According to Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner:
The former senator has been on a tear against McCain for weeks. Many conservatives admire Santorum and will take his views on the presidential race into account. But McCain’s positions on immigration, global warming, and the re-importation of prescription drugs are already widely known. What isn’t widely known is how McCain operates in the cloakroom. Santorum gave us a hint on the Hugh Hewitt show a while ago:
I mean, this is a guy who says he believes in these things, but I can tell you, inside the room, when we were in these meetings, there was nobody who fought harder not to have these votes before the United States Senate on some of the most important social conservative issues, whether it’s marriage or abortion or the like. He always fought against us to even bring them up, because he was uncomfortable voting for them.
Senator Santorum: What abortion legislation did McCain want to hold up? More specifics, please.
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, McCain is embarrassed by conservatives.
So, Santorum has been rather conspicuously campaigning against McCain, as noticed, (and not appreciated) by Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
After passing along an anecdote about Santorum’s behavior on a plane, (making campaign calls on Romney’s behalf to big GOP donors, witnessed by a Democratic operative), Beth cuts loose about what a shameless hypocrite, Santorum is.
She makes note of a recent The Weekly Standard piece by Steven Hayes:
Although many others have been as critical of McCain, perhaps no one has been as hypocritical. In 2006, when Santorum was running for reelection, he asked McCain to come to Pennsylvania to campaign on his behalf. When McCain obliged, Santorum put the video on his campaign website, listing it first among “key events” of the year. That’s gratitude, Santorum-style.
That is troubling, ain’t no doubt. If Santorum had such a low opinion of McCain, he shouldn’t have used him, but he was in a desperate fight for his Senate seat, and I’m sure he figured he could pick up some moderates that way.
I don’t know if it’s possible to be in politics for any length of time and not get your hands a little dirty, at some point.
I’m not making excuses for Santorum, I’m just trying to put it in perspective. On balance, I’m much more concerned by McCain’s discomfort with cultural conservatism, and tendency to go along with liberals, than I am by Santorum’s backstabbing. Sorry, Beth. (I’d still vote for the SOB in the general).
And I believe that Santorum is being totally sincere about his misgivings with McCain.
A trusted Senate source got back to Ramesh Ponnuru on his request for “More specifics, please”.
McCain stood in the middle of the GOP cloakroom and yelled at several of his Senate colleagues because they deigned to have a vote — to have a vote — on Inhofe’s “English As the National Language” amendment to the 2006 immigration bill. He accused conservatives of being “divisive” and “insulting” Latinos for suggesting that immigrants ought to learn this language. He was nasty and unhinged. About 10 staffers witnessed this. He delighted in telling the conservative senators there that they were destroying the party with these efforts. This is what Santorum is talking about. He had antipathy for social and cultural conservatives’ efforts.
Okay, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand and one times.