Rick Santorum: A Republican Long Shot And Perhaps Best Shot

Continuing our primary season coverage. By Aaron Joseph. He’s earned everything he’s got. A successful lawyer and former two term United States Senator, and longtime candy-man of the senate, Rick Santorum is not a multimillionaire and he’s surely not buying any election the way Mr. Romney is. Rick is an uncomplicated, upright, and sincere individual, and stands firm on his sound beliefs. He is family man, a dedicated religious Roman Catholic, and has said that the distinction between private religious conviction and public responsibility, espoused by President John F. Kennedy, had caused “great harm in America.” Rick is perhaps a perfect candidate, in an imperfect election cycle.

BACKGROUND/EDUCATION:

Rick Santorum was born to Italian immigrants during 1955 in Virginia, and raised partially in West Virginia and in Butler Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh. During his young formative years he lived on a VA hospital post in Butler Pennsylvania, as both of his parents worked at the Veterans’ Administration (VA) Hospital in Butler. He attended schools in the Butler Area School District and earned a childhood nickname “Rooster”, allegedly because he was “noisy, showy, dogged and determined like a rooster and never backed down!”

During his high school years Rick’s father was transferred to a post in Mundelein, Illinois, and it is from Carmel High School in Mundelein, that Rick graduated in 1976. Rick went on to earn a B.A. in political science from The Pennsylvania State University in 1980 and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh in 1981.

It is interesting to note that during his time at Penn State, Rick joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity. The organization’s creed asserts its governing ideals as “friendship, chivalry, and service.” (The organization was founded during 1910, by ten Jewish men at Columbia University, as a response to the existence of similar organizations which would not admit Jewish members. Originally it was an exclusively Jewish fraternity, but began admitting non-Jewish members (predominantly Catholics) during the 1950s. Today the fraternity attracts and accepts brothers of all religions and ethnicities who agree to be bound by the organizations ideals.)

FAMILY LIFE:

Rick and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, have seven children. One child was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a serious genetic disorder. In 1996, a son, Gabriel, was born prematurely and lived for only two hours. Together with his wife, the Sentorum’s have home schooled their children.

The family is a practicing and proudly religious one. Rick and his family usually attend Latin Mass at Saint Catherine of Siena Church, near Washington, D.C. On November 12, 2004, Rick and his wife were invested as Knight and Dame of Magistral Grace of the Knights of Malta in a ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York. During 2002, Rick traveled to Rome to speak at a Catholic ceremony.

The official and legal family residency is listed in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, however Rick maintains a home in Leesburg, Virginia, for his work in Washington, D.C.

LAW YEARS:

In 1986 Rick received a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar, and began practicing law at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart in Pittsburgh. One of the more prolific cases Rick represented during his time at K&L was the World Wrestling Federation. Rick argued on behalf of the WWF that professional wrestling should be exempt from federal anabolic steroid regulations because it was not a sport. When Rick was elected to the Pennsylvania House in 1990, left private practice

POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE:

Rock’s first involvement in the political field was through volunteering for Pennsylvania’s three term Senator John Heinz. Upon graduating college, Rick served as director of the Pennsylvanian Senate’s local government committee from 1981 to 1984, then as a director of the Pennsylvanian Senate’s Transportation Committee until 1986. Upon receiving his Jurist Doctor, Rick became an administrative assistant to Republican State Senator Doyle Corman and kept at that post for the year of 1986.

Congress: ‘Gang of Seven’

In 1990, at the young age of 32, Rick was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 18th District, located in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Rick defeated a seven-term Democratic incumbent, Doug Walgren, even though his congressional district was heavily Democratic. Rick attacked Walgren for living outside the district for most of the year. Rick was re-elected to congress in 1992, partially because his district 18 lost its share of Pittsburgh as a result of redistricting.

In Congress, Rick made fame as a member of the Gang of Seven. The Gang of Seven was a group of freshmen Republican U.S. Representatives, elected to serve in the 101st Congress in 1990. The Gang loudly condemned the House banking scandal which allowed members to overdraw their House checking accounts without risk of being penalized by the House bank. (Over 450 members of congress were caught up with it and actually 22 broke ethics laws.) Rick was active in naming of the Representatives involved in the House banking scandal.

The Gang of Seven also forced into the light the Congressional Post Office scandal which caught a few representatives laundering Post Office money through stamps and postal vouchers.

(The Gang of Seven’s actions forcing congressional leadership to address the issues by ensuring the incidents stayed in the media and public eye. The group also criticized other Congressional perks, such as congressional subsidies for the Capitol Barbershop and Senate Restaurant.)

SENATOR:

Because of his early fame in the U.S. House, Rick was able during the 1994 election season to successfully promote himself as the Republican candidate for Senator from Pennsylvania. Rick won the general election in a narrow victory, defeating the incumbent Democrat, Harris Wofford, 49% to 47%. The theme of Rick’s 1994 campaign signs was “Join the Fight!” Rick was re-elected to his second term in 2000, defeating U.S. Congressman Ron Klink by a 52%-46% margin.

During his time in the senate, Rick served on the Senate Agriculture Committee; the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; the Senate Special Committee on Aging; and the Senate Finance Committee, of which he was the chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy. Rick also sat at the senate candy desk for ten years, the longest of any senator to do so.

(The Senate Candy Desk is the senate desk located closest to the eastern door of the senate. Because of its location, it is always located on the Republican side of the senate. Most of the senators use the eastern door to the chamber, as its exit leads to elevators that access the Congressional Subway System. Hence, that door, and desk, is the most frequently passed desk in the senate.

The tradition began when Republican George Murphy was elected as the Senator from California in 1965. Because senator Murphy had a sweet tooth, and the senate has an official rule of no eating on the floor, Senator Murphy began keeping small sweets in his desk, and began offering them to colleagues when they passed by his desk. The tradition has continued with each Republican senator who sits in that seat.

The high point, in terms of well-known candy being distributed at the candy , came during the ten years Rick Santorum sat at the candy desk (1997–2007). Being the senator from Pennsylvania, and being allowed to accept more then the allowed $100 of donated presents from constituents in his home state per year, Rick was able to fill the candy desk with Hershey candy and Just Born products (such as Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales) all of course donated. During this time period, Hershey’s shipped roughly 100 pounds of chocolate and other candy four times a year to Rick to fill the desk with. After Rick left the senate, a spokesman for Hershey, said about the company no longer being able to supply sweets for the candy desk, “We were pleased to be a small part of sweetening up congressional proceedings.”)

SPONSORED LEGISLATION:

During his years in the senate Rick sponsored much legislation. Here is some of the well known accomplishments:

He sponsored Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) with U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA). He supported partial privatization of Social Security, and following President Bush’s re-election, he held forums across Pennsylvania on the topic. He was also a strong ally for Israel and American Jews. In 2003, Rick and fellow Republicans heard from Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Zionist Organization of America to determine how to combat anti-Semitism in American colleges

In 1996, Rick served as Chairman of the Republican Party Task Force on Welfare Reform, and contributed to legislation that became the Welfare Reform Act of 1996. It was written by E. Clay Shaw, Jr. and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

In 2001, Rick tried unsuccessfully to insert into the No Child Left Behind bill language which came to be known as the “Santorum Amendment” that sought to promote the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in public schools. The amendment would have required schools to discuss possible controversies surrounding scientific topics, and gave the theory of evolution as an example, opening the door for intelligent design as an opposing theory to be presented in science classrooms.

During 2006, Rick opposed the Senate’s immigration reform proposal Instead, he stated that the U.S. should act to enforce currently existing laws. He has openly stated his strong opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants. He supports the construction of a barrier along the U.S.–Mexican border, an increase in the number of border patrol agents on the border, and the stationing of National Guard troops along the border. He also believes that illegal immigrants should be deported immediately when they commit crimes, and that undocumented immigrants should not receive benefits from the government. Finally, the former senator believes that English should be established as the national language in the United States

He sponsored the Syria Accountability Act of 2003, which required Syria to end all engagement in Lebanon and cease all support for terrorism. He originally wanted to go further with the bill, asking for the United States to create economic sanctions on Syria if it did not do so.

In 2005, Rick sponsored the Iran Freedom and Support Act, which appropriated $10 million aimed at regime change in Iran. The Act passed with overwhelming support. Rick said Iran was at the center of “much of the world’s conflict”, but was opposed to direct military action against the country in 2006.

The Associated Press reported that on July 20, 2006, Rick stated that “Islamic fascism rooted in Iran is behind much of the world’s conflict, but he is opposed to military action against the country”.The senator indicated that “effective action against Iran” would require America’s fighting “for a strong Lebanon, a strong Israel, and a strong Iraq.”

During the lame-duck session of the 109th Congress, Rick was one of only two senators who voted against Robert Gates to become Secretary of Defense. He opposed Gates’ advocacy of engaging Iran and Syria, saying that talking to “radical Islam” would be an error.

LOSING 2006 Third Term Election

Amidst the swirling upheaval against the “Bush Doctrine” and unpopularity of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Rick’s Senatorial seat was a prime target of democrats during the 2006 election season. Democrat leaning areas of Pennsylvania were very heavily targeted.

During his time in the senate, Rick took aim at a most liberal and democrat area of the United States, Boston, and attacked that area and the clerical abuse that was making headlines. Rick mentioned in speeches something along the lines that it was an “open secret” that certain seminaries in that area of the county might somehow encourage abuse.

Senator Ted Kennedy vehemently attacked Senator Rick Santorum in speeches regarding Rick’s statements. Rick tried to clarify things, but apparently ended up in the sights of the Democratic Party.

