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National Journal: Santorum’s Complicated Quest To Unite Conservatives

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Rick Santorum is pitching himself in South Carolina as the principled, limited-government conservative that other conservatives should rally around in order to stop Mitt Romney and offer a sharp contrast to President Obama in November. But his quest is complicated by a fiscal record in Congress that once alienated the same types of conservatives he’s trying to attract now—and they’re talking about what they view as his transgressions.

By 2006, Santorum’s relations with conservative activists in his home state of Pennsylvania had deteriorated to the point where even some of his once-strongest supporters were convinced he had morphed into a squishy moderate. Faced with intraparty war amid an uphill Senate reelection campaign against Democrat Robert Casey, Santorum called a meeting with about 10 of the state’s leading activists. The idea was to unite in the face of a common enemy, and it seemed like a good one—until the meeting started.

According to interviews with five participants, the hour-long summit degenerated into a surreal screaming match, with a red-faced Santorum and a handful of the activists clashing repeatedly over earmarks and deficit spending—the same issues that are so important to Republican primary voters now.

3 Responses

  1. Rick Santorum cannot win the Presidency because he cannot win Pennsylvania. Rick “Elmer Gantry” Santorum talks the religious talk to divert our attention while he takes The Forgotten Taxpayer’s money with his Big Government phony compassionate conservative Statist ideas and Earmarxist redistribution of the wealth according to his whim.

    was there and the arrogant obnoxious still stings. and then there is his record. Jason and Ryan have it right and Jeff and Dave do not contradict you but say you heard it wrong. You did not. You heard someone tell you “this is the way it is and you will like it and we are not going to discuss your childish concerns.”.

    Can anyone not say that Rick Santorum is not a Pro-Life Big Government Statist and Earmarxist? Of course he had to be concerned about the party because that is where his power came from. Rick Santorum was, and is, a quisling who sold out principle and us for his own power and profit.

    “The purpose of the meeting was reconciliation, but it couldn’t have turned out worse,” said Ryan Shafik, a Harrisburg-based GOP consultant who was one of the activists to meet with Santorum. “He yelled at virtually everyone.”

    “It was one of those moments where everyone said, ‘Wait a minute, what the heck?’ ” said Jason High, an activist who attended the meeting, referring to the Specter endorsement. “And then they started looking at his record more closely and realized it wasn’t all that good.”

    High’s compatriots confronted Santorum during the meeting about the high level of spending levied by him and his GOP colleagues in Congress. According to some accounts, the former senator was unrepentant.

    “He told us to our face deficit spending could be a good thing,” said High, who later went on to become a chief of staff in the state Senate.

    Shafik added that Santorum told them “he no longer thought the accumulation of all this debt was a bad thing for our country.”

    Thanks to Jason High and Ryan Shafik for being willing to go on the record and tell the truth. Rick Santorum cannot win the presidency because he cannot win Pennsylvania. and VP?

    I look forward to is campaigning in Penna, truth and his record will be told.

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