A Fighter for Conservative Values when Conservatives Weren’t Looking

As a first-term Senator, Rick Santorum had authored a bill to ban federal funding for partial-birth abortion, and he battled the issue heavily in the Senate until he met success. I’ve come across this video from 1998 which reveals a couple of minutes of the fight Rick Santorum had led to defend the lives of helpless innocent semi-newborns who were being killed because they were unwanted for whatever reason.

In the video, Santorum rebutted statements from the Senator of California who proclaimed violence as the highest killer of children and from the Senator of New Jersey who agreed that murder is the highest killer of children in New Jersey  and cited that 13 murders of children occur daily in his state.  Santorum proved them both wrong, explaining that abortions are the biggest baby killer for it is responsible for four thousand killings daily!

He also made a passionate and sound case as to why the leftist argument of “freedom to choose what to do with my body” is wrong, explaining that just as murder is wrong for morale reasons and not just because a majority of the nations is of the opinion that it’s wrong, so too is the case with abortion. It is morally wrong and will remain morally wrong despite herculean efforts from the left to shift public opinion in favor of abortion.

Watch the video.

Indeed, Santorum’s impassioned pleas successfully convinced the Senate to block funding for partial-birth abortions.  I’ve been particularly impressed and inspired to watch Santorum courageously defend conservative values despite his hailing of the purple/blue state of Pennsyvania and his first reelection coming up (which he ended up winning despite vicious leftist attempts to bring him down.)

Santorum’s passionate defense for conservative values was not limited to his fight against partial-abortion. Santorum was at the forefront in numerous occasions, and took upon himself to battle for conservative principles at times when others preferred to delay action, whether because of upcoming elections, lack of motivation, or other reasons.

Santorum fought corruption in the house taking up members of both parties despite having been a newcomer, in what has  been dubbed the Gang of Seven. This was before the days of the Tea Party! It’s no wonder The Washington Post has said of Rick that, “Rick Santorum was a tea-party kind of guy before the tea-party even existed.” Rick had also denounced those who were in favor of mandating health insurance upon the American people as early as in this video of 1994,, as mentioned in a previous post. Another battle Rick successfully fought, first in the House, and then in the Senate, was the fight to reform Welfare.

Here’s an excerpt of Brian Bolduc’s article regarding Santorum’s leading role in Welfare Reform:

Santorum first entered the House in 1991; two years later, he became ranking member of the subcommittee on human resources. “How I got to be ranking member of that subcommittee does say a lot, I’m afraid, about how Republicans used to view welfare — and too many still do,” Santorum wrote in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family. “Something like five Republican members more senior than I on the committee chose to claim a regular seat on either the Health or Trade subcommittee instead of taking the ranking position. . . . None of my Republican colleagues saw this subcommittee as particularly important to them or their constituents.”

Santorum showed that willingness in designing the Republican bill. Eager to call Pres. Bill Clinton’s bluff — he had promised to “end welfare as we know it” in the 1992 campaign — Santorum and the House Republicans introduced their version of welfare reform in 1993. “When we  introduced our bill, the liberals savaged it, calling it cruel, heartless, and mean-spirited,” Santorum writes in his book. He continues with the characteristic sarcasm that has somewhat unfairly won him a reputation for acerbity: “We had actually had the audacity to call for time limits on welfare for the able-bodied!”


After Santorum won election to the Senate in 1994, he took up the cause on the floor of the upper chamber. As chair of the finance committee, which had jurisdiction in this area, Sen. Bob Packwood was meant to the lead the charge, but sexual-harassment charges distracted him and eventually lead to his resignation in September 1995.

In response, Dole assigned Santorum to be the floor leader on the bill, a remarkable appointment for Santorum in Haskin’s eyes. “He gets elected to the Senate, he’s not on the finance committee, he’s a freshman, and Dole basically puts him in charge of floor operation on welfare. This is completely unheard of, and the reason he did it is Santorum is really, really smart,” Haskins concludes.

On the floor, Santorum went head-to-head with liberal titans Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Ted Kennedy. In July 1996, Santorum directly confronted Moynihan’s lacerating criticism that the bill “invite[d] calamity.”

“I found it odd that he used the term,” Santorum mused aloud, “that the bill before us invites calamity, right after a very eloquent and fact-filled dissertation on the calamity that has been created by this welfare system, that calamity of illegitimacy in our civilization.”

Republicans in the House appreciated the strong ally they had in Santorum. “It was nice to have an ally who understood it,” says former congressman Clay Shaw, who assumed leadership on the issue after Santorum left the House.

Rick Santorum has stuck to his conservative principles and done so while serving from Pennsylvania. Remarkably, although Santorum hasn’t bent his views to curry favor with voters as the examples above highlighted, he nevertheless attracted a considerable number of Independent and Reagan-Democrat voters who respected his consistency and his fiscally-sound approach. He’s actually the only candidate to have won as a conservative in not one, but two, state-wide elections in Pennsylvania, a state which had gone to Democrats in every single presidential election since 1988. Although Romney has won one state-wide election in the blue state of Massachusetts, he has not done so on a conservative platform, as he himself admits. On the other hand, Rick Santorum has run and won twice on a conservative platform as a staunch pro-lifer who promoted lower taxes and took a tough stance against terror.

Although many are impressed with Santorum’s record, his biggest problem seems to be his ability to present a clear case that he is capable of defeating first Romney and then Obama.

It seems as though Santorum was aware of the surprising data recently released by a PPP poll, for even prior to the Florida results having been made official, Santorum was off to campaign in the states whose primaries take place in the upcoming week. He’s already been to several states in the last few days and he’s had a full schedule today in Colorado.

Here are the astounding results of the above mentioned PPP poll which had been released yesterday regarding Santorum’s ability to overtake Romney.

In Missouri, held a week from today, Santorum has a 63-21 favorability spread to Gingrich’s 52-32, Romney’s 46-36, and Paul’s 28-57.  On the actual primary ballot, for which Gingrich did not qualify, Santorum leads with 45% to Romney’s 34% and Paul’s 13%.  In the caucus, in which Gingrich can compete, Santorum falls to second at 28% behind the former speaker’s 30% and ahead of Romney’s 24% and Paul’s 11%.   Head-to-head, Gingrich would defeat Romney in the state, 43-42, but Santorum would, 50-37. That is because Santorum’s supporters only go for Gingrich by eight points over Romney, but Gingrich’s vote for Santorum by 28 points. In Ohio, which will be held on Super Tuesday (March 6th), Santorum’s favorability rating is 59-24, compared to Romney’s and Gingrich’s 47-37 and Paul’s 31-52.  The primary is a three-way race between Gingrich (26%), Romney (25%), and Santorum (22%), with Paul at 11%.  Gingrich would top Romney, 42-39, but Santorum would, 45-38.

In other words, here’s how the two different two-man races would look like:

-In Missouri Santorum leads Romney 50-37 and in Ohio Santorum leads 45-38.

-In Missouri Gingrich leads Romney 43-42 and in Ohio Gingrich leads 42-39.

Two additional notable factors of this poll: Santorum scored the lowest in negative favorability. He also came in as the most-liked second choice candidate with 38% of those polled saying they consider Santorum as their second choice while Newt and Romney were both chosen by only 18% of those polled.

As for Santorum’s ability to face Obama, here’s some additionally surprising information from the PPP poll taken in the crucial swing state of Ohio, via the Daily Caller.

According to a  poll released on Wednesday by Public Policy Polling, a Democrat-affiliated organization, Obama’s numbers have improved in the state: He breaks even on approval and disapproval, with 48 percent in each category; and he bests all of his possible Republican opponents in a head to head match up. But Santorum does the best — getting 42 percent to Obama’s 48 percent. Romney loses 49 to 42, Paul 48 to 38, and Gingrich gets flattened 51 percent to 39 percent.

The ability to appeal in blue-collar states has been a centerpiece of Santorum’s electability argument throughout the campaign. He has repeatedly highlighted the fact that he is the only candidate to have won a statewide election in a swing state — Pennsylvania — and argues that he could use his blue-collar appeal to beat Obama in other crucial swing states, like Ohio.

Another mistaken perception Santorum has to break through, is the mindset of many who think he’s still in the red with no funding to go forward. Although that was the case at the start of the campaign prior to Iowa, it is no longer so. The Santorum campaign has confirmed it has raised $4.2M in January and is currently zero dollars in debt. Additionally, Foster Friess, a major donor to the Red White and Blue Fund, a Super Pac which supports Santorum, said during his interview with Bloomberg Television that he plans to give Rick significant help moving forward.

If Santorum is able to convince enough voters in the handful of primaries until Super Tuesday that he is a serious contender who can indeed reach the White House, the field may undergo a change once again in this ever-changing primary.

John McCain’s team had prepared a powerful ad against Obama which never ran because McCain refused to mention Jeremiah Wright. The ad explained that McCain chose to serve in the military while Obama chose to attend Jeremiah Wright’s church for over twenty years, and ended with the punchline that “Character matters, especially when no one’s looking.”

Rick Santorum has proven that he has had the character and conservative streak even when no one was looking whether he behaved in a conservative manner. In fact, the pressure had stemmed from the opposite spectrum for he was answerable to the voters of Pennsylvani. Yet, amazingly enough, as a candidate for office in a purple/blue state he remained true to the very same values he currently touts in the strongly conservative GOP presidential primary.


Abie Rubin blogs at The Thinking Voter and can be followed on Twitter.