by Burt Prelutsky
Until recently, I didn’t dislike GOP contender Santorum. Although I preferred Mitt Romney, I regarded Sen. Santorum as a decent second choice. I no longer feel that way.
It was the Michigan primary that brought about my change of heart. Until then, the worst thing I could say about him was that he was a bit of a self-serving ditz when it came to term limits. Although he claimed to favor them, when I interviewed the man who had served two terms in the House and two terms in the Senate, and asked him why he had run for a third term, he replied that he didn’t believe that two Senate terms were enough. Most people would think that 16 years in Congress was more than enough, especially for someone who claimed to favor limits.
I also questioned his endorsement of liberal Arlen Specter when Specter was competing against conservative Pat Toomey in the 2004 GOP Pennsylvania primary, but I was willing to let that slide in the spirit of letting bygones be bygone.
But the Michigan primary changed my benevolent feelings towards the man whose singular achievement has been to bring sweater vests back from the fashion cemetery.
First of all, I took exception to his statement that John F. Kennedy’s statement in 1960 that he did not speak for his church on public matters and the church didn’t speak for him made him puke. Although I’m not a Catholic like JFK and Rick Santorum, I have to confess that his own comment made me puke.
Whether a president is Methodist, Presbyterian, Jewish, Catholic or Mormon, I assume his religious beliefs have helped make him the person he is. Furthermore, I expect the overall effect of his religious upbringing will have helped make him a decent, compassionate, patriotic American…and likelier than not, a Republican. That said, in his role as chief executive, I don’t care to see his specific religious beliefs on parade. He is, after all, supposed to be the president of the United States, not our pastor, priest or rabbi.
Frankly, Santorum’s critique of Kennedy’s remarks has been, next to Ron Paul’s repeated lack of concern over a nuclear Iran, the stupidest thing I’ve heard during the primaries.
But Santorum wasn’t finished. Although I thought that his use of robo-calls to Michigan’s Democrats and union members, urging them to come out and vote for him, was distasteful, to say the least, I cut him some slack because desperate times often call for desperate measures. It was his defense of those calls that I regarded as indefensible.
As if it weren’t bad enough that he was encouraging Democrats to sabotage a Republican primary, he claimed that he was only doing to Romney what Romney had done to him in New Hampshire. When pressed, he said that Romney’s people had produced ads in which they quoted all the nice things Santorum had said about candidate Romney in 2008.
My first reaction was to laugh out loud. But then it hit me that Santorum was being dead serious. He was actually trying to convince us that there was no difference between the two political ploys.
I waited for someone in the media to rebut his contention, but, as usual, when you wait for someone in the media to point out the obvious, you better not hold your breath. Had I been on the scene, I would have said, “Senator Santorum, the difference is that you really did say all those nice things about Governor Romney. You, on the other hand, were inviting liberals to do everything in their power to turn a GOP primary into a farce. I mean, do you really think it’s honorable to deprive Michigan’s Republicans of the opportunity to voice their preference?”
This, after all, wasn’t the general election when the Republican presidential candidate would hope to attract as many disgruntled Democrats as possible. Nobody in his right mind would assume that a Democrat voting in a Republican primary is indicating his displeasure with Obama. He could do that by simply changing his registration. His only motive would be to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, hoping to ensure that Obama would be running against the weakest possible opponent in November. And here is the monkey, Santorum, handing him the wrench.
Only a total ignoramus or a candidate who would trade his soul for the nomination would stoop so low or insist that there is somehow a moral equivalence between what Romney did in New Hampshire and what he, himself, tried to pull off in Michigan.
The last person who made such a hash of moral equivalency was Steven Spielberg, the moral cretin who called the seven hours he spent chatting with Fidel Castro the highlight of his life. I’m referring to his movie, “Munich,” which drew a moral equivalence between the Palestinian terrorists who massacred 11 Israeli athletes and coaches, along with a West German police officer, at the 1972 Olympics, and the Mossad agents who tracked them down and killed them.
As bad as Santorum’s performance was, the talking heads on Fox weren’t much better. On Election Night, a gathering of political savants kept saying that if Santorum won the primary because of liberal voters, it meant that he would fare better than Romney among Democrats and Independents in November.
I had to keep resisting the desire to scream at the TV set, pointing out to these boneheads that such voters would no more be indicating actual support for Santorum than George Soros would be if he wished Rick Godspeed and wrote him a check.