Santorum: The Galvanizing Candidate

Wednesday, January 4, AD 2012

George Will has a first-rate column about Rick Santorum:

He can, of course, be tenaciously serious. On Sept. 26, 1996, the Senate was debating whether to ban partial-birth abortion, the procedure whereby the baby to be killed is almost delivered, feet first, until only a few inches of its skull remain in the birth canal, and then the skull is punctured, emptied and collapsed. Santorum asked two pro-choice senators opposed to the ban, Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), this: Suppose the baby slips out of the birth canal before it can be killed. Should killing it even then be a permissible choice? Neither senator would say no.

On Oct. 20, 1999, during another such debate, Santorum had a colloquy with pro-choice Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

Santorum: “You agree that, once the child is born, separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed. Do you agree with that?”

Boxer: “I think that when you bring your baby home .?.?. .”

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27 Responses to Santorum: The Galvanizing Candidate

  • Great post here Donald. I’ve wanted to say this in about every blog I’ve seen this video, but did anybody else notice that this man just did a 20 minute speech without notes or teleprompters! Seems like the Democrats aren’t the only one with a public speaker! This man’s speech gives me chills. When he speaks about God, you can just tell it is real. When he speaks about caring for the dignity of every worker, he’s sincere. There is something very genuine about this man that will be hard to miss if people give him the time of day. Let’s just keep on the positive Rick and show America who you really are!

  • Look, I admire Santorum’s pro-life work tremendously. I think he is, essentially, a decent man. But I fear that he is basically a Catholic Huckabee – a statist social conservative.

    That said, I will vote him if he is the GOP nominee. The only GOP contender I really don’t think I could bring myself to vote for is Paul. So I’m not going to get into a pitched battle fighting about the pros and cons of Santorum, Romney, etc. when I’m really not nuts about any of them. (I initially favored Perry, but Perry has pretty much destroyed his own candidacy.) The important thing is to beat Obama.

    It would be nice to vote for someone with enthusiasm, rather than voting against someone. But the conservative “A Team” (Jindal, Rubio, Walker, Ryan) isn’t running. *Sigh*

  • Oh, and I’m also aware that my criticism of Santorum for being a statist also applies to Romney. Darn it, every single candidate has big minuses. We have a serious crisis in leadership at a time when we need great leaders more than ever. I disagree with the Instapundit on certain issues, but I certainly agree with him when he says that today’s political class has to be the worst in the nation’s history.

    Still, Obama is the worst of the worst.

  • His backdoor protectionism in that video made me cringe. It’s the type of stuff I debate liberals who think the US needs China-style industrial policy on.

  • I don’t understand why so called conservatives are ideological free traders. But, regardless, how is Santorum saying we should lower taxes on manufacturers protectionist, while I doubt anyone would say lowering regulations on manufacturers is protectionist. The fact is that both are or neither are.

    We ought to do what’s in the public interest, rather than what might fit some economists’ neat vision of global efficiency. We are less competitive than our competitors when it comes to manufacturing. Should we not seek to remedy that? Or should we continue to let middle incomes stagnate? I think this policy fits excellently into Santorum’s broader pro-family vision.

  • Thus we have had candidates like Bob Dole in 1996 and John McCain in 2008 who ran lifeless campaigns and seemed to be concentrating on being good losers instead of fighting to win. I think Mitt Romney is such a candidate.

    Whatever the merits or demerits of any of these men are if one aspires to a political economy congenial to a Catholic society, the first two have faced political circumstances which reduce certain outcomes to decidedly improbable events. (It is in the interest of professional campaign hacks to pretend otherwise, but we do not have to pay attention to their self-promotion).

    Previous presidential candidates who faced circumstances the most similar to John McCain’s were Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey (the notable differences being that the economy had been much more bouyant, the running sore of a war was a great deal bloodier, and there was no banking crisis).

    As for Dole’s situation, consider: the economy is vigorous, a portion of your constituency has been sheared off by a 3d party candidate, and most of the public is curiously unconcerned (in and out of season) that the incumbent and his minions are forever concealing the muck by hiding it behind a bigger pile of muck.

