Just Who Is Rick Santorum?

(This article was originally written for The College Tribune in January. I was anxious to talk about Santorum because I didn’t think he’d be around for much longer.)

Do you think homosexuals are destroying America? Do you think the government should stop giving money to black people? Do you think universities are brain washing students? Do you think contraceptives are damaging society? Don’t believe in Evolution or Global Warming? If so then you’ll love Rick Santorum, who’s running for the Republican nomination for President. The former Senator from Pennslyvania hit the headlines after winning the Iowa primary three weeks ago.

Santorum is known mainly for his controversial views on many issues, particularly same-sex marriage. He campaigned against allowing gays to serve in the military and opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which he has described as an attack on the Church. It has been pointed out that the argument he used against allowing homosexuals in the military, is identical to the argument that was used against allowing black and white soldiers serve together in the military in the 1940’s.

He wants to get the government involvement out of the economy but believes the government should tell people what to do. “The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that. I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire.”

He is the most religious candidate in the race and believes all laws must confirm with God’s laws. He believes all rights come from God. He stated that “unless we honour God, our country will not be held up by God and protected in any way, whether it’s from foreign aggression or from problems here with in.”

He has caused controversy when asked about welfare this month in Iowa, when unprompted he said “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn their money, and provide for themselves and their families.” Now only 9% of people on food stamps in Iowa are black and 84% are white. This has led to allegations of racism, particularly as he did not say anything about not giving white people money. It also ignores the fact that nationally there are more white people than black people receiving food stamps and 30 per cent have a job. According to Santorum the biggest cause of poverty in America is the breakup of the family.

No sooner had that controversy died down than Santorum launched a bizarre attack on President Obama’s seemingly positive plan to help people go to college. “The President of the United States came out and said ‘under my administration, every child should go to college. What elitist snobbery!” (Huh?) At another event he repeated his attack just to be clear. “I was so outraged that The President of the United States came out and said every child should go to college.  Who are you? Who are you to say that every child in America goes? I mean the hubris of this president to think that he knows what’s best for you.” Apparently there is absolutely nothing Obama can do right. But just when things weren’t strange enough, Santorum upped the level to lunatic level. He asked his supporters stop donating money to universities as they were indoctrinating people. “The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America. . . [its] undermining the very principles of our country everyday by indoctrinating kids into left wing ideology.”

Santorum completed his crackpot hat-trick by declaring his complete opposition to all forms of abortion even in the event of rape. He said the women should keep the foetus and raise it as it was a gift from God. You can’t make this stuff up.

Santorum also declared “I’m not a believer in birth control. . . it goes down the road of doing whatever you want to do without having the responsibility that comes with that. . . I don’t think [contraception] works, I think it’s harmful to women, I think it’s harmful to our society, to have a society that says that sex outside the marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated. . . birth control enables that and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.”

But that’s not all. He also stated that “There is no such thing as global warming.” He is also a creationist who believes it should be taught in schools as well as why evolution is wrong. “What we should be teaching are the problems and holes and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution.”

He is also very eager for a war with Iran (because the America’s last war in the Middle East went so well). “[Iran] has been at war with us since 1979. . . The principle virtue of the Islamic Republic of Iran, according to the President Ahmajenadad, is not freedom, opportunity, its martyrdom.” He believes Iran is trying to obtain nuclear weapons and should be militarily stopped (where have I heard that before?). Not stopping there he argued Muslim’s should be racially profiled in airports and just in case there was any confusion of where he stood he said “We are not fighting a war on terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. We are fighting a war against radical Islam.” Santorum has equally broad minded intelligent ideas regarding Israel and Palestine. “All the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians. There is no ‘Palestinian.’ This is Israeli land.”

Last but not least Santorum was named as one of the top three most corrupt politicians in the Senate two years in a row by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. He proposed a law that would have prohibited the public weather forecast from publishing forecasts, instead allowing only private firms to do so. By an amazing coincidence two days earlier a private weather forecasting firm gave him 2,000 dollars. The same firm donated 40,000 dollars to him between 2003 and 2006. He similarly voted against tobacco regulation after receiving large donations from tobacco lobbyists. He takes similarly principled stances on fiscal issues such as opposing government spending unless it’s in his home state in which case he’s a passionate supporter. The New York Times noted a strong link between companies he got government assistance for and companies who donated handsomely to his campaign.

You may call him a corrupt, homophobic, islamophobe, war monger, God fearing, racist, ignorant backwoodsman. Or you can just call him Rick Santorum. Either way he could be President of the most powerful country in the world. Don’t you just love American politics?

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