I have to assume that Rick Santorum is still in the race to be the GOP nominee because he hopes that some simultaneous outbreak of monkey pox will wipe out the rest of the field. That, or, as a good Catholic, he enjoys a little flagellation every so often - it's good for the soul.
He is probably the thirteenth or fourteenth least-electable candidate in the history of humanity, but we can't seem to get him to just shut the hell up and go away.
Even before the primary, Santorum was surging in Iowa (eeewww!) at 15%, but he still can't seem to consistently break 5% nationally. Not that he isn't optimistic (or possibly sadistic): he put it a few weeks ago, "I'm counting on the people of Iowa to catch fire for me." (Which seems unnecessarily cruel, but what do I know?)
The problem is that Santorum is just the latest flavor of not-Romney to hit the shelves. It's his turn to be touted nationally for the next few weeks, until somebody remembers that we're electing a president, not a pope.
Santorum has two major disabilities that are going to prevent his election: his sanctimonious, unpleasant nature, and his aggressively ignorant and regressive social policies. His entire platform, as far as I can tell, seems to be abortion and gay marriage - everything else is secondary. If he were, by some miracle, to be elected president, we'd have an uninterrupted 4-year fiesta of fag-punching.
We know that Santorum is so homophobic that he'll only eat a corndog with a knife and fork, but is he also racist? Well, that one's a little trickier. He has, for a long time, been consistently in favor of the full GOP stand on immigration: no amnesty for illegal immigrants, and likewise no benefits for them; deport criminals, strengthen border security, and even the somewhat trickier "English as the official language" stance. And while that has overtones of "scary brown people," it's the Republican party line. So no points there.
On the other hand, it's somewhat telling when you stand in front of a group of white people from Iowa (a redundant statement, but let's move on) and explained that "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money."
His first explanation was that he didn't remember making the comment. Faced with the video, he huddled with his campaign, but the best they could come up with was that he "mumbled it... I was starting to say one word and I sort of came up with a different word and then moved on."
What he couldn't seem to explain was what that "one word" was. "Blaa" is a pretty unique sound. Who does he not want to help? Bloggers? Bluefin tuna? Blink 182?
But let's move beyond that. What would a Rick Santorum presidency do for America? Well, let's consider his belief system for just a moment. What does Rick Santorum believe in?
His career should have been over after he tried to make political points leading the charge in the Terry Schiavo case, exploiting the pain of the family of a provably brain-dead woman. But he weathered that (presumably, the $250 thousand he earned in campaign contributions from the Schiavo debacle helped a lot).
Rick Santorum believes that birth control is directly responsible for the moral decline of America, saying "the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual liberty idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK. It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."
He wrote an article in 2002 blaming pedophilia in Catholic priests on "moral relativism" and "cultural liberalism."
This is a man who said that John McCain, who was tortured while a POW in Vietnam, "doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works."
He tried to require the "No Child Left Behind" law to ensure that creationism was taught in schools.
In 2007, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named him one of the twenty most corrupt members of Congress.
Will Bunch, the senior writer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News has covered politics in Pennsylvania since shortly after Rick Santorum was elected for the first time. He wrote a fascinating article from a Philadelphian's point of view entitled "The Rick Santorum That America Doesn't Know." Take a few minutes and read it - it's worth your time.
But the worst thing I know about Rick Santorum is what happened when his wife Karen was 20 weeks pregnant. Her non-viable fetus was not expected to survive, and the mother developed an infection. And Rick Santorum, who is opposed to abortion for any reason, allowed the doctors to give his wife pitocin to speed the birth. And while that may have been wildly hypocritical, what followed was completely insane.
After spending the night with the dead fetus on the bed between them, they took the body home with them, and forced their children to cuddle with it and sing songs to it. Ms Santorum even proudly wrote a book about it.
Where the hell was Child Protective Services when this was going on? Where was the Health Department?
The worst thing that could possibly happen to America would be a Rick Santorum presidency: I wonder how long it would take him to appoint a Grand Inquisitor?
And yet, he is suddenly one of the two front-runners in the GOP field. Is the Republican Party so desperate to find an alternative, any alternative, to the robotic hair-helmet that is Mitt Romney that they're willing to embrace anyone at all?