OLDEST IRISH AMERICAN NEWSPAPER IN USA, ESTABLISHED IN 1928
Category: Asset 4Editorial

Santorum a positive contributor to national debate

April 4, 2012

By Staff Reporter

Rick Santorum.

It is hard to avoid the impression that the journalists of RTE and The Irish Times learned their trade studying the New York Times and listening to PBS and the BBC. Their predictable adherence to political correctness, especially if they are discussing American questions, is blatant.

Obama-mania prevails in their analysis of the upcoming American presidential campaign, as they are certain the internal struggle within the Republican Party for the nomination will only work to cement the president’s re-election.

They are beside themselves with delight as they assume that the competition offered by former senator Rick Santorum to Mitt Romney, whose delegate strength and financial war chest still leaves him the favorite, will drag the “moderate” Romney to the farther shores of conservative politics espoused by Santorum.

But is the candidacy of Santorum a fringe phenomenon? Many will recall the candidacy of Ronald Reagan was similarly derisively dismissed.

What is it that is so objectionable about Santorum?

One political fault is that he is a very serious Roman Catholic.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

But haven’t Roman Catholics been very successful in American politics, with the ideal examples being the various members of the Kennedy family, but also national figures like Senator John Kerry, and Vice President Joseph Biden?

Do not popular journalists, like Chris Matthews of MSNBC, celebrate the political adeptness and solidarity of Catholics, especially Irish Catholics?

But that political Catholicism is more a tribal identity than a serious religious commitment. Along these lines New York Times columnist Frank Bruni recently approvingly asserted “Catholicism is as much ethnicity as dogma.”

These political Catholics are anxious to demonstrate their compatibility with the purported values of American society by offering reassurances that church teaching will not be a factor in their political actions. They will not impose their values on others, and will not even let the church’s teaching influence their own actions or positions. Rick Santorum, to his credit, is cut of a different cloth.

In contrast to the famous rhetoric of John Kennedy in his Dallas speech about not letting his religion impede his service to the American people, Santorum believes that religious values and beliefs deserve a hearing in the public square and that America is a better place because of that.

While he is tolerant of other and/or no religions, and does not seek to make American law conform to a Catholic moral code, Santorum does regard certain issues, even if championed by religious leaders, as deserving of public endorsement.

Among those are the right to life, opposition to abortion, and the limiting of marriage to that between a man and a woman.

Public opinion polls would suggest that his position is not very different from that of the majority of the country.

His opposition to same sex marriage is not an attempt to ostracize or criminalize homosexuality, but is an affirmation of traditional marriage.

Although it is not part of his political agenda, much has been of his personal opposition to contraceptives and his concern about their effect on western society.

Contraceptives have enabled families to more easily limit their sizes, but are probably not unrelated to increased marital breakdown. They also have facilitated an unprecedented degree of sexual licentiousness.

Is it not encouraging hearing public figures speak out on the effect of such things on society? Surely it is deserving of as much attention as First Lady Michelle Obama’s concern about the diet of school children.

Neither Santorum, nor any of the other Republican contenders, call for the illegalization of contraceptives – although I am surely they would legitimately complain about mandatory instruction in their use as part of a school curriculum.

They do join the Catholic hierarchy, and many other religious leaders, in opposing a presidential decree that health insurance programs in religious sponsored institutions like schools and hospitals include coverage for contraceptives.

The support of their position by the substantial majority of the House of Representatives, and by a narrow minority of senators (including three Democrats) should give second thought to Democratic strategists and make them less ready to picture the Republican campaign as a war on women.

Santorum has the courage to take on that other great pillar of the Democratic Party, the educationist establishment. He and his wife are among a growing number of Americans who are very successfully home schooling their children.

In addition, he has the courage to see through making universal university level education an ideal. The system has contributed to the indebtedness of the middle class and its children, who have signed on for student loans.

Government guarantees of such loans have enabled heavily endowed universities to increase tuition costs and expand administrations and buildings. At the same time, increasing numbers of students are overdosed on unsubstantial and even frivolous courses. Large numbers drop out before completion.

Significantly, Santorum’s following comes mainly from voters in the lower middle and working classes, the “Reagan Democrats”, whom the Obama campaign managers have written off in their catering to the better educated professional and artistic classes.

Even if Santorum is unsuccessful in his presidential quest, hopefully he will retain his significant and refreshing presence on the American public scene.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter