Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2012 Contender: Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum believes in families, which is a real change of pace from those other candidates, who advocate the forcible separation of families. Rick believes in “freedom” too, only his definition and yours probably aren’t the same. Beyond that, it gets kind of hazy. One thing is clear though, Rick loves to paint himself as the victim. This isn’t going to be pretty.

1. Compassionate Conservatism: In 2005, Rick called himself a believer in “compassionate conservatism,” which should send up huge red flags for conservatives everywhere. His website sends up more red flags.

According to Rick’s website, Rick believes in “healthy families,” in the American experience, in compassion and in freedom, and that's about as specific as it gets. But here’s the interesting thing. Rick is well known to be obsessed with gays and abortion. Yet, his website barely mentions either. He never uses the words “gay” or “homosexual,” and he only mentions gay marriage by saying that he tried to protect “traditional marriage” from “activist judges” back whenever that happened. And he only uses the word “abortion” once, when he says he opposed “partial-birth abortion” and he voted for a couple pro-life bills. That's it. He doesn’t even say what he believes in these areas or if he has any plans with regard to these issues. This is a serious red flag. Any candidate who hides their agenda, no matter what that agenda is, should not be trusted.

Besides hiding what he believes, Rick also tries to paint himself as the victim, claiming he had to stand up to his own party, to “the liberal elite,” and to a media that ridiculed him and called him a “bigot” for sticking to his beliefs. . . whatever they may be. You will see this becomes a common theme.

Rick also recently gave an interview to Rush which is worth noting. While he kept talking about “freedom,” his definition of freedom was “not economic” and “does not mean doing whatever you want.” Instead, he defined “freedom” as “living life according to a Christian code.” This is the “freedom” he “intends to fight for and protect” as President. Naturally, he never said how he intends to impose his religion through government policy, but two parts of his record give us clues as to how he would use government force in this manner:

● He tried to include an amendment in the No Child Left Behind Act that would have required public schools to teach Intelligent Design as science. His amendment was not approved.

● Under the guise of religious freedom, he authored the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which forces employers to accommodate their employees’ religious beliefs. Fortunately, this bill did not pass.
2. Economics: N/A. He does not mention a single economic policy he seeks to implement.

FYI, here are the economic achievements he trumpets on his website:
● Rick supported a Balanced Budget Amendment and Line Item Veto in 1994.

● Rick supported the 1996 Welfare Reform law.

● Rick supported the Bush tax cuts.

● In 2005, Rick argued that we should fix social security. . . somehow.
These aren't horrible, but there's a catch. In each instance, Rick describes himself as a leader on the issue and describes how he "spearheaded" it. He also makes constant references to sticking his neck out or putting his political career at risk in supporting these bills. But none of that is true. He was never more than a co-sponsor, if even, and in each instance these bills had overwhelming bipartisan support.

Rick also suggests that he's a Tea Party person, though he endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey, he voted to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs, and he was a noted porker. He says he opposes crony capitalism, but he actually tried to use federal legislation to shut down a competitor to a local contributor (Accuweather). And he works for a large K-street law firm.

3. Foreign Policy: Rick believes in American exceptionalism, which he thinks has something to do with 9/11, and he won’t “back down from those who wish to destroy America.” (No word on whether he would back down from those who only wish to maim us or take our stuff.) To protect us, Rick wants to change the name of the “War on Terror” to the “War on Radical Islam.” I'm not kidding. That's his plan. . . because going from WOT to WORI should make all the difference.

He claims that in 2003, he authored the Syria Accountability Act, which imposes some sanctions on Syria. But the bill was actually written by a House Democrat and came to the Senate after passing the House. It passed the Senate 89-4 and was signed by Bush.

He then adds that in 2005, he authored the Iran Freedom and Support Act (to give money to pro-democracy protesters), in the face of intense Democratic and Bush Administration opposition. And Rick paints himself as the victim of a media smear campaign for his unwavering insistence that Ahmadinejad poses a threat. But that's not true. There was no opposition. The bill passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent and was signed by Bush, who praised this as an example of bipartisanship at work. And there's no evidence of the media smearing him for this.

He also claims that in 2005 he became “one of the nation’s first leaders to understand the threat posed by Iran.” Never mind that the problems with Iran started in 1979 and the nuclear issue first became known well before 2005.
Conclusion
Santorum has a demonstrated record of self-aggrandizement and falsely wrapping himself in the victim flag. These are not conservative traits. What’s more, he’s being deceptive about his goals and he has no economic policy. . . none. In fact, he hasn't announced a single goal or policy he hopes to implement in any area. Is it any wonder Rick managed to set a record for the largest loss ever by an incumbent Republican Senator in Pennsylvania. Would he make a good President? I can’t see how.

P.S. Tune in tomorrow night for Thaddeus McCotter. You might be surprised.

44 comments:

CrispyRice said...

Geez, Andrew, it's like you're destroying all our candidates, one by one! Time to raise pitchforks against the messenger! ;)

Seriously, it's good to know all this information, and I appreciate it. I've been going off the impressions I have, and it's better to know the truth of what these folks really have or have not done. But I do feel disheartened that we don't seem to have anyone I can really get behind. (Well, I still like Cain quite a bit, but I don't hold a great deal of hope for him to pull it out.)

You say we'll be happily surprised by McCotter??

Scott said...

I agree that Santorum has played the victim card a little too often, and his stance on Medicare drugs was wrong in the end, his support was for a different--market based approach. I do not wish to vilify a candidate who sticks to his values and defends his record however. I see no smoking gun here.

T-Rav said...

Rolling out the snark today, Andrew? ;-) In all seriousness, though, I think whoever described Santorum as "the Catholic Huckabee" had it right. I was interested in seeing how he did in the debates, and he had good answers here and there, but...not impressive overall. And despite my approval on the values thing, I don't think I can trust a guy who backed Specter over Toomey.

P.S. Crispy, I did a little checking up on McCotter myself after he announced. When Andrew says "surprised," I don't think he means "happily surprised."

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I'm calling them like I see them, and I'm finding it a bit disheartening too. But I haven't been entirely negative. There have been a couple I thought would be pretty good and the jury's still out on Bachmann.

I think you'll be quite happily surprised with McCotter.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The main problems with Santorum are that (1) he has no beliefs except on social issues, (2) he's afraid to even explain his beliefs on social issues and (3) he's warped -- he is making himself out as a brave leader in the face of serious opposition over and over and neither part of that is true. He's not the leader he claims and there was never the opposition he claims. That makes him either a victim of a self-aggrandizing paranoid -- neither of which are good alternatives.

Of all the candidates we've had (other than Trump), he's the only one I think can't be trusted. The others may be wrong or shallow or stupid, but at least you know what you're going to get. Not this guy.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, There is a lot of pro-life criticism of Santorum for backing Specter over Toomey. And I think you need to question a man who won't state what he believes. There is a huge difference between refusing to make that THE campaign issue and hiding the belief. Especially when the rest of his record is so contradictory to the image he's trying to paint.

To me the things you cannot trust are candidates who lie about or distort their records, who won't share their views or don't have plans, or who come up light after supposed years of service. Each of those is a huge warning sign. Santorum's got all three. And the fact he pretends to have been a leader on all these issues and faced down serious opposition (that never existed) is deeply troubling. This is not a man who should be allowed near the White House.

On McCotter, I was actually very happy with most of what I found.

Barack Obama said...

"To me the things you cannot trust are candidates who lie about or distort their records, who won't share their views or don't have plans, or who come up light after supposed years of service."

Excuse me?

CrispyRice said...

Ohhh, I see a fight brewin' between Andrew and T-Rav over McCutter! ;) Guess I'll wait 'til tomorrow to see.

I must agree wholeheartedly that anyone who backed Specter is not to be trusted as a conservative candidate.

AndrewPrice said...

That's him officer... that Obama fellow, he tried to molest my wallet....



T-Rav (I presume), I wasn't specifically trying to describe Obama, but it certainly came out that way didn't it? Fascinating.

