Santorum and Government Bailouts

I think it was Ecclesiastes’ brother, or maybe his cousin, who said, “To everything there’s an exception, to everything there’s an exception.”  This profound quote came to mind the other day when I heard former Pennsylvania Senator and republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum say that though both he and Mitt Romney opposed the government’s bailout of the auto industry*, that only he opposes government bailouts of any kind, “Period.”  So take that mean that there is absolutely no scenario wherein a Santorum Administration would lend a hand to any industry or company for any purpose ever, without exception. I think that’s what he means by, “Period.”

But what if our nation is at war and the only company producing replacement armor for troop carriers files for bankruptcy because of bad business practices and though another company could make the same equipment, there would be a lag time of three to six months unless the government loaned the bankrupt company $50 million. And oh, if there is a lag time, the Pentagon estimates that 200-500 soldiers will die. Bail out or no bail out President Santorum?

Perhaps a far-fetched scenario but any leader worth his or her salt understands the importance of keeping options available. Had George H.W. Bush left himself some room to increase taxes, he might not have lost in 1992. Unequivocal declarations provide red meat to the base but little else and Santorum appears to have built his entire public career on just that. There’s nothing wrong with having a strong moral compass. But a compass stuck on the same point will get you lost.

*Saying nothing here about the success of the auto bailout and GM’s record profits.

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