Santorum and Freedoms

On Monday night, Rick Santorum had some big moments that should have a significant impact on his placing in South Carolina. The first was a very direct attack toward Mitt Romney, in response to an attack made by a Restore Our Future ad that says he voted to allow felons to vote. He asks Romney if felons should be allowed to vote. Romney dodges, something that got him a great deal of flak in this debate, to no avail. This is particularly hurtful as he avoided the question, then is subsequently called out for it by Santorum. Romney continues to flail on the issue, addressing the super PAC that created this ad. Rick parries again to get a straight answer from Mitt, but not before mentioning it was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the disproportionate incarceration of African Americans – a strong appeal that Ron Paul has pointed out in the past debates. He also clarified the bill returned certain rights. Romney makes a bold statement with no dancing or dodging, “I don’t believe people people who have committed violent crimes should be allowed to vote again.” This is a very conservative stance that is compounded by a statement he made later which I’ll address shortly.  Santorum brings the argument home. It was all a trap. He goes into how in Massachusetts there were laws that allowed for felons to vote during and after their sentence. This, he points out, is less conservative than the law he voted on in the Senate. In South Carolina, conservative is the law of the land. This was a good play by Santorum, although he finishes his statement suggesting Romney do something illegal, that is, talk to the super PAC supporting him.

Skipping ahead, we get another polarizing issue between Santorum and Romney over the NDAA. Romney says he would sign the NDAA, despite the authorizing of indefinite detention to suspected terrorist, not excluding US citizens. His answer puts the audience on an emotional roller-coaster, receiving 2 sets of boos and cheers. Boos echoed after saying he’d sign it and he “wouldn’t abuse this power” as president. Cheers rang out when he appealed to the idea that American traitors should be locked up and people who join Al Qaeda should be treated as combatants. Santorum uses precedent and the Constitution, particularly haebeus corpus, to defend his opposition to the bill. This makes Santorum shine against Romney for a second time.  Santorum had a game plan for this debate and executed it well. Saturday we will see if it made a difference.

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