He is not a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the party. Santorum certainly wants to reduce government spending (faster even than Representative Paul Ryan). He certainly wants tax reform. But he goes out of his way in his speeches to pick fights with the “supply-siders.” He scorns the Wall Street bailouts. His economic arguments are couched as values arguments: If you want to enhance long-term competitiveness, you need to strengthen families. If companies want productive workers, they need to be embedded in wholesome communities.
It’s hard to know how his campaign will fare after a late surge that he is experiencing in Iowa. These days, he is a happy and effective campaigner, but, in the past, there has been a dourness and rigidity to him. He’s been consumed by resentment over unfair media coverage. As his ally in the AIDS fight, Bono, once told a reporter, Santorum seems to have a Tourette’s syndrome that causes him to say the most unpopular thing imaginable.
But I suspect he will do better post-Iowa than most people think — before being buried under a wave of money and negative ads. And I do believe that he represents sensibility and a viewpoint that is being suppressed by the political system.
I wonder how quasi-endorsements like this — which probably doesn’t matter much but will certainly get a lot of play in Scarboughsphere — happen. Did someone in the Santorum campaign rub Bobo’s thigh under the table just so? Is this just clever attention-getting contrarianism, a centrist Hayekian counterpart to the Paultardism that is sweeping the internets?