Kimberley Strassel gives Santorum the Huckabee treatment:

Identity politics is often a winner, and Mr. Santorum does it well. If only he could stop at identifying with this audience, rather than feeling the need to give them special favors.

That’s right. Santorum should stick with his proven record of doing favors for large corporations. I’m sure Strassel has no problem with them, and they pay better.

It has taken longer than I expected for warnings about Santorum’s indulgence in “class warfare” to start showing up. When Huckabee was making less substantive appeals to working-class voters (and endorsing a regressive Fair Tax at the same time), he managed to scare enough movement conservatives into thinking that he might actually mean something by it. Santorum has gone from backing NAFTA when he was in the House to being a reliable free trader while in the Senate, and there is not much else in his recent statements that should unnerve anyone at The Wall Street Journal, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Any proposal that might potentially address the interests of even some working-class voters is enough to cause a reaction:

And so at the heart of the Santorum agenda are policies designed to give special handouts to the working class, simply because they are the working class—and even then only to segments of this group. That’s behind Mr. Santorum’s zero corporate tax on manufacturers, which benefits only Americans working in manufacturing. (Job at Wal-Mart? No soup for you!) It’s behind his plan to triple the child tax credit, which benefits only Americans fortunate enough to have a child. (Stalled love life? No soup for you, either!) Call it preferential populism.

Put another way, Santorum supports policies that would benefit the voters whose support he is seeking. Strassel would prefer that he stick to heart-warming stories about his immigrant grandfather the miner to manipulate these people into voting for him, and then ignore them when it comes time to make policy. At a time of worsening social mobility in the U.S., it is warped that modest proposals to mitigate some of the problems experienced by a core Republican constituency can be described as pitting “the classes against each another.”