So keep Obama in mind when you look at Republican candidates. The closer they are to our Loser in Chief in temperment, hypocrisy and lack of experience/ achievements, the more likely they are to become our very own Obamas.

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, There won't be any fight. We're all about love at Commentarama.... love of a good fight. :-)

Seriously though, McCotter is not perfect -- no one is except Commentarama readers/writers, but I was very impressed with a lot about him.

Also, let me clarify again, I have tried to give pros (where possible) and cons about each candidate so people don't go in blind. This doesn't mean I hate them all. There are several I could happily vote for at this point and others I could hold my nose and vote for.

As for the rest, don't blame the messenger, blame a party that isn't good at sorting out whose is genuine and who isn't.

rlaWTX said...

what's probably sad is that this is more than I already knew about this guy... I kept meaning to check him out, but hadn't gotten around to it.
Keep the info coming.

on another subject, I had a jury duty summons yesterday. my first ever. (I guess finally living in one place for more than a year got me.) Anyway, it was actually rather interesting. The prosecutor did a good job explaining the purpose and responsibilities of jury service - good enough that I was a little disappointed not to have been chosen.
One question: do y'all's courtrooms buy seating from "Uncomfortable Pews R Us" too? I thought that they were leftovers when we had the old courthouse, but they just revamped an office building for the new courthouse and had new, pretty, hard, uncomfortable pews. I have been in court in Andrews County and they have the same thing. Since 3 courthouses isn't a good sample, I thought I'd ask...
Happy Wednesday!!!!

T-Rav said...

Andrew, oh, okay. I was a little worried about one or two things about McCotter, so I figured if it had me worried, then...ah, never mind, save it for tomorrow.

And no, Crispy, I will not be getting into a fight with Andrew about McCotter. I like the guy, so if it looks like he's all right, that's good news to me. (McCotter, I mean.) Anyway, I shot my bolt the other day on the "conservatism and religion" thing, so--nah.

Also, I can neither confirm nor deny reports that I was using a Barack Obama sockpuppet.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, You raise a serious problem with our current system -- lack of knowledge. In an "information age" like today, you would think we would know everything there is to know about all of our candidates and potential candidates. But we know very little about most of them.

I think the blame falls on two groups. First, most candidates today lack consistency and don't wait to establish a record before launching themselves for higher office. Look at someone like Reagan. You knew where Reagan stood on everything because (1) he's already done it all by the time he became President, so we have a long record, and (2) he took a stand on everything. Compare that with so many today who try to weasel their way up by hiding behind labels -- Tea Party, Social Conservative, Compassionate Conservative, Fiscal Hawk, etc. but they are only using the labels for cover. And they spit out things like "I'm for families" and "I support the Constitution"... which are meaningless phrases designed to trick you into filling in the blanks in your own mind. It's sloganeering over substance. Too many of these people are blank slates or worse.

Secondly, and more damning, the conservative media has fallen down on the job. They are falling for youtube moments and first impressions and they never look deeper. They don't even ask questions. In the interview with Santorum, Rush never once asked "what do you mean?" The press lets these people get away with sloganeering and that's bad for conservatism.


On the courtrooms.... yeah, they're all like that. Don't ask me why. I've spent many hours torturing my rear end on wooden benches and hard wooden chairs and you can see the juries shifting around painfully. I don't get it?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, We're having "Barack Obama's" digital fingerprints eDNA tested! LOL!


McCotter isn't perfect. He has made missteps. But overall, I am quite impressed and I think you'll like him. And if I missed something, then I'm sure you'll point that out! :-)

T-Rav said...

On the courtroom thing, I've only been to a few, but they all seem to be that way. Very uncomfortable. Maybe that's why certain juries give certain child-killers a "not guilty" verdict in only 10 hours, because they don't want to stay and debate it.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, Yep, they're all uncomfortable.

In terms of the jury, the problem is that you and the jury hear different things. What you get in the media is usually more than the jury gets to hear. Also, juries tend to take the law very seriously and they are working with a much higher standard than the public is -- "beyond reasonable doubt" v. "probably" or "I think so."

