Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Reveal Navigation

Memo to the Tea Party: Rick Santorum Rejects Your Message Memo to the Tea Party: Rick Santorum Rejects Your Message Memo to the Tea Party: Rick Santorum Rejects Your Message Memo to the Tea Party: Ri...

share
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Politics / Campaign 2012

Memo to the Tea Party: Rick Santorum Rejects Your Message

If he were somehow elected, the former senator would prioritize social conservatism and a hawkish foreign policy, not the fiscal issues activists care about.

February 16, 2012

The libertarian Cato Institute's vice president, Gene Healy, is baffled by the recent surge in support for Rick Santorum among tea partiers. Ticking off the former senator's various George W. Bush-era heresies, Healy writes, "The tea party movement was supposed to represent an end to this sort of moralistic Big Government conservatism. Animated by 'fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets,' as the Tea Party Patriots' credo put it, the movement had supposedly put social issues on the back burner to focus on the crisis of government growth."



Latest Politics Posts:
Loading feed...

The most remarkable feature of Santorum's rise is that he cares most about social issues like abortion, gay marriage, and a tax code with more deductions for heterosexual married couples with children. He cares next most about a hawkish national-security posture, including a war against Iran if necessary to stop it from getting nukes. The alarming deficits that threaten the country's future are his third and final priority. His approach is an inversion of the tea party message.

 

Yet tea partiers are flocking to him.

Daniel Larison gamely tries to explain what's going on. "What I'd like to tell tea partiers is what will go on if Santorum is our next president. He'll talk a good game about shrinking government. But he won't. He'll spend his political capital on the aforementioned social issues, spend a bit more money on related programs at home, and spend a lot more money on the military."

This isn't difficult to predict. "I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement," he said openly last summer, adding, "I've got 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."

He's the weirdest choice for tea party champion yet.

Get us in your feed.
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus