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Ron Paul: Supporting Santorum 'Means Rejecting the Tea Party

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The ideological differences between Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are coming to a head. The Blaze wrote about the philosophical tension between the two candidates as far back as October, and throughout the campaign as both early dark horse candidates have managed to stay standing their attacks at one another have swelled. The two candidates have clashed during debates,  accused the other of indulging in "conspiracy theories," and now marred the other with what may be the worst insult possible among 2012 conservatives: rejecting the Tea Party.

Ron Paul's campaign website published a striking post Monday titled "Supporting Santorum Means Rejecting the Tea Party."

"The kind of Republicans who embraced phony conservatives like Santorum in the past represented the same, old hypocritical GOP that liked to talk conservative but always spent as much money as the Democrats. The Tea Party was, first and foremost, a reaction against this politics of old.

But Santorum unquestionably represents the big government politics of old. To a tee. A Tea Partier who champions Santorum as one of their own is like the New York Yankees championing a member of the Red Sox as one of their own. The former has always been defined primarily by its opposition to the latter.

Tea Partiers who now embrace Santorum should stop pretending they belong to any sort of independent, anti-establishment movement. They belong to the Republican Party. The GOP establishment has been trying to figure out how to corral the Tea Party back into the party machine since day one. With Santorum, they could very well have their solution."

The post cites commentaries by the Washington Examiner's Timothy P. Carney and Red State's Ben Domench slamming Santorum for his support of the president during the Bush administration.

Santorum spoke warmly about the Tea Party movement during early debates, but has also spoken publicly about his concerns regarding overtly libertarian influences taking control of the Tea Party and Republican Party:

 

The argument and attack draws further attention to an issue that has always surrounded the Tea Party as a collective idea with fragmented independent groups across the country all claiming the same title; what does the Tea Party support, and what does it not support.

The movement has been clear in it's adherence to the constitution, opposition to "big government," and rejection of specific policy pushed by the Obama administration like healthcare reform and cap-n-trade administration. But what is the Tea Party position on broader social issues and national security? Liberals often tag the collective Tea Party as evangelical and conservative on social issues but there is little evidence to warrant that assumption. If anything, there is much more showing the Tea Party rejection to the "compassionate conservative" ideology  and defense spending of the Bush administration.

If the Tea Party is a purely constitutionalist and libertarian movement, Paul seems to certainly have an argument against Santorum's record and why the Tea Party should support Paul. At the same time, if the libertarian influence dominates the Tea Party as Santorum has speculated, superseding positions Republicans have previously supported on issues of national security and life, perhaps many need to ask if their ideology truly aligns with the Tea Party.

 

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