The Weird & Wacky World of Rick Santorum

I like Rick Santorum. As a Fox News contributor and as a former Senator of a state in which I have never lived, Rick Santorum was someone who I enjoyed listening to. Whether in the United States Senate or as a frequent guest on Greta Van Susteren, you never had to guess where Mr. Santorum stood on the issues.

That’s certainly a nice change from the man who Sen. Santorum is trying to replace. However, I think it’s fair to say that where President Obama would stand on the issues — once elected – was obvious for all to see prior to November 2008. After all, a man who would fight tooth and nail against protecting infants born alive most likely would do all in his power to see that any encroachment on “reproductive freedom” would be met with fierce resistance. For most people, “reproductive freedom” or “reproductive rights” is nothing more than a code word for abortion rights. Despite the furor (rightfully so) over the government’s “contraception mandate,” which would force religious institutions to violate their consciences and beliefs by paying for insurance which covers contraception, no one really is talking about outlawing non-abortion contraception in its entirety.

Well, strike that. Rick Santorum already did. In challenging the 1965 U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, Griswold v. Connecticut, which found a “marital right to privacy” which included the right of married couples to purchase contracptives, Santorum wants to allow states to decide if married couples really do have a right to privacy. As much as many of us do not believe that Roe v. Wade (the 1973 ruling which relied heavily on Griswold (and the penumbra of rights) as a basis to legalize abortion-on-demand) was correctly decided, Santorum’s “state’s rights” view on the constraception issue will only be embraced by a tiny minority of voters in this country.

I would daresay that the majority of Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists — the two largest religious bodies in America – would disagree with Santorum’s view on contraception and the ability of the individual states to regulate or ban the use of contraception all together. Santorum, in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, said this about banning contraception:

“The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that,” he said. “It is not a constitutional right. The state has the right to pass whatever statutes they have. That’s the thing I have said about the activism of the Supreme Court–they are creating rights, and it should be left up to the people to decide.”

In 2012, I think most married couples question whether the state has the right to ban contraceptives.  And people wonder why conservatives are losing the battle on the contraception mandate. It’s because liberals are having a field day with outlandish statements like Santorum made and negative personal attacks like Rush Limbaugh made which divert the attention from the substance of the debate. And, yes, there is a double-standard when it comes to how conservatives are portrayed in the media. We can keep whining about it or we can learn to operate within the system that is in place.

But, if the goal is to elect a conservative President in November 2012, we must adhere to the Buckley rule, named for William F. Buckely, founder of National Review and one of conservatism’s stalwart defenders. Said Buckley about voting for candidates for high office:

“Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.”

Who might that be? Ron Paul? No. While he may have some great ideas, the country (and most conservatives) view him as some sort of wackadoodle. Were Paul to be the nominee of the Republican Party, President Obama would win re-election in a landslide. Same goes for Newt Gingrich. Why conservatives — especially Christians of the Southern Baptist variety — are enamored with a twice-divorced, thrice-married narcissistic Republican version of Bill Clinton is beyond me. We say we believe in “family values.” To continue to support Newt Gingrich for the highest office in the land reveals the hypocrisy of so many on the religious right who once said that “character counted” when it came to a Democrat in the White House.

That leaves Santorum and Mitt Romney. As much as I would like to vote for Santorum, I cannot. I simply do not believe that he is electable, particularly against an incumbent President who has over $1 billion in his campaign warchest. Although I personally find most of President Obama’s policies – economic, social, and international — to be disastrous for the future of our country, I believe that he would be able to easily defeat Rick Santorum at the ballot box in November. Why? Because, in addition to his previous support of allowing states to ban all contraception, Mr. Santorum has expressed his opinion that teleprompters should likewise be banned from the campaign trail:

“See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter,” Santorum said at a Gulfport restaurant. “Because all you’re doing is reading someone else’s words to people.”

Perhaps Mr. Santorum was being tongue-in-cheek. Given his somewhat bizarre interesting quotes during this campaign season, I tend to think that the former Pennsylvania Senator is serious. I know it’s fashionable to take shots at President Obama for his use of teleprompters. But, are there no more pressing matters to talk about? I want a candidate that has a legitimate chance of defeating President Obama in the Fall. Rick Santorum, for all his positive qualities, simply is not that candidate.  Which leaves just one — Mitt Romney.

I never thought that I would cast a vote for Governor Romney in the Presidential Primary. But, if the battle still rages on June 5, the date that New Mexicans vote for the nominee, then I am inclined to vote for the most conservative candidate who is electable in November. As mush as it pains me to say it, that appears to be Mitt Romney. Despite my personal issues with Mr. Romney’s background, I would much prefer a President Romney than another four years of the current President. Contraception might still be legal, but maybe fewer babies would be aborted. There’s nothing weird or wacky about that.

 


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