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. T_Rav, You would be surprised what juries don't get to hear -- things that would strike you as entirely relevant, but which the law excludes. And this can cut both ways -- pro-prosecution and pro-defense.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I don't know how seriously this particular jury was taking it, but you likely know more about that than I do. I don't want to jack the thread onto that, anyway, seeing as it's being done to death practically everywhere else. It's just a case where there were no winners.

So here's something a little more upbeat: via Fox News, Major Hassan, aka the Fort Hood shooter, will reportedly be tried by court-martial after all, and be facing the death penalty. So yay (?)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, That is excellent news. In fact, that likely means he will die. Military juries do not mess around. The Army reports having a 98% conviction rate and with evidence like there is against Hassan, I think a military jury will have little trouble sending him to be executed.

Ed said...

Andrew, Nice analysis. Santorum was never my choice because he struck me as too focused just on social issues and this kind of confirms that. I agree entirely about a candidate who won't say what they believe. I don't mind them downplaying something or playing something else up in a campaign, that's to be expected. But to all but ignore the one thing that's been driving you is not a good sign.

What bothers me more though is the victim thing. I am sick to death of lousy politicians with nothing to offer playing the role of victim to try to win sympathy votes. I'm even more worried that people are falling for this! That's not leadership. It's anti-leadership. We're supposed to hand the keys to the free world to someone who tries to play the victim? That scares me, and it's not just Santorum I'm talking about. There are several who are wrapping themselves in the victim flag.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Just a few thoughts. On one issue, gay marriage, Santorum had it right, even if his view of gays itself is too doctrinaire for me. He predicted that if gay marriage were "normalized," what's to stop polygamy and polyandry? That movement has already started in California and Vermont (Utah remains silent, for the moment). He got laughed at for suggesting such a thing, but he will very likely be proven right. That said, his hostility toward gays is going to come out whether he likes it or not, so his attempt to hide it now will come back to haunt him later.

At the same time I was applauding him for at least having a realistic view on the subject of gay marriage and its consequences, he lost me early, and perhaps completely, when he endorsed Snarlin' Arlen over Toomey. We had a chance to rid ourselves of one of the worst of the RINOs, and he (and fellow compassionate conservative Bush) got in the way. Unprincipled.

We need a principled fiscal conservative, and I don't see Santorum as being that. He talks a good stand, but he acts more like Obama in his misunderstanding of how wealth is created and how much damage government interference does to wealth creation. I've made my views on abortion rather clear on this site, and my opposition to gay marriage (not to gays), but those are not going to be the issues that get people to the polls in 2012. Santorum has made a very poor start.

As for the Anthony trial, I find myself for the first and perhaps only time on the side of Geraldo Rivera. I have little doubt that the mother was in some way responsible for her daughter's heart-breaking death. But how? When? Speculation is easy, perhaps even logical. But it is the job of the prosecution to prove specifically and beyond a reasonable doubt the cause of death, the perpetrator, and the level of malice involved in the death. The prosecution failed. As I have said many times before, I never cease to be amazed at how a jury of average people with no legal training can listen to mountains of evidence, see hundreds of exhibits, and listen to dozens of witnesses, then learn, on the spot, how the law views all of it, and somehow come up with the right verdict. And I say that keeping in mind that as often as not, that verdict went against my client.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I think the victim thing should not be underestimated -- especially by conservatives. Our ideology does not subscribe to victimology, yet these people are using an offshoot of that very theory to try to trick people into supporting them.

It's the same thing as feminists or black racists whining that society it keeping them down. It's no more true in those instances than it is with politicians who wrap themselves in this flag.

People need to rise or fall on their own merits. Simply whining that the world is being unfair and the other side is targeting you does not translate into you being worth anything. Being the enemy of my enemy does not qualify you to become my leader. Maybe that just means you're a soft target?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, As you know, I agree completely on the gay marriage issue. Both that it is wrong, that it's intellectually dishonest, and that the intellectual dishonesty will lead to opening the door to more things like polygamy, incestual marriage and God-knows what else.

