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Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Know the Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Rick Santorum and I Still Like Him

First some facts about Rick Santorum. These are well documented facts and are not disputed.

Richard John “Rick” Santorum (Winchester, Virginia, May 10, 1958 - 53 Years Old) is an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Republican Party, he represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives (1991-1995) and the U.S. Senate (1995-2007). As a Senator, Santorum was the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, making him the third-ranking Senate Republican from 2001 to 2007.

Santorum is considered both a social and fiscal conservative. He is especially well-known for his strong social conservative positions, his role in enacting welfare reform in 1996, and his views on U.S. foreign policy towards Iran.

Since leaving public office, Santorum has worked as an attorney, served as a Senior Fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and been a contributor to Fox News Channel.

Santorum was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Berkeley County, West Virginia, and Butler County, Pennsylvania. He is a son of Aldo Santorum (1923-2011) and his wife, Catherine Santorum (née Dughi, born 1918). His father was an Italian immigrant, originally from Riva del Garda, Italy, and his mother is of half-Italian and half-Irish descent.

Both of Santorum's parents worked at the Veterans’ Administration (VA) Hospital in Butler, and the family lived on the VA hospital post. His father became licensed as a clinical psychologist in August 1974. He attended schools in the Butler Area School District, where he gained the nickname "Rooster", allegedly because he "always had a few errant hairs on the back of his head that refused to stay down", and he was "dogged and determined like a rooster and never backed down".

Santorum graduated from Carmel High School in Mundelein, Illinois, in 1976, where his father transferred within the VA hospital system. He lists his residency as Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, and maintains a home in Leesburg, Virginia, for his work in Washington, D.C.

Santorum earned a B.A. in political science from the Pennsylvania State University in 1980 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981; during his time at Penn State, he joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity. Five years later, Santorum received a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, and began practicing in Pittsburgh at the law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (now K&L Gates). In one case he represented the World Wrestling Federation, arguing that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was not a sport. He met his wife Karen Garver while he was recruiting summer interns for Kirkpatrick & Lockhart (Garver was a law student at the University of Pittsburgh). Santorum left private practice after being elected to the House in 1990.

Santorum and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, have six living children. Karen Santorum was a neonatal intensive care unit nurse for nine years. One child was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome (Trisomy 18), a serious genetic disorder. In 1996, after Karen developed a life-threatening infection, a son, Gabriel, was born prematurely and lived for only two hours.

Santorum first became actively involved in politics through volunteering for the late Senator John Heinz, a Republican from Pennsylvania. After earning his Juris Doctor, Santorum became an administrative assistant to Republican state Senator Doyle Corman, working for Corman until 1986. He was director of the Pennsylvanian Senate's local government committee from 1981 to 1984, then director of the Pennsylvanian Senate's Transportation Committee until 1986.

In 1990, at age 32, Santorum was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. He scored a significant upset, defeating a seven-term Democratic incumbent Doug Walgren by a 51%-49% margin. Although the 18th District was heavily Democratic, Santorum heavily criticized Walgren for living outside the district for most of the year.

The 18th District was redrawn for the 1992 elections, and the new district had a 3:1 ratio of registered Democrats to Republicans; Santorum still won re-election with 61% of the vote. In Congress, as a member of the Gang of Seven, Santorum was involved in the naming of the Representatives involved in the House banking scandal.

In 1994 during the 1994 Republican takeover, Santorum was elected to the U.S. Senate, narrowly defeating the incumbent Democrat, Harris Wofford, 49% to 47%. The theme of Santorum's 1994 campaign signs was "Join the Fight!"

Rick Santorum was re-elected in 2000, defeating U.S. Congressman Ron Klink by a 52%-46% margin.

In 2006, Santorum sought re-election to a third term in the U.S. Senate. His seat was considered among the most vulnerable for Republicans, and he ran unopposed in the Republican primaries. His Democratic opponent was State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., the son of popular former governor Robert Casey, Sr., who was well known for his pro-life advocacy despite being a Democrat. Santorum's seat was a prime target of Democratic efforts to gain Senate seats in the 2006 elections. Casey's candidacy was bolstered by his opposition to abortion, negating one of Santorum's key issues.

For most of the campaign, Santorum was behind by 15 points or more in polls. Polls showed that Santorum was closing on Casey during the summer of 2006, but Casey's margin increased back to double-digits in September.

After leaving the Senate In March 2007 Santorum joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, where he primarily practiced law in the firm's Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices providing business and strategic counseling services to the firm's clients. He also joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a D.C.-based conservative think tank. Santorum was also a contributor on the Fox News Channel. Santorum writes an Op/Ed piece titled "The Elephant in the Room" for the Commentary Page of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Santorum told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he would address many geopolitical issues, and then joked, "I don't do Anna Nicole Smith, that's all." After leaving the Senate, Santorum joined the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Santorum had frequently been mentioned as a possible 2008 presidential candidate. Such speculation faded when, during the course of the campaign and in light of unimpressive poll numbers, he declared that, if re-elected, he would serve a full term. After he lost, Santorum once again ruled out a presidential run.

On February 1, 2008, Santorum said he would vote for Mitt Romney in the 2008 Presidential Republican primary race, stating: "If you're a Republican, if you're a Republican in the broadest sense, there is only one place to go right now and that's Mitt Romney." He has criticized John McCain, questioning his pro-life voting record and whether Sen. McCain holds true conservative values. In September 2008, Santorum expressed support for McCain, citing Sarah Palin as a step in the right direction: "Knowing McCain, he's choosing someone in whom he sees a lot of himself...He tries to find people who have a similar head as he does, and if he sees him in [Palin]...that gives me a better feel for him and a little more confidence in him." In 2011 he said McCain did not understand how the "enhanced interrogation" process works.

The Good

Santorum has called for a series of broad, nonspecific steps to cut federal spending. On his campaign website, he calls for cutting $5 trillion of federal spending within five years. He also calls for reducing all federal nondefense discretionary spending to 2008 levels through across the board spending cuts. He proposes freezing defense spending at current levels.

Santorum supports passage of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution capping government spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product. He would extend a pay freeze for nondefense related federal employees for four years; cut the federal workforce by 10 percent; and slash benefits for federal workers, according to his website.

Santorum also call for a series of specific cuts to programs unpopular with conservatives. Among them are cuts for Environmental Protection Agency funding and the elimination of federal funding for Planned Parenthood (he favors directing half of this funding to support adoption instead). Santorum also calls for ending energy subsidies and “most agriculture subsidies” within four years.

Under what he calls the “Santorum solution,” Santorum said he would replace current income tax brackets with two rates: 10 percent and 28 percent.

In addition his plan, summarized from his campaign website, would:
• End the alternative minimum tax and estate tax
• Reduce capital-gains taxes to 12 percent, and triple the personal deduction for each child
• Eliminate a cap on deductions for losses incurred in the sale of a principal residence
• Cut the corporate income tax rate in half, from 35 to 17.5 percent
• Increase a research and development tax credit from 14 to 20 percent
• Eliminate the corporate income tax for manufacturers
• End taxes on repatriated corporate income invested for manufacturing equipment and a corporate tax on other repatriated income invested in the U.S.

Santorum opposed Democrats’ 2010 health care overhaul. He says he would “repeal and replace Obamacare with market-based health care innovation.”

Santorum's health care policy, as outlined on his website, includes options touted by many Republicans, such as medical liability reform and allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines. He calls for strengthening “patient-driven health coverage options,” such as health care savings accounts.

In 2012, Santorum criticized Obama for not doing enough to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Santorum said that, if elected, he would call upon Iran to open its facilities to international inspection and begin to dismantle them, and that if Iranian leaders did not comply, he would bomb the weapons sites.

In 2006, Santorum opposed the Senate's immigration reform proposal. Instead, Santorum stated that the U.S. should act to enforce currently existing laws. He has openly stated his strong opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. He supports the construction of a barrier along the U.S.–Mexican border, an increase in the number of border patrol agents on the border, and the stationing of National Guard troops along the border. He also believes that illegal immigrants should be deported immediately when they commit crimes, and that undocumented immigrants should not receive benefits from the government. He believes English should be established as the national language in the United States.

Santorum rejects the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change, having referred to it as "junk science"; he also embraces common threads of the global warming conspiracy theory, believing that global warming is a "beautifully concocted scheme" by the political left and "an excuse for more government control of your life."

He has stated a policy of "drill everywhere" for oil and that there is "enough oil, coal and natural gas to last for centuries".

Santorum has campaigned for support from social conservatives by emphasizing his opposition to abortion. He supports a blanket ban on abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, he has said in public statements.

“I believe that life begins at conception and that life should be guaranteed under the Constitution,” Santorum said when asked about such exceptions during a June appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. Santorum also said he would support criminal prosecution of physicians who perform abortions.

During his failed reelection campaign against Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., in 2006, Santorum expressed support for allowing abortions in cases of rape and incest or to protect the life of the mother.

In another Meet the Press appearance Sunday, Santorum explained that he supported compromise positions on abortion in hopes of moving the country toward a fuller ban. “Today I would support laws that would provide for those exceptions; but I’m not for them,” he said.

Santorum is a supporter of the War on Terror and shares the views of neoconservatives and the Bush Doctrine in regards to foreign policy. He says the war on Terror can be won and is optimistic about the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for the long-term.

He sponsored the Syria Accountability Act of 2003, which required Syria to end all engagement in Lebanon and cease all support for terrorism. He originally wanted to go further with the bill, asking for the United States to create economic sanctions on Syria if it did not do so. In June 2006, Santorum declared that weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) had been found in Iraq. Santorum's declaration was based, in part, on declassified portions of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. The report stated that coalition forces had recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions that contain degraded or vacant mustard or sarin nerve agent casings. The specific weapons he referred to were chemical munitions dating back to the Iran–Iraq War that were buried in the early 1990s. The report stated that while agents had degraded to an unknown degree, they remained dangerous and possibly lethal. However, officials of the Department of Defense, CIA intelligence analysts, and the White House have all explicitly stated that these expired casings were not part of the WMDs threat that the Iraq War was launched to contain.

In 2005, Santorum sponsored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million aimed at regime change in Iran. The Act passed with overwhelming support. However, Santorum nevertheless voted against the Lautenberg amendment, which would have closed the loophole that allows companies like Halliburton to do business with Iran through their foreign affiliates. He said Iran was at the center of "much of the world's conflict" but was opposed to direct military action against the country in 2006.

The Associated Press reported that on July 20, 2006, Santorum stated that "Islamic fascism rooted in Iran is behind much of the world's conflict, but he is opposed to military action against the country", in a speech where he "also defended the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay." The senator indicated that "effective action against Iran" would require America's fighting "for a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel, and a strong Iraq."

On September 7, 2006, Santorum outlined his views on foreign policy in an op-ed piece for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and discussed Islamic fascism, closing with a rally cry:

I believe we are at war with Islamic fascists and I singled out Iran and Syria as examples of Islamic fascist regimes. Many Muslims say the same thing, and the editors should, too, for it is undeniable. [...] I have said time and time again across Pennsylvania these past weeks that the fight against Islamic fascism is the great test of our generation. Leaders are obliged to articulate this threat and to propose what is necessary to defeat it. That is my purpose, and our national calling. The American people have always rallied to the cause of freedom once they understood what was at stake. I have no doubt that they will again.
—Rick Santorum”

Santorum has referred to his grandfather's historical encounter with Italian fascism as an inspiration for his 2012 presidential campaign.

