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February 17, 2012

Club of Growth White Paper: Santorum is a Flip-Flopper

Maybe Santorum should get points for flip-flopping in the right direction sometimes?

He voted NO on raising the minimum wage in 1995 and 2005. But on the same day he voted NO in 2005, he sponsored an amendment that would increase the minimum wage, which he later boasted about to skeptical voters in a 2006 campaign brochure he released called “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Rick Santorum.”

He displayed similar duplicity on ethanol. In early 2011, Santorum said, “Prior to 9/11, I was not a big fan of ethanol subsidies, but 2001 change[d] my mind on a lot of things, and one of them was trying to support domestic energy and this is part of it."

The evidence does show that Santorum was opposed to ethanol before 9/11. Twice, in 1997 and 1998, Santorum voted to end ethanol subsidies. And the evidence also shows that, at times, he was supportive of an ethanol mandate after 9/11. But in 2005, Santorum voted to end the ethanol mandate. If the original flip-flop was a principled stand taken by Santorum because of national security concerns, we’re at a loss to explain this flip-flop-flip-again vote.

CFG notes similar "duplicity" on the GAS Act, which I wrote about on Tuesday, and on SarbOx.

On the other hand, for some issues it seems like Santorum's heart is in the right place. He just lets his principles slip a little when he's running for election:

An examination of his scores in the NTU rating of Congress shows that Santorum compiled a very strong record on taxes and spending in the first four years of each of his two Senate terms, then a sharp swing to below the Senate Republican average in the Congress before his reelection campaign. In the 2003-2004 session of Congress, Santorum sponsored or cosponsored 51 bills to increase spending, and failed to sponsor or co-sponsor even one spending cut proposal. In his last Congress (2005-2006), he had one of the biggest spending agendas of any Republican -- sponsoring more spending increases than Republicans Lisa Murkowski, Lincoln Chafee and Thad Cochran or Democrats Herb Kohl, Evan Bayh and Ron Wyden.

Lisa Murkowski? Lincoln Chafee? Eesh.

CFG's bottom line:

As president, Santorum would most likely lead the country in a pro-growth direction, but his record contains more than a few weak spots that make us question if he would resist political expediency when it comes to economic issues.

He was a go-along-to-get-along Beltway senator. It's not unreasonable to expect him to be a go-along-to-get-along Beltway president.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:26 AM

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