Republican conservatives — eager to find anyone but Mitt Romney to support — need to take a closer look at new flavor of the month Rick Santorum before deciding he is the salvation of the party’s rigid right wing.
Santorum talks the right wing talk but he doesn’t walk it.
In Congress, Santorum came under heavy criticism for lavish pork barrel for his Pennsylvania. As a Congressman for four years and a Senator for another 12, Santorum diverted billions of taxpayer funds for lavish — often unnecessary projects — for his home state.
“Calling Rick Santorum a conservative is a joke,” GOP strategist Sam Hall told Capitol Hill Blue. “He is as big a spender and supporter of big government as Barack Obama. He comes from the George Bush vision of expanded government.”
He enjoyed the perks of office, obtaining a preferred rate half-million dollar mortgage from a private bank run by contributors and paid back other donors with high-dollar taxpayer-funded projects for their personal benefit.
In an age where the GOP right wing preaches smaller government and reduced spending, Santorum sponsored, supported and voted for expensive government-funded education and transportation program.
While others advocate returning power to the states, Santorum wants a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, an amendment banning abortion and government monitoring of “family value” issues.
Santorum lies when he claims that he voted to “cut spending and rein in entitlements.”
Santorum pushed extending the Medicare drug benefit for seniors, opposed cuts in food stamps, supported increased federal subsidies for Amtrak and pushed more money for energy assistance. In 2005, he pushed through an extension of subsidies for Pennsylvania dairy farmers — a 1 billion, two-year program that paid diary farmers when milk prices went down.
Says the right-wing Club for Growth:
On spending, Santorum has a mixed record and showed clear signs of varying his votes based on the election calendar. His record is plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006.
As part of the GOP leadership in 2005, Santorum worked for — and voted for — a budget-busting highway transportation bill packed with his earmarks for Pennsylvania and billions for other Republicans.
- Santorum Isn’t Electable (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- How the Right Is Spinning the Surge of Rick Santorum (alternet.org)
- Santorum’s new image worked in Iowa (mercurynews.com)
- Santorum faces organization, money hurdles (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Rick Santorum Is For Freedom, Except When He’s Not (reason.com)
- Santorum defends earmarks, past statements (seattletimes.nwsource.com)