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Santorum's libertarian problem

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Washington Examiner columnist Tim Carney writes today about one of the biggest challenges facing Rick Santorum in his bid for the presidency: balancing liberty and morality.

For one brief moment, Rick Santorum was the ideal Republican candidate for 2012, the perfect consonance of Don't-Tread-On-Me libertarianism and traditional cultural conservatism.

When asked about contraception, which Santorum and the Catholic Church hold to be destructive of marriage and family, Santorum replied, "You know, here's the difference between me and the Left, and they don't get this. Just because I'm talking about it doesn't mean I want a government program to fix it. That's what they do. That's not what we do."

[...]

Santorum's debate answer hit the conservative sweet spot -- the moral law should guide our personal actions, and individual liberty should guide our political decisions. But a few moments later, Santorum showed he didn't really believe it. When Ron Paul pressed Santorum on his votes for federal family planning funding, Santorum explained his response: "I said, well, if you're going to have Title X funding, then we're going to create something called Title XX, which is going to provide funding for abstinence-based programs."

Sure enough, if you drill down on Santorum's record, he frequently thinks that problems of personal morality do merit a federal response. ...

Read the whole thing here

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