The Arizona audience should be ashamed of itself. They booed Rick Santorum three different times tonight because he had the unmitigated gall to explain that as a Senator, he does not have the power to personally line-item veto elements of omnibus spending bills that are mostly good but have bad provisions — or to explain that he had to respond to the demands of his constituents in PA — or to point out that elements of his opponents’ attacks on his record, while technically accurate, were deeply hypocritical. Hey folks: GROW THE HELL UP.
If you are going to try to vote into office a candidate who will veto every bill that includes something he doesn’t like, you’ll never get anything done at all because there is no such thing as a perfect bill. That’s a powerful argument for small government, but it’s also a reason not to distort the truth when talking about your opponents’ voting records. Romney claims, for example, that Santorum voted several times to fund Planned Parenthood. The most pro-life member of Congress is being attacked for funding PP? Really? The reason he can say that is that PP is rammed through every year as a rider in the spending budget for Heath and Human Services, and all Santorum can do is either fund HHS or not. If he votes no, he gets accused of not caring about healthcare. If he votes yes, Romney accuses him of voting for PP. It’s insane. And the AZ audience bought it. That’s pathetically immature and will get this conservative movement utterly destroyed.
Santorum’s voting record is unquestionably conservative, both socially and fiscally. And when he passed that HHS omnibus bill, he also attached his own rider called Title 20 that funded ABSTINENCE EDUCATION. He explained that point — and the crowd booed him. Unbe-freakin’-lievable.
The more they booed him for demonstrating that he understands compromise, that he will be creative and think of ways to mitigate the damage from bills he is compelled to pass by the nature of the system, and that he will continue to speak on social matters and look for ways to battle media tropes and narratives that are factually untrue and dangerous to the stability of the nation, the more I wanted to send him a second campaign check and look for a way to campaign for him in NY.
Frustrating debate tonight.