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Right Turn
Posted at 04:30 PM ET, 02/17/2012

Keep an eye on Toomey

The Republican senator from Pennsylvania — the current one — may not be a well known as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), but in his own way he is a rising star.

He voted no on the payroll tax cut extension, which, if you are serious about properly funding Social Security and limiting the debt, was the principled position for conservatives. The Pittsburgh Gazette reports: “Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, meanwhile, said the vote amounted to a failure to put government on a responsible fiscal path. He said the payroll tax cut won’t stimulate economic growth, and that the funding sources . . . identified by the conference committee should be used to pay down the deficit, not fund more spending.” Precisely so.

Today he also signed onto a bipartisan letter to President Obama. Unlike the wishy-washy Senate resolution, this one warns the president that “the Iranian government will seek to buy time or otherwise dilute the focus of our diplomacy through proposals that either suspend or reverse the current momentum of the pressure track in exchange for partial measures by the Iranians that fail to address the totality of their nuclear program.” The letter explains, “Such tactical maneuverings are a dangerous distraction and should not be tolerated. For instance, we would strongly oppose any proposal that caps or limits sanctions against the Iranian regime in exchange for anything less than full, verifiable, and sustained suspension of all enrichment activities, including both 3 percent and 20 percent enrichment. The time for confidence-building measures is over.”

He also put forth a conservative-friendly tax proposal in the supercommittee that raised revenue but lowered rates. In other words, he’s a principled dealmaker.

If only Republicans had all gotten behind him in 2004 instead of re-electing Sen. Arlen Specter (D/R/D-Pa.) who eventually provided the 60th vote for Obamacare. Ah, well, at least he is there now.

So why not put him on the vice presidential nominee list (Rick Santorum’s a Virginia resident, right?)? Others have the same thought. One blogger writes: “He can excite fiscal conservatives without turning off social conservatives.” Frankly, he is precisely what the GOP needs: a strong fiscal and foreign policy with strong pro-life beliefs, but the ability to win over suburban and moderate voters.

By  |  04:30 PM ET, 02/17/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign, Senate GOP

 
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