Rick Santorum for President

Who can beat Obama? Rick Santorum, the man with staying power
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Rick Santorum is the strongest conservative in the 2012 Presidential race. He means what he says, and has a sound and disciplined record.

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Last night Rick Santorum took the majority in the Missouri primary and significant pluralities in Minnesota and Colorado. The Colorado win was especially stunning. Mitt Romney won that State easily four years ago. Not this time.

Mitt Romney thus suffered his worst disappointment to date. He expected to build momentum. Last night’s results show that he does not have it.

Newt Gingrich finished third in Colorado and last in Minnesota. (He did not even appear on the Missouri ballot.) Yesterday, The Christian Science Monitor thought he might, and that Rick Santorum would eclipse him.

Ron Paul’s vaunted ground troops failed him in Colorado and Missouri, where he finished dead last. He did better in Minnesota, with a second-place finish. Whether this will translate into delegate selection later on, no one knows.

A standard of comparison

In selecting a candidate to endorse, CNAV looked first for an objective measure of where a candidate stands. The site OnTheIssues.org has given that measure for years. They rank candidates on two issue scales:

  • Economic issues: capitalism (100 percent) versus socialism (zero).
  • Social issues: permissive (100 percent) versus restrictive (zero).

With regard to the latter, legalizing drugs is permissive, and the one-man/one-woman model of marriage is restrictive. For reasons that OnTheIssues have never explained, they include military issues with social issues, and equate anti-war with permissive and pro-military with restrictive. CNAV believes that OnTheIssues should replace their square grid with a cubic grid, and grid military issues on a third axis.

Until they do, OnTheIssues will rate each candidate as Libertarian (capitalist and permissive), Conservative (capitalist and restrictive), Liberal (socialist and permissive), Populist (socialist and restrictive), or Moderate (in-between on both scales).

CNAV stands with hard-core conservatives. CNAV agrees with the late Ayn Rand that capitalism is the most practical economic system and the only one consistent with basic moral values: do not kill, do not cheat, do not steal, do not lie, and do not covet. CNAV also agrees with Rand in at least one context that a candidate like Ron Paul would dispute. That is:

  1. Even a free society faces external, existential enemies.
  2. A free society need not provoke said enemies to suffer siege or attack.
  3. The best defense is an effective counterattack.

That might seem restrictive to OnTheIssues and especially to Ron Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano. But CNAV takes the world as it is, not as Paul or Napolitano want it to be.

The man now holding office as President, Barack H. Obama, is a hard-core liberal. For that reason, any of the four Republican candidates would be an improvement over him, and a significant one, so long as the eventual nominee means what he says.

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney, not the front runner anymore after Rick Santorum trounced him

Former Governor Mitt Romney at a townhall in Sun Lakes, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Mitt Romney, according to OnTheIssues, is a “populist-leaning conservative.” So he is not the most conservative candidate in the race, by that standard. The one issue that makes him not as capitalist as the rest: RomneyCare, the State-run health-care system he invented for Massachusetts when he governed there. Rick Santorum called Mitt Romney on that in a recent debate. He said that the Romney program essentially forced people to buy a service “for the simple privilege of breathing.”

Today, ObamaCare is one of the most contentious issues in the race. Obama made it even more contentious when his administration said that it would force Catholic hospitals to give their employees birth-control pills if they asked for them. American Catholics, from the cardinal-designate on down, are at open war with Obama on that account.

Mitt Romney has two problems. One: does he mean what he says? Or is he trying to finesse this issue? He already has a reputation, not for straight talk, but for “shoveling it on” in debates.

His second problem: did he really create jobs when he had the chance? Last month, suggested that Romney has few bragging rights about his record at Bain Capital. But that is not relevant. What is relevant, and directly, is his record as Governor of Massachusetts. Last night, The Washington Post called Mitt Romney’s record “unremarkable.” To be more specific, the Post showed that Romney did no better than Obama has done in “creating jobs.” The unemployment rate did fall in Massachusetts while he governed there. But the unemployment rate measures people out of jobs in proportion to those working or actively looking for work. When a former worker gives up looking, Bureaus of Labor Statistics (State or federal) do not count him anymore. In short, they declare him an “unperson,” as George Orwell’s 1984 government might have done. That is why Barack Obama can now boast of a “lower unemployment rate” this year. And that is the only reason why Mitt Romney could boast of a “lower unemployment rate” while he governed Massachusetts.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich loses his luster to Rick Santorum

Newt Gingrich at the CPAC conference in Orlando, FL, September, 2011

Newt Gingrich is a hard-core conservative. At least, so he says today. He wasn’t always. Last May he actually said that the federal government should force people to buy health insurance. He does not say so today. But what will he say tomorrow?

