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Tag Archives: Rick Santorum

Republicans No Better Than Obama on Trayvon

With President Obama leading the way, Republican presidential candidates fell into line last week in prejudging the case of Trayvon Martin, offering up sympathy for Trayvon that suggested they do not believe his killer acted in legitimate self defense as claimed.

Evincing either a spineless willingness to blow with the prevailing wind or a lack of presidential-caliber prudence, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich all suggested they agree that Trayvon’s shooter, George Zimmerman, is culpable in the killing of an innocent man.

This even as new evidence emerges that Zimmerman may be telling the truth. From today’s Orlando Sentinel:

With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times, leaving him bloody and battered, authorities have revealed to the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say . . .

In his version of events, he had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him . . .

Trayvon was visiting his father’s fiancée, who lived there. He had been suspended from school in Miami after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.

Romney Friday indicated sympathy for Trayvon similar to that offered earlier in the day by Obama, who had said Trayvon looked the way his son would have.

“The shooting of Trayvon is a terrible tragedy unnecessary uncalled for and inexplicable at this point,” Romney said. “What we’ve heard from the media reports suggest that it’s entirely appropriate for the district attorney to be looking into this and to have called a grand jury and find what the facts are. We hope that justice is done in this case as in all cases. But very tragic and our hearts go out to his family his loved ones his friends this shouldn’t have happened.”

Santorum suggested prosecutors should have gone after Zimmerman, even though he did not yet have the facts about why they didn’t.

“It’s a horrible case, I mean it’s chilling to hear what happened, and of course the fact that law enforcement didn’t immediately go after and prosecute this case is another chilling example of horrible decisions made by people in this process.”

Gingrich spoke along the same lines.

“As I understand it, (Zimmerman) was trailing the young man. The young man wasn’t trailing him. I suspect justice will be done,” Gingrich said.

“I think that Americans can recognize that while this is a tragedy, and it is a tragedy, that we’re going to relentlessly seek justice. And I think that’s the right thing to do,” he said, adding  “you had somebody who was clearly overreaching” by following Trayvon.

The job of a leader is to stand athwart the crowd – in this case a kind of lynch mob – and call for calm, reason, and justice. None of these three passed the test.

Zimmerman may be guilty of a crime. We’ll know that after a trial. We have no idea whether he’s guilty right now, and at least one of these three should have said so.

Romney Scores Big Win; Press Fails to Notice

Mitt Romney won a crushing victory Tuesday, winning twice as many states as Rick Santorum and more that two and half times as many delegates, but his triumph is being portrayed in headlines across the nation as sign of weakness and failure.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Romney picked up 211 delegates while taking six states, bringing his total delegate count to 415. Santorum won in three states and added only 84 delegates to bring his total to 176.

Romney scored a huge upset in Ohio, coming from way back to take a politically diverse state that is representative of the type of place he’ll need to win to beat President Obama.

Romney is being widely panned by the press for an “inability to close the deal,” and yet the description seems far more apt for Santorum, who now has blown huge leads in the most critical contests of recent weeks, Ohio and Michigan. If anything, the more voters look at Santorum, the more concerned they become and less likely they are to sign on the dotted line.

Worse for Santorum, he will continue for the foreseeable future to split the most conservative votes with Newt Gingrich – who stays in after winning Georgia – and with Ron Paul, who would remain in the race until 2018 if he could. And Romney has a war chest that will swamp Santorum in the upcoming air wars for closely contested states.

And yet, despite all the evidence Romney largely vanquished his rivals Tuesday night, here are some of the headlines this morning:

Wall Street Journal: Romney Ekes Past Santorum in Ohio

New York Times: With No Knockout Punch, a Bruising Battle Plods On

Los Angeles Times: Battle in Ohio Reinforces GOP Divide; Romney’s Slim Victory Leaves Race Uncertain

USA Today: Romney, Santorum See Momentum

CNN: No Knockout Blow for Romney

Reuters: Romney Narrowly Wins Ohio, Fails to Knock Out Santorum

You get the idea.

There are several reasons for this.

All reporting is now sports reporting. Reporters love a battle and they love to go on TV and rave about how exciting everything is. And editors seek a bracing and never-ending storyline because it draws readers and ultimately pleases their corporate bosses, who want to sell papers and generate pageviews.

The headline “Romney Scores Six Wins and Continues Methodical Drive Toward Nomination” is just not going to drive eyeballs to your story.

And reporters also tend to be moderate to liberal. Bloodletting among Republicans at some level is agreeable to many of them. I have to believe that if this was Obama instead of Romney, the stories would be about the growing inevitability of Obama’s nomination.

That Romney is in all likelihood on the march toward nomination will probably soon become too apparent for any serious journalist to deny. At that point, for the reasons listed above, we will begin to hear feverish talk about the prospects for a third party candidacy.

