Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum v. The Weathervane

 

 

Some elections are themeless and some have themes.  The Republican presidential nomination contest has had a theme from the outset:  this is a two man race with Romney, or as I affectionately refer to him, the Weathervane, and one other candidate, identity to be determined.  Last night the identity of the Not Romney candidate was determined:  Rick Santorum.

Final Iowa Results:

Mitt Romney:               30,015

Rick Santorum:            30,007

Ron Paul:                     26,219

Newt Gingrich:            16,251

Rick Perry:                   12,604

Michele Bachmann:       6,073

Jon Huntsman:                 745

 

Santorum was annointed by default:  each of the earlier pretenders to the title having, in turn, stumbled and fallen away:  Bachmann, for a nano-second, Perry, debating is an essential skill for Presidential candidates unless they have won a big war, Cain, the femmes were found, and Gingrich, a man can outrun anything except his own past.  However, Santorum would not have been so annointed if he had also not been working the state assiduously for many months, visiting each county in Iowa, and holding over 375 townhall events.  The caucus set up in Iowa rewards old fashioned shoe leather politics and Santorum did the endless hard work neccessary to succeed.

So today is Santorum’s day in the limelight and he has earned it.  What happens next?  Santorum is currently in single digits in all other states.  That should change now, but in order to be taken as a serious challenger to Romney, he will quickly have to move into at least a close second place behind Romney in most of the upcoming primaries.  Campaign funds will now start flowing to Santorum, and he will need to use it swiftly to build up a national organization.

Candidates will start dropping out:  Bachmann soon and probably Gingrich soon after New Hampshire.  I think Bachmann has been angling for a while for a job in a Romney administration, and I expect her to endorse Romney, although that is not probably important as her support is miniscule.  Newt is boiling over from the fact that Romney negative advertising torpedoed his campaign, and he and Santorum have been close in the past, so I would not be surprised if Gingrich endorses him after he drops out. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

January TAC GOP Presidential Poll

UPDATE 1-8-2012:  We have eliminated Ron Paul due to spamming issues.  If you feel the need to cast a vote for Ron Paul, please do s0 by leaving a comment.

John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, Buddy Roemer, and Paul Ryan never announced their candidacy for the GOP nomination as some had speculated, so they have been removed from the TAC Poll.  In addition, Gary Johnson has removed himself from consideration the moment he accepted the Libertarian Party Nomination.  Herman Cain has suspended his campaign which is nothing more than preventing the inevitable.

Here’s our latest poll so please vote in anticipation of the Iowa Caucuses (voting ends 7pm this Friday):

 

Knives Out

The Hawkeye Cauci have arrived, and tonight we’ll watch in breathless anticipation to see which presidential candidate will walk away with the lion’s share of the precious 25 delegates being awarded tonight – a critical two percent of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.  Rick Santorum has climbed up the polls and is a serious threat to finish third, if not win the caucus outright.  And as with all candidates who have experienced a burst in popularity, the knives have come out for Santorum.  Yesterday I linked to Alan Colmes’s disgusting mockery of the manner in which Santorum and his family mourned the loss of their child, but that is just a taste of the attacks that Santorum has experienced in the previous few days and will experience if he continues to be a somewhat viable candidate.

In particular the blog Red State has run a number of blog posts in recent days that have, to put it mildly, been very critical of Santorum.  Just scroll through the link and you can see that Erick Erickson in particular has been a busy beaver.  Now most (though not all) of the contributors to the blog are pro-Perry and they see Santorum as a threat mainly to Perry.  And for what it’s worth, I am sympathetic to Red State’s views.  Though I certainly think people should vote for the candidate they feel is best, as a Perry supporter myself I lament that Santorum will do more to divide the conservative vote and help nominate Romney than anything else.  Rick Perry is much better suited for a long run at the nomination than Santorum, so I have mixed feelings about Santorum’s rise in the polls as he is my second choice for the nomination.  In fact I’d be ecstatic if either Rick won, yet both candidates are basically evenly dividing the not-Mitt vote with Gingrich.

Red State’s takedowns of the other candidates, especially Ron Paul, have been very good.  The anti-Santorum stuff, on the other hand, has been very weak tea.  There’s but the vaguest hint of a scandal with a company that Santorum was associated with, and this attack on Santorum about not believing the President to be a Chief Executive is nitpicky at worst, and smells of desperation.  The most effective criticisms revolve around the issues I brought up in this post from about a month ago.  In particular, this post simply linking to Santorum’s video endorsement of Arlen Specter is just damning.   →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Santorum Could Win Iowa

 

A big surge is being detected in polling in Iowa to Santorum, with Santorum outpolling Ron Paul (R.Pluto), who was just behind Romney, in the last two days of polling.  Go here to read all about it.  A win for Santorum in Iowa could be a game changer, as overnight he could become the conservative hope against a Romney nomination.  That would be great, as Santorum is as pro-life as they come, recognizes the threat from the radical jihadists and has a realistic plan to cut government expenditure, the components of which are as follows: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

The State of the Race

We need to rewind a little bit before we address the madness engulfing the presidential primary season.  During the runup to the 2010 midterm elections and in its immediate followup there has been some internal GOP strife between purists who want to select only the most ideologically pure candidates and those of a squishier stripe whose primary concern is electability.  This has been an ongoing warfare, and has continued on into the GOP presidential primary.

So now Newt Gingrich is atop of the polls.  A mere few months ago Newt had been written off as a candidate, especially by the purists.  Gingrich reviled the base right at the start of his campaign by deriding Paul Ryan’s budget reform plan as right-wing social engineering.  This was just the latest in the string of rhetorical and other slights against the right.  He had endorsed Dede Scozafava, sat on the couch with Nancy Pelosi for that silly global warming PSA, and had otherwise served as a negative symbol of the establishment.  But a few great debate performances – and I emphasize the word performance here – plus the flameout of various other non-Romney candidates managed to put Newt at the top of the polls.

So now the same establishment voices that urged moderation are attacking Gingrich in full voice.  Pundits like Charles Krauthammer and others are questioning Gingrich’s bona fides.  George Will went so far as to suggest that Newt is some kind of Marxist, and Mark Krikorian implied that Newt’s heart belonged to the French Revolution.  This, in turn, has angered the conservative firebrands, who perceive that the establishment is attacking the new conservative hero.  In other words, for questioning Gingrich’s conservatives purity these writers are basically being written off by purists who think that these commentators are manifesting a clear lack of purity.  The anti-purists, meanwhile, are writing off a candidate because of his, umm, lack of purity.  So the anti-purists are clearly RINOs because they think someone who the purists themselves thought was insufficiently pure not that long ago is not in fact pure. On the other hand the purists are upset that the non-purists are questioning the bona fides of a previously heretofore believed to be impure candidate, and in doing so are demonstrating that they are tools of the impure establishment.

Yeah.

I am convinced that if National Review wanted to derail the Gingrich campaign all it has to is endorse Gingrich.  As I have written before there seems to be a contingent of the GOP electorate that is motivated by spite, and they will flock to any candidate that the establishment criticizes.

It’s an astoundingly insane situation.  Frankly, I think that Gingrich is neither a Marxists-Leninist, nor is he the modern embodiment of Ronald Reagan.  Gingrich is a conservative technocrat.  He thinks that we can achieve conservative outcomes through just enough social and government tinkering.  He’s not quite a big government conservative, but I think Jonah Goldberg has a pretty good feel for Gingrich’s political instincts.

Gingrich probably agrees with the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan more than any other leading conservative. “The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society,” Moynihan observed. “The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” A constant theme of Gingrich’s career is a desire to use government to fix the culture. Indeed, there’s no Republican in the field with a more robust faith in the power of government.

So in this crazy, upside down primary season the segment of the Republican party that agrees with Gingrich is trying to eliminate him from the race, and the segment that is turned off by this sentimentality is outraged that anyone could question Gingrich.

Personally, I am ambivalent about Newt.  He’s a better candidate than most, and think that he’d ultimately make an adequate president. And while I don’t that it is unfair to dig deeper into a candidate’s philosophy and question his fitness for office, some of the assaults on Gingrich are a little absurd.  When John Sununu is on the attack against a candidate and questioning his conservative record, well, let’s just say Sununu is probably not the best judge of conservative character.

But to me the race has come down to two men named Rick.  Which one will I ultimately vote for?  If it were purely about ideology it would be Santorum, but other factors – including executive experience – ultimately matter as well and weigh in Perry’s favor.  I’d be perfectly content with either candidate.  Neither is looking particularly strong in the polls right now, but considering all that has taken place over the past few months, we should expect either to be the party’s nominee.

In all seriousness, neither is as much of a longshot as they appear right now.  You see, there’s this election that takes place in Iowa.  Despite the fact that Iowa is a rather small state and has a method of voting that is one of the dumbest and most confusing methods of selecting a candidate known to man, the Iowa caucus is crucial.  And so, this completely outmoded and overrated caucus may very well cause a darkhorse candidate to jump to the front of the line.  Both Santorum and Perry appeal to the socially conservative element in the state, and victory is obtainable in a state where the election hinges on non-traditional forms of electioneering.  I’m not suggesting that Perry or Santorum will in fact win, but if either does – especially in the case of Perry – then it will fundamentally alter the narrative of the campaign.

Of course, if either takes (or in Perry’s case, reclaims) the lead, then expect the establishment to get the knives out.  But then at least the battle lines will make sense.

Why Aren’t More Conservative Catholics Supporting Rick Santorum?

Most of you have an immediate response to the question posed in the title of this post, but please indulge me for a moment.

In this seriously flawed Republican presidential primary field is a candidate who is a Roman Catholic.  He is a man who clearly lives his faith.  He has no skeletons in his closet (that we know of, naturally).  He is the father of seven children, and has demonstrated a devotion to the pro-life cause in a manner that is second to none.  He is unapologetically conservative, and is willing to take stands that go against the grain.

In other words, we have a candidate who it would seem should be drawing a large chunk of the conservative and Catholic vote.  Yet he regularly polls somewhere in the 1-2 percent range.  Considering the number of Catholics in the country and within the Republican party, this suggests he can’t even win the support of even a fraction of the most conservative Catholics.  Heck, even the conservative and Catholic author of this post has not really fully supported Senator Santorum.  I oscillate between the two Ricks, but have generally leaned towards Governor Perry.  So what gives? →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Shape Shifter

Just so we’re clear, if this guy wins the Republican nomination, I walk:

Mitt Romney was firm and direct with the abortion rights advocates sitting in his office nine years ago, assuring the group that if elected Massachusetts governor, he would protect the state’s abortion laws.

Then, as the meeting drew to a close, the businessman offered an intriguing suggestion — that he would rise to national prominence in the Republican Party as a victor in a liberal state and could use his influence to soften the GOP’s hard-line opposition to abortion.

He would be a “good voice in the party” for their cause, and his moderation on the issue would be “widely written about,” he said, according to detailed notes taken by an officer of the group, NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

“You need someone like me in Washington,” several participants recalled Romney saying that day in September 2002, an apparent reference to his future ambitions.

Romney made similar assurances to activists for gay rights and the environment, according to people familiar with the discussions, both as a candidate for governor and then in the early days of his term.

People can change their minds on an issue, and if Mitt Romney has had a genuine change of heart on abortion, then that’s great.  But how can anyone possibly trust this man?  He’s a chameleon who changes his tune to suit his audience.

On the other hand, though Rick Santorum is not my first choice at the moment, he’s the only candidate who puts social issues first on his website.  He’s by far the most passionate defender of the unborn we have in this race, if not the country.

That’s What the Bully Pulpit Is For

Peter Wehner’s getting all nervous because certain Republican candidates are saying things that he disapproves of:

One of the GOP presidential candidates (Ron Paul) believes the United States is responsible for triggering the 9/11 attacks. Another (Rick Santorum) has said he would use the presidential bully pulpit to speak out against the dangers of contraception and its role in the moral decline of America (“One of the things that I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual liberty idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK. It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”)

Yet another (Herman Cain), has dramatically shifted his positions on negotiating with terrorists and legalizing abortion within a matter of hours, after having said he would (contra the Constitution) impose a religious test on Muslim Americans. And nowGovernor Rick Perry has indicated he’s not quite sure whether Barack Obama was born in the USA, citing Donald Trump as an authority.

Some of this is correct, but the rest is a mess.  For instance, Perry’s comments seem almost totally aimed at tweaking Obama and nothing more.  Even Paul’s 9/11 theories are a bit more nuanced than Wehner suggests.  As for Rick Santorum, I say good for him.  As Mike Potemera points out, it’s rather unlikely that any conservative president will be “calling for the hiring of millions of contraception cops as a solution to joblessness.”  Santorum would be using the office of president to discuss an important cultural issue.  It’s nothing more than what Michelle Obama has done to encourage efforts to fight against obesity.  There’s nothing wrong with using the bully pulpit to discuss social issues and raise awareness so long as you are not actually calling for legislation that impedes personal liberty.