And while Santorum was right about that (though he was hardly the first to come up with that thought), it troubles me that he applies similarly defective logic in things like imposing Creationism or forcing employers to cater to their employees' religious beliefs. He sees the word as a Christian world and does not grasp that a law that allows "religious" rights will apply to ALL religions, no matter how stupid. And it's going to be a mess when employers need to start catering to any twisted belief that comes along..... halal cafeteria anyone? Gee, what do you mean I can't keep my ceremonial snake in my desk?

I also agree that this election will not be decided on social issues and I just don't see anything beyond social issues out of Santorum. And the little bit that does go beyond social issues is problematic as he is clearly misstating his record.

Again, no matter which of his views you like, you can do better with other candidates.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, On Anthony, my mother said something that helps to explain the problem:

"It's clear her family is messed up, how could the jury ignore that?"

That's a fair question, but there are two clear responses. First, the jury wasn't deciding if she's a horrible person, they are just deciding if the evidence shows that she killed her child. (Frankly, the prosecutor should have charged her with a whole bunch of other charges too.)

Secondly, the jury doesn't get to hear about her messed up life. They only get to hear about facts that relate directly to whether or not she was involved in the death of the child. They don't get to hear hours of tv talking heads talking to neighbors or childhood friends and they don't get to hear about her prior bad parenting acts. They only hear about the things related directly to these very narrow events.

That's our system and as hard as it is for most people to accept, it largely makes sense -- though there are some serious injustices that can (and do occur) in both directions.

Koshcat said...

Another one bites the dust...

At times a candidate may run knowing full well they cannot get the nomination but hope to bring an issue to the forefront. For example, Tancredo was a candidate for 2008 because he wanted the illegal immigration issue to be debated. That's ok. But lately there are people running and I can't figure out why they are wasting so much time, energy, and money. Santorum is one of those. If he was to push a social agenda, he sure isn't doing a very good job. Newt is another. Nobody really likes him and you know his polls tell him that. What is the point of running? He can't win. I thought that Bachmann may be running to push a Tea Party agenda, but no I not sure. I have no idea why Huntsman is running either. At this point, I can't figure out what the heck Pawlenty is doing. What is he waiting for, an invitation? If he doesn't get out there on TV and get people to listen to him he is going to disappear into the ether. The only reason Romney is leading, in my opinion, is because of name recognition. I know absolutely nothing about McCotter, although it really opens up the Welcome Back Kotter jokes.

Tennessee Jed said...

Never have been a big Santorum fan, even though I voted for him for senator when I lived in Pennsylvania. He is a distraction. I want someone who can sell the need to cut spending.

StanH said...

Santorum would be light years better than Barry, but he freaks me out with his holier than thou crap. I think you’ve written a fair assessment of who Rick Santorum is, what ever he needs to be to win, a typical Washington politician. And as has been said up-thread, his support of Spector over Toomey is unforgivable.

AndrewPrice said...

Koshkat, I agree entirely and with each point.

I understand that some people run just to push a single issue. Tancredo is a perfect example of that. He just wanted to get people talking about illegal immigration.

Some people run because they genuinely are ready and they have an ideological plan they want to see implemented. There are few of those in politics though.

Then you get the current crew. Most seem to be running strictly as an ego thing -- "the world loves me and I want to be President." These people have no serious agenda other than "me and whatever I choose to do."

This actually reminds me of a lot of the young lawyers I've known. They think they can do anything and they are sure that if they were just put in charge, they could handle everything. But they couldn't tell you what their plan is because they don't have one -- they think playing it by ear is enough. Unfortunately, these people are easy marks for more experienced attorneys. And the same is true in politics.

Right now we have too many people saying, "trust me, I know how to handle it." In fact, I put almost all of them in this category so far.

On Pawlenty, I too get the feeling he's waiting for an invitation. He needs to step up, take the gloves off and get himself noticed or he can pack it up.

On Romney, I agree. I think he has little genuine support except that no one else has emerged. The conservative media has jumped on Bachmann's bandwagon, but I don't think the public trusts it yet.