During the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress, Santorum was one of only two Senators who voted against confirming the nomination of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Santorum stated that his objection was to Gates's support for talking with Iran and Syria, because, in Santorum's view, it would be an error to talk with "radical Islam".

During his third term re-election campaign for his Senate seat against Bob Casey, Jr., Santorum introduced the term "Islamic fascism", while questioning "his opponent's ability to make the right decisions on national security at a time when 'our enemies are fully committed to our destruction.'"

Federal Courts
Santorum on his campaign website says if elected he would “call on Congress to abolish the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.” Conservatives view the court as excessively liberal and activist.

Santorum’s campaign website states that as president he would “roll back job killing regulations, restrain our spending by living within our means, and unleash our domestic manufacturing and energy potential.”

Santorum supports repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill of 2010. He has attributed the financial crash of 2008 in part to excessive government intervention in markets, specifically the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Santorum has called for eliminating both entities within five years.

Santorum has said he supports a proposal by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to eventually turn Medicare into a voucher-based system where seniors would not receive coverage for healthcare services above the voucher’s value.

In 1996, Santorum served as Chairman of the Republican Party Task Force on Welfare Reform, and contributed to legislation that became the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act. Santorum was an author and the floor manager of the bill. It was written by E. Clay Shaw, Jr. and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

From 2001 until his leave in 2007, he was the Senate's third-ranking Republican. He sponsored Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) with U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA). He supported partial privatization of Social Security, and following President Bush's re-election, he held forums across Pennsylvania on the topic. He was also a strong ally for Israel and American Jews. In 2003, Santorum and fellow Republicans heard from Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Zionist Organization of America to determine how to combat anti-Semitism in American colleges. Santorum drafted language on "ideological diversity,"

As early as 2002, in a PoliticsPA feature story designating politicians with yearbook superlatives, he was named the "Most Ambitious".

As chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, Santorum directed the communications operations of Senate Republicans and was a frequent party spokesperson. He was the youngest member of the Senate leadership and the first Pennsylvanian to hold such a prominent position since Senator Hugh Scott was Republican leader in the 1970s. In addition, Santorum served on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he was the chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy. He also sat at the candy desk for ten years.

In January 2005, Santorum announced his intention to run for United States Senate Republican Whip, the second-highest post in the Republican caucus after the 2006 election. The move came because it was presumed the incumbent whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was viewed as having the inside track to succeeding Bill Frist of Tennessee as Senate Republican leader.

He's Always Worked This Hard. In Iowa, Santorum has become known for his dogged retail campaigning -- he's logged more than 350 campaign events in all of the state's 99 counties. It was a similar story in 1990, when Santorum got his start in politics at the age of 32 by unexpectedly knocking off a seven-term incumbent congressman in a strongly Democratic district in the Pittsburgh suburbs. He knocked on thousands of doors and bludgeoned his opponent for spending too much time out of the district. His win was considered so improbable, he says, that the National Republican Congressional Committee didn't know his name on Election Night. Thrown into an even less GOP-friendly district by redistricting in 1992, he repeated the feat, and in 1994 he knocked off an incumbent Democratic senator.

In 2006, U2 front man Bono told New York Times columnist David Brooks, "I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette’s disease; he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable."

The Bad

Santorum sought earmarks while in Congress, a position other candidates have attacked. On Sunday's Meet the Press, Santorum defended doing so by noting that federal spending has since increased. “When I left Congress, budgets began to explode,” he said.

Earmarks have never accounted for a significant portion of the federal budget, and an increase in federal spending was underway before Santorum left Congress in 2007. Santorum on Sunday continued to defend earmarking, arguing that, “there is a legitimate role for Congress to allocate resources.”

Santorum was mired in controversy over his residence in Virginia, where he and his family stay while the Senate was in session. He admitted that he spent only "maybe a month a year, something like that" at his Pennsylvania residence, which critics argued was hypocritical because Santorum himself had denounced, and defeated, Rep. Doug Walgren-PA for living away from his House district. Santorum faced damaging stories that he enrolled five of his children in an online "cyber school" in Pennsylvania, for which the Penn Hills school district was billed $73,000, despite the fact that all the children lived in Virginia. Santorum aimed a television ad suggesting that Casey's supporters had been under investigation for various crimes. The negative ad backfired, as the The Scranton Times-Tribune found that all but a few of Casey's contributors donated when he was running for other offices, and none were investigated for anything. In fact, two of the persons cited in Santorum's campaign ad actually gave contributions to him in 2006, and one died in 2004. Santorum's campaign countered that those donations were not kept, and had been donated to educational institutions. Santorum faced controversy for statements against "radical feminism", which he claimed had made it "socially affirming to work outside the home" at the expense of child care.

A cult-like movement among liberals, and particularly homosexual activists, vilified Santorum for his forthright and truthful statements. In the Senate, Santorum stood for traditional values, and fought for traditional marriage. His "Santorum Amendment" to the No Child Left Behind Act sought (albeit unsuccessfully) to support the teaching of intelligent design in public schools as a legitimate scientific theory.

Liberals became obsessed with Santorum, particularly after he stood up for traditional marriage and drew an analogy between support for homosexual marriage and other illegal forms of marriage and conduct. Rather than dispute the analogy, liberals were quick to feign offense. They argued that because the other kinds of conduct are so universally repulsive, pointing out the parallels with homosexual acts and homosexual marriage unduly disparages homosexuals. But they knew the ugly truth -- that homosexuality is just one step away on the slippery slope towards many other disgustingly immoral proclivities. Since they had no legitimate arguments, they could only resort to liberal namecalling and personal attacks.

An interview Santorum gave to the Associated Press erupted in controversy when it outlined his views on homosexuality. The interview, dated April 20, 2003, had asked him his views on the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. Santorum said the priests were engaged in "a basic homosexual relationship", and said, "I have a problem with homosexual acts". He argued that the extended right to privacy ruled in Griswold v. Connecticut did not exist in the United States Constitution and that laws should exist against polygamy, adultery, sodomy, and other actions "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family". Santorum said those actions were harmful to society, saying, "Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman.... In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality". Santorum later said that he did not intend to equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, but rather as a critique of the specific legal position that the right to privacy prevents the government from regulating consensual acts among adults (such as bigamy, incest, etc.).

In protest of the remarks, Dan Savage launched a contest among his readers in May 2003 to coin a new word "santorum" with an unflattering sexual definition, and followed this with a Google bombing campaign to spread the new term. Since 2004, Savage's Google bomb has regularly been the top search result for Santorum's surname, leading to what commentators have dubbed "Santorum's Google problem". Santorum has characterized the campaign as a "type of vulgarity" common on the Internet. In September 2011, Santorum unsuccessfully requested that Google remove the definition from its search engine index.

In November 2004, a controversy developed over education costs for Santorum's children. His legal address is a three-bedroom house in Penn Hills, a suburb of Pittsburgh, which he purchased for $87,800 in 1997 and is located next to the home of his wife's parents. Since 2001, however, he has spent most of the year in Leesburg, Virginia, a town about one hour's drive west of the District of Columbia, and about 90 minutes' drive south of the Pennsylvania border, in a house he purchased for $643,000. The Penn Hills Progress, a local paper, reported that Santorum and his wife paid about $2,000 per year in property taxes on their Pennsylvania home ($487.20 per year to Allegheny County, 2006 through 2008, based on a 2007 value of $106,000, plus Penn Hills School District tax). The paper also found that another couple — possibly renters — were registered voters at the same address.[citation needed]

At the time the issue arose, Santorum's five older children attended the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, with 80 percent of tuition costs paid by the Penn Hills School District. At a meeting in November 2004, the Penn Hills School District announced that it did not believe Santorum met the qualifications for residency status because he and his family spent most of the year in Virginia. They demanded repayment of tuition costs totaling $67,000. When news reports showed Santorum was renting his Penn Hills home, he withdrew his five children from the cyber education program under criticism and calls for him to repay the tuition already paid for by the Penn Hills School District.