Santorum continues to be one of the few candidates who gets it, in that he understands the nexus between social and economic issues.  While others have concentrated on narrow technocratic solutions, Santorum has really been the only one to explain how the breakdown of the family is one of the contributing causes of our economic rot.  That’s not to say, by the way, that certain tax and fiscal policies are wrong.  In the end, you can’t quite dictate improved sexual mores through executive fiat , so we do need purely economic solutions to the current mess we’re in.  But at least Santorum is willing to engage in conversation about social issues.  Okay, so perhaps he does so in a manner that comes off as just a bit whiny, but that doesn’t dilute the importance of his message.

Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Christian Candidates Have Got to Go!

For weeks, there has been a “holy war” being waged against Rick Santorum by “gay rights” activists. No one is spared from this onslaught. It should be noted that Michele Bachmann is also being attacked for her Christianity…even to the point of pirating and editing videos with lies painting her as a bigot.

Anti-Christian bigotry is afoot…and apparently…there are no rules.

de·cen·cy? ?[dee-suhn-see]
noun.
1. the state or quality of being decent.
2. conformity to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, etc.

There is nothing decent about the “gay rights” movement. Nothing.

The ‘Gay Rights’ Community’s Jihad Against Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum joked that the ‘gay rights’ community has launched a jihad against him for explaining on the campaign trail that marriage is only for one man and one woman and cannot be changed even if attempts are made to redefine it. On Top Magazine says Santorum is “playing the victim card” for pointing out what really is something of a social media “holy war” on the part of “gay rights” activists. They are currently engaged not in debate but rather in a campaign to smear the good name of Rick Santorum because he refuses to uphold the “sanctity” of “gay marriage”.

The “jihad” comment has very little to do with the substance of what Rick Santorum said in the speech in question. Watch the video below. I’ll have a transcript excerpt and my own commentary afterward.

I should note that the video above has been heavily edited by “gay rights” activists who are apparently following Rick Santorum around and recording him because of the threat he poses to their movement. I would recommend to the Santorum camp that they have every speech videotaped in full and uploaded to Rick Santorum’s YouTube account as soon as possible. I’ll post every one on my blog if they will do that. Other Republican candidates should do the same as they come under attack from various groups.

What the “gay rights” community is doing to Rick Santorum by launching a smear campaign against him on Twitter and on their blogs is comparable to jihad because of its complete intolerance for Christianity. Rick Santorum is a Catholic. What he believes as a Catholic is what his conscience tells him is right and true. What these activists do not seem to understand is that it is not Santorum’s Catholicism that makes it important for him to defend traditional marriage as a presidential candidate. Rather, Santorum’s obligation to defend traditional marriage as a candidate comes from his reason and from his courage. All who understand what America really is, whether Catholic, protestant, Jewish, or even non-religious, should be standing with Rick Santorum to defend traditional marriage in America’s public square.

Here’s the quote we should be paying the closest attention to in the video.

Rick Santorum:

Marriage is what marriage is. It existed before there was the English language or a State. It is something that was given to us from the very beginning of time. It is something universal in every culture, and it has been remarkably consistent in every culture. Why? Because it reflects Nature and Nature’s God.

“Nature and Nature’s God” is a quote from the Declaration of Independence.

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

When we deny Natural Law, we deny the very foundation of America. Actively campaigning for our government to enshrine as a “right” something so contradictory to Natural Law as “gay marriage” is to actively campaign for tyranny on behalf of a government that tramples the rights we are entitled to by virtue of our creation as human beings made in the image of God.

Again, from the Declaration of Independence:

 […][A]ll men are created equal [and] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights[…]

If Natural Law no longer counts in America’s laws, then there is no longer such a thing as unalienable Rights which trump the Powers of the State. “Rights” are now, apparently, based not on what we are endowed with by our Creator, but rather are based on moral relativism. If authentic rights are now meaningless, then America has essentially become nothing more than a barbaric democracy that is barely held together by the seams of a Republic established by the Founding Fathers of our nation.

