COMMENTARY | As someone who has lived in Pennsylvania for over 25 years, I am very familiar with Rick Santorum and was disappointed to see him running for president in 2012. The Washington Post reports Santorum made it official Monday that he was running for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential race.
In 1994, Santorum first won his seat for the U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania. He is an ultra-conservative, and this may help him in the primaries, but will likely not bode well for the general election. He, like most politicians, has had his share of policy problems over the years. These problems may reappear and he will need to explain his beliefs and make them appeal to a broader range of political views if he wishes to get the nomination and the presidency.
His biggest scandal relates to the topic of terrorism and the war against Afghanistan and Iraq. According to the Associated Press, he believes that radical Islamic groups are the main trouble, particularly those groups in Iran. He also wanted to see harsher treatment of those terrorists being held as enemy combatants in military prisons. Finally, he believed that there needed to be an investigation into the military intelligence information that was published publicly by journalists. He did not indicate what he believed should be the outcome of the investigation. This topic helped lead to his defeat to Bob Casey in the 2006 Senate election.
He has also been accused of corruption, according to WJAC. He allegedly took campaign money in 2005 and 2006 in exchange for promises of favoritism. This is not unheard of in Washington politics, but is frowned upon because it defeats the purpose of a republic form of government because it dilutes the individual’s influence. There was no direct evidence, however, due to there not being a full investigation.
Finally, Santorum has also faced criticism over his views on both homosexuality and abortion. He has stated that he believes that abortion has caused the trouble with the Social Security system because so many women abort babies who should have been born and could be paying into the system. He has also criticized the right to privacy ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut, which up held couples’ right to birth control and created the right to privacy that led to overturning laws against sodomy and abortion. He claims to not have an issue with homosexuality in theory, but in practice he believes that the acts associated with homosexuality are directly to blame for things like the Catholic Church scandal involving priests sexually abusing young boys.
Although all candidates have issues and quotes that they wish to take back, I don’t think Santorum will be able to gain the nomination, let alone the presidency. President Obama is still somewhat popular, and his views are almost the opposite of Santorum’s on many issues. Sarah Palin, who may or may not be running for election, does share some of his views, but she is better known and has a broad support base despite her own problems. I would be very surprised if Santorum wins the Republican nomination.