Although Santorum said he would make other arrangements for his children's education, he insisted that he did not owe the school board any back tuition. The children were then home-schooled.

On July 8, 2005, a Pennsylvania state hearing officer had ruled that the Penn Hills School District had not filed objections to Santorum's residency in a timely manner and dismissed the complaint. Santorum hailed the ruling as a victory against what he termed "baseless and politically motivated charges". Santorum told reporters, "No one's children—and especially not small, school-age children—should be used as pawns in the 'politics of personal destruction.'" In the 2006 senate campaign, Santorum ran television commercials with Santorum's son saying "My dad's opponents have criticized him for moving us to Washington so we could be with him more."

In September 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Education agreed to pay the district $55,000 to settle the dispute over money withheld from the district to pay for the children of Santorum to attend a cyber charter school.

In September 2006, Santorum formally asked that the county remove the homestead tax exemption from his Penn Hills residence. He said that he had made similar requests to county officials in conversations in 2005 and earlier in 2006, but to no avail. In his letter, Santorum insisted that he was entitled to the exemption, which is worth about $70 annually, but chose not to take advantage of it because of the political dispute. While homeowners in the county are eligible for a tax savings averaging $70 a year on their primary residences, the county council president noted that Santorum had "said during a televised debate that he spends about 30 days in his Penn Hills house each year." Non-residency issues have raised questions of hypocrisy, in that Santorum had previously castigated Representative Doug Walgren for moving away from his district.

In 2005, a controversy developed over an article Santorum wrote in 2002 to a Catholic publication. In it, he said that liberalism and moral relativism in American society, particularly within seminaries, contributed to the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. He wrote, " is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm." The comments were widely publicized in June 2005 by the Philadelphia Daily News by columnist John Baer. He told readers, "I'd remind you this is the same Senate leader who recently likened Democrats fighting to save the filibuster to Nazis." In Massachusetts, Santorum's remarks were heavily criticized, and on July 12, 2005, The Boston Globe called on Santorum to explain his statement. The newspaper reported that Robert Traynham, Santorum's spokesman, told him, "It's an open secret that you have Harvard University and MIT that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases. I think that's what the senator was speaking to." A spokesman for Mitt Romney then Governor of Massachusetts, also rebuked the comments. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) delivered a personal rebuke to Santorum on the Senate floor, saying "The people of Boston are to blame for the clergy sexual abuse? That is an irresponsible, insensitive and inexcusable thing to say."

Santorum has stood by his 2002 article and to date, has not apologized. During the controversy, he said the statement about Boston was taken out of context and that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had targeted his article, written three years earlier, to coordinate with Kennedy's speech against him. Santorum continued to agree with the broader theme of a cultural connection, saying that it is "no surprise that the culture affects people's behavior. [...] the liberal culture—the idea that [...] sexual inhibitions should be put aside and people should be able to do whatever they want to do, has an impact on people and how they behave." He again agreed with the premise that it was "no surprise that the center of the Catholic Church abuse took place in very liberal, or perhaps the nation's most liberal area, Boston." He recalled mentioning Boston because in July 2002, he said, the outrage of American Catholics, as well as his own, was focused on the Archdiocese of Boston.

The Ugly

In the November 7, 2006 election, Santorum lost by over 700,000 votes, receiving 41.3 percent of the vote to Casey's 58.7 percent, the largest margin of defeat ever for an incumbent Republican Senator in Pennsylvania. The 18-point defeat was the largest margin of defeat for any incumbent senator since 1980 and the largest margin of any incumbent Republican senator ever.