    Now consider Romney. What is he doing in electoral politics and why has he abased himself? You think it might be because he is a competitive (or ambitious) man?

  • I don’t understand why so called conservatives are ideological free traders.

    Students of economics of a variety of descriptions tend to oppose impediments to foreign trade for the following reasons:

    1. Tariffs induce efficiency losses;
    2. You can through international treaty effect mutual reductions in tariffs.
    3. Trade restrictions generate politically determined rents which induce a mobilization of constituency groups to defend them.
    4. Countries with a vigorous civil service and extensive record-keeping do not need them to obtain revenue.

  • “I don’t understand why so called conservatives are ideological free traders.”

    Everyone should be a free trader regardless of ideology. Thinking liberals (Bill Clinton, President Obama, and even Paul Krugman) are also free traders.

    “But, regardless, how is Santorum saying we should lower taxes on manufacturers protectionist, while I doubt anyone would say lowering regulations on manufacturers is protectionist. The fact is that both are or neither are.”

    There’s a big difference. Reducing many regulations saves money for all parties. Subsidies (which is what special tax breaks are) cost money. We just got rid of the ethanol subsidy but now Santorum wants to add a manufacturing subsidy.

    Maybe you believe the Keynesian notion that the subsidies will create so many jobs that it’ll be worth the price. Maybe you believe that Santorum can multiply fish just as Democrats believe Obama can. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. That’s the risk of central planning. Better to apply the same taxes across the board and let the free market allocate. Santorum says he’s picking manufacturing because other industries can’t move overseas. First, that’s not even true. But more importantly, why does that even matter? If under a fair tax system, China still has a comparative advantage in manufacturing, let it move. This is Wealth of Nations 101.

  • They tell us the army is always fighting the last war. I wonder if that can be applied to the political system for 2012 and beyond. The Congress has stymied any progress on the debt reduction and has made no serious effort to create the jobs, re-boot the tax and economic system to help the US out of the hole that was dug, not really an issue by whom or how back then but what about now. The control of Congress by statesmen, not a continuation of the current session’s “nah nah nah nah” spooked by the Soros and Co Tea Bagger too-powerful lobbying interest. As I look back at the nation I just left after 47.5 years, I do not see the POTUS as being the real need for reform, although 44 is a bust given all that faced him and how he set priorities and rammed the dubious health bill through with no understanding of its almost 3000 page detail. I wish there were the same opportunity Europe had by getting technocrats to fix the Greek and Italian economic crises, booting their two PMs so that some of the nasty is off the table. As to longing for “good old days” humans have a natural tendency to see it as bright and rosy while iignoring the dark side, nor not even knowing how weak, flawed human nature was also at work there also!

  • RR, I’ll give you credit for being honest. You don’t mind those jobs going to China.

    I simply think it’s common sense to encourage manufacturing at a time when our trade deficit is so deep and the middle class is shrinking. It’s a sound conservative policy goal.

    And a tax break for manuf. is hardly central planning in the sense we think of central planning. It’s no more central planning than this country has ever engaged in.

  • “If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage. The general industry of the country, being always in proportion to the capital which employs it, will not therby be diminished… but only left to find out the way in which it can be employed with the greatest advantage.”

    – Wealth of Nations

    Another way of looking at tax breaks for manufacturing is as tax disadvantages for non-manufacturing. There will be more investment in manufacturing and less in non-manufacturing. It’s a centrally planned allocation of resources into a less efficient configuration.

  • Pingback: Rick Santorum Thursday Roundup |
  • In March of last year the Boston Globe quoted Rick Santorum telling a group of right-wing Catholics that he was “frankly appalled” that America’s first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, once said “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.” In characterization, Santorum went further by saying “That was a radical statement,” and did “great damage.” And Santorum concluded, “We’re seeing how Catholic politicians, following the first Catholic president, have followed his lead, and have divorced faith not just from the public square, but from their own decision-making process.”

    Santorum may insist that he is a better Catholic then I am and a better man to be president than John F. Kennedy, but just as freely I view him as a religious bigot that neither speaks for me in matters or conscience nor political affairs. And further, were he to gain the power of the presidency by successfully painting the people’s consideration with his brand of religious fanaticism, it would do “great damage” to our land.

    And frankly, in words of comparative disparagement that Lloyd Bentsen directed at Dan Quayle in their 1988 vice-presidential debate, “Rick Santorum, you’re no John F. Kennedy.”

  • Considering that JFK was a serial adulterer Sam, I’d say that JFK didn’t even impose his religious beliefs on himself. The idea that a leader can, or should, not allow his religious beliefs to help guide him in regard to policy decisions is simple rubbish. Look at Lincoln’s magisterial Second Inaugural Address. Are you seriously going to argue that Lincoln was not influenced by his religious beliefs when he wrote that, or that it was a bad thing that he was? The beliefs of a president can be good or bad, but the idea that he can wall off his religious beliefs and that they will have no impact on what he does as President is simply both impossible and rubbish. As for your calling Santorum a bigot, that is merely your way of saying that you have beliefs that do not coincide with his. Welcome to the wonderful world of political disagreement!

  • I believe those who attack true conservatives like Rick Santorum for daring to say the US needs to have a manufacturing base. Claiming it’s ‘protectionist’ or ‘statist’? Yet these same types are silent when it comes to China, India, Latin America, Canada and all other countries subsidize their manufacturers, hit US goods with high tariffs, and act in ways that are truly protectionist. I have to say, I believe those who do so, are NOT conservatives, nor are they Catholic or conservative in any way. They sound like the Marxists who demand the US economy be ransacked, bled dry, it’s citizen’s be rendered into third world poverty, and looted of their rights and freedoms. Rick Santorum’s plan is to eliminate the US manufacturing corporate tax, cut other corporate taxes by 50%, reduce other tax rates, including personal income tax to the pro-growth Reagan era taxes of 10% & 28%, eliminate the marriage penalty taxes, provide research and development incentives, and so on. Santorum’s Made in America jobs plan is very in depth and on his campaign web site.

    As Catholics, we know Christ’s teachings, and it is in NO way Christian to rationalize the economic genocide being imposed upon US citizens, and it is in no way Christian or conservative to insist that the US be deprived of it’s own economic independence, and it’s citizens ability to live instead of starving and becoming homeless.

  • I never contributed a dime to a political campaign in my life. I just send money to Rick Santorum’s campaign. Just a good feeling.

  • Wayne – the Democrats have a public speaker? Who’s that? I’m mean someone who can speak without the aid of a teleprompter telling him what to say.

  • Mary, LOL free traders are Marxists? LOL.
    Capitalism is “economic genocide?” LOL.

    You guys need your own party.

  • Talking to liberals I found that without exception they all believe Santorum wants to ban sodomy, contraception, and masturbation despite the fact that he’s said just the opposite. They confuse his statements against Lawrence v. Texas and Griswold v. Connecticut to mean that he’s for bans. It’s a failure of education. People seem to think the Supreme Court is another legislature. I do think Santorum can make his position clearer though. Sometimes he gets so confrontational that he’s more concerned with making a philosophical point than campaigning.

  • Talking to liberals I found that without exception they all believe Santorum wants to ban sodomy, contraception, and masturbation despite the fact that he’s said just the opposite. They confuse his statements against Lawrence v. Texas and Griswold v. Connecticut to mean that he’s for bans. It’s a failure of education.

    It is not a failure of education. Something John Leo said about reporters some time ago applies here: they think with templates. No amount of education is going to penetrate in most cases.

  • Do the liberals believe President Santorum will deploy black helicopters to enforce his tyrannical bans on nose-picking, farting, and belching?

    Here is a paraphrase of a Twain quote on congressmen. Suppose you were an idiot. And, suppose you were a liberal. But, I repeat myself.

    Twain also knew reporters: “If you don’t read the papers, you are uniformed. If you read the papers, you are misinformed.” Truth.

