertheless, David Freddoso writes at The Corner that Santorum doesn't exactly have clean hands when it comes to taking a principled stand for conservativism:
All well and good. He's even defending principles I believe in very strongly.

But then something comes to mind. I seem to remember where Santorum was when a critical battle came up over the future of economic and social conservatism. It was back in April of 2004. I was in Allentown, Pa. to cover a Senate primary, at the victory party for the economic and social-conservative candidate.

Santorum was with the other guy, the winner — Sen. Arlen Specter. Steve Moore wrote in our own pages:
Rick Santorum is obligated to publicly back the incumbent Specter...But Santorum is actively working to undermine Pat Toomey's candidacy. He has discouraged donors from contributing to Toomey. He has cut TV ads for Specter that portray the senior liberal senator as a friend of the taxpayer. He has staff people in Pennsylvania actively campaigning against Toomey.

Worst of all, Rick Santorum is running around Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., perpetuating the myth that Pat Toomey is "too conservative to win in Pennsylvania." This is precisely what liberals said about Rick Santorum when he ran for the Senate back in 1994. Santorum proved that wrong. So did Ronald Reagan, when he won Pennsylvania with a fairly right-wing message in 1980 and 1984. Pennsylvania is the signature state of the Reagan Democrat voter. These are middle-class, often unionized, blue-collar voters who are pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-tax.
Specter barely survived, and everyone agreed that it was Santorum's doing.

I've never cared for John McCain, but how much worse is he than the average conservative politician who, when the chips are down, doesn't stand up for what he supposedly believes in?
(emphasis added)

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4 Comments:

At 1/11/2008 11:02 AM, Blogger Dale P. said...

I'm a big fan of Santorum, too, but Freddoso nails it.

Another thing to consider--how enthused were the rest of the GOP Senators about bringing social issues to the floor? How many cracks at a marriage amendment did they take? And we're still waiting for the first President to show up a the March for Life in person.

For all of Santorum's doomsaying, it sounds like McCain's going to be status quo GOP on social issues (except the real problem of ESCR).

 
At 1/12/2008 2:45 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/12/2008 2:55 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Crisis' profile of Santorum, provides a different perspective:

Santorum’s willingness to make choices that run counter to his own self-interest has even hurt him with his natural allies—the GOP’s conservative base. Back in 2004, his decision to endorse Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania), a pro-abortion stalwart poised to command the chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee, rather than Rep. Pat Toomey, his pro-life challenger, angered many conservatives. But those close to him say he believed he had no choice. At the time, he was certain that Bush would have a chance to nominate a justice for the nation’s highest court, but the party lacked the Senate majority it needed to confirm a nominee. The conservative base mistrusted Specter, but he could win in a general election. Toomey could not. When Specter’s victory at the polls was confirmed, recalls one friend, “Rick felt nothing. He turned off the television and went to bed. As a Senate leader, he needed Specter’s vote; he needed to get this done.”

The internecine party fight embittered pro-life Republicans, though most concede that Specter performed well during the recent Supreme Court confirmation battles. The deeper problem is that conservative activists believe that the GOP leadership exploits its political networks during election time but doesn’t work hard enough to secure vital anti-abortion and pro-marriage legislation. The irony, of course, is that no one accomplished more for the pro-life movement during his Senate career than Rick Santorum. He played a critical role in the passage of several key bills: the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Sponsorship of these bills reflected an incremental pro-life strategy to ban abortion by reclaiming the moral high ground—exposing the brutality of abortion procedures and affirming the fundamental dignity of unborn human life. On the Senate floor, Santorum was the undaunted general of the campaign.


What do you make of it? Did he "sell out" as some maintain and compromise his integrity, or was it a calculated, howbeit unpopular, move with a long-term pro-life interests in mind?

I've no particular stake in this and not as politically-savvy as most, just curious what you thought.

 
At 1/13/2008 9:03 PM, Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

For what it is worth Huckabee as Gov. used to walk side by side with Catholic bishops in pro-life marches I read.

 

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