Rick Santorum Doesn’t Want to be President

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Rick Santorum has found his footing as a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.  He’s gaining attention by the day, which is borne out by recent polls that put him in a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney, the GOP pick who was supposed to be the inevitable challenger to President Barack Obama.  But with so many vocal Republicans steering the ‘anyone but Romney‘ bandwagon, the former Senator from Pennsylvania has gained serious national momentum.

While Santorum seems a lot more comfortable in his political skin when he’s in front of the camera now than just a few weeks ago, some of the things coming out of his mouth have pundits and supporters alike scratching their heads.  Given the extreme nature of some of his views, I can only infer that he’s not concerned about being president, because any candidate worth their salt knows that the much-coveted independent voters won’t go his way with the positions he’s taking.

Here are some of Santorum’s recent memorable, or questionable, provocative moments to help you decide — is Santorum’s current fire in the belly attitude and willingness to show his super conservative views a positive or a negative as he heads toward Super Tuesday?

1. He meant the environment, not Islam.  When Santorum’s press secretary recently appeared on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, to talk about the candidate’s views on the environment, she criticized the President’s environmental positions, saying they were established in connection with what she called his “radical Islamic policies.”  Spokesperson Alice Stewart later said she misspoke, but take a watch and decide for yourself whether it was a mistake or whether, in light of past Santorum comments questioning the President’s religion, whether she intended for the slip up to happen, since she was already talking about Obama’s “phony theology,” a theme that her boss carried over to a campaign event over the weekend.

2. Ladies in the military.  Santorum believes the recent Pentagon decision to give women soldiers an increased combat role is a bad one because the increased “emotions” that would result between men and women could jeopardize the military missions.  Interestingly, women weren’t the only ones to take exception to this stereotypically outdated thought.  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell — whose daughter is in the military — expressed his concerns about the inferences he was afraid people would draw from Santorum’s questions.

3. Public education is bad.  Suggesting that parents should be in charge of their children’s education, Santorum told a crowd that public schools are “factories” that don’t serve our children well and that more kids should be home-schooled.  Now, I know better than to wade into the home school vs. public school conversation, but is it realistic to believe we can all return to a pre-industrial revolution era when children were taught at home because we had an agricultural based society?  This is a tough one for Santorum if he wants to sweep the upcoming Super Tuesday contests, since close to 90 percent of American children attend public schools, or as he likes to call them when he’s making stump speeches, “government run schools.”  That’s an interesting perspective from a man who, as a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, took $100,000 state funds from a Pennsylvania public online charter school to educate his kids.

4. No more amniocentesis for you.  That’s Santorum’s stand on that prenatal test, at least if you expect your insurance to pay for it.  Santorum said at a recent campaign stop that prenatal testing leads to increased abortions.  When confronted on CBS News about that statement, Santorum held firm on his position that insurers shouldn’t be required to cover tests that could lead to more abortions.

5. He’s really for women’s equal rights.  That what he says he meant in his book, and that it’s just the media mischaracterizing what he said.  Backing off comments about feminists, saying that he really is just worried about all women have equal rights to make whatever decision they want when it  comes to working outside the home or being a traditional stay-at-home mom.

6. Find an aspirin and call me in the morning.  Santorum Super PAC funder Foster Friess says American ladies don’t need insurance companies to pay for birth control.  Just do it like they did in his day — women just need to hold an aspirin in between their knees if they’re thinking about getting intimate, and no pregnancy will follow!  Santorum says he doesn’t know why people are still asking him about a bad joke made by a supporter.  But Friess isn’t just any supporter.  He’s the major financial supporter of Super PAC that’s aligned with Santorum.  And while the GOP hopeful might not have planted that bug in Friess’ ear, Santorum has been open about his desire to ban the availability of contraception, even though the Supreme Court ruled decades ago that the right to obtain contraception is a constitutionally protected privacy right.

A version of this post was originally published at iVillage, where I’m honored to be the 2012 Election Editor/Correspondent for iVote. And for more insight on what women online are thinking about the campaign and how they think about politics, you can my my book, Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America, an Amazon bestseller!

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3 Responses to “Rick Santorum Doesn’t Want to be President”

  1. Mom101 Says:

    The stealing $100,000 from PA taxpayers always stuck with me as an example of a poliician who should be run out of office. And yet…here he is, trying to prove himself the “moral” choice. I guess we have different ideas about morals.

  2. deb Says:

    he’s beginning to look more like a cartoon character than a presidential candidate.

    On a different note, I’m very interested to see the push back from mcdonnell on the military question. that, with his sort-of turnabout on the ultrasound bill in virginia today, gives me hope that republicans are figuring out that they don’t have broad enough support to take their extremist policies to the national stage. hopefully McDonnell’s desire for the vice presidency is stronger than his desire to enslave women to their embryos in the Old Dominion. but i just may be pipe dreaming.

  3. TheOpinionista Says:

    Rick Santorum’s prominence in the REP presidential nomination race is a sign of how far to the right the Reps have gone after all their Tea Partying and drinking. Maybe we Dems should be happy about his newfound success, because if he wins the Rep nomination, that’s a guaranteed win for President Obama in the presidential election. The sad part is to see how many people support policies that are ignorant, narrow-minded and backward that do not do credit to our great country.


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