Some of what he does say today, shows an appalling lack of discipline. He is still talking about a human colony on the Moon. (He was in Dayton, OH, boyhood home of the Wright Brothers, holding forth on this theme.) He denies that he would have taxpayers pay for this. But he will not say who will, or why anyone would go to so much trouble and expense.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul loses big to Rick Santorum on 2/7/2012

Ron Paul speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, February, 2010. Photo: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic License

Ron Paul is not a conservative, but a libertarian. NumbersUSA gives him a barely passing grade. He could probably skate on that, on the theory that an improved economy would create enough real jobs for everyone, and that he would abolish many social entitlements that, he says, even citizens and lawful residents should not get.

Ron Paul has two problems. He cannot conceive of an external, existential enemy of the United States, or so it seems. He refuses to believe that Iran is about to build nuclear weapons, and has said that they would have the right to. And he says that the only reason that militant Muslims have attacked the United States is that the United States provoked them. Whenever anyone asks how the United States provoked them, he cites American foreign policy since 1953, with the ouster of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran.

News flash! Muslims don’t talk much, if at all, about Mohammed Mossadegh. They talk instead about the Republic of Israel, the very existence of which they hate. They also talk about certain historical battles they lost, centuries before the United States, or even the colonies that became the United States, existed. Ron Paul seems not to know this. And no one, least of all Ron Paul, talks about why President Thomas Jefferson sent a Naval task force to the Mediterranean to clean out a pirates’ nest. That was the first time that the United States “intervened in Muslim affairs.” Jefferson did this because, as Secretary of State, he got nowhere trying to negotiate with the Moroccan Ambassador to end piratical attacks on American shipping in the region. Indeed the Ambassador had brazenly boasted that the Barbary Pirates were doing nothing more than their Koranic duty!

Ron Paul has another problem: his troops are costing him votes. A typical Ron Paul supporter shows a fanatical attitude and makes no attempt to win friends. In consequence, they are making enemies.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum, heavy favorite at the 2012 March for Life.

Rick Santorum as the junior Senator from Pennsylvania. Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License

Rick Santorum is a hard-core conservative. (In fact, he is the most “restrictive” and the most “capitalistic” candidate in the race.) His voting record, and the things he has always said, are consistent with this. He has occasionally cast some inconsistent votes, but has since owned up to such mistakes. (The No Child Left Behind Act is a prize example.)

Rick Santorum is justly famous for opposing the “right” to abortion. No one will forget the time that then-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), on the floor of the Senate, said that an unborn child is “not an appendix! It’s a baby!” (Especially after a real baby cried almost on cue from the Senate gallery.)

But Rick Santorum is also one of the two candidates left in the race to pay explicit respect to creation science. (The other is Ron Paul.) OnTheIssues has him on record as saying that school teachers should:

  • Expose their pupils to the “legitimate debate” between advocates for evolution and advocates for creation.
  • Teach that theories of biological evolution cannot explain everything about life as we know it today.

He also used home schooling to raise six of his children. That should be both a permissive and a “capitalistic” thing to do. But on the OnTheIssues grid, home-schooling, like vouchers, would be a “capitalistic” thing to do, but the likely curriculum that the Santorums used would be “restrictive.”

On war and peace, Rick Santorum has always said that America will win or lose the war against “Islamic fascism” at home. This refers as much to winning hearts and minds as it does to stopping militant Muslims from blowing things up and killing people. But on the latter issue, Rick Santorum is clear. He knows that America has an existential enemy. In 2001, he said that militant Muslims attacked America on account of who and what we are. Within a year, Osama bin Laden vindicated everything Rick Santorum said.

Summary

Rick Santorum is the most consistent conservative in the race. Unlike Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum understands why government should not intervene in health insurance. Unlike Ron Paul, Rick Santorum understands that we have enemies, why we have enemies (and not because we somehow “provoked” them), and how to fight them. And unlike Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum disciplines himself and his ideas and is not likely to propose something outlandish merely “because it seems such a good idea at the time.”

Last night, voters in three States showed that they understood this. Today, CNAV takes pride in endorsing Rick Santorum as a candidate for President of the United States.