Santorum’s Specter

by Robert Costa

Des Moines, Iowa — I’ve been getting some great emails this morning (keep them coming), but the ones that stand out have shared a theme. In short, a few readers have said, “Look, Bob, we like Santorum, but I can’t get over his endorsement of Specter,” or his “support for earmarks.” Here’s one example:

I lived in PA’s 18th Congressional district in 1990 when Santorum shocked western PA politics by beating incumbent Doug Walgren.  He did it with hard work and lots of “retail politics,” whatever that is. Although I thought Santorum was way too hot and boastful in every debate this fall, I always thought he would surprise in Iowa because of his sheer doggedness.

I campaigned for Toomey in 2004, and never forgave Santorum for undermining him as a favor to Specter.  Evidently, a lot of my fellow PA conservatives felt the same way in 2006.  I simply didn’t vote in the US Senate race that year. Pundits [can] never understand what a total sense of betrayal we early supporters of Santorum felt in 2004.  That 2006 18-point shellacking Santorum experienced was his penance.  Despite that, I never felt Santorum fully addressed his betrayal of the voter as he seemed to think his loyalty was to Specter.

There is a long way to go in this GOP race, but I would not count Santorum out.  I never thought I would say this, but I admire the man’s determination and might even vote for him again. He doesn’t need to grovel or beg forgiveness, just admit he was wrong and say the people of PA were right, as they replaced Specter with Toomey in 2010.  He also needs to say he will never again put his loyalty to a political colleague above that of we, the people.

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