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Rick Santorum, Big Spender?

Anyone inclined to be misled by the Romney advertisement posted by Troy Senik below should read the article Was Santorum a Senate Spendthrift? posted by Jeffrey Anderson and Andy Wickersham on the website of The Weekly Standard. It turns out that the National Taxpayers Union — no friend to big spenders — consistently gave Rick Santorum higher grades than almost any other Republican Senator.

Santorum has his weaknesses. But in this particular he is unassailable. What will the Romney people do next? Accuse him of having committed nepotism with his own sister?

  1. billy

    Accuse him of having committed nepotism with his own sister?

    Did he really? My God what a monster!

  2. Snow Bird

    Accuse him of having committed nepotism with his own sister?

    Why not?

    Since when does it have to be true?

  3. Diane Ellis
    C

    Thank you for posting this informative link. What I understood to be a profligate spending record  (as outlined here) was always Sen. Santorum’s biggest liability in my mind. In context it doesn’t seem as bad…

  4. Stuart Creque
    James Of England

    Stuart Creque

    James Of England

    Stuart Creque

    See what I mean?  “Unassailable” is a very flexible concept. · 1 minute ago

    Just to be clear, are you suggesting that I’m being dishonest, or are you suggesting that Santorum’s stereotype (the reason that Ben Domenech, no Romney fan and probably not repeating material given him by the Romney campaign, was opposed to Santorum back around Iowa) maybe isn’t 100% false? · 2 minutes ago

    I am suggesting that you are engaging in spin.

    I am suggesting that Romney is dishonest. · 0 minutes ago

    When Ron Paul came out with the same criticisms, would you say that, too was spin without factual content? Ben Domenech? · 2 minutes ago

    Ron Paul is an out-and-out liar.  I don’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth, including “and” and “the.”

    As for Ben Domenech, I haven’t noted that he has a pattern of spinning any and every argument regarding Romney and his opponents to favor Romney and discredit his opponents.  Has Ben addressed the NTU ratings set out in the Weekly Standard piece?

  5. Stuart Creque
    Leslie Watkins: No, I wasn’t joking. I really couldn’t tell. When the photo was posted before I wondered.

    Stuart Creque

    Leslie Watkins: What is Mrs. Santorum holding? Is it a cat? It’s a very odd pose for a cat. · 6 minutes ago

    You’re joking, right?

    She’s hugging a child.  You are seeing the back of the child’s head: it appears to be a girl with a ponytail (what you’re seeing as a cat’s tail). · 30 minutes ago

    0 minutes ago

    Well, on first glance, I wondered why the little boy to the right was wearing a yarmulke — then I realized it was someone’s hand in the frame.

  6. James Of England
    James Of England

    Chris Deleon: It’s not just NTU.  OnTheIssues.org has Santorum to the right, both fiscally and socially, of Mitt Romney. · 0 minutes ago

    On The Issues has some very odd scores. For instance, after you quoted it as giving him a 100% rating on CATO’s free trade index, I went and looked it up on CATO and found that, shockingly, the guy who opposed NAFTA and liked subsidies was on the subsidy-friendly end of the Republican party (although better than most Democrats). · 7 minutes ago

    Specifically on the issue being discussed, On The Issues has a bunch of statements from the campaign, along with 4 party line votes. I don’t believe this puts him to the right of a man who actually cut spending, making it the central focus of every campaign he’s ever run.

  7. Fricosis Guy

    I wonder how solid those NTU ratings are.  I followed James of England’s link and pulled the bill tallies for Santorum’s last year as well as for his PA colleague Arlen Specter

    Does anyone believe that Specter was a bigger budget hawk than Santorum?  Not only that, the data looks [CoC violation].

     

  8. Chris Deleon
    James Of England

    On The Issues has some very odd scores. For instance, after you quoted it as giving him a 100% rating on CATO’s free trade index, I went and looked it up on CATO

    I admit, after I looked that up, that the score is a bit old.  It’s from 2002, and CATO has since show displeasure with Santorum, presumably on earmarking and social issues.  Still, 2002 was only 4 years before Santorum left office in 2006.  He voted with the party probably most of the time during those four years, which were pretty abysmal across the board for the Republicans.  I doubt you’d find Romney being much better if he had been in Santorum’s place.

    And, the NTU scores and OnTheIssues ratings are still useful data points.  Unlike these ads, they are based on a much larger and more complete picture of the candidates and their records.  Clearly Santorum, and any other politician, is not going to get an ideal rating according to everyone, but these ratings definitely contradict the idea that he’s a big government spendthrift.  The relative scores are revealing, too.  Romney needs to remember: Pot, kettle, black.

  9. James Of England
    Stuart Creque

    James Of England

    Stuart Creque

    I am suggesting that you are engaging in spin.

    I am suggesting that Romney is dishonest. ·

    When Ron Paul came out with the same criticisms, would you say that, too was spin without factual content? Ben Domenech? ·

    Ron Paul is an out-and-out liar.  I don’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth, including “and” and “the.”

    As for Ben Domenech, I haven’t noted that he has a pattern of spinning any and every argument regarding Romney and his opponents to favor Romney and discredit his opponents.  Has Ben addressed the NTU ratings set out in the Weekly Standard piece? · 

    Ben loathes Romney, and has been a key and unrelenting critic of Romney’s since 2006 at the latest (I don’t know of any prior relationship). The only criticisms of a Romney opponent I’ve seen him launch that was not also a criticism of Romney were his attacks on Santorum in early January. I suspect, given Ben’s passions on Romney, that he won’t write much more on this subject now that Santorum is the clear ABR. He did not discuss the NTU ratings.

  10. James Of England
    Chris Deleon

    James Of England

    I admit, after I looked that up, that the score is a bit old.  It’s from 2002, and CATO has since show displeasure with Santorum, presumably on earmarking and social issues.  Still, 2002 was only 4 years before Santorum left office in 2006.  He voted with the party probably most of the time during those four years, which were pretty abysmal across the board for the Republicans.  I doubt you’d find Romney being much better if he had been in Santorum’s place.

    On Free Trade, specifically? CATO’s ratings on that are entirely objective. They tally up votes for and against every trade bill (including sanctions on Cuba, irksomely).  Romney’s supported every FTA, ever, and calls for a bunch more to be negotiated in his plan. When he ran against McCain, it was the one subject that I felt bad about; McCain was the third best in the Senate on the subject I have two law degrees focusing on; Romney would probably not have been as good on that. 

    Continued.

  11. James Of England

    The 107th Congress, Santorum’s “good two years” contained only one hard vote for him, a symbolic attack on farm subsidies. Other than that, it was party line + some democrats votes on the farm bill, Trade Promotion Authority for Bush, a reduction in subsidies for farmers who don’t live in Pennsylvania, and normal trading relations with Vietnam.

    Later, Santorum didn’t do too badly. Bush was a great President on trade, and willing to go to great lengths to bribe and arm twist senators into supporting his many FTAs and other trade freeing measures. Santorum still does poorly on subsidies, because that’s kind of who he is; government should be helpful, but he’s not the worst even there. The reason that people view him as hostile to trade (Ben, in particular, said he’d write a post about this and didn’t) is because he was one of the few explicitly protectionist Republican votes on NAFTA and continued to be unhelpful for most of the 90s.

    As President, I expect that Santorum would be poor on subsidies, mostly good on tariff reduction. I don’t think he’d be as good as Romney, who focuses on it.

  12. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    genferei

    Matthew Bartle: On a tangential note, I can never remember what “spendthrift” means. Is the person being described as a spender, or thrifty?

    Why does the first half of the word trump the second? We don’t call people tallshort. · 0 minutes ago

    The first part is the verb, the second the object of the verb, what is being spent – one’s thrift or savings. Like ‘scattergood’ or ‘spend-all’. · 1 hour ago

    Thank you. I was about to write, “Damned if I know.” And, yes, I should have known.

  13. Chris Deleon
    James Of England: The reason that people view [Santorum] as hostile to trade… is because he was one of the few explicitly protectionist Republican votes on NAFTA and continued to be unhelpful for most of the 90s…

    I guess Santorum’s intervening votes since then don’t mean anything, do they?

    By the way, I’m actually for protectionist tariffs in certain circumstances.  How about you?

  14. Leigh

    Philip Klein’s take on Santorum seems fair to me (both back in January and more recently).  (No pro-Mitt agenda here — Klein is one of the harshest critics of Romneycare around, and has written positive things about Santorum too)

    Santorum has been presenting himself as the conservative alternative to Romney, and he has enough weaknesses that he should expect Romney’s team to challenge that assertion.  He can defend himself, but conservatives should want him to have to do so.

  15. Chris Deleon
    Leigh: Santorum has been presenting himself as the conservative alternative to Romney, and he has enough weaknesses that he should expect Romney’s team to challenge that assertion.  He can defend himself, but conservatives shouldwant him to have to do so.

    Certainly.  I don’t think any of us have any illusions that he’s a knight on a white horse.

    However, it’s just laughable the grounds on which his opponents have chosen to attack him, especially this latest ad from the Romney camp.  Where’s the substance?  Where’s the beef?

  16. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    For the record, I have never wanted to commit nepotism with my sister, I would like to do so with my wife, but I have never been able to offer her a job.

  17. Douglas
    Stuart Creque

    Leslie Watkins: What is Mrs. Santorum holding? Is it a cat? It’s a very odd pose for a cat. · 6 minutes ago

    You’re joking, right?

    She’s hugging a child.  You are seeing the back of the child’s head: it appears to be a girl with a ponytail (what you’re seeing as a cat’s tail). · 1 hour ago

    Clearly it’s an owl, ready to spring from her arm to tear out Mitt Romney’s eyes.

  18. Stuart Creque
    Paul A. Rahe: For the record, I have never wanted to commit nepotism with my sister, I would like to do so with my wife, but I have never been able to offer her a job. · 3 minutes ago

    Edited 2 minutes ago

    To my great shame, all of my daughters have dabbled in thespianism.

  19. Leporello
    Skyler: The good news is that Romney is going to fight hard to beat Obama, and will use every means he can to stop Obama from continuing as president.

    The bad news is that Romney will be president. · 1 hour ago

    Romney is incapable of fighting hard to beat Obama because he does not understand what the election is about.  He thinks it is about competence and experience.  Those are both distantly secondary considerations.  The election is about our freedom, and about whether, to coin a phrase, government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall perish from the earth.   Santorum understands this and says it.  Romney does not understand it, has not said it, and will not say it.  

  20. liberal jim

    Santorum is more conservative than Romney and Romney will look foolish trying to say the opposite.  Santorum  is more qualified in the foreign policy area  but does not have the executive experience of Romney.  When challenged on this  Santorum might be smart to offer to make Romney his chief of staff.   That clearly is a position Romney is qualified for.