Rick ran unopposed in the Republican primaries, however his Democratic opponent was State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., the son of popular former governor Robert Casey, Sr. Much controversy was raised due to Rick’s home schooling of his children. Though Rick spent much of his year living closer to Washington D.C. and in fact lived in Virginia with his family most of the year, he still billed Pennsylvania, and the state of his legal residents for the cyber-school his children used. The residency issue however had come back to haunt Rick, as this was the very same argument that he used against his opponent and had helped him win his first ever election in 1990.

In the November election, Rick lost, with 41% of the vote to Casey’s 59.

LIFE SINCE THE SENATE:

In March 2007 Rick joined Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC, where he practices law in the firm’s Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. offices. He also proves business and strategic counseling services for the firm’s clients. Rick also joined the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington D.C.-based conservative think tank. Rick was also a contributor on the Fox News Channel. Rick writes an Op/Ed piece titled “The Elephant in the Room” for the Commentary Page of the Philadelphia Inquirer. After leaving the Senate, Rick joined the Board of Directors of Universal Health Services, a hospital management company based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

Rick was mentioned as a candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2010. At one point, he was said to have “quietly but efficiently put his fingerprints on a wide-array of conservative causes in the state. However, Rick declined to seek the gubernatorial nomination and instead endorsed the eventual winner Tom Corbett.

During the fall of 2009, Rick gave a speech at the University of Dubuque on the economy, which received media attention and fueled speculation that he would run for president in 2012. Rick later recalled, “It got a lot of buzz on the Internet, so I thought, ‘Wow, maybe there’s some interest in what I have to say after all. Rick said he came to the decision to campaign after multiple conversations with his wife, who was not enthusiastic at first.

Rick has referred to his grandfather’s historical encounter with Italian fascism as an inspiration for his 2012 presidential campaign. The following was written in an e-mail and letter sent on January 15, 2010 to supporters of his political action committee. “After talking it over with my wife Karen and our kids – I am considering putting my name in for the 2012 presidential race. I’m convinced that conservatives need a candidate who will not only stand up for our views, but who can articulate a conservative vision for our country’s future,” he wrote. “And right now, I just don’t see anyone stepping up to the plate. I have no great burning desire to be president, but I have a burning desire to have a different president of the United States” Rick formally announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination on ABC’s Good Morning America on June 6, 2011, saying he’s “in it to win.”

SOME VIEWS:

During an interview Rick gave to the Associated Press erupted in controversy when it outlined his views on illicit and immoral deviant acts. The interview, dated April 20, 2003, had asked him his views on the abuse of children by Catholic priests. Rick said the priests were engaged in “a basic illicit and immoral deviant acts relationship”, and said, “I have a problem with illicit and immoral deviant acts.”

Rick said those actions were harmful to society, saying, “Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman…In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included illicit and immoral deviant acts. That’s not to pick on illicit and immoral deviant acts. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality”

In protest of the remarks, Dan Savage launched a contest among his readers in May 2003 to coin a new word “santorum” with an unflattering immoral definition, and followed this with a Google bombing campaign to spread the new term. Since 2004, Savage’s Google bomb has regularly been the top search result for the Santorum’s surname, leading to what commentators have dubbed “Santorum’s Google problem”. Rick has characterized the campaign as a “type of vulgarity” common on the Internet. In September 2011, Rick unsuccessfully requested that Google remove the definition from its search engine index.

Rick is a supporter of the War on Terror and shares the views of neo-conservatives and the Bush doctrine in regards to foreign policy. He says the war on Terror can be won and was optimistic about the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan for the long-term.

See above in sponsored legislation for most of Rick’s positions.

During 2005, Rick’s book, “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good,” was published. In it, Rick states that the family structure is necessary. He claims that liberal social policies have devastated the family structure and that prevailing socially liberal attitudes have systematically devalued families across the board. He argues that government should take a proactive role in promoting strong families.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for the info. I’m not sure why the op billed him as a ‘perfect’ candidate. Perhaps in comparison to others he sounds better on paper. However, he did lose a senate election in midst of some big controversy. I agree that the democrats may have created the uproar to make sure he would lose. But why would the democrats not do that again. Unless in todays election time everyone would realize what they are up to.

  2. Rick Santorum is a nice guy but nice guys don’t win elections. Especially when you are up against Obama’s $1,000,000,000 war chest. I don’t like Romney that much but I think he is the only guy that has a chance to beat Obama.

  3. Forgedaboutit. Mitt Romney will be the candidate. He was the candidate from day 1. All the money wasted and debates was a show. President Obama will win by a landslide in November. People do not forget what happened to our country from 2000-2008 that easily. The Republicans don’t stand a chance.

  4. It sounds as if you are part of Obama’s $1,000,000,000 re-election warchest. How much have you been paid to post on various sitein NJ for his defenses?

    We and the American public are on to you.

    Except for the votes he buys, Obama’s change has run out.

    Post elsewhere where they didnt catch on to your tactics yet.

Comments are closed.