Santorum’s Anti-Libertarianism is a Recipe for Big Government
Writes Philip Klein at The Washington Examiner:
Nobody expects the Republican presidential nominee to be a libertarian purist, but it helps if he or she at least has a libertarian streak. In Rick Santorum’s case, he’s actively hostile toward libertarianism…
(Santorum’s) been coming under fire for his many votes to expand government. He took earmarks, voted for the Medicare prescription drug plan and backed No Child Left Behind. He pushed dairy subsidies, steel tariffs and sided with unions over workers.
As Cato’s Gene Healy noted in his Washington Examiner column on the topic this week, Santorum explicitly declared, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”
This is a stark departure from Ronald Reagan, who had this to say to the libertarian Reason magazine in a 1975 interview:
If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism… The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.
Ever since that time, Republicans have gotten into trouble when they have veered too far from libertarianism. If Santorum had a modicum of respect for libertarian philosophy, he would have been reluctant to embrace big government Republicanism during the Bush era. Instead, he cast votes that will make it harder for him to consolidate conservative support in the weeks and months ahead as his record undergoes more scrutiny…
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