Politics
Politics

Rick Santorum Claims He's for Freedom, But He's Not

| by Reason Foundation

By Peter Suderman

Have you heard the good news? GOP primary contender Rick Santorum, the two term Pennsylvania Senator and former pro-wrestling lobbyist, thinks that this election is all. About. Freedom. That's what he's fighting for. 

After taking second place to Mitt Romney in yesterday’s Iowa caucus by just eight votes, Santorum gave a lengthy, unscripted speech, in which he declared that even in the midst of a miserable economy and threats to both the nation’s culture and safety, his campaign was defined by a single idea: 

"The essential issue in this race is freedom -- whether we will be a country that believes that government can do things for us better than we can do for ourselves, or whether we believe, as our founders did, that rights come to us from God, and when he gave us those rights he gave us the freedom to go out and live those rights out, to build a great and just society, not from the top down, but from the bottom up." [bold added]

Freedom, eh? And the belief that individuals manage their own affairs better than the government? That’s Santorum’s essential issue? If I didn’t know better, I might think this was satire.

Is there any candidate in the GOP race less invested in freedom, and the idea that individuals are better equipped than government to make decisions about their lives, than Rick Santorum? He’s for freedom,except for the freedom of same-sex couples to get married. He’s for freedom, except when state governments want to enforce sweeping bans on types of private sexual activity between consenting adults. He believes that government doesn’t do things better than we do for ourselves, except for “allocating spending” through pork-barrel earmark projects, and funding religious organizations to do social work, and spending hundreds of millions of federal dollars to promote the benefits of the same state-sponsored marriage that he’s worked so hard to deny to gays. He wants to avoid government-driven, top-down policy solutions—except when he votes to pass a brand new prescription drug benefitwithout paying for it. He's a freedom fighter, sure. By which I mean he seems to spend a lot of time fighting against freedom. 

Read David Harsanyi on Santorum's big-government conservatism. And check out Reason's Santorum candidate profile here