EDITOR OF REDSTATE
What a Big Government Conservative Looks Like
I’m rather tired of all the people who don’t like Romney trying to claim Rick Santorum is not a big government conservative, or not a pro-life statist. I would support him before I would support Romney too, but I have no intention of giving up ideological and intellectual consistency in the name of beating Mitt Romney.
Rick Santorum is a pro-life statist. He is. You will have to deal with it. He is a big government conservative. Santorum is right on social issues, but has never let his love of social issues stand in the way of the creeping expansion of the welfare state. In fact, he has been complicit in the expansion of the welfare state.
Suddenly we’re all forgetting what a big government conservatism is. The term was coined by Fred Barnes in defense of George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservative” agenda. Bush intended to use domestic social welfare policy for conservative ends. In the process, he expanded the welfare state to do so through No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit, etc. Rick Santorum was a willing participant in this.
Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservatism is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.
I and some friends, none of us Romney fans, have set about exploring Santorum’s record since Wednesday morning. Here now is a non-exhaustive list of what we have found. It does not even include his support for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, debt ceiling increases, funding the bridge to nowhere, refusing to redirect earmark allocations to disaster relief along the Gulf Coast post Katrina, etc.
This is not the record of a man committed to scaling back the welfare state or the nanny state. Had he been up for re-election in 2010 instead of 2006, this is the record of a man who the tea party movement would have primaried. The only real justification for supporting him now is he is not Mitt Romney, but I still believe we can do better.
Consider, if you will, this contrast. Ronald Reagan said, “The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom.” Rick Santorum, in 2008, said, “This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. 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, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone.” I can handle Santorum’s view of social conservatism and the need for cultural integrity. But he goes off the rails when he blends it with a version of fiscal conservatism that is anything but conservative and which fuels the government leviathan that, as it expands, takes away core freedoms and is run by entrenched progressive civil servants who are anything but conservative.
Rick Santorum’s voting record reflects his rejection of small government. See for yourself.
Voted for a Schumer amendment to make the debts of pro-life demonstrators not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
Defense and Foreign Policy
Voted against requiring the President to certify that that Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, North Korea, China, and all other countries determined to be state sponsors of terror have joined CWC prior to submitting the instrument of ratification.
Voted for the START II Treaty
Voted to allow the sale of supercomputers to China.
Voted to ban antipersonnel landmines
Voted against increasing defense spending offset by equivalent cuts in non-defense spending.
Voted to require that Federal bureaucrats get the same payraises as uniformed military.
Voted to allow food and medicine sales to state sponsors of terror and tyranical regimes such as Libya and Cuba.
Voted to limit the President’s authority to impose sanctions on nations for reasons of national security unless the sanctions were approved by a multilateral regime.
Voted against requiring Congressional authorization for military action in Bosnia.
Voted to give $25 million in foreign aid to North Korea
Voted to weaken alien terrorist deportation provisions. If the Court determines that the evidence must be withheld for national security reasons, the Justice Department must still provide a summary of the evidence sufficient for the alien terrorist to mount a defense against deportation.
Voted against delaying the India Nuclear until the President certified that India had agreed to suspend military-to-military exchanges with Iran.
Voted against the Conventional Trident Missile Program
Voted for Richard Paez to the 9th Curcuit (cloture)
Voted for Sonia Sotomayor, Circuit Judge
Voted for Richard Holbrooke to be Ambassador to the UN
Voted for Margaret Morrow to be District Judge
Voted twice for Marsha Berzon to the 9thg Circuit
Voted for Mary McLaughlin to be District Judge
Voted for Tim Dyk to be District Judge
Voted for James Brady to be District Judge
Voted against National Right to Work Act
Voted against Real of Davis-Bacon Prevailing union wages
Voted for Alexis Herman to be Secretary of Labor
Voted for mandatory Federal child care funding
Voted for Trade Adjustment Assistance.
Voted for Job Corps funding
Voted twice in support of Fedex Unionization
Voted against allowing a waiver of Davis-Bacon in emergency situations.
Voted for minimum wage increases six times here here here here here and here
Voted to require a union representative on an IRS oversight board.
Voted to exempt IRS union representative from criminal ethics laws.
Voted against creating independent Board of Governors to investigate IRS abuses.
Voted to require pawn shops to do background checks on people who pawn a gun.
