Now that my post-20th-GOP-debate waves of nausea have subsided, I’d like note one good thing that came of the whole ordeal. Their economic agendas are disastrously wrong-headed, and their attacks on President Obama go beyond borderline bigotry. But when the remaining GOP standard bearers attack each other, they are usually spot-on.
The latest example is Mitt Romney’s attack on Rick Santorum for voting “No Child Left Behind” and the earmarks that built the infamous “Bridge To Nowhere” in which he basically called Santorum (as Jed Lewison put it) an “unprinicpled hack.”
“We saw Senator Santorum explain most of the night why he did or voting for things he disagreed with,” Romney said. “And he talked about this being ‘taking one for the team.’ I want to know which team he was taking it for. My team is the American people, not the insiders in Washington, and Ill fight for the people of America.”
“I dont know if I had ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why he voted against his principles,” Romney added.
It’s a pretty good line of attack, because sometimes Santorum’s principles don’t match his politics. Other times those principles change with astonishing speed, to match the political opportunity of the moment. Santorum even provided an example of the latter during the course of the debate.
Here’s Santorum on Charlie Rose, touting his support of contraceptive funding in Title X
Here’s Santorum at the most recent GOP debate, saying that he always opposed contraceptive funding in Title X and promising to eliminate it. (Please pardon the Americans Elect watermark in the video. After more than an hour of searching for a clip that didn’t require me to watch the entire debate again.)
Here’s a definitio of “political hack.”
a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment: a political hack.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
That’s just one example, though. There’s plenty more. Santorum’s lobbied to get stimulus money for his clients, despite loudly opposing “the various stimulus packages.” Santorum probably didn’t even have the courage of his convictions to return the $3,151 tax credit he received as a result of the stimulus bill.
In fairness to Santorum, he was a “Washington insider” before he was a “Washington outsider.” Still, he let Romney put him on the defensive, instead of putting Romney on the defensive about his tax rate. If anything, Santorum could have pointed out that while the rest of the candidates were slamming his Washington record, there’s not a Washington outsider among them. Not one.