Re: Ron Paul Tries to Tar Santorum with Gingrich Brush

by Andrew Stuttaford

Maggie, I agree with you that for the Paul team to cite the leftist CREW in the way they did was a low blow, and the rest of the commercial comes with the usual attack ad trimmings. At the same time, it makes a fair point in contrasting Santorum’s current attempts to create an aw shucks outsider image with the actual Beltway reality.

After making the necessary allowances for the fact that it comes from the New York Times, this piece is worth reading. Here’s an extract:

Mr. Santorum enjoyed unusually close ties to Washington lobbyists while in office. For several years, he held regular breakfast meetings with a handpicked group of 30 to 40 power players, ostensibly to brief them on the Republican agenda. But the meetings began with a representative of the Republican National Committee circulating a list of open jobs at trade associations and other lobbying shops, according to one participant.

The jobs list was part of a carefully plotted effort by party activists and leaders to make sure these positions were filled by Republican loyalists, an effort that was championed by Tom DeLay in the House and came to be known as the “K Street Project.”

The meetings became a lightning rod for criticism during Mr. Santorum’s unsuccessful 2006 Senate re-election campaign. Mr. Santorum would later deny being part of the K Street Project, but his support for the effort was reported in several news accounts. And while he was never accused of wrongdoing, the harsh glare from the attacks ultimately forced him to step aside from his role spearheading ethics reform legislation in the wake of the scandal involving the lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In 2006, Mr. Santorum led all federal candidates in contributions from lobbyists and their family members, taking in roughly $500,000, nearly 40 percent more than the next closest candidate, Senator George Allen, a Virginia Republican, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics [That’s CREW, of course]. That tightknit relationship could make it difficult for him to appeal to Tea Party members and other voters yearning for a candidate free of inside-the-Beltway taint.

But readers should take a look at the whole thing, and judge for themselves. Was I terribly surprised? Unfortunately not:  it’s how American government currently works and, Santorum is, for good or bad, ultimately a government guy.

Update

Corrected: The Center for Responsive Politics is not CREW. It’s a different group. My apologies for the error.