Adam Graham
Letter to conservatives #3: Rick Santorum's vision for America
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By Adam Graham
January 25, 2012

Dear Conservatives,

In the second piece, I offered my opinion as to why I thought Senator Santorum could win the Republican presidential nomination. Now, we want turn to the issue of why it would be worth it for Senator Santorum to win the nomination.

In choosing a presidential candidate, there are many factors. A candidate with a great platform without the temperament or character to govern will be ineffectual, or when the going gets tough, they will cave in. So issues, character, and leadership qualities all need to be evaluated. In this letter, I'll take a look at the reforms and positions that Rick Santorum proposes which will be vital to our nation's future, as well as his general position on the issues.

Entitlement reform: Senator Santorum was a long-time advocate of entitlement reform while serving in the United States Senate, including his sponsorship of welfare reform. Programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps take up the bulk of our nation's spending. To talk about reforming government and cutting spending without addressing these issues is absurd.

Senator Santorum is honest that we have to address these changes now when the politically-correct thing is to talk about putting off changes years down the road. Senator Santorum has been honest enough to say that the problem with the Ryan plan is that it puts off many key reforms for ten years to avoid ruffling feathers, which is why the Ryan budget ends up proposing a balanced budget by 2040. For the good of the country, we must act more speedily than most politicians, including Santorum's opponents, are prepared to act. The costs of entitlements are exploding, and real leadership is needed. Despite the political risks Santorum faced as a swing-state Senator, he showed the willingness to stand out front and take on the welfare state. That leadership is desperately needed in the White House.

Reviving the manufacturing sector: Senator Santorum has the strongest plan to revive our nation's economy. He proposes to reduce the general corporate income tax rate to 17.5%, which would make America's tax rate one of the lowest in the world. However, for manufacturers, the rate would be zero percent. This is in recognition of the fact that America is losing its manufacturing sector, slowly but surely. The replacement of high-paying manufacturing jobs with lower paying service industry jobs puts the squeeze on the middle class across the country. It even raises questions of national security, as many of the weapons America's military needs are manufactured overseas. We are quickly becoming "a nation that makes nothing but hamburgers, creates nothing but lawyers, and sells nothing but tax shelters," in the words of William Coles in Other People's Money.

Santorum's tax plan will help the entire economy, but its greatest feature is that it offers a great incentive for manufacturers to do business in the United States. The plan has potential to lead to the creation of good-paying jobs that will grow America's middle class and help make us one of the world's great manufacturing powerhouses again.

The family and the unborn: While we're told this is an election about the economy and not social issues, this does not make social issues irrelevant. Indeed, the greatest triumphs of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority occurred in the 1980 election during the height of the ruinous economic and foreign policies of the Carter administration. These issues are always important, and if we're honest, we'll concede that most of our economic problems are tied to social issues. In fact, our debt is so large because the federal government has decided to try and take over many functions from the family.

Rick Santorum has stood firm on these issues, and it hasn't just been voting for issues. Thankfully, the Republican Party in 2012 has progressed to the point where every one of our presidential candidates is avowedly pro-life. However, only one has engaged consistently on these issues. Time after time when the family and the unborn have needed a champion, Senator Santorum has walked into the arena and led on issues such as a ban on partial birth abortion and the defense of marriage.

Santorum not only gets it, but he's shown himself willing to fight for it despite the political peril. Those of us who believe in these causes, and believe that how we address the right to life and the family will determine our nation's destiny, owe Senator Santorum, at the very least, our consideration.

Foreign policy: Senator Santorum has a great depth of foreign policy knowledge gleaned from his years in Congress. He has thought through and addressed these issues intelligently, and articulated a vision for America to stand firm in the world. He understands and is prepared to address the threat of aggressive Islamic jihad to American security. Senator Santorum has the knowledge and the temperament to be Commander-in-Chief on day one.

Right when it matters: There are many issues that some conservatives will disagree with Senator Santorum on. Indeed, there are some I disagree with Senator Santorum on. However, not every issue matters equally in an election. There are certain issues that are key in every election, and where a party must stand unambiguously.

As Senator Santorum pointed out in the last debate, he has stood firmly against an individual mandate for health care, opposed the TARP bailouts, and opposed cap and trade consistently. Gingrich supported an individual mandate for two decades, and Romney included it in Romneycare. Both Gingrich and Romney supported TARP and flirted with support for Cap and Trade proposals.

It would be ironic if the Tea Party embraced a candidate who supported the major causes of their anxiety, while ignoring one who represented their values consistently.

This constancy and steadfastness are part of Santorum's character, and we'll discuss it and other aspects of Santorum's character and personal qualifications in the next letter.

© Adam Graham

 

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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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