McCotter is an interesting guy. He's got some mistakes (they all do), but by an large, he's got some good stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, "he is a distraction" sums him up pretty well. I put him in the same category as Newt -- not someone the party will choose and not someone most people will listen to at this point.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Thanks. I think you've put your finger on the essence of his record -- that he will go with whatever the flow is at the moment. I thought it was particularly telling that he now talks about opposing crony capitalism when he was a practitioner of it and when he works for a DC law firm/lobbyist. That's disingenuous and calls into question whether we could trust him to do the right thing or just lie to us while doing what more important clients want?

Writer X said...

That is incredibly eye-opening. Thank you, Andrew.

Looking forward to your profile on McCotter.

P.S. Reading about Obama's twitter townhall performance today. Hilarious.

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome Writer X! I just wish I had better news to give so far on these nominees. But then, I think if I had better news, we would already have a solid nominee. Still, there's time! We should be thankful this is a long process.

McCotter is a good deal better -- tune in tomorrow at 4:00 EST. And I'm not just saying that so Crispy doesn't try to shoot the messenger! LOL!

Patti said...

first: any time i read the name *thaddeus mccotter* my hopeful heart does a back-flip.

second: rick's renaming of the war on terror made me lol. for reals. i bet that scared the robes of the radicals. or not.

third and lastly: i think i'm in love with thaddeus like i am with allen west.

wouldn't THAT be a badass ticket!

rlaWTX said...

OK - this is not about that FL mess, but still off-topic (sorta sorry):
actually the chosen jurors were going to get cushy individual chairs - looked kinda like nice office desk chairs. just the jury pool (or any trial watchers) get the "pews of butt pain".
I found it interesting that this prosecutor went over the "Law & Order Effect" and the "CSI Effect" during his voir dire. And he did it with humor instead of "you stupid people" attitude.
After the various discussions here, the whole process was pretty interesting. And I learned the differences among assault charges in Texas. And made $10. Not bad all-in-all. Oh, and they won't call me again before 2013!

T-Rav said...

I feel the same way about Romney, but the guy raised $18 million this quarter. I think that in order to stop him from getting the nomination, the other candidates are going to have to destroy this notion that "he's more electable." That's bull----, and it needs to be declared as such.

rlaWTX said...

OH - is Alan (Alex?) Keyes still around? My mom always enjoyed voting for him or Jack Kemp in primaries...

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, I got a laugh out of that too. In fact, I kept thinking of Mad Magazine...

"what, me worry?" becomes "WoT me WoRI"?

On McCotter, tune in tomorrow, I think you'll be happy.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, The sales jobs from both sides starts the moment the jury arrives. In fact, you even tailor your questions to send messages to the potential jurors. There are literally hundreds of hours of work put into voir dire questions and arguing about what gets to be asked and how.

The Law&Order/CSI thing is a real concern because people have come to expect a process that is nothing like the truth. The truth is much more mundane and scientists are not infallible, like television would make you think. So you really need to defuse those expectations and teach people what to expect or you leave yourself open to people saying "he doesn't seem as prepared as those guys on TV."

TV also has taught people to expect smoking guns and people breaking down on the stand, but those are really, really rare. Instead, you just get a collection of small facts that either add up to enough or not. And as an attorney, you need to teach the jury what to listen for and how to assemble what they hear.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I agree. I think what really needs to happen is that one of the other candidates needs to genuinely step up and just take it from him. To do that, they need a stellar economic plan, a devastating attack message against Obama, a dismissive attack message against Romney and proof that everyone will fall in line behind them if everyone just forgets about all the alternatives.

That will be hard to do, but it can be done. The question is can any of these people do it? I'm honestly not sure.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I haven't heard from Alan Keyes for some time, though I did always enjoy listening to him rant! :-)

I liked Jack Kemp a lot -- very smart man. RIP.

Patti said...

andrew: i just realized that i also have a thaddeus entry posting tomorrow. (i did ALL my posts on sunday this week...eep!)

perhaps tomorrow is unofficial thaddeus mccotter day.

can't wait to read yours.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Excellent! I look forward to it. I like the one from the other day too. :-)

patti said...

i tweeted this entry. yeah, i did.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Patti! I'm horrible with Twitter. I've tried a couple times to get started and it just never takes. I should give it another shot at some point.

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