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Mantra: Santorum is a "Big Government Conservative"

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Now there's a mantra -- there's mantra out there -- and it's even now spread to CBS News: "Will Santorum's big government conservatism resonate?" It's everywhere, folks. "Santorum's big government conservatism." Have you ever heard "big government conservatism" associated with Rick Santorum before today? Have you? Have you? All right, very rarely. Some of you might. In Pennsylvania in some of his campaigns it might have been said, but nationally most people are hearing this for the first time after he wins the Hawkeye Cauci. Now, it started (at least I first saw it) in conservative media and then The Cato Institute, which is Libertarian. Now CBS News has it. So let's talk about this for a second.

I remember in the early days of this program, one of the things that I said when I was actually in the process of introducing myself to the audience, explaining my views and so forth. I remember saying... I'm gonna have to paraphrase myself; I don't have the exact quote in front of me 'cause I'm going back to 1988 or '89 now, maybe 1990. But I said, "In certain things, conservatives actually do like a big government. For example, conservatives do want an activist government defending what's right and attacking what's wrong." Big government may not be the term, but, for example: Conservatives do think that it's the role of government to protect the sanctity of life, as does Rick Santorum. If government doesn't, who else will? And it stems from our founding documents: Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence.

Clearly the government has a role here in defending life. If they don't, who will? Also, the government should be used effectively to fight crime. Conservatives are all for, for example, the government fighting illegal immigration. Now, is that big government or is that responsible government? Big government is being misused here when applied to Santorum. Big government as it's used today means welfare state, and Santorum does not believe in a welfare state. So the left is playing a rhetorical game here, folks, and I want to alert you to this. "Big government" has a specific meaning today, and it means welfare state. It means redistribution. It means high taxes. It means command-and-control of the economy. And that's not what Santorum believes. So the left knows that "big government" is a negative. It is a harmful term to attach to somebody, and that's why they're trying to attach it to Santorum. But Rick Santorum does not believe in the big government of Barack Obama. It's totally different thing for him.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Let me give you an example here on this big government garbage. Here is more from the CBS story about Santorum. "Santorum's voting record shows that he embraced George Bush–style 'big-government conservatism.' For example, he supported the Medicare prescription-drug benefit and No Child Left Behind. He never met an earmark that he didn't like. In fact, it wasn't just earmarks for his own state that he favored, which might be forgiven as pure electoral pragmatism, but earmarks for everyone, including the notorious 'Bridge to Nowhere.' The quintessential Washington insider, he worked closely with Tom DeLay to set up the 'K Street Project,' linking lobbyists with the GOP leadership."

Now, let me tell you something. Let me tell you what all that's about. The Democrats own all of that. What Rick Santorum and DeLay were trying to do was disempower the Democrats' bureaucrat lobbying reach into Washington. They were trying to get an equal foothold. It's the way the game is played. For all of us who are devoted to ideas, God bless us, but it is money that makes that town turn. It's money that makes that town run. It is money that motivates most people to want to be in that town. It's money that motivates most people to want to win elective office. It's being in control of the federal budget that is the great carrot that's dangling in front of everybody's eyes because that's the power.

Now, the Democrats own this.

What Rick Santorum has always been about is disempowering the Democrats. Same thing with Tom DeLay. It is why the Democrats had to take DeLay out. It's why the Democrats came up with these phony prosecutions of DeLay and did everything they could to get him out of the Republican leadership: Because Tom DeLay was a successful enemy of the Democrats and their entrenched power in that town; and Santorum knows full well the entrenched power in that town and he is devoted to breaking it up, pure and simple. His K Street Project was simply, you know, nothing more than an attempt to lessen the Democrats' lobbying power.

Everybody talks about "special interests," and somehow the special interests only end up on the Republican side. All these wealthy fat cats, it's always Republicans. The Democrats are these famous, clean and pure as the wind-driven snow. They don't have any big bucks donors. They don't have any big bucks members. It's a crock. It's the exact opposite. The big money is the Democrat Party. Santorum, DeLay, all these others who got in on this were trying to break that up -- and so now the long knives are out for Santorum; and I guarantee you: The fact that the media and the Democrats are trying to associate Santorum with "big government" is an indication of something very important.