Santorum’s Contemptuous Certainties

I have strong concerns about Rick Santorum. I believe he shows a kind of intolerance toward dissenting opinion that is unacceptable in a president.

Santorum, for example, has suggested the devil is driving his opponents and compared Obama’s policy choices to the descent into Naziism.

This country faces serious peril. But the premise underlying American democracy is that we have at least some respect for our opposition, some acknowledgement that we might be wrong in some cases. Otherwise, why not a dictatorship?

A true conservative leader who will actually be an effective president must be someone who, like Ronald Reagan, vigorously promotes his principles while appreciating his opponents enough to be able to deal with them and in some cases bring them over to his view.

Santorum is a divisive and smug figure, convinced of the absolute rightness of his cause, and contemptuous of those who disagree with him. He’d be unable to advance conservative principles as president, because he’d be forced to work with people he thinks are evil.

I have a piece running today in Politico that describes why I think this about Santorum. Here’s an excerpt. I hope you have a chance to read the whole thing.

Santorum’s 2008 comments about the devil, which sparked a firestorm after they were uncovered last week by the Drudge Report, are alarming because he connected the devil’s work with Congress — and clearly, liberals in Congress.

Speaking at a Catholic university, Santorum argued that the devil launched his assault on America by first penetrating its colleges. Satan, Santorum said, had started there because he “understood the pride of smart people” — which is that “they were in fact smarter than everybody else.”

From there, Santorum explains, the influence of The Beast extended into society at large, which meant the devil could eventually get into politics — and did.

I know many of you will disagree. I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Santorum’s Satanic Verses

Most of those who objected to Rick Santorum’s 2008 remarks at Ave Maria University depicting Satan’s influence in the United States missed the real problem with what the former senator said.

That Santorum spoke of Satan is certainly jarring for the non-religious and even those who expect mainly to hear these things in church, not from politicians. But it should not be particularly surprising that a religious Christian believes the devil is at work in the world, and that he should be resisted.

What concerns is that Santorum in his remarks – unearthed Wednesday by the Drudge Report – painted his political opponents as being permeated by Satan. This speaks to the very thing that gives people pause about Santorum – that while commendably principled, he may be too rigid and eager to view every matter in terms of good vs. evil.

Santorum argued that the devil had first invaded America’s universities. From there, the Satan’s work extended to society at large, and then to politics. Here’s how Santorum put it:

He understood pride of smart people – he attacked them at their weakness: that they were in fact smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different, pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth – play with it, because ‘we’re smart.’

There’s no question that academia is liberal and that it is influencing society’s future leaders to be the same. But liberal thinking, even if you think it is wrong-headed, is not satanic. And those who are voting for Democrats in congressional elections are not being guided by Mephistopheles.

There is good and evil in the world. Too many politicians – and people – are afraid to say it, or don’t believe it. But our system of government rests on the notion that we might not be right, and that our opponents are animated by a difference of opinion, not by Satan.

Imputing evil to political opponents is far more often the provenance of the left, which generally holds conservatives to be either dumb or intentionally malignant. That Santorum subscribes to the theory of an evil opposition is a worrying quality in someone who could become president.

And it represents a habit of intolerance by Santorum that flashed in the debate Wednesday night when Santorum raged at Romney, saying, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

For those who think Santorum may be the second coming of Ronald Reagan, remember how the Gipper would have put it: “There you go again.”

WHD Exclusive: Romney Was Conservative in the Womb

Mitt Romney gave a major address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last week at which he described himself as having “lived conservatism,” saying that his philosophy had originated from “my family, from my faith and from my life’s work.”

But an investigation by White House Dossier, based on extensive interviews – along with phone tapping, break-ins, and other illegal methods – has found that Romney in fact first became a conservative IN THE WOMB.

The Romney campaign declined to comment for this story, saying Romney himself had no recollection of the experience. But medical records and sources who knew the Romney family at the time paint a picture of a fetus steeped in conservative ideology. Romney’s conservatism at that stage was apparently already very severe.

This sonogram of Mitt Romney in the womb – an early example of the technology’s use – was obtained exclusively by White House Dossier. It clearly shows a pre-natal Romney reading “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek.

According to friends of Mrs. Romney – his mother Mrs. Romney, not his wife Mrs. Romney – a pregnant Mrs. Romney sang the following lullaby to her gestating baby Mitt:

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
The Soviet Union isn’t up to par;
Free markets are always right,
Liberals are so uptight;
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
A true conservative, yes you are.

According to three eyewitnesses who were with Mrs. Romney at times when she sang this lullaby, kicks could be felt on her abdomen as the fetal Romney reacted with joy to the melody and its words.

Fellow Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich questioned whether Romney was really a conservative at such an early stage.

