Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Georgia House passes ‘fetal pain' abortion bill

Anti-abortion protesters

Abortion opponents march Jan. 23 in downtown Atlanta after a Georgia Right to Life rally commemorating the 39th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. (Jason Getz / Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The state House, after emotional debate, passed a bill Wednesday that would cut six weeks from the time women can have elective abortion.
The legislation, House Bill 954, also would tighten medical exemptions for terminating pregnancies and require any abortion performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy be done in a way to bring the fetus out alive. The measure is commonly referred to as a "fetal pain" bill and says that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, therefore the state has an interest in protecting it.
Supporters said the bill, if passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, will save lives and protect fetuses.
Opponents said the bill would legislate decisions that should be made by doctors, that it would force women to carry to term fetuses that will be stillborn because of medical problems and would put doctors at risk who work with difficult pregnancies. Doctors who are involved in abortions after 20 weeks that do not meet the bill's restrictions could be charged with a felony and face up to 10 years in prison.
Rep. Doug McKillip, R-Athens, the bill's primary sponsor, said the legislation would "save 1,000 to 1,500 lives."
He quoted numbers from the state Department of Community Health that showed that during recent reporting periods, between 568 and 1,541 abortions a year were done in Georgia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The numbers were not clear on whether the abortions were spontaneous, medically necessary or elective.
Dr. Ruth Cline, an obstetrician from Athens, said "the language of the bill has clauses of limited exceptions, but this interpretation can require days, months or years of legal review."
"This is not a realistic option when caring for a patient when every minute is critical for optimal care," Cline said. "No physician could afford to risk that his or her care would be examined after the fact to confirm that the law had been followed if criminal penalties were a probability."
"It is time for the government to get out of my examination room and my office," Cline said. "If you legislators want to practice medicine, go to medical school!"
The debate was filled with personal stories about premature children or mothers who considered abortion but elected to have the child, as well as cases of horrible crimes, such as incest, where the pregnancy was not discovered until after 20 weeks. The bill does not make exceptions for those types of cases.
Rep. Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta, asked her fellow legislators to send the bill back to at least make that exception, but the bill's supporters just as vehemently opposed any delay.
The bill passed 102- 65, closely along party lines.
House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said opponents hope to influence the bill as it crosses to the Senate. She said they will seek exceptions for pregnancies where the fetuses are not medically viable.
Abrams also wants to extend the period for elective abortion to 24 weeks, saying that many medical conditions are not known until at least then.
McKillip said he will continue to help shepherd the bill as it goes to the Senate for consideration.
"Some folks are against the bill," he said, "and I'm sure they will try to make their points again."
McKillip was a Democrat before switching parties in the fall. He had supported an abortion rights agenda in the past.
"I'm glad to correct that vote today," he said.

Obama Suggests Romney Shoveling 'A Load of You-Know-What'

Uploaded by on Feb 28, 2012
A little late but interesting.
As Michigan Republicans headed to the polls Tuesday morning, President Obama delivered an aggressive defense of the bailout of the auto industry and his presidency in general, harshly criticizing GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney - though he never mentioned him by name.
"I've got to admit, it's been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history now that you're back on your feet," the president said to a raucous crowd at the United Auto Workers Convention. "The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, 'you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.'"
In a November 2008 New York Times op-ed titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," Romney wrote, "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won't go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed."
In a boisterous, excited tone, President Obama continued, criticizing Republicans who said "the workers made out like bandits in all of this; that saving the American auto industry was just about paying back unions. Really? I mean, even by the standards of this town, that's a load of you-know-what."
Campaigning in Grand Rapids, Mich., earlier this month, Romney said the bailout was " crony capitalism ," arguing that President Obama had "gotten hundreds of millions of dollars from labor bosses for his campaign. And so he's paying them back in every way he knows how. One way of course was giving General Motors and Chrysler to the UAW."
As part of the GM bailout's complex arrangements, a UAW-owned trust was given a 17.5 percent ownership stake the car company (now roughly 10% as stock has been sold) in exchange for various concessions including the union taking responsibility for health care costs of retirees. The president today argued that with reduced hours and pay, some worker rights relinquished, and roughly 700,000 auto worker retirees seeing a reduction in health care benefits, workers indeed gave things up in the bailout.
The visit was an "official" presidential event, not campaign-related, but the odd dynamic when the president took the stage to chants of "Four More Years!" after which a labor official told the crowd, "This is not a political event."
That seemed a questionable assertion, given how the president continually referenced Romney, defending how his moves to save GM and Chrysler demanded change and accountability. "The other option we had was to do nothing, and allow these companies to fail," the president said. "In fact, some politicians said we should. Some even said we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt'" - another reference to Romney's New York Times op-ed.
The crowd booed at that reference.
"You remember that?" the president said to the crowd that clearly did. "You know him?"
"Think about what that choice would have meant for this country," the president said. "If we had turned our backs on you; if America had thrown in the towel; GM and Chrysler had gone under."
The president used the event to not only reject Republicans referring to labor unions as a special interest group, he painted his support of the industry as part and parcel of his campaign platform: ""This notion that we should have let the auto industry die; that we should pursue anti-worker policies in hopes unions like yours will buckle and unravel - that's part of that same old you're-on-your-own philosophy that says we should just leave everybody to fend for themselves....We can't afford to go back. Not now....The economy is getting stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And now is the time to keep our foot on the gas."
Without directly asking the UAW workers to help his re-election campaign he said, "I'll promise you this: as long as you've got an ounce of fight left in you, I'll have a ton of fight left in me."

On Health Care, ObamaCare and RomneyCare Will Hurt Ohio Families

By Rick Santorum
Two years ago, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or as we all have come to know it – “ObamaCare.” ObamaCare is the trifecta of all that is wrong with this Administration: a massive tax bill, an unprecedented expansion of the federal government, and a combination of unaffordable entitlement programs that will burden the economy and stifle our ability to make personal decisions about our health.
ObamaCare hasn’t been fully implemented, but America has already caught a glimpse of how this law will harm our families.  Despite promises to the contrary, we know now that ObamaCare has led to price increases for Americans’ health-insurance premiums, and that medical device companies are making plans to send jobs overseas because of ObamaCare’s onerous taxes.
No one should be surprised at the broken promises of ObamaCare. The model for it is Mitt Romney’s RomneyCare which has already led to the same damaging results in Massachusetts.
First, we must repeal ObamaCare, period.
There are problems with America’s health-care system that need to be improved and reformed. But the reforms I want to implement must empower patients, reduce control government over individual choice and freedom, and strengthen the doctor-patient relationship.
The choice before Ohio voters is which presidential candidate can you trust to put forward policies that will constitute real health-care reform for Ohio families? Which candidate has a proven track record of advocating for patient-centered, health-care reform? The choice could not be clearer.
During my time in Congress, I fought to give patients control over their health-care dollars and health-care decisions. I have been an advocate for increased competition, which in-turn will lower costs.
Nearly twenty years ago, now-Ohio Governor John Kasich and I first authored what are now known as Health Savings Accounts – the free-market, patient-focused, consumer-driven alternative to government-run health care.
This is in sharp contrast with Mitt Romney, who does not have the vision, or record, to credibly push for the kind of health-care reforms necessary to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
When Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, he championed RomneyCare, the top-down government takeover of health care as the model for the country – going on talk shows and even writing opinion editorials about the importance of an individual mandate.  In fact, Romney’s own staff admits RomneyCare served as the template, and political cover, for President Obama’s national takeover of health care.
John McDonough, a senior health-care advisor to both Governor Romney and President Obama, was deeply involved in the design, passage, and implementation of both RomneyCare and ObamaCare.
As McDonough has pointed out, there are at least 15 key parallels between RomneyCare and ObamaCare.
Here are a few of the most offensive parts which undermine freedom and grow government.
Above all, they both act as an individual government mandate which forces citizens to buy insurance, dictates what type of insurance must be purchased, punishes small business that want to create jobs, and dumps significant numbers of people into an already-broken Medicaid program.
RomneyCare has dramatically increased the cost of health-insurance premiums in Massachusetts.  As a direct consequence of RomneyCare’s meddling in the private health-insurance market, health-care costs in Massachusetts have risen more sharply than anywhere else in the country. Per capita health-care spending in Massachusetts is 27 percent higher than the national average and the highest in the nation. Overall health-care costs in the state continue to rise at an average rate of 8 percent annually.
Mitt Romney’s job-creation record as Governor was 47th in the nation.  He would like Ohio voters to believe that he has a stellar business record that makes him qualified to be President.
Yet the truth is that his policies have imposed huge burdens on small businesses in his home state and would undoubtedly have the same effect on businesses in Ohio.  He was given a D on a fiscal report card of Governors by the CATO Institute.
It is through RomneyCare in Massachusetts, that we see what awaits Ohio through ObamaCare.  We must stop the same damaging results of ObamaCare before they are felt across America.   I will.
Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.

Mr. President, What’s the Rush?

07/30/2009 –

March 5th, 2012

Welcome visitors from Buzzfeed, Hot Air, Talking Points Memo, The Huffington Post, The Gateway Pundit, and yes… even The Blue Mass Group. Here is our response to the manufactured controversy about the op-ed below. While you are here may we suggest you also check out our extensive research on RomneyCare which can be found here: RomneyCare – The Truth about Massachusetts Health Care
There is also a quote there by Ronald Reagan which is sure to be of interest.

This opinion article by Mitt Romney appeared in USA Today on 07/30/2009. It is entitled Mr. President, What’s the Rush?
Because of President Obama’s frantic approach, health care has run off the rails. For the sake of 47 million uninsured Americans, we need to get it back on track.
Health care cannot be handled the same way as the stimulus and cap-and-trade bills. With those, the president stuck to the old style of lawmaking: He threw in every special favor imaginable, ground it up and crammed it through a partisan Democratic Congress. Health care is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America’s families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline. There’s a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it.
No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts. The bill that made it happen wasn’t a rush job. Shortly after becoming governor, I worked in a bipartisan fashion with Democrats to insure all our citizens. It took almost two years to find a solution. When we did, it passed the 200-member legislature with only two dissenting votes. It had the support of the business community, the hospital sector and insurers. For health care reform to succeed in Washington, the president must finally do what he promised during the campaign: Work with Republicans as well as Democrats.
Massachusetts also proved that you don’t need government insurance. Our citizens purchase private, free-market medical insurance. There is no “public option.” With more than 1,300 health insurance companies, a federal government insurance company isn’t necessary. It would inevitably lead to massive taxpayer subsidies, to lobbyist-inspired coverage mandates and to the liberals’ dream: a European-style single-payer system. To find common ground with skeptical Republicans and conservative Democrats, the president will have to jettison left-wing ideology for practicality and dump the public option.
The cost issue
Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages “free riders” to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others. This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar. Second, we helped pay for our new program by ending an old one — something government should do more often. The federal government sends an estimated $42 billion to hospitals that care for the poor: Use those funds instead to help the poor buy private insurance, as we did.
When our bill passed three years ago, the legislature projected that our program would cost $725 million in 2009. At $723 million, next year’s forecast is pretty much on target. When you calculate all the savings, including that from the free hospital care we eliminated, the net cost to the state is approximately $350 million. The watchdog Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation concluded that our program’s cost is “relatively modest” and “well within initial projections.”
And if subsidies and coverages are reined in, as I’ve suggested, the Massachusetts program could actually break even. One thing is certain: The president must insist on a program that doesn’t add to our spending burden. We simply cannot afford another trillion-dollar mistake.
The Massachusetts reform aimed at getting virtually all our citizens insured. In that, it worked: 98% of our citizens are insured, 440,000 previously uninsured are covered and almost half of those purchased insurance on their own, with no subsidy. But overall, health care inflation has continued its relentless rise. Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation.
At the core of our health cost problem is an incentive problem. Patients don’t care what treatments cost once they pass the deductible. And providers are paid more when they do more; they are paid for quantity, not quality. We will tame runaway costs only when we change incentives. We might do what some countries have done: Require patients to pay a portion of their bill, except for certain conditions. And providers could be paid an annual fixed fee for the primary care of an individual and a separate fixed fee for the treatment of a specific condition. These approaches have far more promise than the usual bromides of electronic medical records, transparency and pay-for-performance, helpful though they will be.
Try a business-like analysis
I spent most of my career in the private sector. When well-managed businesses considered a major change of some kind, they engaged in extensive analysis, brought in outside experts, exhaustively evaluated every alternative, built consensus among those who would be affected and then moved ahead. Health care is many times bigger than all the companies in the Dow Jones combined. And the president is rushing changes that dwarf what any business I know has faced.
Republicans are not the party of “no” when it comes to health care reform. This Republican is proud to be the first governor to insure all his state’s citizens. Other Republicans such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sens. Bob Bennett and John McCain, among others, have proposed their own plans. Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves.

Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

End taxes on manufacturing to help restore U.S. economy

February 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wants to give manufacturing a zero tax rate and reduce the number of income tax brackets to two. 
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wants to give manufacturing a zero tax rate and reduce the number of income tax brackets to two. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
Michigan has lost 143,000 jobs since President Obama took office. Over a quarter of a million workers have left the labor force. Michigan's official unemployment is more than 9 percent. In Michigan, as in the rest of the country, if you ask people whether they are better off than they were four years ago, the answer is no.
Michigan is not naturally the land of unemployment. We're a nation that meets challenges and overcomes them. We'll meet the challenges of today, we'll persevere, and we'll succeed. We'll do that not by placing our faith in government to solve our problems, but by trusting in the goodness of the American people and its institutions.
When my grandfather first came to America, before he set out for the coal mines of southwest Pennsylvania, he actually came to Detroit and worked in the auto factories for two years. Now his grandson is running for president of the United States. That's what makes America great.
Some in America don't understand what makes America great. Last Monday President Obama sent to Congress a budget. It has massive tax and spending increases and continues our unsustainable budget deficits.
America has tried three years of higher spending and increased government intervention. It has never worked. It cannot work.
America can do better. Much better.
In the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan, Michigan created more than half a million jobs. The unemployment rate in the state fell from 12.4 percent when Reagan took office to 6.9 percent when he left.
I'm deeply committed to Reagan's policies of economic freedom, prosperity and growth. I've also been unwavering and successful in my commitment to cut taxes for American businesses and families, reform regulations, and unleash our entrepreneurial spirit once again.
Americans have to compete against countries all around the world who want our jobs, and in many cases took our jobs. Our plan understands the competitive playing field.
Taxing the rich won't solve the nation's problems. I propose cutting the top Bush-Obama-era rate of 35 percent to 28 percent, the Reagan top rate. If it's good enough for Ronald Reagan, it's good enough for me.
Plus, I'll reduce to just two the number of tax brackets — one at 28 percent and one at 10 percent.
I'll triple the child exemption, because there's no more stressful job than being a parent. Unless we have strong families and strong community, we're not going to be an economically successful country.
China is one of the most important countries in the world. America and China should grow and prosper together. The only way to do that is if both countries abide by the same set of rules. Unfortunately that has not yet happened.
That's why we need a zero tax rate for manufacturing activity. Manufacturing is vital, and it's disadvantaged in America because of China's policies. We need to give our homegrown industry some help.
In addition to a zero tax rate for manufacturing activity, I'll call on Congress to pass an immediate cut of the business income tax rate from the disastrously uncompetitive rate of 35 percent to 17 percent. That will help businesses stay in America and create jobs.
I'll also ask Congress to eliminate or dramatically reduce the tax on profits that U.S. businesses earn overseas, thus encouraging the repatriation of capital to help build America and create jobs. I'll urge the expansion of the R&D tax credit from 14 percent to 20 percent and make it permanent.
We shouldn't have a society that has a president who creates class warfare or envy between one group of people and another. We should celebrate success like we do in towns all across America.
Detroit builds statues and monuments and buildings, and names them after people. Why? Because in their greatness and innovation, they created wealth, not just for themselves but for everybody. And that's a good thing, not something to be condemned in America.
We won't get the dynamic growth our sick economy needs unless we also reduce the suffocating regulatory burden on industry. Enterprise isn't free when it's tangled in 82,000 pages of red tape every year. Large corporations have compliance departments that can handle these regulations, but small businesses can't manage. Getting rid of irrational and burdensome regulations is change that we can believe in together as we restore America's greatness and freedom.
I've committed to immediately repealing all Obama regulations that have a burden of more than $100 million on American businesses. I'll have all regulations reviewed to determine whether benefits exceed costs, and I'll revoke those regulations that cannot meet this commonsense test.
Many provisions of the Dodd-Frank law go against the America's principles of limited government and individual freedom. They kill opportunities for job growth. I'll work with Congress to repeal Dodd-Frank.
An effective energy policy will expand economic development and create high-quality jobs, resulting in a strong economy for America's families and workers. It's time to get serious about unleashing America's domestic energy.
Hydraulic fracturing has turned oil shale into an economically viable resource. It's reduced North Dakota's unemployment rate to 3.3 percent and created well-paying jobs for everyone who wants one.
The Obama administration's decision to prevent the construction of the Keystone Pipeline is unconscionable. Oil supplies from Mexico and Venezuela are diminishing, and our refineries in the Gulf need a new supply of Canadian oil in order to keep employing Americans.
But this president is not interested in creating jobs. In my opinion, he's interested in creating benefits. He's interested in redistributing wealth and creating a dependency class. Government becomes your lifeboat.
More and more of our budget is taken up with these entitlements that keep people dependent.
When I was born, the military was 60 percent of the federal budget, and entitlements were 10 percent. Now, the military is just 17 percent of the budget, and entitlements are consuming most of revenues.
America needs bold and sustainable entitlement reforms. In my budgets, each year's spending will be less than the year before until the budget is balanced. I'll cut at least $5 trillion over 5 years in non-defense related federal spending, and in five years I'll send Congress a balanced budget.
Ultimately, the success of America is not found in managing the economy. It's in getting Washington off of the backs of ordinary Americans and creating the atmosphere for economic growth. We've done it before, and we can do it again.
Former Pennsylvania U. S. Senator Rick Santorum is a Republican candidate for president.

Mitt Romney Health Care Op-Ed Presents Deeper Problem

Posted: 03/ 4/2012 10:15 am

WASHINGTON -- The immediate reaction to Mitt Romney's 2009 USA Today op-ed on health care reform has zeroed in on his suggestion that President Barack Obama pursue an individual mandate. But that focus misses a broader problem the op-ed creates for the former Massachusetts governor.
Romney has consistently defended his health care reform effort in Massachusetts on 10th Amendment grounds, insisting that it was merely "a state solution to a state problem." The trouble with the president's plan, Romney has argued, is not that its policy particulars -- the individual mandate to buy health insurance, the coverage subsidies, the Medicaid expansion -- were based on the Massachusetts plan, but rather that it "was a power grab by the federal government to put in place a one-size-fits-all plan across the nation."
But Romney's op-ed, published during the heat of the health care debate and recently unearthed by BuzzFeed, is squarely on the side of health care reform being driven by the federal government. In fact, the national plan that Romney sketched out as acceptable to conservatives closely resembles the one that Obama ultimately signed into law.
Romney, after touting the success of the Massachusetts plan in the op-ed, noted that the main problem facing health care generally is soaring inflation and that only the federal government can rein it in. "Here is where the federal government can do something we could not: Take steps to stop or slow medical inflation," he wrote.
Simply believing that the federal government could take action to slow medical cost inflation is not evidence of hypocrisy, of course. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), for instance, has put forth a plan that is nothing like Obama's and that he believes would ultimately lower health care costs. Romney has since embraced the basic contours of the Ryan plan. But Romney's Massachusetts law and Ryan's proposal are as divorced from each other as possible, and there's no indication that Romney was referring to a Ryan-type system in his 2009 op-ed.
After all, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, a key policy architect behind both the federal and Massachusetts plans, famously compared them by saying "they're the same f***ing bill."
Indeed, Romney said in 2009 that Republicans would back the federal reform effort -- under a few conditions.
"Republicans will join with the Democrats if the president abandons his government insurance plan, if he endeavors to craft a plan that does not burden the nation with greater debt, if he broadens his scope to reduce health costs for all Americans, and if he is willing to devote the rigorous effort, requisite time and bipartisan process that health care reform deserves," he wrote in the final paragraph of his op-ed.
Nobody could accuse the president of not spending the "requisite time," with 14 months devoted to the process.
As for that "bipartisan process," the White House and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) worked endlessly with the bipartisan Gang of Six, threatening to drag down the entire bill as they negotiated for months. Ultimately, the only Republican who voted for the bill was Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and she did so only in the Finance Committee, opposing it on final passage.
As for the "government insurance plan," also known as the public option, Obama discarded that. The final bill did not increase the debt according to the Congressional Budget Office. And it will reduce "health care costs for all Americans" not just by providing subsidies but also by rewarding doctors and hospitals for healthy outcomes in general, rather than for a total number of procedures, just as Romney has repeatedly advocated.
The problem for Romney is that the federal-state distinction was the only real way he had of differentiating what he did from what the president has done. His own op-ed suggesting a bipartisan federal health care approach undermines any attempt to make that distinction between now and November.



Santorum Detroit News Op-Ed Today Outlines Real, Plausible and Possible Vision To Rebuild Manufacturing Base
Verona, PA - Republican Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum published an opinion piece in this morning's Detroit News outlining his dynamic plan to revitalize the American manufacturing sector. The op-ed contrasts Rick Santorum's bright, bold vision against the top-down government-focused plan of President Obama.
Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director, said: "The differences between Barack Obama and Rick Santorum couldn't be more stark. Rick Santorum is advocating for free-people and free-markets to rebuild our industrial center from the bottom-up, the same way it became great in the first place. Barack Obama believes in the heavy hand of government, and defers decisions and policy ideas to his friends in the environmental fringe and Big Labor bosses.
While gas prices continue climbing, this President decides to stop a job-creating energy-producing project like the Keystone Pipeline. The negative impact that this decision has on every American and American business seems to be obvious to everyone but President Obama. We need a president who understands the problems facing our industrial base and who will put people ahead of radical environmental policies - and that leader is Rick Santorum."

Poll Analysis: Gallup Daily Poll

by @ 12:11 pm. Filed under Poll Analysis, Poll Watch
We now have the March seventh results for Gallup’s daily tracking poll. These do not include any data from yesterday’s Super-Tuesday results. As always, the graphics come from Gallup’s site.
Mitt Romney dropped a personal record of four ppts in one day yesterday. Today he shoots up a full 3 ppts to return to the critical 37% level. The March fifth sample must have been quite the outlier.
Rick Santorum pulls back a percentage point to 23%. He is now 14 ppts behind Romney.
Newt Gingrich slips a percentage point to drop under 15% to 14%. Once again we see where Newt is getting nothing from Santorum’s troubles.
Ron Paul pulls back 1 ppt to 11%. He has been at 11% eleven days out of the last nineteen. He appears to be stuck in a rut.
So Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul all lost a percentage point today. Mitt Romney picked up three.

