There are many ways to determine whether a Republican is worth the least bit of support from advocates of limited government. One is to see what the person’s position was on Medicare D — Bush’s prescription drug program. In particular, anyone who was in a position to vote on it, and voted for it, can simply never, ever be trusted to guard free enterprise or the Constitution against the ravages of Washington’s welfare state.

Yes, I know this means that most of the Republicans in Congress at the time of Medicare D’s enactment would be beyond the pale. In October 2009, Laurence Vance wrote:

“There are 28 Republicans currently in the Senate who were in the Senate back in 2003. Of this number, 24 voted for health care reform in 2003: Lamar Alexander, Bob Bennett, Kit Bond, Sam Brownback, Jim Bunning, Saxby Chambliss, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Mike Enzi, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jim Inhofe, Jon Kyl, Richard Lugar, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Roberts, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby, Olympia Snowe, and George Voinovich.

“There are 122 Republicans currently in the House who were in the House back in 2003. Of this number, 108 of them voted for health care reform in 2003: Robert Aderholt, Spencer Bachus, Roscoe Bartlett, Joe Barton, Judy Biggert, Gus Bilirakis, Rob Bishop, Marsha Blackburn, Roy Blunt, John Boehner, Jo Bonner, Mary Bono, John Boozman, Kevin Brady, Henry Brown, Virginia Brown-Waite, Michael Burgess, Steve Buyer, Ken Calvert, Dave Camp, Eric Cantor, Shelley Capito, John Carter, Michael Castle, Howard Coble, Tom Cole, Ander Crenshaw, Nathan Deal, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart, David Dreier, John Duncan, Vernon Ehlers, J. Randy Forbes, Trent Franks, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Elton Gallegly, Jim Gerlach, Phil Gingrey, Bob Goodlatte, Kay Granger, Sam Graves, Jeb Hensarling, Wally Herger, Pete Hoekstra, Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa, Lynn Jenkins, Sam Johnson, Timothy Johnson, Pete King, Steve King, Jack Kingston, Mark Kirk, John Kline, Tom Latham, Steven LaTourette, Jerry Lewis, John Linder, Frank LoBiondo, Frank Lucas, Donald Manzullo, Thaddeus McCotter, John McHugh, Buck McKeon, John Mica, Candice Miller, Gary Miller, Tim Murphy, Sue Myrick, Randy Neugebauer, Devin Nunes, Thomas Petri, Joseph Pitts, Todd Platts, Adam Putnam, George Radanovich, Dennis Rehberg, Harold Rogers, Mike Rogers (AL), Mike Rogers (MI), Dana Rohrabacher, Heana Ros-Lehitnen, Ed Royce, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, F. James Sensenbrenner, Pete Sessions, John Shimkus, Bill Shuster, Mike Simpson, Chris Smith, Lamar Smith, Mark Souder, Cliff Stearns, John Sullivan, Lee Terry, Mac Thornberry, Todd Tiahrt, Pat Tiberi, Michael Turner, Fred Upton, Greg Walden, Ed Whitfield, Joe Wilson, Frank Wolf, C.W. Bill Young, and Don Young.”

Every single one of these folks, without exception, is in no position to criticize Obamacare or claim to want to beat back the tide of socialism that supposedly began only two years ago when Obama rose to power. Every single one of them voted to shovel tax dollars to the pharmaceutical industry and the wealthiest age demographic — the elderly — in unambiguous defiance of the Constitution, individual liberty, the free market, fiscal sanity and classical American values.

One man who is not on Vance’s list, since he was not a Senator anymore in 2007, is Rick Santorum — one of the prospective Republican candidates for the 2012 presidential election. He voted for Medicare D and now concedes it was a “mistake.”

This is simply not good enough. It should not fool a single serious proponent of smaller government. We cannot predict the future with certainty, but I would give very good odds that a President Santorum would expand the government steadily, erode liberty in every area, and be as terrible a guardian of the Constitution as Obama or Bush or anyone else on the scene today.

His failure to vote against Medicare D and his nonchalant non-apology for this vote are indication enough. You see, this is how a Republican who voted for Medicare D and who wants the public’s trust that he has changed his tune should talk:

“My fellow Americans. I am disgusted at myself for caving to partisan pressures in 2003 and voting for Medicare D. It was a craven act of immorality and cynical expedience for which I deserve no forgiveness, but I beg for it anyway. I do hope you have the mercy to pardon this unspeakable transgression. You see, I was acting as a shameless politician with no regard for the future, no concern for the law, no recognition that my actions would contribute to the destruction of this society and the impoverishment of its people.

“I have given no sufficient reason for any of you to trust me as anything other than a partisan shill and a solid champion of the establishment’s rapacious parasitism. I am considering running for president, but not until I come to the point where I can look at myself in the mirror again, having voted to advance nationalist socialism, an alien and un-American agenda, right here in the United States. The day when I even forgive myself is a long way off, it goes without saying. Perhaps after ten years of soul searching I will return to the public sphere. In that decade I will devote all my time and energy to promoting liberty and fighting the very collectivist evil that I served to promote while in power.

“May God forgive me, for I understand if my countrymen never will.”

Of course, we could never expect a Republican socialist like Santorum to utter anything as modest as this. He offers no apology at all, other than to say he made a “mistake.” You know, kind of like when you buy the wrong color couch or pick the wrong vacation spot for a weekend away — he made a “mistake.”

Am I being too hard on Santoram based on one vote? Am I being unfair since, as a libertarian, I cannot be trusted to judge conservatives? Don’t take my word for it. Consider the John Birch Society’s “Conservative Index” from December 2003: Senator Santoram scored a 45%. Harry Reid, meanwhile, scored 50%.

This was, to be sure, at the height of the Bush administration, yet this actually bolsters my point. Any Republican wanting the presidency cannot be weighed on his rhetoric alone. Santomum’s rhetoric is bad enough — dismissing as a “mistake” what was actually a major attack on constitutional principles — but in addition we must consider the dynamics of power. A Republican president, likely with a Republican House of Representatives, will likely yield a situation similar to what we had under Bush. Not only has Rick refused to show true humility for his disgraceful vote for Medicare D, he has failed to apologize for many other bad votes. If Santoram throws his hat in the ring, all we can know is that his victory in the primaries will render November 2012 an election between two socialists.

originally published at JohnDennisReport.com


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