  • Outside of pro-life issues, what has Rick Santorum done? What is his executive experience? What has he lead?
    He was elected to Congress at 32 and has spent all that time in Washington. When he was defeated he remained Washington at a policy think.
    Santorum has clearly demonstrated he is Pro-Life. That is a good first step. But to be the natnion’s chief executive, he needs some executive experience. If he were elected Governor, then he would obtain that experience.
    Also[, we followed the logic that the longest running candidate should be President, then it would belong to Ron Paul.

  • If you feel that way, I’m sure you didn’t vote for the Obama,did you?!

  • Show’s over, folks. Any candidate who favors cutting Social Security benefits is simply unelectable. And as a Pennsylvanian I can tell you, this is his style – in a few days one of his aides will get to him and explain how dumb that position is, and he’ll reverse himself.

  • “Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, says changes should include a higher eligibility age to qualify for Social Security benefits, and tighter restrictions on benefits for upper-income people. Americans now qualify for reduced Social Security benefits at age 62 and full benefits at 66, soon to rise to 67.

    Social Security pays proportionately higher benefits to low-income people. But Santorum says wealthy retirees’ proportionate benefits should be trimmed further. He did not offer details.

    This week, he told New Hampshire audiences that Americans over 65 were society’s poorest age group in 1937, when Social Security was created. Now that group is the wealthiest, he said.

    He also noted that Americans now live much longer, putting far bigger demands on the government retirement program.

    Santorum offers only modest details on how he would implement his proposed changes. He has not said how much money he hopes to save.

    In a brief interview Friday as he plowed his way through a crowd after the Keene event, he was asked if the nation should make the changes now.

    “I think we should, yeah,” Santorum said. “Obviously we’re going to have to go through a debate next year and figure out ways in which to make the revenues meet the expenditures.”

    He tells voters he would rule out higher taxes or more deficit spending to help the Social Security program. That leaves benefit cuts as the only way to match revenues and costs, he notes.

    Santorum’s call for immediate benefit cuts puts him at odds with his Republican rivals.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who came under fire for calling Social Security a “Ponzi Scheme,” tried to recover in part by emphasizing that any changes in benefits would not affect current or soon-to-be retirees.

    Rep. Ron Paul of Texas says younger workers should be able to opt out of Social Security taxes and retirement benefits. “My plan explicitly protects the elderly and the sick in the transition,” he says.

    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has said in a statement, “We must keep the promises made to our current retirees: their Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be affected.”

    Like Santorum, Romney has called for increasing the eligibility age for Social Security and slowing benefits to high-income recipients. His aides have said the pace of change has yet to be decided, but soon-to-be beneficiaries would not be affected.

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calls for giving younger workers the option of diverting Social Security taxes to private retirement accounts. Some independent groups say his proposal, which is based on a Chilean program and does not anticipate automatic benefit cuts, is unduly optimistic.

    President Barack Obama last year discussed possible reductions in Social Security benefits as part of a large debt-reduction deal with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The talks collapsed, however.

    The Romney and Gingrich campaigns had no immediate comment Friday on Santorum’s proposals.

    A House Republican budget-cutting plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would exempt everyone now over 55 from proposed reductions in Social Security benefits.

    Ryan and others have said a phased-in change would give Americans time to plan their retirements without surprises. But Santorum says those officials are seeking political cover by delaying their proposed changes.

    “That’s why you see Paul Ryan saying, ‘Oh, I’m going to fix Social Security, I’m going to fix Medicare in 10 years,'” Santorum told a crowd Thursday in Northfield, N.H.

    He said Ryan assumes, “well, if you’re under 55, you won’t be paying much attention, right? Well, the problem is, this is not a problem that we can wait 10 years to solve.”

    Santorum rises in my esteem as to bluntly honesty. Only the willfully blind or the terminally obtuse can look at the numbers and not realize that social security will have to be adjusted, and sooner rather than later.

  • Show’s over, folks. Any candidate who favors cutting Social Security benefits is simply unelectable.

    Well, Mary Elizabeth, you unelectors are in for a rude surprise when the sovereign default hits.

  • Romney now trading at his highest point ever on Intrade, including in South Carolina where he’s given an 80% chance of winning.