Specter endorsement

Santorum's support among social conservatives in his failed 2006 re-election was eroded by his endorsement for his Senate colleague Arlen Specter over conservative Congressman Pat Toomey in 2004. Many socially and fiscally conservative Republicans considered his endorsement to be a betrayal of their cause. However, Santorum says he endorsed Specter to ensure that President George W. Bush's judicial nominees would make it through the Senate, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

"As Santorum tells voters, Specter was then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tasked with confirming Bush's nominees to the Supreme Court. At the time, the Republicans held a 51-49 seat majority and were in danger of losing their Senate majority. (White House aides calculated that the veteran Specter had a much better chance of holding the Pennsylvania seat than Toomey.)[citation needed]

Santorum praises Specter as a stalwart supporter of Republican judicial nominees, and uses the post-election confirmations of John Roberts in 2005 and Samuel Alito in 2006 to make his case.

'I have no doubt that Sam Alito would not have been confirmed' without the re-elected Specter's help, Santorum maintains. 'That's a pretty good trade, in my judgment', he adds."

Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and supported the bridge to nowhere. So all of President George Bush's major domestic policy iniatives santorum supported.


Santorum has attracted support and criticism because of his strong social conservative views. Santorum advocates "compassionate conservatism" which he says "relies on healthy families, freedom of faith, a vibrant civil society, a proper understanding of the individual and a focused government to achieve noble purposes through definable objectives which offers hope to all." He is known for his "confrontational, partisan, ‘in your face’ style of politics and government.” “I just don’t take the pledge. I take the bullets,” Santorum said. “I stand out in front and I lead to make sure the voices of those who do not have a voice are out in front and being included in the national debate.” In his 2005 book, It Takes a Family, he advocates for a more family values oriented society centered on monogamous, heterosexual relationships, marriage, and child-raising. He is strongly pro-life and opposes same-sex marriage saying the American public and their elected officials should decide on these "incredibly important moral issues", rather than the Supreme Court, which consists of "nine unelected, unaccountable judges.”

While in Congress, Santorum supported efforts to fight global AIDS, provide assistance to orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries, combat genocide in Sudan, and offer third world debt relief. He also supported homeownership tax credits, offering savings accounts to children from and rewarding savings by low-income families, funding autism research, fighting tuberculosis, and providing housing for people with AIDS. He supported increased funding for Social Services Block Grants and organizations like Healthy Start and the Children’s Aid Society, and financing community health centers.

In 2001, Santorum sought to amend the No Child Left Behind bill to include a provision affecting the teaching of evolution. According to Santorum, his goal was that students studying evolution should hear "competing scientific interpretations of evidence," including "such alternative theories as intelligent design." The provision came to be known as the "Santorum Amendment" and was written with the assistance of the Discovery Institute. The Senate's approval of the amendment "was hailed by anti-evolution groups as a major victory and criticized by scientific organizations."

The Santorum Amendment was not included in the final version of the Act made law, but similar language was included in the accompanying report of the conference committee. The Discovery Institute and many intelligent design proponents, including two Ohio Congressmen, have repeatedly invoked this to suggest that intelligent design should be included in public school science standards as an alternative to evolution. In a 2002 Washington Times op-ed article, Santorum wrote that intelligent design "is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes."

By 2005 Santorum had adopted the Discovery Institute's Teach the Controversy approach, stating in an interview with National Public Radio, "I'm not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom. What we should be teaching are the problems and holes, and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution," a statement that mirrors the Teach the Controversy strategy, the most recent iteration of the intelligent design movement. Santorum resigned from the advisory board of the Thomas More Law Center because he disagreed with the Center's role in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, where the Center represented a school board that had gone beyond "teach the controversy" and had required the teaching of intelligent design. Santorum wrote the foreword for the 2006 book Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson And the Intelligent Design Movement a collection of essays largely by Discovery Institute fellows honoring the "father" of the intelligent design movement, Phillip E. Johnson. When asked, Santorum stated that he believes in evolution within "a micro sense".

