Would Rand Paul or Rick Santorum’s GOP Be More Successful?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Rick Santorum says:

Rand Paul’s brand doesn’t line up with all of what our party stands for—on national security, social values, the economy and the role of government in society. His message won’t ultimately lead us to be a more successful party.”

Oh really? Let’s examine.

On National Security:

Santorum remains a die-hard Bush-Cheney loyalist. War is good. Civil liberties are bad. If there is a way for the Executive branch to assume more power or circumvent the Constitution, Santorum is for it.

Paul would like to see our wars declared by Congress which he believes will lead to less of them. He believes civil liberties are good, the Constitution is good and government power is bad.

Virtually every bit of polling shows that Americans are war-weary, the Iraq War remains very unpopular as does our 12 years in Afghanistan. Sen. Paul’s pro-civil liberties filibuster received broad bipartisan support and energized conservative Republicans like no other event in recent memory.

On national security, Paul’s message would unquestionably be more successful than Santorum’s.

On Social Values:

When Santorum was pro-choice in the 1990′s, Sen. Paul was pro-life, if Santorum wanted to quibble about this point.

On the life issue in general, polling shows that more Americans describe themselves as ‘pro-life’ now than they have in some time.

On issues like gay marriage, Santorum wants the status quo to hold. Paul, while believing in traditional marriage, would like to see the matter decided at the state level, or the government becoming less involved at all levels.

Public opinion (archived link) trends toward more tolerance on this issue, and so it trends toward Paul.

On the federal war on drugs, Santorum wants the status quo to hold. Sen. Paul would like to see non-violent drug offenders receive treatment as opposed to incarceration.

Public opinion trends toward more tolerance on this issue as well, and so between Rick and Rand, Paul would be more successful on these issues.

On “The Economy and Role of Government in Society:”


Santorum supported every big government scheme George W. Bush ever promoted. He supported doubling the Department of Education through No Child Left Behind. He supported the largest entitlement expansion since LBJ with Medicare Plan D. When Bush doubled the national debt, Santorum was a “team player.”

I’m trying to think of one, actually limited government bill, proposal, idea or tease Santorum has ever supported. I can’t.

Paul is for cutting as much government as possible as soon as possible. Paul wants to get government out of the private sector and our wallets, like right now, if we can.

Paul believes the “role of government in society” is whatever minimal role the Constitution allows.

Santorum believes the “role of government in society” is whatever George W. Bush thought was a good idea.

If you’re a conservative, there is only one choice here: Paul. If you’re looking for a “successful” Republican Party, there is only one choice here: Paul.

It would be easy to dismiss Santorum’s economic and governmental ideas as “Democrat-lite” except for the fact that Bill Clinton was more fiscally conservative than Bush.

Any way you cut it, on the economy and government, as a conservative or in terms of success, Paul wins.


By every possible measure, and certainly by Santorum’s stated measurements–national security, social values, economy and government–Paul’s “brand” unquestionably represents the more potentially successful Republican Party.

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