Friday, February 24, 2012

Fact Checking Santorum’s Conservative Bona Fides

Former Senator Rick Santorum, at the Republican Candidates Debate in Mesa, Arizona on February 22, 2012:
"And I was out there as a Republican senator, a conservative voting record, over a 90 percent conservative voting record from the American Conservative Union."

It was serendipity that Santorum mentioned his conservative record during Wednesday's debate on CNN, because I had already been working last week on comparing/contrasting Santorum with his peers in the Senate from 1995-2006.

The American Conservative Union's Ratings of Congress "have been the definitive guide for decades on where Members of Congress stand on conservative issues. Published by the ACUF, it provides the public and the news media a yearly score for each Member of the United States House and Senate." ACU is our oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization, the creator of the annual CPAC gathering in Washington, DC, and the leading entity in voicing the conservative position on issues.

ACU "tracks a wide range of issues before Congress to determine which issues and votes serve as a dividing line to help separate those Members of the U.S. House and Senate who protect liberty as conservatives and those who are truly liberal." A yearly score of 100 means that the member stood with ACU on the conservative side of every key vote that would create a clear ideological distinction among the members; conversely, a yearly score of 0 highlights a dedicated liberal.

With a little bit of research and number-crunching, I determined that there were one hundred and fifty-seven (157) Senators who served at times alongside Santorum during those twelve years. Some facts & figures from my study:
  • Santorum's total score from 1995-2006 was 1,098 – an average of 91.50 per year
  • Santorum's scores ranged from a low of 83 as a freshman, to a perfect score of 100 in 2000 and 2001
  • Overall, Santorum's scores trended more conservative during his 12-year Senate term
  • From 1995-2006, the average score in the Senate was 50.80
  • Including Santorum, there were 86 different Republican Senators, with an average rating of 84.98
  • There were 72 different Democrat/Independent Senators, with an average rating of 12.84
  • There were 110 Senators who served at least 6 years between 1995 and 2006. Santorum ranked #23 out of 110.

By comparison, Newt Gingrich had a lifetime rating of 90 from ACU for his twenty years in the House, and Ron Paul has a lifetime rating of 83.51 for his twenty-two years in the House.

Since Mitt Romney has been a two-time loser when running for a Federal office, he doesn't have a rating from ACU. However, there are 19 Senators who endorse Romney and also served alongside Santorum between 1995 and 2006:
# Years
South Dakota - John Thune (R)
Colorado - Hank Brown (R)
Colorado - Wayne Allard (R)
Florida - Mel Martinez (R)
North Carolina - Richard Burr (R)
Kansas - Bob Dole (R)
Florida - Connie Mack (R)
New Hampshire - John E. Sununu (R)
North Carolina - Elizabeth Dole (R)
Missouri - James Talent (R)
Utah - Orrin G. Hatch (R)
Mississippi - Thad Cochran (R)
New Hampshire - Judd Gregg (R)
Colorado - Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R)
Arizona - John McCain (R)
Ohio - George Voinovich (R)
Minnesota - Norm Coleman (R)
Oregon - Gordon Smith (R)
Alaska - Lisa Murkowski (R)

If Romney's endorsers are any indication of how conservative Romney would govern, it certainly appears that he would be less conservative than the average Republican, and much less conservative than either Santorum or Gingrich.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rick Santorum for President

I am proud to endorse Senator Rick Santorum to be the Republican nominee for President of the United States.

Senator Santorum and his wife Karen are the parents of seven children, and he knows the importance of protecting and providing for your family. He is one of the national leaders and fighters for the preservation of the traditional American family as the foundation of the economy, and for the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, authoring the 2005 New York Times best seller, "It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good". The core of his Made In America Plan is based on the idea that to have a strong national economy, we must have strong families, and government must help create a positive pro-family environment.

Santorum was elected in 1990 and re-elected in 1992 to the House of Representatives, serving Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district in the Pittsburgh suburbs for four years, quickly becoming the ranking member of the subcommittee on human resources. After those two terms, he was elected in 1994 and re-elected in 2000 to the Senate, representing Pennsylvania for another twelve years, and rising to Conference Chairman, a leadership position regarded as the third-ranking Republican in the Senate.

During his sixteen years of public service in Washington, Santorum was one of the most successful government reformers in our history, taking on powerful special interests from the moment he arrived. Along with future Speaker of the House John Boehner and five other upstart freshmen Republicans, he was a member of the so-called "Gang of Seven" group that exposed the Congressional Banking and Post Office scandals, and demonstrated a willingness to exasperate the Washington establishment.

