Politics

In 2006, Voters Saw Santorum As Creature Of Washington

The former Pennsylvania Senator lost badly in 2006 partially because of a label that dogs him in 2012. He became an out of touch “career politician.”

Rick Santorum speaks to supporters in Pennsylvania following his defeats Tuesday night. (Getty Images)

Rick Santorum has spent this spring dodiging charges from the Romney campaign, and the pro-Romney SuperPAC, Restore our Future, that he made his career as politician, and was out of touch with the people of Pennsylvania. Sure to return is the fact Santorum, who first ran successfully for the House of Representatives in 1990 by portraying his opponent as out of touch for living in the suburbs of Washington, DC turned around and did the same.

Santorum touted his record as a social and fiscal conservative in the Senate, but stuck Pennsylvania tax payers with a bill of over $100,000 for his children’s education at cyber school while they lived in Virginia. The point became a hot button issue in the 2006 campaign.

Al Quinlan, who polled the State of Pennsylvania in 2006 for Ed Rendell’s successful campaign for Governor said the perception of Santorum as a creature of Washington proved a big liability for him with independent voters.

“He was seen as a polished professional politician to a much greater degree than a lot of us thought,” Mr. Quinlan commented to Pittsburg Post Gazette in 2006. “He was seen as part of the political class; that was really what put him in the very, weak position.”

At a time when advocating President Bush’s policies were deemed political suicide, Santorum actively touted his support for the President’s agenda. Going so far as to declare that they had discovered WMDs in Iraq, he received a rebuke from the Department of Defense.

Even Catholic voters, a notable solid Santorum constituency in the 2012 campaign, voted for his opponent over the incumbent by 11%.

As the Romney campaign sees an opportunity to effectively end the Santorum campaign, memories of 2006 are likely to be rehashed.

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