The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

The problem with Rick Santorum

Photo of Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter
Political Commentator

Even when I agree with Rick Santorum, listening to him argue the point almost makes me change my mind.

I also wonder why he’s running for president, rather than governor, when the issues closest to his heart are family-oriented matters about which the federal government can, and should, do very little.

It’s strange that Santorum doesn’t seem to understand the crucial state-federal divide bequeathed to us by the framers of our Constitution, inasmuch as it is precisely that difference that underlies his own point that states could ban contraception.

Of course they can. States could outlaw purple hats or Gummi bears under our Constitution!

State constitutions, laws, judicial rulings or the people themselves, voting democratically, tend to prevent such silly state bans from arising. But the Constitution written by James Madison, et al, does not prevent a state’s elected representatives from enacting them.

The Constitution mostly places limits on what the federal government can do. Only in a few instances does it restrict what states can do.

A state cannot, for example, infringe on the people’s right to bear arms or to engage in the free exercise of religion. A state can’t send a senator to the U.S. Congress if he is under 30 years old. But with rare exceptions, the Constitution leaves states free to govern themselves as they see fit.

In New York City, they can have live sex clubs and abortion on demand, but no salt or smoking sections. In Tennessee, they can ban abortion, but have salt, crèches and 80 mph highways. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

And yet when Santorum tried to explain why states could ban contraception to Bill O’Reilly back in January, not once did he use the words “Constitution,” “constitutionally,” “federalism,” their synonyms or derivatives. Lawyers who are well familiar with the Constitution had no idea what Santorum was talking about.

He genuinely does not seem to understand the Constitution’s federalist framework, except as a brief talking point on the way to saying states can ban contraception. Otherwise, he wouldn’t keep claiming, falsely, that Obamacare is the same as Romneycare.

Rick! We’re conservatives! We believe the states can establish a religion — and the federal government can’t.

If he truly believed in the Constitution, Santorum wouldn’t be promoting big social programs out of the federal government, such as tripling the child tax credit exemption and voting for “No Child Left Behind.”

No federalist can support this man.