As Washington Post staff writer Karen Tumulty wrote in December 2010: "Santorum was a tea party kind of guy before there was a tea party." He fought to maintain fiscal sanity in Washington before it was in fashion, fighting for a balanced budget and a line item veto. He proposed reforming entitlements, cutting spending and even developed and repeatedly used a "Spendometer" prop that added up the cost of Democrat amendments to spending bills and made the case against wasteful federal spending.

As President, Santorum would work with the Congress to cut spending and reform entitlements, so that we live within our means today and so that our future generations will not be burdened with oppressive debt and high taxation. He proposes cutting $5 trillion of federal spending within five years, and implementing Strong America Now reforms, through Lean Six Sigma management process, as a key engine for cutting government waste and improving efficiency. Santorum would propose immediate reductions in non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels through across the board spending cuts. Additionally, all Obama era regulations with an economic impact over $100 million, and funding for implementation of Dodd/Frank regulatory burdens, would be eliminated.

He promotes the concept of "repeal and replace" for ObamaCare, with market based healthcare innovation and competition, and a patient-centered solution. He realizes that we need these types of solutions to address the costs and underlying causes of being uninsured, rather than a one-size fits-all, government-run healthcare system. Costs can be reduced through competition, allowing patients to purchase insurance across state lines, allowing those who purchase their own healthcare coverage to do so with pre-tax dollars, enacting medical liability reform, and block-granting Medicaid to the states so they can implement solutions that address their unique healthcare needs.

Senator Santorum also supports the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment that caps federal spending to align with average revenues at 18% of GDP, like the Republican Study Committee's proposed Cut, Cap, and Balance Act.

Santorum's Made In America Plan addresses both personal and corporate income taxes. For individuals, the number of tax rates would be cut, returning to the Reagan era pro-growth top tax rate, with the AMT, death tax and marriage tax penalties all eliminated. Also, capital gains and dividend tax rates would be lowered to 12%, and taxes for families would be reduced by tripling the personal deduction for each child. Other deductions would still be retained for charitable giving, home mortgage interest, healthcare, and retirement savings. For businesses, the corporate income tax rate would be cut in half to make our businesses competitive around the world, and would be eliminated altogether for manufacturers, from 35% to zero. The Research & Development Tax Credit would permanently increase from 14% to 20%, and when manufacturers invest in plant and equipment the tax on repatriated taxable corporate income would be eliminated.

While in the House, Santorum and House Republicans introduced welfare reform that was savaged by liberals, and he took up the cause in the Senate when he was elected to the upper chamber. In 1996, Majority Leader Bob Dole selected Santorum to lead the effort of directing welfare reform legislation through the Senate as its floor manager. In August of that year, welfare reform passed and millions of Americans were empowered to leave the welfare rolls and enter the workforce.

Reducing federal healthcare costs is a prerequisite for our country's economic success. As President, Santorum would work with Congress to reform and modernize Medicare, fighting for implementation of Congressman Paul Ryan's proposals to reduce and control healthcare costs while improving quality of care.

He also wants to reform Social Security and place it on a solvent and sustainable path by moving back the retirement age for younger workers, means testing benefits, and dedicating payroll taxes to the Social Security program.

Rick Santorum strongly believes that each and every individual has value and the most vulnerable in our society need to be protected.

In 2001, he sponsored the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which was signed into law in August 2002 by George W. Bush and ensures that every infant born alive, including an infant who survives an abortion procedure, is considered a person under federal law.

In 2003, he introduced the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in the Senate, which was signed into law in November of that year, and now outlaws the heinous procedure of delivering and killing a living fetus.

In 2003, he cosponsored the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which was signed into law in April 2004 and provides that any person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb shall be charged with a separate offense, in addition to any charges relating to the mother.

He has pledged to the American people that if elected President he will select pro-life appointees for relevant positions, advance pro-life legislation to end taxpayer abortion funding, defund Planned Parenthood, and advance a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As President, he would reinstitute the Mexico City Policy to stop organizations that receive federal funding from performing or promoting abortion services in other countries, and he would veto any bill or budget that funds abortion or funds any organization that performs abortions. Santorum would also take executive action to ban federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, while encouraging the advancement of adult stem cell research, so that ethical study can take place without the moral implications associated with the destruction of human life.

The preservation of the traditional American family is vital to Senator Santorum. He is a champion of faith and families, and believes that without strong families, we cannot have a strong and vibrant nation. The freedom to practice our faith in America is under attack through attempts to redefine marriage and in nearly every facet of the popular culture.

In 2004, he cosponsored the introduction in the Senate of the Federal Marriage Amendment to declare that marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. As President, Santorum would continue to advocate for a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. Although the Obama administration announced in 2011 that the Defense of Marriage Act would not be defended in court by his Department of Justice, Santorum's administration would defend this federal government definition of marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman.

He has staunchly defended our religious freedoms during his time in Washington, introducing the bipartisan Workplace Religious Freedom Act with John Kerry in 2005 to ensure individuals of all faiths could not be discriminated against while on the job and to require employers to make reasonable accommodation for an employee's religion. Santorum also founded the bicameral Congressional Working Group on Religious Freedom which met monthly to discuss religious freedom concerns occurring both domestically and internationally and to ensure that the principle of Freedom of Religion would not be infringed upon.

John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council, says that Santorum "has been a champion for the timeless values of life, marriage, family and religious liberty. His personal life and character is a genuine reflection of the principles he stands for in every way. He is the only candidate in this race who has consistently argued during debates for the primacy of the family unit as the basis for social order and a sound economy. As an economic conservative, Rick Santorum can also unite the tea party, evangelicals and pro-life Catholics to form a winning coalition."

Educational freedom and opportunity is another key issue for Santorum. He understands that education is the responsibility of parents as the primary consumer, then local schools and states, in that order. The federal role in education should be very limited, and the solutions to education problems are state and principally local concerns. Putting parents first and reclaiming their role as the decision makers in their children's education is the best way to put "students first." States should be incentivized to promote choice and quality options, and parents and the citizenry should hold schools accountable for quality education.

A resolute defender of the Second Amendment, the National Rifle Association consistently gave Santorum the highest possible ratings, and said that Santorum was the most effective and influential advocate of bringing legislation to protect gun companies from frivolous lawsuits to the floor. He co-sponsored the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was signed into law in 2005 and protects law abiding firearms manufacturers and dealers from frivolous civil liability suits attempting to hold them liable for criminal acts of others. He also opposed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004, believing that stricter enforcement of existing laws would be more effective than taking away rights of law abiding citizens.

While in the Senate, Santorum served eight years on the Armed Services Committee, fighting to strengthen our nation's military in the face of attempts to downsize our fighting capabilities. After serving in Washington, he created the Program to Promote and Protect America's Freedom at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, examining the challenges of Radical Islam and emerging national security threats like Iran and Venezuela.

In 2003, in cooperation with Barbara Boxer, he introduced the Syria Accountability Act in the Senate, which was signed into law in December of that year with the purpose of combating the threat Syria posed to Israel and ending Syrian support for terrorism.

In 2006, Santorum sponsored the Iran Freedom Support Act, which became law in September of that year, and demonstrated a commitment to confronting the repressive and destabilizing activities of the Iranian regime. The law facilitates our monetary support of the Iranian people in their pro-democracy movements and provides the ability to impose real sanctions on the regime.

For nearly a decade, he recognized the looming threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions. While others in both parties ignored the reality that Iran's radical Islamic theocracy is intent on destroying Israel and western civilization, Santorum stood tall - and his administration would work with and stand with our ally Israel to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat immediately with a proper military response, to stabilize and defend the region from Iranian aggression. We can be assured that he will refuse to negotiate on any level with the terrorist state of Iran.

Santorum intends to reinstate full funding to assist pro-democracy groups within Iran, helping to organize an overthrow of the regime. He is determined to bring greater attention to Iranian human rights violations, and to economically target Iran by sanctioning their central bank.

Santorum steadfastly refuses to back down from those who wish to destroy America. He understands that our enemies want to destroy us because they hate that we are a land of freedom, prosperity, and equality. He knows that we need to confront our enemies, see the world the way it truly is, while honestly defining this war to the American people as a War with Radical Islam.

Obama's "leading from behind" approach does not view America as an exceptional leader, but just as one more country amongst the nations. Senator Santorum believes that we need to be reminded of what has made us a role model to others and what has made us so great in the past, by promoting the four fundamental American contributions to the world:
  1. free markets that are rooted in excellence, hard work, and innovation
  2. religious diversity with the right to pursue religious beliefs without abuse by either the government or a majority
  3. generosity and humanitarianism
  4. a system of governance that promotes human flourishing, seeks the common good and maximizes personal liberty

It is obvious that a Republican President is required in order to promote American exceptionalism around the world, and I believe that Rick Santorum is the ideal nominee for our Party.