Karen Santorum wrote a book about the experience: Letters to Gabriel: The True Story of Gabriel Michael Santorum. In it, she writes that the couple brought the deceased infant home from the hospital and presented the dead child to their living children as "your brother Gabriel". The anecdote was also written about by Michael Sokolove in a 2005 New York Times Magazine story on Santorum.

"Rick and Karen Santorum would not let the morgue take the corpse of their newborn; they slept that night in the hospital with their lifeless baby between them. The next day, they took him home. 'Your siblings could not have been more excited about you!' Karen writes in the book, which takes the form of letters to Gabriel, mostly while he is in utero. 'Elizabeth and Johnny held you with so much love and tenderness. Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, "This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel."'"

Karen Garver Santorum also authored a book on etiquette for children.

Santorum and his family usually attend Latin Mass at Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic church near Washington, D.C. On November 12, 2004, Santorum and his wife were invested as Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York.

Santorum traveled in 2002 to Rome to speak at a centenary celebration of the birth of Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei. In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter while in Rome, Santorum said that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused by President John F. Kennedy, had caused "great harm in America."

"All of us have heard people say, 'I privately am against abortion, homosexual marriage, stem cell research, cloning. But who am I to decide that it's not right for somebody else?' It sounds good, but it is the corruption of freedom of conscience."

Some Great Links to get More Information on and about Rick Santorum

11 Things You Might Not Know About Rick Santorum

Candidate Guide: Where Does Rick Santorum Stand?

"Rick Santorum on the Issues". . Retrieved June 18, 2010

Rick Santorum's Track Record in the Senate

"Social Conservatives Rally to Santorum". 2011-12-20. . Retrieved 2012-01-04

"Candidate profile: Rick Santorum refuses to compromise on principles". Retrieved 2012-01-04

Rick Santorum (November 17, 2005). "The Conservative Future: Compassion". . Retrieved August 23, 2006.

"Rick Santorum Reaffirms Commitment to Social Conservative Cause". 2011-06-04. . Retrieved 2012-01-01.

Johnson, Brad; Somanader, Tanya (June 24, 2011), "Santorum: 'There’s no such thing as global warming'", Grist, , retrieved 2012-01-02 - Very Important and Informative!



Randall Rex said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randall R. Kniess said...

The good out weighs the bad. And most of the "bad" is pretty good!

George said...

There is lots to like about Sen. Santorum and I would support him over Obama in a heart beat. But Sen. Santorum is not the rock-ribbed consistent conservative that he would have us believe. He has vigorously supported forcing American workers to pay union dues to unions to which they do not want to belong. He supported forcing taxpayers to subsidize union wages for all government projects. He supported Specter over Toomey and Specter switched parities to Democrat and voted to confirm ultra-liberals Sotomayor and Kagan the Supreme Court and supplied the 60th vote for Obamacare. And on spending, Sen. Santorum's voting record isn't nearly as good as his rhetoric.

Again, I would support him over Obama. But I am annoyed with the current popular storyline is that Gov. Romney is a moderate and that Sen. Santorum is a true conservative. That overlooks the unassailable facts. The truth is both candidates (in fact, all center-right candidates) have their pluses and minuses. Many seem very willing to mention and even exaggerate Romney's weaknesses, but for some reason, many overlook Santorum's.

While it is true that Sen. Santorum would be a far better president than Obama, it is not honest or accurate to disparage Gov. Romney in one breath and praise Sen. Santorum in the next on grounds that one is a true conservative and the other is not. The truth is that neither is perfect, and both would be far better than Obama.

Casting stones at Romney for his far from perfect record on conservatism while praising Santorum for being a solid conservative requires one to either be unaware of their records, or dishonest in reviewing them.