What Romney Should Have Said About Higher Ed

This piece (below) caught my eye the other day, and unfortunately I think that Romney took exactly the wrong tack when responding to a young person’s queries about higher education in America:
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The high school senior who stood up at Mitt Romney’s town hall meeting here today was worried about how he and his family would pay for college, and wanted to hear what the candidate would do about rising college costs if elected. He didn’t realize that Mr. Romney was about to use him to demonstrate his fiscal conservatism to the crowd.
The answer: nothing.
Mr. Romney was perfectly polite to the student. He didn’t talk about the dangers of liberal indoctrination on college campuses, as Rick Santorum might have. But his warning was clear: shop around and get a good price, because you’re on your own.
“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” he said, to sustained applause from the crowd at a high-tech metals assembly factory here. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”
This sort of response strikes me as a major disservice to economic conservatism and to a liberty-based philosophy in general, and it simply gives the Left an opportunity to suggest that Republicans don’t have any tangible solutions on real-world problems like the cost of, and access to, higher education, and social mobility in general. None of these things need be true. Unfortunately, Gov. Romney chose to grasp for the low hanging fruit of an applause line for his angry-white-male audience, instead of addressing the issue the way that Paul Ryan or Mitch Daniels would have, or in the way that Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich both did during the presidential debates this year.
First, Romney should have cited his commitment to social mobility in this nation. He needed to discuss how we’re creating a 21st Century economy, and how that requires a highly skilled, highly educated workforce. There needed to be a connection made with the student. The student never should have been used as a foil to draw applause from angry Baby Boomers who would likely begin to riot if Romney had made the same comments about Social Security and Medicare.
Secondly, Romney should have explained the economics of higher education. It’s not hard to illustrate how the student loan industry has grossly inflated the cost of college beyond its market value. Romney could’ve made a joke about how no sane person would ever pay $200,000 dollars for a philosophy degree. That sort of quip would probably get the crowd laughing, but with the student, not at the student. Romney could have then explained that Democrats have engaged in a form of crony capitalism with banks over student loans, guaranteeing the loans they make to students and shielding them from bankruptcy so that rational lending decisions don’t have to be made by either the student or the lender, leaving 18-year-olds on the hook for six figure debts decades later. Romney could have explained that by stripping away the government money and the government protections for lenders, everyone would have skin in the game, rational decisions would return to lending, and a true market for higher education would develop, along with prices returning to market rates.
Third, Romney should have echoed Newt Gingrich’s idea from the debates that, once student loans are taken out of the equation and costs come down to earth, students who need financial aid can be put on various work-study programs that require 20 hours of work per week while in school, with the earnings going towards cost of attendance. The student in this scenario comes out of school debt-free, and is actually in a position to start his or her life by purchasing a car or real property from one of those Boomers in the audience who is likely looking to sell their overpriced home.
Had Romney answered the student in the ways that I just described, he would have provided Americans with competing visions over the way forward for America. By dismissing the question in the way that he did, Americans are left believing there is only one path forward for America in terms of higher education and social mobility, which is the crony capitalism and path towards fiscal ruin that the Democrats offer. Plus, the optics of the exchange are simply horrible, pitting a wealthy, middle-aged presidential candidate and a crowd of baying Baby Boomers against a kid who was brave enough to ask an honest question. Similar to the Sandra Fluke kerfuffle, Republicans are being branded as the Party of Angry Old White People, with the young, the aspirational, and the optimistic as their opponents. All of this makes Republicans seem like bullies. And nobody likes a bully.
I realize that economic conservatism is difficult to explain in a sound bite. But I submit to you that Republicans won’t win again until they find a messenger who has the ability to do so. Economic conservatism is an ideology that can’t be sold in a half-a-loaf manner. Doing so either makes it sound unrealistic, such as promising tax cuts with no spending cuts, or mean-spirited, such as promising spending cuts with no alternative to those relying on the spending. Explaining how markets work and how economics works in a positive manner, that results in greater choices and options and growth for those on the ground, is the way to win America. Expecting howling masses of old white people to win the war of ideas is something that should be left to the carny barkers on talk radio and Fox News. If Mitt Romney wants to be president, he has to do better.

March 5, 2012, 4:04 pm

Romney in Ohio: Want College? Can’t Afford It? Too bad.

Mitt Romney listens to a question from the audience at a town hall meeting at Taylor Winfield in Youngstown, Ohio on Monday, March 05, 2012. 
Yana Paskova for The New York TimesMitt Romney listens to a question from the audience at a town hall meeting at Taylor Winfield in Youngstown, Ohio on Monday, March 05, 2012.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The high school senior who stood up at Mitt Romney’s town hall meeting here today was worried about how he and his family would pay for college, and wanted to hear what the candidate would do about rising college costs if elected. He didn’t realize that Mr. Romney was about to use him to demonstrate his fiscal conservatism to the crowd.
The answer: nothing.
Mr. Romney was perfectly polite to the student. He didn’t talk about the dangers of liberal indoctrination on college campuses, as Rick Santorum might have. But his warning was clear: shop around and get a good price, because you’re on your own.

“It would be popular for me to stand up and say I’m going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I’m not going to promise that,” he said, to sustained applause from the crowd at a high-tech metals assembly factory here. “Don’t just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”
There wasn’t a word about the variety of government loan programs, which have made it possible for millions of students to get college degrees. There wasn’t a word urging colleges to hold down tuition increases, as President Obama has been doing, or a suggestion that the student consider a work-study program.
And there wasn’t a word about Pell Grants, in case the student’s family had a low enough income to qualify. That may be because Mr. Romney supports the House Republican budget, which would cut Pell Grants by 25 percent or more at a time when they are needed more than ever.
Instead, the advice was pretty brutal: if you can’t afford college, look around for a scholarship (good luck with that), try to graduate in less than four years, or join the military if you want a free education.
That’s the face of modern Republican austerity. Don’t talk about the value of higher education to the country’s economic future, and don’t bother to think about ways to make it more accessible to strapped families. Tell students not to take on more debt than they can afford, wish them well, and move on.
Of course, a few minutes later, in answer to another question, there was a classic Romney moment. He recalled that when he was governor of Massachusetts, he successfully pushed for a state program (known as the Adams scholarships) that gives four years’ tuition at state universities and colleges for students in the top 25 percent in test scores and grades.
So there is a role for government in helping some students go to college? Perhaps everyone but good students are on their own? So much of the time, what Mr. Romney seems to mean depends on who he is trying to impress at a given moment.

by @ 1:38 pm. Filed under Mitt Romney

President Obama Cammpaign Event

March 1, 2012

White House Travel | Domestic Trip
President Obama spoke at a campaign event telling the group he was perplexed by Republican attacks on his proposals, such as in education and research, saying "All those things that we've done are ideas that, traditionally, received Democratic and Republican support. It's only in this environment that we've seen the other party suddenly say that that's socialism."

Newt Gingrich Snoozes at AIPAC

Gingrich took a little standing nap while waiting to speak to AIPAC via Satellite. When the program begins, Newt’s awake and declares himself open to answering questions from the AIPAC panel. Problem? Er, there was no AIPAC panel.Video below:

Lost in this campaign is the fact that, if elected, Gingrich would be America’s second oldest President on inauguration day. With Ron Paul in the race, everyone else looks younger.

by @ 1:58 pm. Filed under Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich Addresses the AIPAC Conference March 6, 2012

Mitt Romney

    • Former Massachusetts Governor
Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.
Mitt Romney, governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, is a leading candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Although generally viewed as a moderate, business-oriented candidate, Romney has frequently espoused hawkish foreign policy views in line with those pursued by President George W. Bush. He has also stacked his foreign policy team with a passel of neoconservative advisers.
Among his main foreign policy agenda items has been what he terms President Barack Obama's “extraordinary record of failure” in curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Responding to a November 2011 IAEA report alleging progress in Tehran's efforts to build a bomb, Romney penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he argued that after Iran's rebuff of diplomatic efforts by the Obama administration, "a serious U.S. strategy to block Iran's nuclear ambitions became an urgent necessity. But that is precisely what the administration never provided. Instead, we've been offered a case study in botched diplomacy and its potentially horrific costs." As president, Romney wrote, he would "back up American diplomacy with a very real and very credible military option. I will restore the regular presence of aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf region simultaneously. I will increase military assistance to Israel and coordination with all of our allies in the region. These actions will send an unequivocal signal to Iran that the United States, acting in concert with allies, will never permit Iran to obtain nuclear weapons."[1]
During a November 2011 Republican presidential debate on foreign policy issues, Romney doubled down on his war-with-Iran rhetoric, stating: "If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon." Backing up this claim, Romney said that if "crippling sanctions" and other non-military measures do not work, he would pursue military options.[2]
Romney's fellow GOP candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have offered similar sentiments. Gingrich, for example, has said that there would be no other choice but to attack Iran if strategies like "maximum covert operations" failed. The only candidate to directly challenge the attack-Iran arguments has been Ron Paul, who has warned: "I'm afraid what's going on right now is similar to the war propaganda that went on against Iraq."
In February 2012, Romney again turned to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal in an effort to challenge Obama from the hawkish right, this time on China. Channelling the rhetoric of other Republican candidates, Romney charged that the Obama administration was “a near supplicant to Beijing” and argued that unless China changes its currency policies “on day one of my presidency I will designate it a currency manipulator and take appropriate counteraction. A trade war with China is the last thing I want, but I cannot tolerate our current trade surrender.”[3]
Calling Romney’s op-ed “pretty silly,” Daniel Drezner of Foreign Policy magazine wrote: “It's ludicrous for Romney to claim he doesn't want a trade war in the same breath that he promises ‘day one’ action against China. No wonder conservatives are labeling [sic] Romney's China policy as ‘blaringly anti-trade.’ To be blunt, this China policy reads like it was composed by the Hulk. Maybe this will work in the GOP primary, but Romney and his China advisors should know better.”[4]
Romney also incorrectly claimed in the op-ed that Obama was weakening the “U.S. military position in Asia.”[5] As one commentator stated, “In fact, the Obama administration is increasing the U.S. troop presence in the region and helping to upgrade Taiwan’s F-16 fleet. Moreover, Romney’s claim that Obama ‘plans to cut back on naval shipbuilding’ is false. ‘The great irony,’ [the Center for American Progress’s] Lawrence Korb noted back in October, ‘is that the level of nine [ships], which Obama has proposed, is higher than at any time during the [George W.] Bush administration.’”[6]
Citadel Speech
Romney made clear his hawkish foreign policy proclivities in a major policy speech at the Citadel military academy in South Carolina in early October 2011. Promising to increase defense spending in order to ensure U.S. military dominance during the 21st century, Romney characterized his views using concepts that first gained prominence in the publications of groups like the Project for the New American Century in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He argued that “If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world." Comparing himself to President Barack Obama, whose foreign policies the former governor dismissed as “feckless,” Romney declared: “If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president. You have that president today.”
Romney echoed many of the same views espoused by President George W. Bush, including the idea that the United States could go it alone in international affairs: "While America should work with other nations, we always reserve the right to act alone to prevent our vital national interests."
Among his key focal points were the greater Middle East and Israel, whose existence as a "Jewish state" Romney claimed was a "vital national interest." He argued for a more militarist stance vis-à-vis Iran, stating that “Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable." He added: “In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Iran's suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world." Specifically, he called for the placement of a U.S. naval carrier group in the Persian Gulf to deter Iran's ambitions.
Among the greatest threats facing the United States, Romney declared, were "Islamic fundamentalism"; the "ripple effects of failed and failing states” where “terrorists may find safe haven”; the "anti-American visions of regimes in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, [and] Cuba”; and "rising nations with hidden and emerging aspirations like China, determined to be a world superpower, and a resurgent Russia."
In its coverage of the speech, the Inter Press Service (IPS) noted that while Romney “gave lip service to the importance of ‘soft power,’ particularly in regard to dealing with the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ his most specific proposal was to increase shipbuilding from nine to 15 ships a year and to keep at least 11 aircraft carrier groups deployed year round, as well as increase spending on a ‘multi-layered national ballistic missile defence system.’ In other speeches, Romney has proposed devoting at least four percent of U.S. GDP to the Pentagon's base budget, a proposal that would, according to some estimates, increase defense spending by about 14 percent.”[7]
Commenting on the speech, Steve Clemons of the New American Foundation told IPS that it was "depressingly conventional in the sense that [Romney] looks at the Pentagon as the source of the country's strength and talks about the economy almost as an afterthought." He added: “Thirty years ago, the U.S. had a third of the world's GDP and a third of what the world spent on defense. Now we have just over 20 percent of the world's GDP and we account for about half of global military expenditures. This kind of approach not only fails to secure America's long-term security interest, but also undermines our economic solvency."[8]
Neoconservative Advisers
Shortly before the speech, Romney released a list of foreign policy advisers that was chock-a-block with neoconservatives and other like-minded foreign policy hardliners, including Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan, Michael Chertoff, Eric Edelman, John Lehman, Dan Senor, Vin Weber, Walid Phares, and Paula Dobriansky.[9] Other neoconservatives have also claimed to have served as Romney advisers, including Max Boot, a historian based at the Council on Foreign Relations who has been a leading advocate of attacking Iran, even if—as Boot claims—bombing the country would fail to stop its nuclear program.[10] Romney has also been able to count on the support of several high-profile neoconservative media pundits like Jennifer Rubin, who has repeatedly plugged the former governor’s candidacy on her blog at
The Inter Press Service has noted that most of Romney’s advisers “are known for their neoconservative and strongly pro-Israel views. Remarkably, three of the top advisers … serve on the four-man board of directors of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), the ideological successor to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).”[11]
“A Mish-Mash of the Unremarkable and the Terrible”
Prior to his Citadal address, Romney’s 2012 campaign made only brief mention of foreign policy. The campaign website’s three sections under foreign policy were headed “A Strong Military,” “Dynamic Diplomacy,” and “Steadfast Alliances.” The website stated that as president Romney would “oppose efforts to cut our military budget,” “fast-track NATO admission for our allies,” and “bolster support for Israel,” which the site claims, “has always been and will continue to be our strongest ally in the Middle East.”[12] The fast-tracking of NATO admission would seem to be directed at Georgia, which has been a cause-célèbre among neoconservatives since that country’s 2008 war with Russia.
Conservative blogger Daniel Larison called the Romney campaign website’s foreign policy section “a mish-mash of the unremarkable and the terrible,” particularly lambasting the call for a single presidential envoy to oversee all diplomatic activity in certain regions.[13] Commenting on the website’s call to “bolster support for Israel,” Larison noted: “[H]ow is it possible to bolster it more than it already is? Presumably, this is related to the fourth point concerning criticism of allies, which means that a Romney administration would be even more reflexively supportive of Israel and publicly uncritical of all allies no matter what. It appears that Romney is taking hawkish support for allies to a new extreme.”[14]
Given high U.S. unemployment and anemic economic growth, the Republican primary campaign has focused heavily on domestic issues. Neoconservative Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen wrote in a September 2011 op-ed for the Washington Post that Romney and his one-time top rival—Texas Governor Rick Perry—should commit to a one-on-one foreign policy debate,[15] presumably to see which candidate can more effectively tout neoconservative positions.
In 2010 Romney released his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, in order to “bolster the former Massachusetts governor’s nonexistent national-security and foreign policy portfolio ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run,” according to Spencer Ackerman.[16] The title of the book plays on a common Republican criticism of President Barack Obama: that his administration’s renewed diplomatic efforts are instead an “apology tour.”
In his review of No Apology, Ackerman critiqued Romney’s diplomacy-by-envoy policy: “The concept of diplomacy is completely foreign to Romney. He dismisses the State Department as ‘assistant secretaries and … bureaucrats’ and proposes designating regional relations to ‘one individual’ who would become a ‘presidential envoy or the ambassador from CENTCOM or any of the other regional military commands.’ Such an individual would ‘encourage people and politicians to adopt and abide by the principles of liberal democracy,’ something that ‘would be ideal if other allied nations created similar regional positions, and if we coordinated our efforts with theirs.’ That’s it for diplomacy, and he doesn’t have an agenda for global development. Why the world will simply do what America says simply because America says it is something Romney never bothers to consider. High school students at model U.N. conferences have proposed less ludicrous ideas.”[17]
When President Obama suggested the 1967 borders as the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal—longstanding U.S. policy—Romney balked, claiming Obama had “thrown Israel under the bus” and “disrespected Israel and undermined its ability to negotiate peace.”[18]
During a 2011 Republican debate in New Hampshire, Romney seemingly bucked neoconservative foreign policy thinking on Afghanistan, stating, “It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can.”[19] But Romney’s campaign website and past foreign policy statements have appeared to show that this was merely a political answer, not necessarily his planned policies.
Romney infamously stated during his 2008 primary run for the presidency that rather than reverse Bush-era detention policies, he believed the United States should double down on holding alleged terrorists indefinitely. He justified this rhetoric by claiming that alleged terrorists should not have access to legal counsel:  “I want them in Guantanamo, where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil. I don’t want them in our prisons, I want them there. Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.”[20]
Romney’s political career is marked by a long history of opportunism. During his unsuccessful1994 race to defeat Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney often seemed to attack Kennedy from the left, especially on social issues. Romney notably wrote a letter to the Massachusetts branch of the Log Cabin Republicans, claiming, "For some voters, it might be enough to simply match my opponent's record in this area. But I believe we can and must do better. If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this. I can and will."[21] But during his 2008 presidential run Romney expressed frequent opposition to same-sex marriage.
During his term as governor Romney pushed and eventually signed a universal health care bill for Massachusetts, which has caused him consistent problems with conservatives. Indeed elements of his program formed part of the basis of the Affordable Care Act, leading Romney’s opponents to blast his legislative achievement as “Romneycare,”[22] a play on the typical right-wing attack on “Obamacare” that has spurred Romney to try to repeatedly downplay his health policy track record.

Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

[1] Mitt Romney, “I Won’t Let Iran Get Nukes,” Wall Street Journal, November 10, 2011.
[ii] Brian Montopoli, “Romney, Gingrich at GOP Debate,” CBS News, Novebmer 12, 2011,
[3] Mitt Romney, “How I Will Respond to China’s Rising Power,” Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012.
[4] Daniel Drezner, “Romney SMASH Chian!” Foreign Policy blog, February 16, 2012.
[5] Mitt Romney, “How I Will Respond to China’s Rising Power,” Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2012.
[6] Ben Armbruster, “Romney’s China Policy Attack Op-Ed Misrepresents Obama’s ‘Strategic Pivot’ To The Asia-Pacific,” Think Progress, February 16, 2012,
[7] Jim Lobe, "Republican Frontrunner Touts Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy,” Inter Press Service, October 7, 2011.
[8] Jim Lobe, "Republican Frontrunner Touts Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy,” Inter Press Service, October 7, 2011.
[9] Philip Rucker, “Mitt Romney taps foreign policy, national security advisers,” Washington Post, October 6, 2011.
[10] Max Boot, “The Iran Threat,” Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2011.
[11] Jim Lobe, "Republican Frontrunner Touts Neo-Conservative Foreign Policy,” Inter Press Service, October 7, 2011.
[xii], “Foreign Policy,”
[13] Daniel Larison, “Romney and Foreign Policy,” The American Conservative, June 2, 2011,
[14] Daniel Larison, “Romney and Foreign Policy,” The American Conservative, June 2, 2011,
[15] Marc Thiessen, “A Romney-Perry foreign policy debate?” Washington Post, September 19, 2011,
[16] Spencer Ackerman, “Romney’s ‘No Apology’ Outlines Foreign Policy for Fantasy World,” The Washington Independent, March 2, 2010,
[17] Spencer Ackerman, “Romney’s ‘No Apology’ Outlines Foreign Policy for Fantasy World,” The Washington Independent, March 2, 2010,
[18] Lucy Madison, “Mitt Romney accuses Obama of throwing Israel ‘under the bus,’”, May 19, 2011,
[19] Marc Thiessen, “A pathetic discussion on national security,” The Washington Post, September 13, 2011,
[20] ThinkProgress, “Romney: ‘We Ought to Double Guantanamo,’”, May 16, 2007,
[21] Associated Press, “Romney Pledged in ’94 to Seek Gay Rights,” December 10, 2006,
[22] Michael Finnegan, “Rick Perry tells Iowans that Romneycare cost them,” Los Angeles Times, September 15, 2011,
March 07 2012

