The Problem with Santorum
Even when I agree with Rick Santorum, listening to him argue the point almost makes me change my mind.
I also wonder why he's running for president, rather than governor, when the issues closest to his heart are family-oriented matters about which the federal government can, and should, do very little.
It's strange that Santorum doesn't seem to understand the crucial state-federal divide bequeathed to us by the framers of our Constitution, inasmuch as it is precisely that difference that underlies his own point that states could ban contraception.
Of course they can. States could outlaw purple hats or Gummi bears under our Constitution!
State constitutions, laws, judicial rulings or the people themselves, voting democratically, tend to prevent such silly state bans from arising. But the Constitution written by James Madison, et al, does not prevent a state's elected representatives from enacting them.
The Constitution mostly places limits on what the federal government can do. Only in a few instances does it restrict what states can do.
A state cannot, for example, infringe on the people's right to bear arms or to engage in the free exercise of religion. A state can't send a senator to the U.S. Congress if he is under 30 years old. But with rare exceptions, the Constitution leaves states free to govern themselves as they see fit.
In New York City, they can have live sex clubs and abortion on demand, but no salt or smoking sections. In Tennessee, they can ban abortion, but have salt, creches and 80 mph highways. At least that's how it's supposed to work.
And yet when Santorum tried to explain why states could ban contraception to Bill O'Reilly back in January, not once did he use the words "Constitution," "constitutionally," "federalism," their synonyms or derivatives. Lawyers who are well familiar with the Constitution had no idea what Santorum was talking about.
He genuinely does not seem to understand the Constitution's federalist framework, except as a brief talking point on the way to saying states can ban contraception. Otherwise, he wouldn't keep claiming, falsely, that Obamacare is the same as Romneycare.
Rick! We're conservatives! We believe the states can establish a religion -- and the federal government can't.
If he truly believed in the Constitution, Santorum wouldn't be promoting big social programs out of the federal government, such as tripling the child tax credit exemption and voting for "No Child Left Behind."
No federalist can support this man.
Most recently, Santorum assailed Obama for saying everyone should go to college by responding: "What a snob!"
No! No! No!
Santorum's response merely reinforces the insane liberal worldview that going to college is the preserve of our betters, a hoity-toity proof of social class, a desirable consumer product like a Louis Vuitton bag.
This isn't the '20s, when only the upper classes went to college. These days, every idiot who can scratch an "X" on his checkbook assumes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to make himself less employable by taking college courses in -- for example -- "Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame" (University of South Carolina, Columbia), "GaGa for Gaga: Sex, Gender and Identity" (University of Virginia), "Arguing With Judge Judy: Popular 'Logic' on TV Judge Shows" (University of California, Berkeley), "The Phallus" (Occidental College), "Zombies" (University of Baltimore), "Comics" (Oregon State University), "Harry Potter: Finding Your Patronus" (Oregon State University), and "Underwater Basket Weaving" (University of California at San Diego).
My fellow Americans, Meghan McCain has a bachelor's degree.
It's not snobbery that compels liberals to promote college for all; it's a scam to manufacture more Democratic voters, much like their immigration policies.
Is a Valley Girl who takes courses in Self-Esteem at Cal State Fresno (an actual course at an actual college) a finer class of person than a skilled plumber with approximately 1,000 times the earning capacity and social worth of the airhead?
No. But she is more likely to vote Democratic.
Encouraging everyone to go to college creates an all-new class of people entirely dependent on the government, which is to say: reliable Democratic voters.
First, the taxpayer subsidizes the wasted human space teaching these moronic courses (at prices far outpacing inflation), and then the taxpayer pays the incomes of the graduates who are resigned to filling ever-growing no-show, self-paced and self-evaluated government jobs.
Who else would employ a graduate with a degree in Women's Studies, Early Childhood Education, Physical Education , Sociology or Queer Studies but the government?
Santorum can't be the one arguing for our side.
Even when he's asked to defend his own blindingly obvious point, Santorum manages to blow it. A few weeks ago, George Snuffalupagus asked Santorum about a perfectly reasonable quote from his book "It Takes a Family," where he suggested "that a lot of women feel pressure to work outside the home because of radical feminism."
Santorum disavowed the quote and gallantly blamed it on his wife: "Well, that section of the book was co-written, if you want to be honest about it, by my wife, who is a nurse and a lawyer."
Mrs. Santorum is neither listed as a co-author nor thanked in the acknowledgments of the book. (Rick should read his book! It's probably chock full of interesting quotes like that.)
Then, when asked about another criticism of radical feminists from his own book, he said: "I don't know -- that's a new quote for me."
My imaginary beagle could have defended Santorum's book better.
(The only worse quote in the campaign so far was from Newt Gingrich explaining why he denounced the Paul Ryan plan on Social Security as "right-wing social engineering." Newt went on Fox News and said: "Let me say, on the record: Any ad which quotes what I said on Sunday is a falsehood.")
It was the same thing with Santorum on gays serving openly in the military. Again, Santorum is right -- but he still manages to lose the argument.
Back in October, when Chris Wallace was interviewing Santorum on "Fox News Sunday," he fell into a trap a 14-year-old high-school debater wouldn't have walked into, by agreeing with a quote -- without knowing who said it.
Wallace asked Santorum if he agreed with the following quote: "The Army is not a sociological laboratory. Experimenting with Army policy, especially in time of war, would pose a danger to efficiency, discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat."
To no avail, I screamed at the TV: "NO! DON'T AGREE! IT'S PROBABLY A HITLER QUOTE! SAY YOU'LL USE YOUR OWN WORDS!"
Santorum agreed with the blind quote only to be informed that it was a quote from someone arguing in 1941 against blacks in the military. (I didn't catch the segregationist's full name ... Franklin Delano something.)
He still could have recovered by demanding to know if Wallace was suggesting, therefore, that the Army IS a sociological laboratory and a splendid place for social experimentation in time of war, but Santorum just shrugged sheepishly and mumbled something about how that was different.
The problem is not Santorum's conservative positions, it's that he can't defend them.