Mitt Romney is now arguing that Rick Santorum’s record exposes him as one of those Republicans who “act like Democrats” once they get to Washington. Romney surrogate Tim Pawlenty adds that Santorum “clearly has been part of the big-spending establishment in Congress.” Another Romney surrogate, former senator Jim Talent, says of Santorum, “He certainly has been outspoken on social issues . . . but when you get outside those issues into fiscal, spending, regulatory issues, his record shows that he’s been in the liberal wing of the Republican party.”But The Weekly Standard takes a look at the National Taxpayers' Union scoring of Santorum during his time as senator from Pennsylvania.
NTU’s scoring paints a radically different picture of Santorum’s 12-year tenure in the Senate (1995 through 2006) than one would glean from the rhetoric of the Romney campaign. Fifty senators served throughout Santorum’s two terms: 25 Republicans, 24 Democrats, and 1 Republican/Independent. On a 4-point scale (awarding 4 for an A, 3.3 for a B+, 3 for a B, 2.7 for a B-, etc.), those 50 senators’ collective grade point average (GPA) across the 12 years was 1.69 — which amounts to a C-. Meanwhile, Santorum’s GPA was 3.66 — or an A-. Santorum’s GPA placed him in the top 10 percent of senators, as he ranked 5th out of 50.Spendthrift?
Across the 12 years in question, only 6 of the 50 senators got A’s in more than half the years. Santorum was one of them. He was also one of only 7 senators who never got less than a B. (Jim Talent served only during Santorum’s final four years, but he always got less than a B, earning a B- every year and a GPA of 2.7.) Moreover, while much of the Republican party lost its fiscal footing after George W. Bush took office — although it would be erroneous to say that the Republicans were nearly as profligate as the Democrats — Santorum was the only senator who got A’s in every year of Bush’s first term. None of the other 49 senators could match Santorum’s 4.0 GPA over that span.
p. s. thanks to The Camp of the Saints for the recommendation!