Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Score on Santorum’s NTU Rating


Santorum Supporter WARNING LABEL: These ideas contain facts and analysis which may prove dangerous to fantasies and false images of your candidate.  Please do not read this if you are prone to cursing or self-deception without a priest present.

My favorite website, TheRightScoop is citing an A- National Taxpayer Union score as proof Rick Santorum is a fiscal conservative.  We will get to his “D+” grade on his current economic plan from the Tax Foundation in another post later this week, but people like Scoop are making a common error of misinterpreting the objection to the former Senator.

My response recaps arguments I’ve made across a number of posts on this site as well as addressing his last comment which was, “I suppose you think Paul Ryan isn’t a conservative because he voted for No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D too”.  With slight additions from my original comments I said:

PolitiJim 2 days ago

The problem isn't the NTU score. He's not Harry Reid and we all know that.  You can put your 9 fingers in a bucket of ice water and your right thumb in a cauldron of boiling peanut oil but saying you are 90% super cool doesn't tell the complete picture.

I would ask how Santorum’s “score” (which is quite good by the way) could be so good, if he voted for every “big government” program and employer busting union legislation that got the GOP kicked out of power (along with himself) in 2006.   The CLUB FOR GROWTH is a bit better in it’s perspective:

On the whole, Rick Santorum’s record on economic issues in the U.S. Senate was above average.  More precisely, it was quite strong in some areas and quite weak in others.  He has a strong record on taxes, and his leadership on welfare reform and Social Security was exemplary.  But his record also contains several very weak spots, including his active support of wasteful spending earmarks, his penchant for trade protectionism, and his willingness to support large government expansions like the Medicare prescription drug bill and the 2005 Highway Bill.

You might want to take a deeper look to see how they came at this score.  It doesn’t take into account many votes that didn’t have DIRECT inflow or outflow implications although these can be the MOST costly!  (Like prohibiting employers from firing union workers.  Or approving nominations of judges like Sotomayor who will undoubtedly decide FOR Obamacare, the biggest economic bomb our country has ever seen.)

Ed Morrisey wants to equate Newt Gingrich as roughly “the same” because he sat on a couch with Nancy Pelosi.  Funny he doesn’t mention Santorum’s ads that tout HIS bills with Nancy, Hillary and Chris Dodd as a similar “problem” especially when Gingrich gave the “keynote” rebuttal to Al Gore on Cap and Trade at the congressional hearings.  The only difference is Gingrich balanced the budget 4 times (the only time in your lifetime he says) while Rick Santorum raised the debt ceiling 5 times.

His sanctimony of this "principled conservative" is the problem here. Like saying he was against TARP and Gingrich was for it - when in fact Gingrich spent weeks battling it in the media and only "sadly and disappointingly" went along with vote after passionate criticism against it. Santorum? He gave a PittGazette interview saying he'd rather talk about movies. That was it. (That wasn't scored)
ObamaCare? Gingrich spent months writing, lecturing, making TV appearances battling it. Santorum? A mild displeasure on a couple of interviews while promoting himself. (Not scored)

The PA Senator was the "top" lobbyist of 2006, and also said he was fiercely pro-life. And yet voted for Sotomayor's judgeship and undercut conservatives who wanted to filibuster. NEITHER are scored by ACU or or your "fiscal" test.
In 2006 Santorum's ACU rating was 96. Seems pretty good right? What also wasn't graded (besides his extremely questionable ties to Glaxo-Smith and other KStreet lobbying efforts), was undercutting the candidacy of a conservative pro-life Senator and supporting rabid pro-abortion Arlen Specter. Specter's ACU rating that year? 46.   And yet Specter was the 60th vote that put ObamaCare over the top, took over 16% of the economy, and sent an already sputtering economy into a permanent stall.  (Not in the NTU score.)

Forget for a minute that his absolutely crazy statements on personal freedoms, women and gays wouldn't be promoted by $1 Billion Obama campaign (including saying conservatives believe they have a right to regulate what goes on in someone's bedroom) - there are a few little things like making Pennsylvania pay $100K for homeschooling his kids who never lived there, lobbying for a maximum 250K cap on medical lawsuits while suing a chiropractor for $500K and claiming to be tough on terror when you won't accommodate Dick Cheney to close a loophole allowing US companies to sell to Iran.

When you put out an ad attacking your "mentor" who has a higher ACU score than you do as "big government," you open yourself up to a whole different level of scrutiny and criticism. Especially if you were the #3 ranking Senator in a Congress that never balanced a budget and voted for excessive spending that LOST your party the Senate. (While the mentor you are attacking balanced the budget 4 years in a row with a DEMOCRAT President and left Congress with a 60% approval rating).

When Paul Ryan and Allen West would NOT "hold the line" with Jim DeMint and the Tea Party 22 causing a catastrophic cut in Defense and continuing spending by Obama - they no longer became "principled conservatives." Are they conservative?  Of course.  But Santorum went further in arrogantly criticizing Michele Bachmann for also “holding the line.” I wonder if we can get an apology for him on that?  Probably not, as she is still waiting for him to apologize for the staff circulating a memo saying women aren’t qualified to be President. 

And that is NOT how Santorum and his followers like to portray him. Although his votes show - that is exactly who he is. (http://www.redstate.com/erick/...
Gingrich stood up to Reagan, Dole and Bush refusing to raise taxes every time he was asked.  He ain't perfect either - but he has shown he has a backbone.
We quite correctly point out the exaggeration of Romney's conservative credentials which is mostly NEW positions he talks about, not what his voting record says. In my opinion Santorum is fair game for being hammered on some of his rather liberal votes because he CLAIMS that he has a record that isn't reality.

I am quite amazed at the pied-piper effect Santorum is now having on conservatives who are explaining away every red flag of his past votes, positions and gaffes.  We must rally behind the Santorum!!  Despite the fact his incredibly reckless comments about women, gays and getting conservatism into the bedrooms of the American public.  If you thought Palin had a tough time without making ANY of these statements – just wait til the main stream media and the gay mafia amplify $1 Billion in creating Santorum’s image to the American public.

Conservatives are doing EXACTLY what they accused blacks of doing with Obama.  They are blindly voting for him because they think he is “like them” and they simply don’t want to objectively look at the clear indications he is a cultural landmine about ready to blow up in their faces.  People afraid of Romney, simply project all the supposed fiscal conservatism they wanted in Perry and whaala!  It’s Art Laffer in a sweater vest!  Christians who can’t possibly believe that Jesus actually CAN transform the repentant (as their bible teaches) are so desperate for a “good” Christian to root for that they argue away the fact that babies are being killed at this moment because of multiple “unprincipled” endorsements (and votes) that Santorum made.  Before you can say “Arianna Huffington,” Rick the Republican Establishment becomes Rick the Righteous!  How great is that!?

But hey.  Let’s go ahead and do what the Democrats did in 2008 and elect a guy with ZERO experience in managing government, leading people or getting other conservatives elected.  And you’re right.  That’s not a fair comparison.  Santorum doesn’t even have Obama’s charisma.  But I’m sure this will work out well for us because Rush Limbaugh says so.  And we know from his personal life his judgment has been dead on.  (Yes, I went there.)

So forgive me if we don’t get all goo goo-eyed over a gaffe prone moralist who somehow chooses the worst economic and government corruption period our country to pick “social” fights that we are in no place to win.  Nor does he have ANY track record of recruiting and managing other conservatives to nationwide office.  Nor does he have any experience in executive office outside of sitting on boards of charities that didn’t disperse money as they said or healthcare companies embroiled in Medicare fraud.  Was Rick responsible for these things?  I doubt it.  I think he’s well intentioned.  But this is an election too great to risk a political or managerial incompetent.

I’ve got a great idea for you Senator.  Why don’t you balance the budget a few times, create 11 million jobs, put the GOP back into power in BOTH houses and cut needless government programs before we try to ask the American people to trust us on social issues. 

And if you would only PROVE you knew how to lead – rather than just one continuous whine and complaint about other people’s campaigns – perhaps you might win over the rest of us who aren’t supporting you.


Coincidentally, I actually interned at the National Taxpayers Union back in 1995 (under the now deceased and sorely missed John Berthoud) and worked on Bill Tally which helped rate Congress. If I remember correctly (a big if as it was a long time ago and I have daddy brain)representatives only got credit/penalized for bills they actually sponsored or co-sponsored. So something that would not have been scored are all the spending bills that Santorum voted for but didn't actually sponsor. In other words, he wasn't penalized for simply being a tool for George W. Bush's big spending habits, he only would have if he was a leading tool.

Good comprehensive stuff, PolitiJim. Thanks for the diligence. Quite an eye opener.

Glad someone does their due diligence in exposing a candidate. Only wish Rick's supporters could open their eyes. Santorum would be a good cabinet choice, but certainly not President.

Let me hear you say it again:

"a gaffe prone moralist who somehow chooses the worst economic and government corruption period our country to pick “social” fights that we are in no place to win"

and this: "I am quite amazed at the pied-piper effect Santorum is now having on conservatives who are explaining away every red flag of his past votes, positions and gaffes."

I especially liked Santurum's Satan speech. I'm sure that won't be a problem in the general. (I was going to provide a link, but quick google will get you about 100 hits.) Oh my, even "El Rushbo" is slightly critical of Santurum.

Let's bring back the Church Lady: "Could it be......SATAN!"

thanks Jim, another great post of vetting Santorum. Just the tip of the iceberg.

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