Rick Santorum, who lost to Bob Casey in the Democratic rout of 2006 by almost 20 points, is no small government conservative/libertarian. When all is said and done he’s a national greatness type. His federalist credentials are suspect; He voted for No Child Left suggesting that the feds should set national curriculum. He was there when the GOP went on the Bush-fired spending spree: Santorum voted for Part D Medicare which adds billions in unfunded liabilities. And of course he goes out of his way to blast same-sex marriage. David Harsanyi spells it out over at Reason .
Santorum did once grumble about too many conservatives believing in unbridled “personal autonomy” and subscribing to the “idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do…that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom (and) we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.”
Perhaps Santorum confuses libertinism with libertarianism, but for him “cultural issues” go way beyond defending the life of the unborn or opposing gay marriage. Santorum believes that conservatives should recognize “that individuals can’t go it alone,” which sounds a lot like the straw-man justification for nearly every state expansion in memory. Why does Santorum, a conservative, believe that getting government out of our lives means a person must “go it alone,” anyway? Maybe it means that person can go to his local church or his family or his community or his local bar to seek help-or maybe he can figure things out himself.
Senator Santorum once rightly went after ‘radical feminist’ Hillary Clinton for using the government as village metaphor for raising children. Now he’s all for restraining the individual impulse and belittling the “going it alone” spirit of libertarianism, whatever that means.
Santorum has little appeal to independents and benefited from peaking at the right time.