George Will: Rick Santorum connects with the working class

From the liberal Washington Post, a column by moderate conservative George Will.

Excerpt:

On Sept. 26, 1996, the Senate was debating whether to ban partial-birth abortion, the procedure whereby the baby to be killed is almost delivered, feet first, until only a few inches of its skull remain in the birth canal, and then the skull is punctured, emptied and collapsed. Santorum asked two pro-choice senators opposed to the ban, Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), this: Suppose the baby slips out of the birth canal before it can be killed. Should killing it even then be a permissible choice? Neither senator would say no.

On Oct. 20, 1999, during another such debate, Santorum had a colloquy with pro-choice Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

Santorum: “You agree that, once the child is born, separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed. Do you agree with that?”

Boxer: “I think that when you bring your baby home . . . .”

Santorum is not, however, a one-dimensional social conservative. He was Senate floor manager of the most important domestic legislation since the 1960s, the 1996 welfare reform. This is intensely pertinent 15 years later, as the welfare state buckles beneath the weight of unsustainable entitlement programs: Welfare reform repealed a lifetime entitlement under Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a provision of the 1935 Social Security Act, and empowered states to experiment with new weaves of the safety net.

White voters without college education — economically anxious and culturally conservative — were called “Reagan Democrats” when they were considered only seasonal Republicans because of Ronald Reagan. Today they are called the Republican base.

Who is more apt to energize them: Santorum, who is from them, or Romney, who is desperately seeking enthusiasm?

Romney recently gave a speech with a theme worthy of a national election, contrasting a “merit-based” or “opportunity” society with Barack Obama’s promotion of an “entitlement society,” which Romney termed “a fundamental corruption of the American spirit”: “Once we thought ‘entitlement’ meant that Americans were entitled to the privilege of trying to succeed. . . . But today the new entitlement battle is over the size of the check you get from Washington. . . . And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing — the government.”

Romney discerns the philosophic chasm separating those who embrace and those who reject progressivism’s objective, which is to weave a web of dependency, increasingly entangling individuals and industries in government supervision.

Santorum exemplifies a conservative aspiration born about the time he was born in 1958. Frank Meyer, a founding editor of William F. Buckley’s National Review in 1955, postulated the possibility, and necessity, of “fusionism,” a union of social conservatives and those of a more libertarian, free-market bent.

Please make sure you watch Rick Santorum’s speech in Iowa, or read the transcript. The speech was very good, and it’s also very interesting.

In a new national poll from today (Thursday), Santorum now trails Romney nationally 29%-21%.  Gingrich is third with 16%. According to another poll, Santorum is now running third in liberal New Hampshire.

By the way, I am completely fine with a Gingrich/Santorum ticket. But I would prefer a Santorum/Gingrich ticket, if I can get it. Those are the two great conservative communicators in this Republican primary. Both candidates are from the working class, and both are men with bold ideas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s