Mike Kueber's Blog

February 9, 2012

Is Rick Santorum ready for prime-time?

Filed under: People,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 3:44 pm
Tags:

Because of Rick Santorum’s stunning success in winning all three Republican contests this past Tuesday (Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri), he has become the principal challenger to Mitt Romney for the nomination.  Although this is a position that all of Romney’s challengers have sought, it has invariably resulted in the downfall of those who have occupied it – i.e., Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, and Newt Gingrich.  Part of that downfall may be due to attacks by Romney, but most of it comes from enhanced media scrutiny.  Those candidates were fatally flawed and not ready for prime-time.  Is Rick Santorum?

Donald Trump was on Greta Van Susteren’s show last night, he was almost apoplectic that an up-start, so-called loser like Santorum could be seriously considered as a presidential candidate.  He was referring to Santorum’s 2006 Senate reelection loss in Pennsylvania to Bob Casey by almost 20%.  Greta pointed out that 2006 was a horrible year for Republicans across the nation and especially in Pennsylvania, but Trump wasn’t buying that.  According to him, running for president after getting stomped in a Senate reelection bid was like getting bad marks in high school and then wanting to go to the Wharton School of Finance (Trump’s alma mater).

Van Susteren could have better defended Santorum by pointing out that Abraham Lincoln lost his race for the Senate from Illinois to Stephen Douglas in 1858, but that didn’t stop him from defeating Douglas for the presidency in 1860.  As they say, different horses for different courses. 

Based on my review of Rick Santorum’s biography, he appears to have solid conservative values on all three key conservative bases – fiscal, social, and foreign policy.  Although he has a history of using earmarks, he was involved in the landmark welfare reform and now favors further reductions in entitlements.  His foreign policy is as hawkish as any of his competitors, and he wears his Catholicism on his sleeve, with him and his wife belonging to a quasi-secret society of Catholics called the Order of Malta, which includes a problematic pledge for a presidential candidate.

Santorum’s anti-science religiosity might be his biggest weakness.  In 1960, Roman Catholic candidate presidential candidate John Kennedy said there is a distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, and Mitt Romney reaffirmed that pledge in 2008.  But according to Rick Santorum, that position has caused “great harm in America.”  That suggests that Santorum sees America as more of a Christian theocracy.  Early in the 2000s, he engaged in a battle to require the teaching of Intelligent Design as a scientific concept, but by 2005 as he prepared for his difficult reelection bid he shifted his focus to teaching the holes in the concept of evolution.  Recently, Santorum called out both Gingrich and Romney for buying into the “hoax” of global warming.  Those positions may not be deal-killers for the Republican right, but practical Republicans who want to win in 2012 don’t want to be led by an anti-science theocrat.

Another major flaw with Santorum’s candidacy is that he is a career politician.  As a lawyer, he was in private practice for only four years before becoming a congressman, and he has been in Washington ever since.  When he was defeated for reelection in 2006, he turned to consulting jobs, just like Newt Gingrich, to become a millionaire.  That’s why it is not surprising that he defended Gingrich in a recent debate for becoming an influence peddler in Washington.  As I have previously blogged, such influence peddling should be illegal, but even if it isn’t, the voters should surely consider it disqualifying for any future elective office.

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. […] has been a spate of articles and columns (and entries in my blog) suggesting that Rick Santorum’s extreme religiosity and his willingness to allow his religious […]

    Pingback by Joe Klein on Rich Santorum’s inconvenient truths « Mike Kueber's Blog — February 27, 2012 @ 12:40 am | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: