February 17, 2012 By

Santorum voted to preserve NEA funding

When social conservatives were fighting to stop funding the National Endowment for the Arts in the 1990s, Rick Santorum was in Congress voting to preserve taxpayer funding — pitting him against many of the high-profile culture warriors with whom he is now most identified.

NEA funding became a hot-button issue during the first President Bush’s term and on into the Clinton years, featuring prominently in that decade’s spending battles, as both fiscal and social conservatives argued against taxpayers subsidizing such art as the infamous “Piss Christ” photograph.

But Mr. Santorum, who served two terms in the House and another two terms in the Senate and is now running as a family values conservative for the Republican presidential nomination, voted more than a half-dozen times to protect the funding.

“This was a big controversy then on two scores,” said David Keene, former chairman of the American Conservative Union, which supported eliminating the group’s funding. “One was federal funding for the arts, which never seemed to us to be one of the core missions of the federal government, and secondly, of course, there was a big controversy during that period about federal funding of obscene art.”

He added, “I’m a little surprised that, being a big social conservative, Santorum didn’t vote against those things at that time — though I don’t know the reasoning.”

Mr. Santorum’s two campaign spokesmen did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls this week seeking comment, but during the 1997 fight in Congress the then-senator defended his stance, pointing to the “many highly acclaimed orchestras, fine arts programs and performing arts groups” in Pennsylvania that relied on the funding.

“The arts foster a strong sense of community and bring new ideas and cultures to many individuals and families all over the nation,” Mr. Santorum said in a statement reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Elimination of such programs would create a cultural vacuum that could not be easily filled.”

On the stump, Mr. Santorum has argued he’s the most conservative choice in the field, and that strategy has boosted him to wins in four of the first nine contests in the GOP’s nomination race, where former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has called for “deep reductions” in the NEA subsidy, while Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said he would eliminate it.

Still, new polls now show Mr. Santorum leading his rivals both nationally and in Michigan, where voters go to the polls Feb. 28.

(Photo: AP/Paul Sancya)

This article was written by Seth McLaughlin for the Washington Times; full article at the Washington Times

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 (2 comments so far)
drjack1

I am a PA resident and I worked for Santorum on his first senatorial campaign. He is not a true conservative. As a PA senator, Santorum consistantly voted politics over principal. I have yet to see a public apology from him for debt increases, Spector endorsment, NAFTA and a variety of other betrayals from Ricky. Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate that has not flip-flopped, never raised taxes, sticks to the constitution and cannot be bought.
Santorum has no chance against Obama. The dems will destroy him with ease.

February 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

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vtdelacy

There were people who unfairly slimed Huckabee back in ’08 which gave us RINO McCain as our nominee which in turn gave Obama his first 4 disastrous years in usurped office. Santorum is the one proven conservative we have left in the race, so of course some will be working hard to disqualify him. Smart voters will not be deterred by such tactics. Getting a RINO Romney or extremist Paul as our candidate would be handing Obama his last 4 years by which to destroy America the rest of the way on a silver platter. Rush is right (as usual) – it has to be Rick Santorum for President this November!

February 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm

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