Many are saying that the economy is the most important issue today. Truly, it is the issue that most immediately affects the vast majority of Americans. I would argue that the problems with our economy are merely the latest symptom of a country virtually destroyed by moral decay and failure to live up to the values upon which America was founded in the first place. It could be that our economic woes are the last gasp of a dying America. I would submit that those candidates who are running primarily on economic issues and who fail to stand for the Declaration of Independence can only ultimately provide, as President, a band-aid for a country that is suffering from internal hemorrhage.

May God help America in this time of need.

 

 

 

Perry Vs. Santorum on Gay Marriage

At this early stage of the game, I’d say that my top  choices for the GOP nomination are two Ricks: Perry and Santorum.  The latter has as much chance as I do of actually getting the nomination, but he’ s also the one who I am most sympathetic to ideologically.

I say this all as a preamble because I’m going to disagree with parts of both of their comments from this past weekend.  Rick Perry had this to say about New York’s decision to permit gay marriage:

Perry, who is considering running for president, at a forum in Colorado on Friday called himself an “unapologetic social conservative” and said he opposes gay marriage — but that he’s also a firm believer in the 10th Amendment, the Associated Press reported.

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me,” he said to applause from several hundred GOP donors in Aspen, the AP reported.

“That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

Perry’s argument on behalf of federalism is completely legitimate.  For now I’ll leave that specific debate aside and focus on the tenor of Perry’s statement.  While one can argue that a state has a right to do x, it does not follow that the state should be free from criticism.  This is similar to something that Rudy Giuliani said, and which I criticized last week.  All that federalism means is that individual states have wide latitude to formulate their own laws, free from interference by the federal government.  Federalism does not mean that citizens of other states cannot criticize these decisions.  This idea that federalism entails complete silence on the doings of other states is akin to those who hide behind the first amendment when they say something silly and earn public ridicule.  Just because you have the right to do something or say something it doesn’t mean that you should do something, and citizens of other locales absolutely have the right to speak out against these decisions and perhaps persuade the citizens of the state in question to change their mind.

That said, I have a slight issue with Santorum’s response:

That prompted a response from Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who tweeted overnight: “So Gov Perry, if a state wanted to allow polygamy or if they chose to deny heterosexuals the right to marry, would that be OK too?”

It’s not unfair to employ the logic of  a slippery slope argument.  There are already rumblings from polygamist groups who want to legalize polygamy now that the floodgates have opened.  That said, there are a couple of problems with this rhetorical strategy.  To me the slippery slope argument is the last refuge when all other arguments fail.  It doesn’t really address the actual issue at hand, and in fact there’s a subtle implication that the subject under consideration is not all that serious a concern.

I guess what bothers me about Santorum’s tweet is that it doesn’t tackle the issue of gay marriage head on.  I acknowledge that this is just a tweet, and Santorum has no doubt argued well on behalf of traditional marriage before.  But this smacks too much of a dodge, as though gay marriage isn’t that bad – but polygamy and the outlawing of heterosexual marriage, now that’s bad.  If the issue under discussion had been abortion, would Santorum have raised the specter of something semi-related?  I doubt it.

I’ll admit I might be nitpicking here, and that Santorum is simply mocking the absurdity(in his view) of Perry’s federalist stance.  Again, you’re not going to capture a lot of nuance in a single tweet – which says something about the nature of twitter, but that’s for another rant.  I just fear that too often defenders of traditional marriage rely upon the slippery slope argument too facilely.  If gay marriage is as bad for society as we think it is, we should argue against it on its own merits (or demerits) instead of attacking semi-related subjects.

Rick Santorum: “I Do Not Believe [Enhanced Interrogation] is Torture”

Former Senator Rick Santorum, a Catholic, has formed an exploratory committee to see if he can generate support to run for President.

Apparently there is a big flap between Rick Santorum and John McCain on the issue of waterboarding (enhanced interrogation) which was used to gain the cooperation of Khalid Sheik Mohammed — cooperation that led to his giving information which enabled our forces to find Osama Bin Laden.

Read “The Waterboarding Trail to Bin Laden: Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said that as late as 2006 fully half of the government’s knowledge about the structure and activities of al Qaeda came from harsh interrogations”

I have been back and forth on the waterboarding issue, but I have come to the conclusion that this whole thing is being blown out of proportion due to a lack of understanding of what waterboarding is. Today, Mark Shea, who I love and respect, is engaging in some brutal ad hominem against Rick Santorum. So who is right and who is wrong here? Let’s take a step back, a deep breath, and consider the facts.

