Discuss as:

Santorum: Obama wants 'Godless' America; passion is on the left

 

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator who very well may have been a Michigan primary win away from being the Republican nominee, gave a rousing defense of social values here at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“For those in our movement who want to abandon our moral underpinnings to win, what does it profit a movement to gain the country and lose its own soul?" Santorum told this room of thousands of conservative activists at CPAC to raucous applause. "The left in America has made that Faustian bargain… We must not.” 

Santorum’s speech, which led off with an emotional recounting of the untimely death of his nephew, will only likely stoke speculation that he is thinking about another run in 2016. He set out what conservatives should fight for, had plenty of attacks on President Barack Obama, distanced himself from Congress -- despite having served there for 16 years, and even noted that he had created a conservative advocacy group, something that will help keep him in the conversation on the right.

Santorum accused the president of wanting to “close the deal” on a transformation of America 100 years in the making. He said Obama “wants to replace the ‘why’ of American Revolution for ‘why’ of French revolution –- a society that is Godless without faith,” that is “anti clerical, anti-God, where the government is the center, and they are the ones who care for us. This is President Obama’s New Deal.”

He added, “How do we turn this around? How do we make a difference in America today? I’ve tried to do my part.”

He contended that the problem on the right is not that there are not enough conservatives, it is that that conservatives -- and churchgoing social conservatives, in particular -- are not fired up enough.

“The passion in America has been on the other side,” Santorum said before warning, “They live their lives every day to transform us. Those who think America will be just fine … we just go about our lives. But we don’t have the passion that they do. To rise up and fight against what our founders said was the greatest threat to freedom -- time. Time. The erosion of our values over time, that we will lose that revolutionary fervor… Karen and I are committed that we are not going to let that happen on our watch.”

Of course, after the 2004 election, there were books written about the influence of social conservatives. They had helped re-elect President George W. Bush and were being touted as potentially spurring a permanent “Red America.” But white born-again Christians actually made up a higher share of the electorate in 2012 than 2004. In 2004, they made up 23 percent of the electorate; in 2012, they were 26 percent

Santorum continued, “Don’t look to Washington, D.C. to solve this problem. There are very few leaders in Congress. There are a lot of followers. If you look to them to solve their problems, you will be disappointed. … The answer is here.”