Former Senator and implausible presidential hopeful Rick Santorum actually almost won the Iowa Caucuses last week. In fact, he only came in second to Mitt Romney by a paltry eight votes. This is a guy who got routed in his last senatorial bid in PA and who has a viscous sex-act by product for a last name (http://santorum.com/). You might want to get the kids out of the room before you click on that link! Sorry I had to stoop to that, but it does demonstrate the vitriol directed at this guy by certain segments of the population. Just when you think the Republican electorate is going to realize the folly of their preferences in a candidate leading up to Iowa and develop a semblance of quasi-sanity by finally embracing the adult in the room, this happens. I can hear the caucus attendees now: “OK, OK. Forget about Newt. Too much baggage…and, he’s mean. What other idiot can we propel to front-runner?” If Huntsman doesn’t get a significant boost in NH today, the verdict will be clear: the wheel’s turnin’ but the hamster’s dead…
Over much of the last two decades, Mr. Santorum’s super social conservative and ultra-pious shtick has offended the sensibilities of many of us that consider ourselves to be reasonable folks. Whether it comes to blaming the Catholic Church sex scandal (to be clear, deviant sex and/or specifically, pedophilia) in Boston on cultural liberalism and moral relativism, comparing sex between two consenting adults of the same gender to bestiality, or implying that black people are the only beneficiaries of food stamps, Mr. Santorum is clearly a left-bashing bigot conveniently unburdened by facts (nothing wrong with left-bashing if the facts are on your side!). Much like some of his right wing Protestant brothers that currently populate the halls of power, he derides same-sex marriage as a threat not only to the institution of marriage, but to the very fiber of our broad culture. Of course, there is no evidence to support his paranoid conclusions.
Mr. Santorum has always been an outspoken critic of secular culture in the U.S. His self-righteous “the sky is falling” assessment of the state of our decaying culture turns out to be substantively off the mark (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-oped-0108-chapman-20120108,0,6317818.column). In fact, attributing the cause of this imaginary moral decay to cultural liberalism turns out to be easily debunked. As it turns out, the homicide and divorce rates are higher in the Bible belt states than in ultra-liberal Massachusetts and other blue northeastern states. It is also true that divorce rates are generally lower in liberal states that allow same-sex marriages than in conservative states where same-sex marriage is not sanctioned. For kicks, let’s ask this question: If it were true that gay marriage somehow threatened the institution of marriage, by what mechanism would gay marriage harm heterosexual marriage? I’d like to see a David Letterman top ten list answering that question!
Predictably, Mr. Santorum believes that life begins at the moment of conception, and has as much as stated that any intended interruption of the developmental process of fertilized egg to birth for any reason is tantamount to murder. He further commented recently in an interview that the states have the right to outlaw contraception. He authored the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act in 1995 while in the Senate, and fervently believes that abortion should be completely outlawed, even when the life of the mother is compromised, and in cases of incest and rape as well. What makes his position so alarmingly hypocritical is that in 1997, his wife experienced life-threatening complications during the second trimester of a pregnancy. She ultimately miscarried saving her life; however, both Mr. Santorum, and his wife reported to the Philadelphia Inquirer after the incident that they would have opted to abort the pregnancy had Mrs. Santorum’s death been otherwise imminent. Mr. Santorum further reported, “…it’s a pretty easy call.”
A devout Catholic, Mr. Santorum also has a habit of cherry-picking Church doctrine to serve his political positions, much like some of his right wing Christian colleagues that pick and choose biblical quotes for political expedience. For example, Mr. Santorum supports the death penalty (but considers some forms of contraception murder) which the church opposes. Likewise, he’s a hawk when it comes to military involvement and has a neo-conservative view of projecting American might globally in the pursuit of American hegemony. Despite his piety, Mr. Santorum was a consistent detractor of most social programs that assist the needy during his tenure in the Senate. It seems quite hypocritical to condemn programs that assist poor mothers while providing infinitely more protection and support to an undifferentiated zygote. I guess the message of that is clear: once you’re born, you’re on your own…
As if his draconian stances on social issues weren’t enough, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that in 2006, Mr. Santorum was named the Most Corrupt Politician by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics inWashington. It seems the former Senator was a little too cozy withK Street and took more money from lobbyists than any other politician in Washington at the time.
Can you imagine living in Mr. Santorum’s ideal America? I can’t, and I’m a straight white male. Here’s a better question: Can you imagine being gay, a woman, or worse yet, a black woman, in Mr. Santorum’s ideal America?
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