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Rick Santorum: “frighteningly anti-libertarian”

Taking note of David Boaz’s comment that Rick Santorum is “frighteningly anti-libertarian“, Jennifer Rubin interviewed the Cato Institute Executive Vice President to get the lowdown on the former Senator:

Being philosophically minded, what scares me most about Rick Santorum is not his specific policy mistakes but his fundamental objection to the American idea of freedom. He criticizes the pursuit of happiness! He says, “This is the mantra of the left: I have a right to do what I want to do” and “We have a whole culture that is focused on immediate gratification and the pursuit of happiness . . . and it is harming America.” And then he says that what the Founders meant by happiness was “to do the morally right thing.” He really doesn’t like the idea of America as a free society, where adults make their own decisions and sometimes make choices that Santorum disapproves. In practice, I worry that he would continue and intensify Bush’s big-government conservatism, a federal government committed to reshaping individuals according to a religious-conservative blueprint.

Read the whole thing.  David adds hat Republican electoral victories occur in those years when “Democrats have overreached on their big-government agenda and Republicans campaign on lower taxes and limited government.

Indeed, even Santorm’s economic policies more closely resemble Obama’s crony capitalism than they do Ronald Reagan’s free market ideals.  As Kevin Hassett and Glenn Hubbard put it in this morning’s Wall Street Journal:

And by proposing special tax breaks for manufacturing, Mr. Santorum follows Mr. Obama’s incorrect lead and introduces a significant economic distortion. In a world with highly mobile capital, tax policy needs to be neutral toward different forms of business activity and not succumb to the temptation to pick winners and losers. We are aware of no serious economic argument to support such a policy direction.

Rick Santorum, in short, is very much a George W. Bush Republican with a moralizing streak out of step with the conservatism of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

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19 Comments

  1. I dislike anyone enforcing morality, even if I agree with it. I can’t say that I am convinced that Santorum would enforce his morality, though. It is difficult to judge him because his views are so regularly distorted. For the record, I agree that the “culture that is focused on immediate gratification” is harmful. However, I would try to fix it with free markets and capitalism (then again, that is how I would fix almost everything).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — March 14, 2012 @ 7:31 pm - March 14, 2012

  2. “He really doesn’t like the idea of America as a free society, where adults make their own decisions”

    Is a free society in which adults demand government force tax-payers to pay for the adult’s doctor’s bills, their contraception, their abortions, their mortgages, their cell phones, their art and entertainment, food, trips to Vegas and Hawaii, for their children’s crappy public education, their sex-change operations, their viagra and etc etc etc?

    Do whatever you want, party-hardy all night long but stop making me pay the clean-up clost of your constant hang-over puking.

    Seriously, if you keep your thieving hands out of my wallet then I won’t whine about the State of Immorality.

    I don’t support Santorum but I am sick and tired of supporting ADULTS who never grew up to take responsibility for their own life messes!!!!!!

    Are we clear?

    Comment by Susan — March 14, 2012 @ 8:00 pm - March 14, 2012

  3. Is that what Santorum is really saying? Or is he objecting to the contemporary definition of freedom as a license to gratify oneself without any limits or consequences? If Santorum is saying that liberty goes hand-in-hand with responsibility, is that so objectionable a message?

    Comment by V the K — March 14, 2012 @ 8:02 pm - March 14, 2012

  4. Dan, I didn’t think I would ever say this. You seem more concerned about Santorum than I am.

    Comment by Pat — March 14, 2012 @ 8:54 pm - March 14, 2012

  5. Pat, do hope you didn’t think I’d support the Senator? Have been criticizing him at least since 2006: Rick Santorum and the Anti-Anti-Gay Attitudes of Most Americans

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 14, 2012 @ 8:57 pm - March 14, 2012

  6. What I find “frightening” is an establishment branch of the republican party that thinks it has the power it did when it went against, Goldwater and Reagan. The way this primary is being played right now means Romney gets beat at the convention or he wins but doesn’t have enough support to govern. It’s not your mothers eatablishment republican party any longer.

    Comment by Richard Bell — March 14, 2012 @ 9:14 pm - March 14, 2012

  7. When Mitt Romney loses in the general, is there any chance all the Establishment Republicans who moan constantly about Christine O’Donnell will STFU?

    Comment by V the K — March 14, 2012 @ 10:48 pm - March 14, 2012

  8. Santorum is a terrible conservative candidate. I could maybe overlook someone’s social conservatism if they had a strong fiscal conservative record, but Santorum doesn’t. He’s like a candidate that has all the worst parts of the right and a lot of the worst parts of the left. But, he’s not apologetic about being a christian, so the base gets cream their pants over that and run out to vote for him. Horrible candidates this election.

    Comment by Cy — March 14, 2012 @ 11:05 pm - March 14, 2012

  9. The moderate-left and the Fringe gang up on the conservative center: Romney and Paul working on a deal.

    Comment by V the K — March 14, 2012 @ 11:09 pm - March 14, 2012

  10. he’s not apologetic about being a christian

    As though he should be?