They know that it can kill a conservative's chances, and that it resonates. People do not want big government is what this means. It means now that the Democrats today are taking Santorum seriously and some even on our side who are now taking him seriously, think that they can discredit Santorum by attaching him with this big government idea. Because it's a killer, particularly with the Tea Party and with conservative Republicans. So this is a full-fledged effort here to discredit Santorum with what's essentially a lie, because there are many different kinds of big government. The irony of the left using the idea of "big government," a term that they have completely discredited to try to smear a conservative!

But "big government" to the left means income redistribution, universal health care, union government workers, cradle-to-grave socialism. Those are things that Santorum vehemently opposes! Santorum by no means supports big government in that regard. The big government Santorum supports is a government that protects people by enforcing the law -- be it the right to life, be it the border and immigration or anything else. There are certain constitutional responsibilities that government has that they have abrogated. Be very careful, folks, not to fall for this big government stuff, because Rick Santorum... There is not a Republican out there that is "big government" in the sense that the left is "big government."

Well, wait. I may have to make a modification in that. I'm not gonna mention any name right now. Don't want to go there. But when it comes to Santorum, this whole notion -- I can't say this forcefully enough and right now I can't say it enough, period. I noticed this this morning, this mantra: "Santorum's big government conservatism, big government conservative, disaster in the White House. Santorum big government." No, no, no, no, no, no, no -- and I remember telling all of you when I started this program late eighties, early nineties, that we conservatives like big government in a lot of ways. We want it enforcing the border and the law. We want it defending and upholding the Constitution.

We don't believe in no government. We never have believed in no government! There has been an attempt for decades to equate conservatism with no government. That's Ron Paul. That's the Libertarians. We're fully aware as conservatives government has a role. It has a central role in many things: Enforcing the law, defending freedom, defending and protecting the Constitution, freedom and liberty; life, liberty, purest of happiness. If government doesn't do it, who will? But that is not to say -- and that certainly is not the case for Santorum to say -- that big government, that we believe in redistribution, high taxes, creating dependence, higher welfare, higher unemployment.

That's not what Santorum believes. Do not fall for this notion that he does -- and again the very idea that they think, they hope they can tar Santorum with this big government business means what? It means that even the proponents of big government know it's a killer; that the majority of people in this country don't want big government, otherwise they wouldn't dare could you see Santorum of being a big government guy. If being a big government guy was a winner, they wouldn't associate it with him. Big government is a loser. That's why they're trying to tie Santorum to it, which ultimately is good for us in the sense that we have not lost the country. We have not lost the people.

If big government anything was a winner, then they'd be running around calling Obama a big government guy, not Santorum. What's Obama doing? Obama's trying to make himself out to be not a big government guy! Democrats can't win being who they are. We've said this over and over again. They cannot win being honest. We conservatives, and this is true of Santorum, believe in a strong government, strong military, strong and just courts, strong law and order. But we don't believe it has to be "big." It does not have to be a leviathan. Where's the CBS News attack on Obama for being a big government guy? Where is it? It's not there -- and the reason is it's a killer, and that's why they're trying to tie it to Santorum.

Now, it's ultimately going to be up to him to explain this. If he chooses to, if he chooses to respond to this charge that he's a big government conservative, he's gonna have to explain what that means -- and he's gonna have to very clear what it doesn't mean, and it doesn't mean that he wants the government running people's lives, and he wants the government raising taxes, that he wants the government picking winners and losers in life, that he wants the government taxing people and redistributing the proceeds. That's not what he wants. That's what they're trying to suggest, and they will go out of their way to suggest that Santorum would use government to make sure you can't get an abortion if you want, even when it's legal.

That's what they'll try to do, because they are scared of the social issues, too. So in matter of a few hours, look at how all this has changed -- in a matter of just a few hours -- which of course is why I, El Rushbo, refuse to get depressed and down in the dumps about the Republican field and where it was headed and that's the reason I didn't get behind anybody because too much can happen. Things can change on a dime and the unexpected (by definition) is going to happen in politics more often than not; and history can tell you that after the first election, be it a caucus or a primary, you're gonna have people that are out of it. The first official declaration that they have lost, where do they go? Certainly not into debt so they get out of the race.

The field winnows, gets smaller. Now the whole dynamic is changed. The whole dynamic is changed here. It's fascinating.

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