Is Senator Rick Santorum Just a Social Conservative?

It appears to be common knowledge that Senator Rick Santorum is a strong social conservative. Many seem to think he is too far right on those issues and not strong enough on the other issues. Are they correct?

Quote from Was Santorum a Senate Spendthrift? (Emphasis mine)

For each session of Congress, NTU scores each member on an A-to-F scale. NTU weights members’ votes based on those votes’ perceived effect on both the immediate and future size of the federal budget. Those who get A’s are among “the strongest supporters of responsible tax and spending policies”; they receive NTU’s “Taxpayers’ Friend Award.” B’s are “good” scores, C’s are “minimally acceptable” scores, D’s are “poor” scores, and F’s earn their recipients membership in the “Big Spender” category. There is no grade inflation whatsoever, as we shall see.

NTU’s scoring paints a radically different picture of Santorum’s 12-year tenure in the Senate (1995 through 2006) than one would glean from the rhetoric of the Romney campaign. Fifty senators served throughout Santorum’s two terms: 25 Republicans, 24 Democrats, and 1 Republican/Independent. On a 4-point scale (awarding 4 for an A, 3.3 for a B+, 3 for a B, 2.7 for a B-, etc.), those 50 senators’ collective grade point average (GPA) across the 12 years was 1.69 — which amounts to a C-. Meanwhile, Santorum’s GPA was 3.66 — or an A-. Santorum’s GPA placed him in the top 10 percent of senators, as he ranked 5th out of 50.

Across the 12 years in question, only 6 of the 50 senators got A’s in more than half the years. Santorum was one of them. He was also one of only 7 senators who never got less than a B. (Jim Talent served only during Santorum’s final four years, but he always got less than a B, earning a B- every year and a GPA of 2.7.) Moreover, while much of the Republican party lost its fiscal footing after George W. Bush took office — although it would be erroneous to say that the Republicans were nearly as profligate as the Democrats — Santorum was the only senator who got A’s in every year of Bush’s first term. None of the other 49 senators could match Santorum’s 4.0 GPA over that span.

This much alone would paint an impressive portrait of fiscal conservatism on Santorum’s part. Yet it doesn’t even take into account a crucial point: Santorum was representing Pennsylvania.

Let’s use the Club for Growth’s information available by clicking on the individual presidential candidates’ pictures at the CFG website.


Rick Santorum spent sixteen years in Congress – four years in the House followed by 12 years in the Senate – before losing to Democrat Bob Casey in 2006. In the last two years of his Senate career, he had an average Club for Growth rating of 77%, compared to an average of 73% for all Senate Republicans over that same time period. In the previous thirteen years before the Club had a scorecard, Santorum accumulated an average score of 76% on the National Taxpayers Union scorecard. This compares to a 71% average among all Republicans. NTU is a non-partisan group that advocates for limited government.


The Club for Growth wrote a white paper on Governor Mitt Romney back in 2007. Most of the information below is from that report, but since Romney has been outspoken on several issues since then, we’ve updated his record to reflect those positions. The Cato Institute, a free market think tank rates the country’s governors on a biennial basis. In both their 2004 and 2006 reports, they gave then-Governor Romney a “C” on tax and spending issues.


The Club for Growth did not have its own scorecard for members of Congress during Gingrich’s tenure from 1979-98, but the non-partisan and pro-free market National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has been issuing a congressional scorecard for decades and Gingrich’s record on economic issues, as provided by NTU, is worth analyzing. From 1979-98, Gingrich had an average score of 61% (with 100% being a perfect score on supporting lower taxes and limited government). The average Republican score over this time period was slightly lower at 56%.

Summary from the information in the presidential candidates’ introductions at CFG:

Sen. Santorum received a rating of 4 points above the Republicans’ average during his “last two years” in the Senate and 5 points above average during his previous 13 years in the House and Senate.

Gov. Romney earned a “C” during his years as Governor. I don’t know if that “C” is among only Republican governors or if it is among governors from both parties.

Rep. Gingrich received a rating of 5 points above the Republican’s average.

It is really hard to compare their records using this. IMO Santorum’s fiscal conservative record doesn’t look all that bad.

Published in: on FebruaryUTCbMon, 20 Feb 2012 15:58:20 +0000000000pmMon, 20 Feb 2012 15:58:20 +000012 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm  Comments (1)  

2011 Conservative Leadership Conference and the 2012 GOP Race

Most of you know that I’ve taken some time off from politics for a family emergency. My son was on life support with an extremely dangerous type of pneumonia. Although he has not fully recovered (doctor says about 3 more months) – he is home from the hospital now. Praise the Lord!

When Huckabee dropped out of the 2012 GOP presidential race I became undecided on who to vote for and/or support. I have been trying to keep up on some of the news and watched most of the New Hampshire debate. I missed the Republican Leadership Conference due to other family issues. So, today I started looking for some of the videos. I’ll post a few links here for others that may be interested:

Here’s the C-SPAN link to the evening of Day 1. Newt Gingrich’s speech is around the 48.30 mark.

Here is the link to the C-SPAN video of Day 2 that includes Herman Cain (around the 01:57 mark), Ron Paul (around the 02:22 mark), Michelle Bachmann (around the 03:39 mark), and Rick Santorum (around the 04:28 mark):

Here is the link to the C-SPAN video of Day 3 just in case the direct link to the video of Rick Perry’s speech quits working. Perry’s speech starts around the 3:30 mark.

Rick Perry speech at the RLC

Herman Cain speech at the RLC

It has been reported and/or suspected that Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman bussed in supporters (found in comments under Race42012 article) to help them win the straw poll. If true, it must have worked because Paul won the straw poll and Huntsman came in second – even though Huntsman didn’t even speak at the convention. I’m disappointed that straw poll votes can be bought that way.

My vote is not for sale! I will remain undecided until one of the candidates earns my vote. After watching Rick Perry’s speech at the RLC, I hope he joins the race so there are more conservative candidates to choose from.

H/T: The Right Scoop for posting the Cain and Perry videos so I was able to find them easy and to Right Speak for posting a link for the schedule so I knew which potential candidates to look for in the RLC videos.

The Latest 2012 GOP Polling Map

34 states have been polled since the midterm elections. Most of them were polled by Public Policy Polling. I included the polls done for Utah by Deserett News/KSL, the more recent poll done for Michigan by Strategic National, and the poll done for Georgia by 20/20 Insight because I’m not surprised at their results – Romney won the polls in Utah and Michigan and Huckabee won the poll in Georgia.

Huckabee has won the most recent polls in 17 states plus tied for 1st in 2 (AK, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MO, NC, NE, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV plus ties for 1st in NJ and ME)

Romney has won the most recent polls in 10 states plus tied for 1st in 1 (AZ, CA, CO, CT, MA, MI, NH, NV, RI, UT plus tie for 1st in NJ)
Palin has won the most recent polls in 4 states (MT, NM, SD, WA)
Pawlenty has won the most recent polls in 1 state (MN)
Gingrich has won a tie for 1st in 1 state among the most recent polls (ME)

Out of the 34 states that have been polled since the midterms – Huckabee has won 17 states (one half of all the states that have been polled) PLUS he’s tied for 1st place in two additional states.

This weekend PPP is supposed to be polling Michigan and North Carolina again. Whether or not Romney and Huckabee will be able to hold on to their leads in those states remains to be seen.

Cross posted at RightSpeak

Published in: on MarchUTCbSat, 19 Mar 2011 15:28:23 +0000000000pmSat, 19 Mar 2011 15:28:23 +000011 4, 2008 at 3:28 pm  Comments (1)