Santorum to Respond to JFK in Houston Speech

This Thursday (September 9th) will see former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) come to my campus, the University of St. Thomas-Houston. Santorum is set to give an address on the role of Faith and Public Life. It is quite clear that this address is merely a precursor to a 2012 presidential run and thus it will be a highly politicized speech, as was JFK’s speech on Faith in the Public Square 50 years ago. Nonetheless, I am curious to hear what Santorum has to say. I promise to provide a recap of the address for this blog sometime next weekend, so stay tuned.

If Santorum is to run for President successfully he is going to have his work cut out for him. Much like Senator Sam Brownback in 2008, Senator Santorum will be pegged as the “values candidate”.  In order to gain any traction, Santorum will need to do well in Iowa, a state that has a track record of hostility towards Catholic candidates. If social conservative heavyweights like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin jump in the race, Santorum might as well throw in the towel and hope to be someone’s VP. To his great credit, Santorum has admitted that he was wrong to have endorsed the pro-choice, Arlen Specter over the pro-life candidate, Pat Toomey during the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary.

Even though he has been out of the Senate for almost 4 years now, Santorum remains a controversial figure in American politics, as evidenced by comments on blog posts here and here. More on Santorum next weekend…

9 Responses to Santorum to Respond to JFK in Houston Speech

  • To his great credit, Santorum has admitted that he was wrong to have endorsed the pro-choice, Arlen Specter over the pro-life candidate, Pat Toomey during the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate Republican primary.

    That’s a familiar story. Sounds like Reagan’s damage control before he decided to run for president. And John McCain’s. Most republicans are pro-choice at heart and decide to become “pro-life” when running for major offices in order to attract Catholic votes. It is, frankly, disgusting.

  • I never saw Santorum’s endorsement of Specter as a rejection of his pro-life views. He made a political calculation which was wrong. Was it the right endorsement? Hell, no. At least he is man enough to admit he was wrong.

  • Santorum is running for president in the same way that Huckabee did and Palin possibly will: to increase name recognition, to stay in the spotlight, and to maintain or increase financial position.

    Now I like the guy, but you really have to be a John Edwards type bubble (as evidenced in Young’s The Politician) not to recognize the political landscape. Pawlenty and Romney and Ryan and Jindal are the types that will run and win primaries, not culture warrior identity candidates.

    The Tea Party types and the cultural conservatives (and I am a cultural conservative) don’t win GOP nominations. They are like libertarians to our deeply entrenched two party systems: you want them fighting on your side, but not sitting on your throne.

  • Yeah, Santorum had been thoroughly pro-life for a long time (for which the secular left hates him with a passion), trying to paint him as a pro-choicer who turns pro-life for the election really doesn’t work, except from a partisan conscience-salving point of view. (An accusation which doesn’t fit Reagan or McCain all that well either, come to that.)

  • Pawlenty and Romney and Ryan and Jindal are the types that will run and win primaries, not culture warrior identity candidates.

    Santorum is most widely know for his social conservatism, but he’s actually spent most of his time out of office concentrating on economic and foreign policy issues – not that he’s neglected the social issues. In fact, of all of the rumored candidates (I’m excluding Ryan and Jindal since I don’t think either is running), he is the most well-rounded conservative, and thus one who might have strong appeal. His might be a long-shot candidacy, but frankly, of all the would-be candidates, he’s the one who I find myself in agreement with most.

    trying to paint him as a pro-choicer who turns pro-life for the election really doesn’t work, except from a partisan conscience-salving point of view.

    Though I understand the frustration with his Specter endorsement, I’ve always found the anti-Santorum vitriol from pro-lifers to be wildly out-of-whack considering the offending action. The man made a stupid political decision – doubly stupid considering that Toomey likely would have won in 2004, and would have been the 41st vote this year to block Obamacare – but that’s neither here nor there. The idea that he is to be forever shunned because of an endorsement he made despite everything else he’s done in the public square for the pro-life movement is absurd.

  • Santorum’s a well known social conservative. He has a reputation for being a bit self-involved and difficult to work with, but he’s been consistently pro-life. I guess our newest guest poster from West Virginia isn’t that familiar with his record.

  • So how many handles is this for him now? It has to be up to at least five by now.

  • I hereby dub the Catholic Anarchist, Stalker Anarchist.

  • I’m Ken Fountain, an independent journalist in Houston. I attended the speech and my coverage of it is here:

    http://kenfountain.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/santorum-takes-on-jfk-a-half-century-later/

    During the question-and-answer session, an audience member specifically asked Santorum about his decision to support Sen. Specter. He said he had no regrets, that his decision was based on the fact that it was known that 2-3 seats on the Supreme Court were about to open up, and it was felt that Specter’s vote was crucial in getting any of President Bush’s nominees approved.

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