Voted twice to make it illegal to sell a gun without a secure storage or safety device
Voted for a Federal ban on possession of “assault weapons” by those under 18.
Voted for Federal funding for anti-gun education programs in schools.
Voted for anti-gun juvenile justice bill.
Voted for funding for the legal services corporation.
Voted twice for a Congressional payraise.
Voted to impose a uniform Federal mandate on states to force them to allow convicted rapits, arsonists, drug kingpins, and all other ex-convicts to vote in Federal elections.
Voted for the Specter “backup plan” to allow campaign finance reform to survive if portions of the bill were found unconstitutional.
Voted to mandate discounted broadcast times for politicians.
Voted for a McCain amendment to require State and local campaign committees to report all campaign contributions to the FEC and to require all campaign contributions to be reported to the FEC within 24 hours within 90 days of an election.
Voted against increasing the number of immigration investigators
Voted to allow illegal immigrants to receive the earned income credit before becoming citizens
Voted to give SSI benefits to legal aliens.
Voted to give welfare benefits to naturalized citizens without regard to to the earnings of their sponsors.
Voted against hiring an additional 1,000 border partrol agents, paid for by reductions in state grants.
Voted against a flat tax.
Voted to increase tobacco taxes to pay for Medicare prescription drugs
Voted to increase tobacco taxes to fund health insurance subsidies for small businesses.
Voted to increase tobacco taxes to pay for an $8 billion increase in child healh insurance.
Voted to increase tobacco taxes to pay for an increase in NIH funding.
Voted twice for internet taxes.
Voted to allow gas tax revenues to be used to subsidize Amtrak.
Voted to strike marriage penalty tax relief and instead provide fines on tobacco companies.
Voted against repealing the Clinton 4.3 cent gas tax increase.
Voted to increase taxes by $2.3 billion to pay for an Amtrak trust fund.
Voted to allow welfare to a minor who had a child out of wedlock and who resided with an adult who was on welfare within the previous two years.
Voted to increase taxes by $9.4 billion to pay for a $9.4 billion increase in student loans.
Voted to say that AMT patch is more important than capital gains and dividend relief.
Voted against food stamp reform
Voted against Medicaid reform
Voted against TANF reform
Voted to increase the Social Services Block Grant from $1 billion to $2 billion
Voted to increase the FHA loan from $170,000 to $197,000. Also opposed increasing GNMA guaranty from 6 basis points to 12.
Voted for $2 billion for low income heating assistance.
Sponsored An amendment to increase Amtrak funds by $550 million
Voted to use HUD funds for the Joslyn Art Museum (NE), the Stand Up for Animals project (RI) and the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Project (WA)
Voted to increase spending on social programs by $7 billion
Voted to increase NIH funding by $1.6 billion.
Voted to increase NIHnding by $700 million
Voted to for a $2 million earmark to renovate the Vulcan Monument (AL)
Voted for a $1 billion bailout for the steel industry
Voted against requiring that highway earmarks would come out of a state’s highway allocation
Voted to allow Market Access Program funds to go to foreign companies.
Voted to allow OPIC to increase its administrative costs by 50%
Voted against transferring $20 million from Americorps to veterans.
Voted for the $140 billion asbestos compensation bill.
Voted against requiring a uniform medical criteria to ensure asbestos claims were legitimate.
Voted to increase community development programs by $2 billion.
Spending and Entitlements
Voted to make Medicare part B premium subsidies an new entitlement.
Voted against paying off the debt ($5.6 trillion at the time) within 30 years.
Voted to give $18 billion to the IMF.
Voted to raid Social Security instead of using surpluses to pay down the debt.
Voted to allow states to impose health care mandates that are stricter than proposed new Federal mandates, but not weaker.
Voted twice for Federal mental health parity mandates in health insurance.
Voted against a allow consumers the option to purchase a plan outside the parity mandate.
Voted to increase Federal funding for teacher testing
Voted to increase spending for the Department of Education by $3.1 billion.
Voted against requiring courts to consider the impact of IDEA awards on a local school district.
Voted to allow the President to designate certain sites as interim nuclear waste storage sites in the event that he determines that Yucca Mountain is not a suitable site for a permanent waste repository. Those sites are as follows: the nuclear waste site in Hanford, Washington; the Savannah River Site in South Carolina; Barnwell County, South Carolina; and the Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee.
Voted to make fuel price gouging a Federal crime.