Combs endorses Santorum
Sun March 11, 2012 3:15 pm

She told the Texas Tribune that he is the only real conservative left in the race. Does this accolade stand up to scrutiny, or is she pandering to the social conservatives who have never fully embraced her? Mitt Romney criticized Santorum for voting to raise the debt ceiling on five occasions? Santorum was targeted in Iowa by Rick Perry, who ran ads saying that he voted to raise the debt ceiling eight times. Perry's ads also highlighted Santorum's vote for the "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. The Club for Growth observed that he was "a prolific supporter of earmarks" and pointed out that he voted for the extremely costly Medicare drug entitlement, and for No Child Left Behind. He voted for tariffs on imported steel.

The point I wish to make is not that Rick Santorum isn't a real conservative. It is that the current political discourse leaves no room to discuss whether earmarks, or votes for spending bills generally, should be disqualifiers for candidates. Earmarks represent a tiny fraction of the federal budget. They reflect the wishes of local communities. Yet, Perry attacked Hutchison, whose great success as a senator was the things she did for her state--as Combs, a onetime close ally of Hutchison, is well aware. There is nothing wrong with earmarks. They are an important aspect of representative government. Were it not for earmarks, there would be no way to circumvent the federal bureaucracy's grip on government priorities.

Let's move on to another point: Is Santorum the only real conservative left in the race? By what standard does Combs reach this conclusion? Is Gingrich not a real conservative, or does his kinder, gentler stance on immigration disqualify him? What about Romney? Does his tough stance on immigration make him more of a real conservative than Gingrich? Is Paul not a real conservative? He is tougher on spending than anyone else, but he also thinks it's nutty to spend so much on defense personnel and logistics overseas (as opposed to operations). Romney is in a different category, because his shortcomings have more to do with his inconsistency than with his beliefs. But he too called out Santorum for earmarks.

It is ironic that Combs has gotten caught up in the Republican parlor game of calling out her fellow R's for lack of purity. It was Combs who for years was pro-choice before flip-flopping. It would serve her well to cut others a little slack.

 

 

 

 

 

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