At this point in the Republican primary, Rick Santorum is the only substantial “not Mitt” left in the running. With Gingrich falling behind Paul in the Illinois primary, it’s safe to say that Newt’s campaign has run it’s course. Delegate count being a factor, there’s no way Gingrich or Paul can feasibly win the nomination.
It’s been interesting to watch the migration of supporters from Palin (once she decided not to run), to Cain. Then from Cain to Gingrich, then from Gingrich to Santorum. Even more surprising is the Tea Party support of Santorum, particularly since Santorum, by his own admission, has qualms with the Tea Party movement as seen here (after his soliloquy on the virtues of government intervention):
We are a people that believes that government has a role to play: federal government has a role to play, state government has a role to play and local government has a role to play; and when there are clear wrongs in society, when there are injustices in society, sure you handle it at the local level if you can, but when the local and state level are in cahoots with the injustice, then the federal government has to step in and do something; … but as I’ve said before, I have some real concerns about this movement within the Republican Party and the Tea Party Movement to sort of refashion conservatism and I will vocally and publicly oppose it and do my best to correct the record.
And then there’s the issue of our friends, the Libertarians. Santorum said,
I am not a Libertarian and I fight very strongly against Libertarian influence within the Republican party and the conservative movement. I don’t think the libertarians have it right when it comes to what the Constitution is all about. I don’t think they have it right as to what our history is and we are not a group of people that believes in no government.
And Santorum on smaller government? Goldwater Conservatism? Meh…
To our credit, Republicans have sort of morphed away from the Goldwater idea that government needs to be smaller, it needs to do less, it needs to be doing nothing except what it’s core functions are to a party by and large, and there are elements still left by the way, in the party like that, to a party that by and large says, look, we need to restructure the way we do programs or the way government functions to create the kind of incentives or create the kind of help and programs that give that power to folks closer to the people or to family or to the individual themselves.
One of the criticisms I make to what I refer to as a more Libertarianish right. 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 regulations low and that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional Conservatives view the world. There is no society that I”m aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.
Less government?? Individual freedom?? No government in the bedroom?? Pssh… that’s just crazy talk. Limited government, individual freedom and the ability to make choices without government intervention are the cornerstones of conservatism. Santorum, for whatever reason, chooses to characterize these “radical” ideals as libertarian, which is not inaccurate, but to act as though they are not conservative values is dishonest. Furthermore, it begs the question as to what conservatism means to Rick Santorum. If your only solution to societal ails is more government – you’re doing it wrong. And it’s precisely this notion that makes Rick Santorum, well, troubling.