Rick Santorum

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    • 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate
    • Ethics and Public Policy Center: Fellow
    • Former U.S. Senator (R-PA)
    • America’s Foundation: Chairman
Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.
Rick Santorum, a 2012 GOP presidential candidate, is a former two-term senator from Pennsylvania and a fellow at the neoconservative Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). Like many of his fellow GOP candidates, Santorum is a right-wing conservative on domestic policy and a foreign policy hawk who argues that the United States faces existential threats from abroad.
Santorum, who announced his presidential candidacy in June 2011, is considered a long shot for the nomination, in part because of his extremely right-wing social views. However, as the GOP nomination has progressed and early favorite Mitt Romney has failed to generate excitement among the Republican Party base, Santorum has emerged as a frontrunner, winning several primaries.[1] On the basis of these victories, Santorum argued in early February that the nomination was a two-person race, between him and Romney, dismissing the other remaining candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.[2]
Santorum has endeavored to distinguish his candidacy by attacking President Barack Obama on everything from abortion and global warming—which Santorum thinks is nothing more than a leftist “scheme”[3]—to the “war on terror” and Islamic jihadists. Among his more notable tirades was his accusation, made during a speech in Oklahoma City in February 2012, that the Obama administration was willing to “throw Israel under a bus” in order to assist Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Pointing to Obama’s opposition to the controversial “Keystone” pipeline project, Santorum alleged that the president was intentionally trying to endanger U.S. “energy security.” He said: "We're throwing Israel under the bus because we know we're going to be dependent upon OPEC. We're going to say, 'Oh, Iran, we don't want you to get a nuclear weapon—wink, wink, nod, nod—go ahead, just give us your oil.' Folks, the president of the United States is selling the economic security of the United States down the river right now."[4]
Earlier, during the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, Santorum insinuated that Obama was a radical Islamist at heart, stating that the president “doesn't say that Jihadism is evil. He doesn't say that sharia law is incompatible with western civilization and the United States, which they are.”[5]
During a 2011 speech in South Carolina, Santorum argued that “leftists” had corrupted the historical understanding of the Crusades: “The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom.” Reported Politico: “After asserting that Christianity had not shown any ‘aggression’ to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator … argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote ‘core American values.’”[6]
Santorum has been a leading proponent of going to war with Iran, calling that country’s leaders “evil” and “Islamic fascists.” Shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency released a report in November 2011 alleging that Tehran had made progress in its nuclear program, Santorum said that if he were president he would team up with Israel to attack the country. “Option number one is to work with the Israelis and plan to implement a military strategy to stop them [Iran],” Santorum said during a speech in New Hampshire. “I would work closely with our ally and make sure that the mission was accomplished and the world knows that we are this close to Israel.”[7]
However, Santorum sometimes appears confused about what his exact policies would be if he were president. During a Republican presidential debate in October 2011, for example, when Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) asked his fellow candidates whether they would “condemn Ronald Reagan for exchanging weapons for hostages out of Iran,” Santorum defended Reagan, saying: “Iran was a sovereign country. It was not a terrorist organization.” The next day on Fox News, Santorum changed his tune, saying that the Iranians “cannot be negotiated with. They are radical Islamists. They are theocrats. They are mullahs who believe it is their destiny to fulfill the prophet’s and the 12th Imam’s vision of having global control of the world for radical Shia Islam.”[8]
In the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden, when several right-wing figures claimed that bin Laden’s death proved that torture works, Santorum joined the fray by arguing that Sen. John McCain, a torture victim, opposed the use of “enhanced interrogation” because he misunderstood torture. Asked by the right-wing radio broadcaster Hugh Hewitt whether McCain was correct in asserting that there was no evidence that torture led to killing of bin Laden, Santorum said: “This idea that we didn't ask that question while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was being waterboarded, [McCain] doesn't understand how enhanced interrogation works. I mean, you break somebody, and after they're broken, they become cooperative.”[9]
As Right Web contributor Peter Certo argued, the idea that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded on several occasions, was the source who led to bin Laden is inaccurate, “since it appears that it was another al-Qaeda operative, Hassan Ghul, who divulged [Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s] role as a trusted confidante and courier for bin Laden. It is unclear whether Ghul underwent any ‘enhanced techniques’ before or during his interrogation, but the CIA has said that he was not waterboarded. According to the New York Times, ‘One official recalled that Mr. Ghul was ‘quite cooperative,’ saying that rough treatment, if any, would have been brief.’[10] Moreover, detainees under duress of torture frequently made false confessions to mislead their interrogators or to stop the pain of their treatment.”[11]
Path to Candidacy
Santorum had been contemplating a presidential run since January 2010, when he sent a letter to supporters of his America’s Foundation PAC announcing that he was considering running for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination. In the letter, he claimed that although he had no burning desire to be president, he was driven to consider doing so because of President Barack Obama’s “single-minded pursuit of a radical domestic agenda” and decision to “turn a blind eye” on threats to national security. He wrote, “Our country needs a President who will stand up for our National Security. Not someone who treats terrorism as a ‘petty crime,’ and who undermines our country's position in the world, bows to the communist leader of China and to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, and embraces dictators like Hugo Chavez.”[12]
By December 2010, a number of news outlets were speculating as to whether Santorum was gearing up for a presidential run. He told the Washington Post at the time, "I'm feeling like doors are opening. Things are happening that maybe give me the impression that maybe I need to look at this seriously.” He then added, “If someone gets in the race that I feel really comfortable could do the things that need to be done—both winning and governing—then maybe this is a chance to say, ‘Let this cup pass.’ At this point, given what I see out there, I'm not feeling that.”[13]
Shortly after announcing his candidacy in June 2011, Santorum was asked by right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh why he was running when there was such a crowded field. He responded: “We're at risk of losing what this country has fought for for 200 years, and I believe the linchpin in losing that is Obamacare. … I just feel like we have to stop Obamacare, and I think we need a candidate who can be crystal clear on that and has a strong record on not just health care but on limited government and I believe that I can bring that to the table and someone who's been a very strong, consistent conservative over the years.”
Ethics and Public Policy Center
At EPPC, Santorum directs the Program to Promote and Protect America’s Freedom, the objectives of which reflect right-wing anxiety about purported existential threats to civilization posed by “growing” numbers of enemies. According to EPPC, the project “works to identify, study, and heighten awareness of the threats to America and the West from a growing array of anti-Western forces and states that increasingly cast a shadow over our future and that violate religious liberty around the world.”[14]
From his EPPC perch, Santorum provides a running political commentary on a blog titled “The Gathering Storm,” which covers everything from same-sex marriage to the alleged perils of Iran’s nuclear program.[15] Santorum’s Program to Protect America’s Freedom has also hosted numerous conferences, including a series on the purported threats posed by Shariah Law to liberal democracy.[16] According to his EPPC bio page, Santorum is “writing a book on the ‘gathering storm’ of the 21st century—the challenges posed by radical Islamic fascism and its growing alliances around the world.”[17]
Santorum is also founder and chair of America’s Foundation, a political action committee that supports “candidates and causes who share Senator Santorum’s commitment to conservative principles.”[18]
Trajectory and Core Views
After serving two terms in the House of Representatives and then another two terms in the Senate, Santorum suffered a massive defeat in the November 2006 midterms to Democratic challenger Robert Casey Jr., winning only 41 percent of the vote.
Four days after his defeat, Santorum announced that he was joining the staff of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
While in Congress, Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic, won national support for his socially conservative views, particularly on abortion and gay rights, and for his strong support for the Bush administration’s foreign policy, especially its “global war on terror.”
Commenting on Santorum’s decision to remain active in the public arena despite his electoral defeat, Fred Barnes wrote in the neoconservative Weekly Standard that Santorum represents a “new model” in U.S. politics. Instead of fading into the background as a lobbyist or joining a law firm, Barnes wrote, Santorum decided to “to stay in politics and fight" by raising awareness of enemies, who according to Barnes include “not only Islamists but also dictators like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Kim Jong Il of North Korea.”[19]
In an EPPC press release about his appointment, Santorum said: "In these perilous and uncertain times, I believe it is critical that we define the threats that confront America. Without a clear definition and precise understanding of our enemies we cannot fight effectively and our own citizens become divided. It is my hope that the America's Enemies program [later renamed the Program to Protect America’s Freedom] at EPPC will help the American people—including our leaders—understand and communicate with clarity, honesty, and consistency the enemies we face and the complex and enormous threat that they pose to our lives and the freedoms we all enjoy.”[20]
In a May 2005 New York Times Magazine article about Santorum, titled “The Believer,” Michael Sokolove called him “the nation’s pre-eminent faith-based politician,” with the exception of President George W. Bush. According Sokolove, “[Santorum] not only pushed the Senate to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case, but he also traveled to Florida and prayed with her parents.” Also in 2005, Time magazine included Santorum on its list of the country’s “25 Most Influential Evangelicals.”[21]
One of his favorite magazines is First Things, which was edited by neoconservative theologian Richard John Neuhaus before his death on 2009 and published by the Institute for Religion and Public Life. Santorum organized a study group for Catholics in Congress, and he reportedly helped convert Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) to Catholicism.
Santorum supporters include both the neoconservative get-tough-on-Islamofascists types and traditional right-wing Republicans who vociferously reject gay marriage and support walling off the U.S.-Mexico border. One of Santorum's promoters has been Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who in a mid-September 2006 Scripps News editorial praised Santorum for recognizing that “Islamic fascism” is the “ideological heir to the enemy America confronted in World War II—and is at least as serious a threat.”[22]
In an April 2003 interview with the Associated Press, Santorum outraged many when he supported laws banning gay sex and appeared to place homosexuality in the same grouping as bestiality, incest, and pedophilia. In an attempt to make sure Santorum's anti-gay positions were not forgotten by voters, in May 2003 columnist Dan Savage asked readers to name a sex act after the senator. Readers instead chose a substance, and a neologism was born: santorum, noun, “that frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
2006 Midterm Election Campaign
Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks lamented in an October 2006 op-ed that if Santorum lost the 2006 midterm election, it would be bad for “people around the world.” Citing Santorum's support for various anti-poverty campaigns, Brooks wrote: “If serious antipoverty work is going to be done, it's going to emerge from a coalition of liberals and religious conservatives. Without Santorum, that's less likely to happen.” The columnist also cited a quote from singer Bono, who apparently once said of Santorum: “I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette's disease; he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable.”[23]
Brooks failed to mention another issue on which he sees eye-to-eye with Santorum, and which seems to have been a major sore point for Pennsylvania voters: support for a militaristic anti-terror foreign policy with a heavy emphasis on the Middle East, including outspoken support for the Iraq War. In a campaign ad posted on Santorum's website during the lead-up to the 2006 midterm elections, Santorum berated his Democratic opponent for supposedly being weak on the many and varied threats purportedly threatening the homeland. Said the ad's alarmist and inaccurate language: “North Korea, close to a nuclear missile to reach America, yet Casey opposes deploying a missile defense system now. Iran, also close, yet Casey opposes creating the bunker-busting bombs that may be needed to stop them. China, drilling oil just 50 miles off our coast, yet Casey opposes doing the same, putting our energy at risk. Terrorists, trying to enter our country, yet Casey comes out for amnesty for illegal aliens. We just can't take a chance on Bob Casey.”
Reiterating such “threats” to America was a staple of Santorum's campaign speeches, in which he argued that his opponent was “unqualified for the office that he seeks at a very critical time in our nation's future.” Citing “a gathering storm” of threats from the “axis of evil” states and newcomer “rogues” like Venezuela, Santorum argued during a speech in late October: “We will have to face this threat because our enemies are fully committed to our destruction. They will not stop until they destroy us or we destroy them.”[24]
Santorum's alarmist language was also evident in a column he penned marking the five-year anniversary of 9/11: “Every major Islamic fascist leader has openly identified the United States as their prime target, and repeatedly promises the creation of a new, global, ‘caliphate' where Islamic fascism will rule mankind. This, now, is the great threat of our generation.”[25]
On his campaign website, Santorum boasted of his strident support for Israel, including his sponsorship of a passel of bills in recent years aimed at isolating Israel's Mideast neighbors. A page with the header “Santorum U.S. Senate: Jewish,” claimed: “The Jewish community has no stronger leader in the United States Senate than Rick Santorum. In fact, when Rick was first elected to the Senate in 1995, his first action was to support moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Since then, he has led the fight to protect Israel and promote democracy in the Middle East. His Syria Accountability Act, the Iran Freedom and Support Act, and the Iran Nuclear Trade Prohibition Act have paved the way for the Senate to foster a strong, yet diplomatic, approach to the problems Israel faces.”
Congressional Record
Santorum first entered Congress in 1990 as a representative in the House. Four years later, he won a seat in the Senate, defeating Democratic Sen. Harris Wofford, one of several Democrats who fell in 1994 to a rising tide of new Republicans whose trademark figure was Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-GA).
Although closely associated with Bush's increasingly unpopular foreign policies, it was Santorum's extremely socially conservative views that were the hallmark of his tenure in Congress. Fiercely anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage, Santorum frequently resorted to hyperbolic tirades in championing his view of the culture wars. As the Los Angeles Times reported: “In 2002, he blamed Boston ‘liberalism' for the Roman Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal. In a 2003 interview, he linked gay consensual sex with bigamy, polygamy, incest, and adultery. In a 2005 book, he found fault with two-income families and working women.”[26]
Such is his stature among social conservatives that his lagging poll numbers during the lead up to the 2006 midterms energized conservatives across the country to pour in support for his 2006 midterm campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported: “It is a four-alarm fire for conservatives, who are bringing water buckets from all corners of the political world. Across Pennsylvania, pastors are preparing to stuff voter guides into their Sunday bulletins. In Washington, DC, Paul Weyrich, a national conservative leader, hosted a conference call to give a pep talk to Republicans in Pennsylvania. In England, some Santorum fans are planning to cross the Atlantic to help campaign.” Said one member of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative group based in Pennsylvania: “If Rick Santorum were to lose, it would be cited as a turning point in the social conservative movement.”[27]
According to Project Vote Smart, in 2006 Santorum's votes aligned with the interests of Planned Parenthood none of the time, and with the National Right to Life Committee 100% of the time. In 2006, he voted against the Teen Pregnancy Education Act, which was designed to “authorize grants to carry out programs to provide education on preventing teen pregnancies, and for other purposes.” In 2005, Santorum voted against the Unintended Pregnancy Act, which was designed “to expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care.”[28]
It Takes a Family
Santorum is the author of the 2005 book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Ground (Intercollegiate Studies Institute), described by Mark Schmitt of the liberal New America Foundation as “a jumble of half-rewritten Senate-floor statements, blandly reflective personal anecdotes, and some weak attempts to give the whole thing a theme.” According to Schmitt, the “most interesting sub-theme of It Takes a Family is the attempt to work through the central intellectual challenge for modern Republican majority conservatives: how to reconcile laissez-faire economics with social conservatism.”[29]
Schmitt says Santorum addresses this dilemma in two ways: “One is to frame the argument around the word ‘capital.' There is ‘moral capital' which can only be built in a society of ‘mom and dad families' in which abortion, sodomy, and gay marriage are illegal. There is ‘social capital' in communities, ‘cultural capital.' Then there is real capital, and they are all interdependent. But this is pretty much empty rhetoric and is soon abandoned. The second attempt is to argue that only in a society defined by virtue (again, ‘mom and dad families,' keep-it-in-your-pants, etc.) can the ‘freedom' that the economy needs, and that is the basic promise of America, thrive. In other words, if we stray from Santorum's morality, it will force ‘big government' to crack down, which in turn will be bad for the dynamic economy.”[30]
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[1] Josh Marshall, “Epiphany,” TPM, February 9, 2012,
[2] Talking Points Memo, “Santorum Pushes To Recast GOP Contest As 'Two-Person Race'” TPM, February 12, 2012,
[3] Rush Limbaugh, Interview with Rick Santorum, June 8, 2011,
[4] Quoted in Associated Press, “Rick Santorum: Obama helping Iran obtain nuclear weapons,” The Guardian, February 10, 2012,
[5] Jillian Rayfield, “Santorum At CPAC: Obama 'Doesn't Say That Jihadism Is Evil',” Talking Points Memo, February 10, 2011,
[6] Andy Barr, “Santorum: Left hates 'Christendom,'” Politico, February 23, 2011,
[7] Shushannah Walshe,“Rick Santorum Calls for a ‘Preemptive Strike’ if Iran Is Developing Nuclear Weapons,” ABC News, November 10, 2011,
[8] Cited in Ali Gharib, “A Day After Justifying Reagan’s Dealings With The Iranians, Santorum Says They ‘Cannot Be Negotiated With,” ThinkProgress, October 20, 2011.
[9] Justin Elliot, “Santorum: What does McCain know about torture?,”, May 17, 2011,
[10] Scott Shane and Charlie Savage, “Bin Laden Raid Revives Debate on Value of Torture,” New York Times, May 3, 2011,
[11] Peter Certo, “Enhanced Embellishment Techniques,” Right Web, June 8, 2011,
[12] Quoted in CNN Politicalticker, Santorum says he's considering 2012 bid,”
[13] Karen Tumulty, “Santorum: A 2012 long shot tests the water,” Washington Post, December 10, 2010.
[14] EPPC, “Program to Protect America's Freedom,”
[15] EEPC, The Gathering Storm,
[16] EPPC, Program to Protect America's Freedom, Activities, “Program to Protect America's Freedom,”
[17] EPPC, “Rick Santorum,”
[18] America’s Foundation,
[19] Fred Barnes, “Is There Life After Politics?” Weekly Standard, January 29, 2007.
[20] “Rick Santorum Joins Ethics and Public Policy Center, Establishes Program on America's Enemies,” Press Release, Ethics and Public Policy Center, January 9, 2007.
[21] Michael Sokolove, “The Believer,” New York Times Magazine, May 22, 2005.
[22] Clifford May, “The Enemy's Ideology,” Scripps News, September 14, 2006.
[23] David Brooks, “Political Theater and the Real Rick Santorum,” New York Times, October 29, 2006.
[24] Martha Raffaele, “PA Hopefuls Exchange Barbs,” Associated Press, October 26, 2006.
[25] Rick Santorum, “Five Years Later,”, September 11, 2006.
[26] Janet Hook, “GOP on a Mission to Save Santorum,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2006.
[27]Janet Hook, “GOP on a Mission to Save Santorum,” Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2006.
[28] Sen. Rick Santorum's voting record, Project Vote Smart,
[29] Mark Schmitt, “It Takes a Democrat,” American Prospect web exclusive, July 29, 2005.
[30] Mark Schmitt, “It Takes a Democrat,” American Prospect web exclusive, July 29, 2005.
March 07 2012