    Comment by V the K — March 14, 2012 @ 11:16 pm - March 14, 2012

  11. Yes, Mitt Romney is a moderate. And Gingrich sounds conservative, but he isn’t. And he has other issues. Does anyone have any evidence that Rick Santorum is conservative? If so, I would love to see it. I just don’t understand why Santorum is always called the “conservative” or “tea party” candidate. None of them are either of those things.

    I like Romney the most (as a candidate), but that is not saying much considering how terrible they all are. The liberal/establishment Republicans won the moment Herman Cain dropped out.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — March 14, 2012 @ 11:23 pm - March 14, 2012

  12. 1. Santorum has never pushed a state-run health care system.
    2. Santorum has never sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi and lectured about Global Warming.
    3. Santorum has never declared that power plants should be shut down in the name of Global Warming, nor imposed a cap and trade scheme.
    4. Santorum has never suggested that his wife owning two Cadillacs helps him relate to the working class.
    5. Santorum has never held up a state-run health care system as an example the nation should follow.
    6. Santorum did not cosponsor 418 House Bills with Nancy Pelosi
    7. Santorum did not call FDR “The Greatest President of the 20th Century”
    8. Santorum never got $1.6 Million from Freddie Mac
    9. Santorum never ran for Senate on a platform that tried to flank Ted Kennedy from the left.
    10. Santorum has not endorsed the idea of automatic minimum wage increases.

    Also, Neither Newt Gingrich nor Mitt Romney has so enraged the left that they engaged in a smear campaign to make their names into crude sexual metaphors.

    Is Santorum an ideal conservative? No, but for Set’s sake, the alternatives aren’t exactly compelling. The truth is, the differences between the three are pretty marginal; which makes Santorum Derangement Syndrome all the more ridiculouc.

    Comment by V the K — March 14, 2012 @ 11:54 pm - March 14, 2012

  13. Thank you, V the K. I’m not sure I see any Santorum Derangement Syndrome in this post (but I do think it exists in the comments), but I would argue that “Romney Derangement Syndrome” is almost as ridiculous, given that “the differences between the three are pretty marginal.”

    I am thinking that some of the animosity directed towards Santorum is because he takes his principals so seriously, he makes people feel inferior because they don’t. That is just a hypothesis. But I am sure that he turns people off with what seems almost like preaching (but maybe that is just what gets the most attention and is therefore overly emphasized by the media, which is very likely).

    What I really don’t like about him is what seems like a fundamental difference in philosophy. I get the idea that he would turn to the state to solve too many problems that the state shouldn’t be involved in. I am certainly not saying Romney wouldn’t do that as well, but I can’t accept that Santorum is significantly more conservative than Romney. This is the sort of thing that troubles me:

    SANTORUM: They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world, and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone, that there is no such society that I’m aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

    What specifically troubles me is his anti-individualism. I would argue that it is not individualism that has caused the culture to devolve, but rather government-mandated social liberalism.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why I even bother considering how indifferent I am.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — March 15, 2012 @ 1:32 am - March 15, 2012

  14. “As though he should be?”

    Never said that. I just wish conservatives would stop acting like he’s some big conservative savior because of it. I have no problem with christians, what I do have a problem with is someone who wants to be president saying what amounts to “I think the government should be able to force people to live by my religious morality”. And if that’s not what he’s saying when he says things like Rattlesnake quoted, then please show me some links that prove it because I’d love to be able to be at least semi-enthusiastic about voting for someone. But as it stands now, I can’t vote for someone who believes in interfering in my life that way. Even if the alternatives aren’t much better.

    Comment by Cy — March 15, 2012 @ 2:09 am - March 15, 2012

  15. One more thing… that list doesn’t really give examples of how Santorum is conservative, just how Romney and Gingrich aren’t.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — March 15, 2012 @ 2:12 am - March 15, 2012

  16. V in #9, read the HotAir article earlier, but just followed your link and clicked on through to the original Time article which is very poorly sourced.

    It relies on an analysis by the left-wing outfit ThinkProgress and quotes an unnamed Romney ally. None of the named sources reference any deal in the works. The named sources say that Paul won’t negotiate.

    There’s a lot of speculation in that piece based upon one established fact–Paul and Romney have become friends on the campaign trail. And apparently their wives are close.

    Still, the idea of Senator Rand Paul having influence in a Romney Administration makes the prospect of a Romney victory all the more appealing.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — March 15, 2012 @ 2:54 am - March 15, 2012

  17. I’m going to sit this one out. I see both V and Dan making valid points, and my opinion will make no difference to the outcome.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — March 15, 2012 @ 3:31 am - March 15, 2012

  18. See you republican establishment and democrat light, Romney, supporters at the convention.

    Comment by Richard Bell — March 15, 2012 @ 9:20 am - March 15, 2012

  19. Since I’m never going to agree 100 percent with any candidate, I like to use what I call my “80-20 rule.”

    If I have to choose between someone with whom I agree 80 percent of the time and disagree with 20 percent of the time, I’ll do that rather than end up with someone with whom I disagree 80 percent of the time and agree with 20 percent of the time.

    I realize it’s dangerous introducing logic into politics, but I just can’t help it…..

    Comment by Dottie Laird — March 15, 2012 @ 6:48 pm - March 15, 2012

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