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Santorum, In Latest Move To Distance Himself From Bush, Criticizes “Trust Me” Defense of Miers

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Americans “deserve better” than President Bush’s “trust me” approach to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said Friday on a Philadelphia radio show.

“It is what I term the president’s second faith-based initiative, which is `trust me,'” Santorum said, mimicking a line used previously by conservative pundit Pat Buchanan on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think, candidly, we deserve better than that.”

Santorum added, however, that he had not decided to oppose Miers and hoped to learn more about her views during confirmation hearings.

It’s the latest example of Santorum trying to distance himself from Bush — not so much on policy, per se, but on policy presentation. Last month, Santorum took issue with how Bush had tried to rally Americans behind his Social Security privatization plan.

And let’s face it, when a party loyalist like Rick Santorum distances himself from the president, that doesn’t bode well for the strength of the president. To steal a line from former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), this is a guy who has carried more water for Bush than Gunga Din, leading him to say some outrageous things about Democrats, such as May 19 on the Senate floor, when he used a reference to Adolf Hitler to describe Democratic complaints about the “nuclear option” to ban judicial filibusters.

Why is Santorum distancing himself from Bush?

Two reasons. One Santorum substantially trails state treasurer Robert Casey in recent polls in his bid for re-election next year. With Bush’s own popularity tanking to new lows, it has been very easy for Casey to lump together failed presidential policies with a senator who has led the fight for those policies.

At the same time, conservatives far and wide have come out against Bush’s nomination of Miers, who lacks a judicial record. Conservatives like Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Trent Lott (R-MS) have suggested they will not endorse her nomination. Conservative pundits like Bill Kristol and Buchanan have suggested Bush withdraw her nomination to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.

These are strange days indeed for the conservative wing of the GOP.

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This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.

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About David R. Mark

  • Dr. Kurt

    Ahh, it is so tasty! The vision of brainless party tools like Santorum finally figuring out they hitched their wagons to a sinking ship (nice mix o’ metaphors, eh?) is too beautiful for words. Now, let’s see how long the voters’ memories are.

  • Nancy

    Alas, most Americans are generally too stupid, intellectually lazy, or ignorant to bother to vote, and the vast majority of those who do depend on MSM soundbites & the directives of their selected leaders (religious, celebrity, political, or otherwise) to tell them what to think and who to vote for. I’m not sanguine. But I do like your mixed metaphors.

  • http://piltdownman.blogspot.com Piltdown Man

    Santorum is desperately sprinting to the middle. He is going to try to put as much distance between himself and Bush as he can in the next few months, hoping he won’t be dragged down with the Prez.

    The problem he faces is this; if he doesn’t agree with the Prez, then what the hell is he all about?

  • Nancy

    From what I’ve observed, he’s deeply dedicated to his own aggrandizement.

  • Cunning linguist

    Desparately sprinting to the middle?

    OH… you mean he’s pulling a Hillary.

    Gotcha!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Santorum doesn’t have to do much to distance himself from Bush – he’s far more extreme on most issues, at the heart of the Theocon element of the party. How he ever got elected in the first place is a mystery to me.

    >>Conservative pundits like Bill Kristol and Buchanan have suggested Bush withdraw her nomination to replace Sandra Day O’Connor.<<

    Kristol and Buchanan aren’t conservative pundits. One is a socialist/imperialist and the other is a populist/fascist. They have more in common with the left than the right on most issues.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com David R. Mark

    Right, The Weekly Standard isn’t conservative. Ok. Pat Buchanan didn’t run for president as a conservative Republican. My bad.

    The spin never ends, does it, Dave?