Rick Santorum Enters Presidential Race

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is the latest candidate to formally enter the Presidential race:

And with that another Republican challenger jumped into the 2012 race this morning on “GMA.”

“We’re ready to announce that we are going to be in this race and we’re in it to win,” Rick Santorum told me.

Santorum, a former two-term Senator from Pennsylvania, will formally kick-off his campaign in his home state later this morning near a coal mine where his grandfather worked after immigrating from Italy.

The father of seven has been a frequent sight in the early voting states. This week is no exception with a trip to Iowa tomorrow followed by another trip to the first in the nation primary state on Wednesday.

Santorum won two straw polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina but he’s trailing in the polls. The latest Gallup poll has him at 2 percent behind Romney’s 19, Palin’s 15 and Ron Paul’s 13.

Santorum rose to the third seat in the GOP Senate leadership but lost his 2006 bid for a third term to Senator Bob Casey by 18 points.

A viewer – Charles from Los Angeles – asked “why, after being rejected by the people of Pennsylvania 59%-41% in his last Senate race, he thinks Americans would want him as their president.”

“In 2006 by everybody’s estimation was a pretty bad time for a republican and particularly for a conservative in states like Pennsylvania. And I stood up and I didn’t back away. I didn’t back

Santorum is trying to match himself to the tenor of the timesF and make himself out to be more fiscally conservative, and braver (or crazier?), than Paul Ryan by emphasizing Social Security reform, which may be an even more volatile issue than Medicare. In reality, though, Santorum’s real roots are as a big government social conservative.

Back in 2006, for example, one blogger took note of the ideas expressed in Santorum’s then-new book It Takes A Family: Conservatism And The Common Good and compared them with Barry Goldwater’s ground-breaking Conscience Of A Conservative:

As Goldwater repudiated Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, so Santorum repudiates Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. It’s now official: Philosophically, the conservative movement has split. Post-Santorum, tax-cutting and court-bashing can hold the Republican coalition together for only so much longer.
Goldwater and Reagan, and Madison and Jefferson, were saying that if you restrain government, you will strengthen society and foster virtue. Santorum is saying something more like the reverse: If you shore up the family, you will strengthen the social fabric and ultimately reduce dependence on government.

Where Goldwater denounced collectivism as the enemy of the individual, Santorum denounces individualism as the enemy of family

Around that same time, Santorum  had this to say about the nascent fiscally conservative/libertarian wing of the GOP:

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. The left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they come around in the circle.

[…]

This whole idea of personal autonomy — I don’t think that most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. And they have this idea that people should be left alone to do what they want to do, that government should keep taxes down, keep regulation down, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, that we shouldn’t be involved in cultural issues, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world. And I think that most conservatives understand that we can’t go it alone, that there is no such society that I’m aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and it has succeeded as a culture.

Clearly it is the social conservatives to whom Santorum will try to appeal the most but, he’s been out of politics for many years now, and he’ll have to compete against others like Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, and, possibly, Sarah Palin for that constituency. Personally, I would be surprised if Santorum lasted much past Iowa.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    In reality, though, Santorum’s real roots are as a big government social conservative.
    Are there any GOP candidates (besides Ron Paul, who actually seems to believe what he says, insane though it is) who don’t fall into this category?

  2. Bleev K says:

    big government social conservative.

    AKA the tea party.

  3. Moosebreath says:

    Dogs everywhere are cowering in fear.