I live in the congressional district which Santorum represented before he was elected to the Senate. It covers most of Westmoreland County. Our county was so Democrat that Walter Mondale carried it during Reagan's 1984 re-election landslide. In 2008, the McCain-Palin ticket carried it by 59-41% In 2010, our congressman with a very similar record to Rick Santorum was re-elected by a 2-1 margin. This year, he is getting a conservative challenger in the primary.
Bottom line: You need to consider the constituency in evaluating a candidate's conservatism. It doesn't count for everything. But it counts for something.
the only problem with that is that Santorum repeatedly says he is THE ONLY conservative in the race who stands for conservative principles, no matter how difficult or costly it is. He is the ONLY ONE we can trust to do that. His history just doesn't back up that claim. And neither does a lot of his recent backtracking on the trail.
Oh, well. He never cheated on his wife.
from the article
In his classic speech to the electors of Bristol, Burke explained how he saw his role as their representative. After telling them that it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents, he powerfully stated:
It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasures, his satisfactions, to theirs and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own. But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure; no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable.
Burke believed that representatives should represent the nation and support policies that they believe are in the best long-term interests of the country, not necessarily what the momentary passions of their constituents dictated. If his constituents disagreed with the way he was acquitting himself they could always vote him out, which the residents of Bristol ultimately did with Burke.
Santorums position seems to be the antithesis of Burkes principled position.