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For Santorum

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 30, 2012 08:24 AM


RickSantorum.com

Rick Santorum opposed TARP.

He didn’t cave when Chicken Littles in Washington invoked a manufactured crisis in 2008. He didn’t follow the pro-bailout GOP crowd — including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and he didn’t have to obfuscate or rationalize his position then or now, like Rick Perry and Herman Cain did. He also opposed the auto bailout, Freddie and Fannie bailout, and porkulus bills.

Santorum opposed individual health care mandates — clearly and forcefully — as far back as his 1994 U.S. Senate run. He has launched the most cogent, forceful fusillade against both Romney and Gingrich for their muddied, pro-individual health care mandate waters.

He voted against cap and trade in 2003, voted yes to drilling in ANWR, and unlike Romney and Gingrich, Santorum has never dabbled with eco-radicals like John Holdren, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. He hasn’t written any “Contracts with the Earth.”

Santorum is strong on border security, national security, and defense. Mitt the Flip-Flopper and Open Borders-Pandering Newt have been far less trustworthy on immigration enforcement.

Santorum is an eloquent spokesperson for the culture of life. He has been savaged and ridiculed by leftist elites for upholding traditional family values — not just in word, but in deed.

He won Iowa through hard work and competent campaign management. Santorum has improved in every GOP debate and gave his strongest performance last week in Florida, wherein he both dismantled Romneycare and popped the Newt bubble by directly challenging the front-runners’ character and candor without resorting to their petty tactics.

He rose above the fray by sticking to issues.

Most commendably, he refused to join Gingrich and Perry in indulging in the contemptible Occupier rhetoric against Romney. Character and honor matter. Santorum has it.

Of course, Santorum is not perfect. As I’ve said all along, every election cycle is a Pageant of the Imperfects. He lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006, an abysmal year for conservatives. He was a go-along, get-along Big Government Republican in the Bush era. He supported No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit entitlement, steel tariffs, and earmarks and outraged us movement conservatives by endorsing RINO Arlen Specter over stalwart conservative Pat Toomey.

I have no illusions about Rick Santorum. I wish he were as rock-solid on core economic issues as Ron Paul.

And I wish Ron Paul was not the far-out, Alex Jones-panderer on foreign policy, defense, and national security that he is.

If Ron Paul talked more like his son, Rand Paul, about the need for common-sense profiling of jihadists at our State Department consular offices overseas and if he talked more about the need for strengthened visa screening and airport security scrutiny of international flight manifests, I might have more than a kernel of confidence that he would take post-9/11 precautions to guard against jihadi threats and protect us from our enemies foreign and domestic. But he doesn’t, so I can’t support Ron Paul.

Mitt Romney has the backing of many solid conservatives whom I will always hold in high esteem — including Kansas Secretary of State and immigration enforcement stalwart Kris Kobach, former U.N. ambassacor John Bolton, and GOP Govs. Nikki Haley and Bob McDonnell. With such conservative advisers in his camp, Romney would be better than Obama. And a GOP Congress with a staunch Tea Party-backed contingent of fresh-blood leaders in the House and Senate will help keep any GOP president in line. Romney’s private-sector experience and achievements are the best things he’s got going. Only recently has he risen to defend himself effectively. But between his health care debacle, eco-nitwittery, and expedient and unconvincing political metamorphosis, Mitt Romney had way too much ideological baggage for me in 2008 to earn an endorsement — and it still hasn’t changed for me in 2012.

Then there’s Newt, who has long made a career out of trashing progressive Saul Alinsky while employing his tactics at every turn. I’ve been making this point for years and have chronicled his dalliances with leftists as long as anyone in the conservative blogosphere.

Many grass-roots conservatives were awakened to Newt’s double-talk and double-dealing during the NY-23 race. Inconvenient truth: Newt’s transgressions are not from decades ago. It’s not ancient history. It’s here and now. Readers of this blog know the truth: It’s not just “the GOP establishment” that’s repulsed by Gingrich’s combination of moral baggage and K Street/Beltway culture of corruption. It’s the very grass-roots that Gingrich’s cheerleaders purport to represent.

Remember October 2009?

From reader Barnaby, who sent back his crossed-out Republican solicitation forms with a “NO RINOS” sticky note for Newt Gingrich:

Remember the rebuke in Dubuque? May 11, 2011:

Guy: Speaker Gingrich, what you just did to Paul Ryan is unforgivable.

Gingrich: I didn’t do anything to Paul Ryan!

Guy: Yes, you did. You undercut him and his allies in the house.

Gingrich: No, I…

Guy: You’re an embarrassment to our party.

Gingrich: I’m sorry you feel that way.

Guy: Why don’t you get out before you make a bigger fool of yourself.

Lest we forget, this election is not about choosing a showboat candidate to run against John King or Juan Williams or Wolf Blitzer.

It’s not about “raging against” some arbitrarily defined GOP “machine.”

For many grass-roots conservatives across the country, Romney and Gingrich are the machine.

And at this point in the game, Rick Santorum represents the most conservative candidate still standing who can articulate both fiscal and social conservative values — and live them.

***

Side note: Unlike many bloggers and pundits weighing in on GOP 2012, I have zero connections to any of the final four GOP candidates’ campaigns. I have neither received a single penny from, nor donated a single penny, to any of their campaigns. I have not served as any kind of consultant or adviser to any of the campaigns. I have not written any speeches or talking points or briefing papers for any of their campaigns. I have not organized any blogger calls or social media efforts for any of their campaigns. I have not spoken to Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich since interviewing them for Hot Air at CPAC in 2006, and as far as I can recall, I have not communicated directly with either Santorum or Paul. My first and only contact with Santorum’s campaign came last week when a spokesman called to assure me that Santorum was not withdrawing from the Florida primary or the race in general and was in it for the long haul.

So much for my “establishment” credentials, eh? :)

***

Santorum is headed to Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada.

“The Rick Santorum for President Campaign will expand nationally this week with campaign stops in Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, and Nevada in the coming days,” a spokesman MAtt Beynon said in a statement.

Santorum is slated to make several stops in battleground states over the next few days, but did not appear to be heading back to Florida, where Republicans go to the polls on Tuesday.

Santorum is expected be in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday when the Florida results are known.

After winning Iowa — the first state to chose which Republican they want to face Obama in November — Santorum’s campaign has struggled to catch fire.

In Florida — a winner-takes-all race — the former senator has not appeared much and is barely avoiding a vote share in single digits according to polls, putting him in third place behing Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Nevada will vote just four days after Florida, while Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri all vote on February 7th.

Santorum had put campaigning in Florida on hold Sunday, as his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized just days before a key primary vote.

Two days before Florida’s winner-takes-all primary, Santorum spent the day in Pennsylvania, where his three year-old was admitted to a Philadelphia children’s hospital.

***

A reader writes:

I read your “For Santorum” article on your website. You wrote the argument against Newt clearly and completely. While Romney’s been on both sides of issues, Newt has been on both sides at the same time. I think Newt would be almost as combative and adversarial to a Republican congress than a Democratic one…

***

Question of the day: Who is the “machine?”

Secondary question of the day: If you were a simple machine, what kind of machine would you be — inclined plane, wheel & axle, lever, pulley, wedge, or screw?

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