The PJ Tatler

Rick Santorum - Outsider, Insider or AWW?

At The Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson makes short work of Rick Santorum’s claim to be a Washington Outsider:

Though a man of modest means when he left the Senate, Santorum managed to make more than $1.3 million during the 18 months covered in his most recent financial disclosure form, from January 2010 to August 2011. We can assume that 2008 and 2009 were similarly lucrative. He did this in the magpie manner of the well-connected and semi-famous Washingtonian: He got a TV deal with Fox, joined a corporate board, became a “fellow” at a think tank, sometimes hosted a radio talk show, and collected retainers from a couple of companies run by political friends. It’s nice work if you can get it.

I found myself strangely touched by the stories of Santorum’s recent wealth, for they certified that he wasn’t a “Washington insider” in any pejorative sense, at least by my libertarian lights. He’s just another Washingtonian of a particular type: the anti-Washington Washingtonian—an AWW, a contented resident of the nation’s capital who has based his career on his loudly declared disdain for the nation’s capital, particularly the federal Leviathan residing there. The AWW campaigns against Washington, catalogues its harmful effects, extols alternatives, and contrasts it with the “real America,” which he vows to liberate forever from its depredations—while never admitting that Washington is the very thing that makes his life worth living.

Am I exaggerating? We should allow for love of family, friends, household pets, and professional sports; for religious faith, too, in a few cases like Santorum’s. Still, we AWWs lead a life of moral dissonance and intense though half-buried psychological conflict.

So does that make me an ALA – an anti-Los Angeles Los Angeleno? There are certainly a lot of us around here, particularly in Hollywood, living our lives of “moral dissonance”. Sort of like Santorum, I would think. Or maybe Groucho Marx, as in “Whatever it is, I’m against it!”