“As a historian, I can think of only three people who were conservative in the womb: Me, William F. Buckley, and Lyndon Johnson, though environmental factors subsequently changed Johnson into a liberal.”

The campaign of Rick Santorum claimed to have eggs extracted from his mother’s ovaries which would demonstrate that he was conservative even before conception. However, the campaign has refused to release the eggs or provide documentation of any analysis that would show them to be conservative.

Obama Campaign Begins to Target Santorum

In a sign that President Obama’s political advisers now believe they may face Rick Santorum in the general election, the Obama campaign Wednesday sent an email to its supporters asking for examples of Santorum’s “extreme-right social views.”

The nascent effort to denigrate Santorum also suggests the Obama camp has concerns about Santorum’s potential strength in the general election and is not so sure it would prefer to run against him instead of  Mitt Romney.

Were the Obama campaign eager to go up against Santorum instead of Romney, it would hold its fire against Santorum and allow him to continue damaging and possibly even defeat Romney.

After winning contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri last week, Santorum has rocketed back into the GOP presidential contest, leading Romney in most of the recent national polls of Republicans.

The Obama campaign has long presumed that Romney would be the GOP nominee and has geared its operation toward destroying him while leaving his Republican rivals alone.

But now, the Obama’s operatives clearly believe they must begin to frame public perceptions of Santorum, particularly among moderates who might be thinking of switching from Obama.

The email, which was written by Obama’s Pennsylvania state director, asks recipients to “share their recollections” of Santorum’s years as a Pennsylvania senator, seeking examples of positions and statements that make Santorum appear as far out of the mainstream as possible.

It appears to have been crafted for Pennsylvanians, but it was sent out by the national campaign to supporters outside the state as well. Here’s an excerpt:

Here’s someone who has actually bragged that he was a tea partier before there was a Tea Party — someone whose extreme-right social views are as out of touch as they are memorable.

Folks across the country are just starting to learn about Rick Santorum as he enjoys his newfound wave of popularity. But people here have known him for some time — long before he was out on the national stage like he is now. And it’s on us to make sure the rest of the country sees Rick Santorum’s true colors.

Share your recollections of Rick Santorum’s record in Pennsylvania.

We all have a role to play in helping introduce the real Rick Santorum to voters in the 49 other states. Your story will help hold him responsible for his actions — and could inspire other Pennsylvanians to get involved and raise their voices, too.

And when it comes to his greatest hits in this state, you’ll have no shortage of material to choose from.

Share what you want the rest of the country to know about Rick Santorum — and then ask your fellow Pennsylvanians to join you.

A link in the email leads to leads to a page on the Obama 2012 national website where recipients can dish on Santorum. Once they’ve submitted their comments, they are taken to a separate page where they are hit up for a donation.

One Politician of Principle

One of the little moments that stand out from my years of reporting at the White House and on Capitol Hill involved Rick Santorum.

I remember it to this day, because it was so genuine and, given what eventually happened, poignant. It helps explain why the people of Iowa gave Santorum his shot.

This is not an endorsement. It’s just something from my personal experience I thought might interest you about Santorum.

It was 2005, and George W. Bush had launched his controversial drive to reform Social Security, in part by allowing future retirees to place a portion of their payroll taxes in personal accounts that could include investments in stocks.

The Democrats were pounding away at Bush and anyone who suggested they might support the idea, frightening seniors with accusations that Social Security was getting “privatized” and offering grim prognoses of innocent seniors’ savings getting wiped out in the market.

Santorum was engaged in a bitter reelection fight for his Pennsylvania Senate seat, and his support for Bush’s Social Security plan was killing him.

Pennsylvania is teaming with retirees, ranking behind only Florida and West Virginia in the percentage of people over 65, and Santorum’s stand in favor of the accounts was the gift to Democrats that kept on giving.

As the point man for my publication on Bush’s Social Security drive, I was on Capitol Hill one day to cover a press conference by a group of Republican senators touting some aspect of the plan.

Not only was Santorum supporting Bush, but he was actually trying to promote the plan by putting himself before the cameras. Normally in Washington, even when someone takes a politically difficult position, they kind of sneak on to the floor to cast their vote – preferably wearing a full body burqa – and then scurry back to their office and hide under the desk.

Santorum was duly asked by one reporter why he was committing political suicide. Actually, it was more polite, like, “Isn’t this going to hurt your reelection prospects?”

I expected some kind of nonsense claiming that everything was perfectly normal aboard the Titanic and that iceberg ahead was a welcome diversion to be marveled at and embraced.

Instead, he was kind of sheepish, looking down, smiling a bit. He said something like “I really can’t worry about the politics of this. It’s the right thing to do.”

He really did. And it was clear to everyone that he was serious, since the politics of it were so bad.

And then he went on the be defeated for reelection.