He was the elephant in the room, so to speak, at the CNN Debate in Mesa, AZ. And this issue is why Campaign 2012 on the Republican side is so depressing.The he is George W. Bush. And the issue is that Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney spent most of the debate campaigning against George W. Bush without using his name.They went after each other on earmarks, spending, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, the debt ceiling, and on and on. Santorum apologized for some votes. He defended some votes. Mitt Romney had the temerity to suggest he would have opposed some or all of that legislation even though, at the time, he was quite supportive of it all — including raising the debt ceiling. All of these were George W. Bush approved, adding also TARP and the auto bailout. They are also issues about which many conservatives and conservative organizations sold their souls to the Republican Party in the name of team work, damn the principles at stake.Relatedly, it was entirely laughable for Rick Santorum to claim courage as the word that describes him best when he then went on to say he cast his votes against his principles because he was a team player. Just listen to the audio right here. At least he did not do what Romney did and try to claim himself an advocate of school choice, which Mitt Romney did not support as Governor of Massachusetts. Santorum, at least, is willing to recount his political sins honestly.And that is what is so awful about this election season for so many conservatives. Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich are campaigning against major accomplishments of the Bush Administration that they, at the time, supported, and now have the audacity to lie to us — yes they are lying — and have us believe they would never have supported such big government programs.For his part, Gingrich at least offered up a balanced budget when he was Speaker and real entitlement reform. Mitt Romney is out championing the progress nature of the American tax code. For that alone he should be driven from the race defeated. Santorum hides behind Jim DeMint to defend his fiscal sins on earmarks and has driven a mass of people who once opposed earmarks to claim that maybe they are not so bad because St. Santorum likes them. Note to this particular cult of personality: No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and Obamacare would not have passed if earmarks had been banned.Here’s the long and the short of it — Super Tuesday approaches. I live in Georgia. And I am pretty sure I am voting for either Herman Cain or Rick Perry because I am just not sold on the final four.
The Elephant in the Room
By Erick Erickson | 4:46 AM on February 24, 2012
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