Rick Santorum is for real

K.E. Campbell
Voters seeking a constitutional conservative for president who are overlooking or underestimating Rick Santorum might be doing so at their and the country's peril.  As Quin Hillyer, a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom and an editor of The American Spectator, wrote in July 2010:

"...conservatives do themselves and their cause a huge disservice if they don't take a Rick Santorum candidacy seriously. It would be crazy not to acknowledge that the odds seem long. But he has beaten the odds, repeatedly, before, and he knows how to leverage public opinion for conservative ends."

At the time of that article, Rick Santorum barely registered in campaign polls and trailed most other GOP nomination contenders.  A year and half later, Santorum leapfrogged the field and essentially tied Mitt Romney for first place in the Iowa caucus.  Hillyer wasn't alone in his prognostication, of course, but he seems especially well-versed in the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

On Friday, in an American Spectator post, Hillyer threw a few much deserved jabs at political pundits who had written off Santorum and offered some words of caution to those who think Santorum will fizzle:

"...pundits still write off Santorum in the long run. Are they still not paying attention? Have they not seen that he has diligently built solid organizational bones in New Hampshire and South Carolina even as he worked Iowa like an indefatigable trooper? Have they not seen how fast money flows to a candidate who seems on the rise? Did they not see how Obama and Carter and Dole and Kerry and G.W. Bush all used Iowa success as a springboard to their eventual nominations? Did they not see how Huckabee came within a Fred Thompson last-stand of doing the same thing in 2008? Why should all of these candidates have had staying power after Iowa success, but Rick Santorum not have it? Does he not have a long record of showing major political skills? Or was it just happenstance that he won four elections in a blue-tinged purple district and a blue-tinged purple state and then became the third-ranking Republican in the Senate?"

Hillyer authored a piece in the latest National Review that is recommended reading, especially for those unfamiliar with Rick Santorum.  Hillyer describes a bona fide, principled conservative who is a man of his word, someone who doesn't shrink from a fight.  Although Santorum's record as a U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, and thereafter stands up well against the rest of the GOP field, according to Hillyer,

"Perhaps...the wisest way for conservatives to assess Santorum is not with exhaustive issue-purity tests, but rather by considering the man's overarching values. For anybody who has watched Santorum's career since his first upset victory in 1990, the idea of him as anything other than a solid conservative on economics, defense, or social issues is patently absurd."

My personal evaluation of Rick Santorum is ongoing, but I like what I hear and see, especially relative to the other GOP candidates still standing.  In his own words, Santorum's priorities are certainly congruent with constitutional conservatism: repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, spending cuts and entitlements reform, educational freedom, a smarter and simpler tax code, a balanced budget amendment, 2nd Amendment rights, pro-family and pro-business policies, and a belief in American exceptionalism, among others.

Hat tip:  Mark Levin


Voters seeking a constitutional conservative for president who are overlooking or underestimating Rick Santorum might be doing so at their and the country's peril.  As Quin Hillyer, a senior fellow at the Center for Individual Freedom and an editor of The American Spectator, wrote in July 2010:

"...conservatives do themselves and their cause a huge disservice if they don't take a Rick Santorum candidacy seriously. It would be crazy not to acknowledge that the odds seem long. But he has beaten the odds, repeatedly, before, and he knows how to leverage public opinion for conservative ends."

At the time of that article, Rick Santorum barely registered in campaign polls and trailed most other GOP nomination contenders.  A year and half later, Santorum leapfrogged the field and essentially tied Mitt Romney for first place in the Iowa caucus.  Hillyer wasn't alone in his prognostication, of course, but he seems especially well-versed in the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

On Friday, in an American Spectator post, Hillyer threw a few much deserved jabs at political pundits who had written off Santorum and offered some words of caution to those who think Santorum will fizzle:

"...pundits still write off Santorum in the long run. Are they still not paying attention? Have they not seen that he has diligently built solid organizational bones in New Hampshire and South Carolina even as he worked Iowa like an indefatigable trooper? Have they not seen how fast money flows to a candidate who seems on the rise? Did they not see how Obama and Carter and Dole and Kerry and G.W. Bush all used Iowa success as a springboard to their eventual nominations? Did they not see how Huckabee came within a Fred Thompson last-stand of doing the same thing in 2008? Why should all of these candidates have had staying power after Iowa success, but Rick Santorum not have it? Does he not have a long record of showing major political skills? Or was it just happenstance that he won four elections in a blue-tinged purple district and a blue-tinged purple state and then became the third-ranking Republican in the Senate?"

Hillyer authored a piece in the latest National Review that is recommended reading, especially for those unfamiliar with Rick Santorum.  Hillyer describes a bona fide, principled conservative who is a man of his word, someone who doesn't shrink from a fight.  Although Santorum's record as a U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, and thereafter stands up well against the rest of the GOP field, according to Hillyer,

"Perhaps...the wisest way for conservatives to assess Santorum is not with exhaustive issue-purity tests, but rather by considering the man's overarching values. For anybody who has watched Santorum's career since his first upset victory in 1990, the idea of him as anything other than a solid conservative on economics, defense, or social issues is patently absurd."

My personal evaluation of Rick Santorum is ongoing, but I like what I hear and see, especially relative to the other GOP candidates still standing.  In his own words, Santorum's priorities are certainly congruent with constitutional conservatism: repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, spending cuts and entitlements reform, educational freedom, a smarter and simpler tax code, a balanced budget amendment, 2nd Amendment rights, pro-family and pro-business policies, and a belief in American exceptionalism, among others.

Hat tip:  Mark Levin