Does Rick Santorum have a “libertarian problem?” You bet he does:
Polls of Republican voters almost always lump conservatives and libertarians together, making it difficult to gauge the number of libertarians in the party.
Clearly, though, there is a sizable and growing portion of the Republican Party that identifies with libertarianism’s more free-market philosophy. Libertarianism, which Ronald Reagan called the “very heart and soul of conservatism,” is particularly popular among young people.
It is not just Santorum’s voting record that frightens libertarians; it is his outward hostility to the libertarian movement. On one occasion Santorum stated, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.” On another occasion, speaking on the ascendancy of the tea party, Santorum declared, “I’ve got some real concerns about this movement within the Republican Party and the tea party movement to sort of refashion conservatism, and I will vocally and publicly oppose it.”
We didn’t pick this fight with Santorum. He came looking for one.