Is waterboarding “torture”? I would agree with these remarks below from Fr. Brian Harrison at Catholic Culture:

Even deciding what exactly we mean by torture is not easy. The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes it as “physical or moral violence” (CCC 2297); the definition given by the 1984 United Nations Convention on Torture is “the intentional infliction of severe pain.” The words violence and severe are themselves somewhat vague. Who draws the line — and where? — as to which specific practices are harsh enough to correspond to those words? What has become clear in the contemporary debate is that while many shudder-evoking practices (which needn’t be spelled out here) are recognized by everyone as meriting the name torture, there is no consensus about whether other less extreme interrogation techniques really count as torture: for instance, sleep deprivation, being kept under harsh temperatures or in uncomfortable positions, or “waterboarding” (which causes a brief, panic-inducing sensation of being about to drown but no pain or injury). Since no Catholic magisterial intervention so far offers any real guidance for resolving this controversy, the only methods we can be sure are included under “torture,” when that word appears in Church documents, are those in the former group.

“Inducing panic”, such as we find in waterboarding, is not “torture”. Considering that it is not torture in the first place, all other points appear to be moot.

Rick Santorum responded on the Mark Levin Show yesterday to the false claims that he endorses the use of torture. (CLICK HERE to watch video at The Right Scoop to hear his remarks.)

Again, I’ve been back and forth on the issue, because I did not understand fully what waterboarding is and how the Church defines “torture”. Now, I know. It’s not torture and it did gain information necessary to capture Osama Bin Laden. It was not used to force anyone to confess a crime but to gain information. The intent was to defend life and the action was not torture. Case closed.

Related at Catholic Online: Silence on Santorum is Deafening: Republican Establishment Sends Signals

Related at WMUR, New Hampshire: Conversation with the Candidate, Rick Santorum

The Left’s Crusade Fantasies Vs. Islamist Realities

Livonian Knights (Photo: Age of Battles)

When former Senator Rick Santorum, a faithful Catholic who appears to be preparing to run for president, made some comments recently in a speech in South Carolina, they were taken out of context in an article by Andy Barr at Politico. While Santorum’s remarks about historical revisionism of the Crusades were highlighted, Politico left out clarifying remarks which express Santorum’s views, albeit in a simple analogy, on what Christians should be doing to counter Islamic jihad. It should be noted that these remarks are in keeping with the advice of the Vatican for Christians faced with Islamic aggression.

 

‘From my perspective, I run a Christian school that has a liberal arts-focused education,’ said Oakbrook Headmaster Adair Hinds. ‘The students we had here … We’re trying to make them think. Having somebody make strong statements and take a stance, whether our students believe it or not or agree with it or not is not my concern. My concern is that our students are listening to what people say, listening to their opinions, and running it through their own mind, and basing their decisions on integrity.’

In other words, Santorum endorses the free exchange of ideas in an environment that is not hostile to dissent. This is an important point that was missed, probably because the leftist media really has no earthly idea what we are dealing with in the Islamic version of fundamentalism, not to mention ignorance of both history and the Vatican‘s official position on these matters.

There is talk of “Crusades” in the air, as of late. We see hype in leftist political media, warnings in anti-Catholic Christian media, and Islamopologetics about the historic Crusades in leftist Catholic media. Considering the reality of continuous Christian slaughter in the Muslim world by Islamists who kill even for what they define as blasphemy, it’s time to set the record straight.

Rick Santorum

There will be no ‘Crusades’ ordered by the Pope. Anyone who believes otherwise is delusional. It’s important to understand why this is so, in order to put this talk to rest, so that we can understand the reasonable way to ‘fight’ Islamic jihad.

 

On the Crusades, Santorum’s main point was that they were defensive wars, which is true. Further, the history of mankind has been a very long journey of coming to a fuller understanding of what human rights are. The idea of human rights began with the Creation story in Judaism and has progressed over time. It is the Judeo-Christian ethic upon which all human rights have their foundation through the course of history. History shows mankind evolving in his coming to a fuller knowledge about human rights gradually over time, beginning from the basic due process that God offered Adam and Eve in the Garden.

The fact of the matter is that the world was once a place where few human rights were recognized. It is not reasonable, then, for us to apply our understanding of human rights to the people of the Medieval Age.

What we can do is look at the core teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and see what they are. Forced conversions have never been a part of the teachings of Judaism and Christianity, no matter what any of their members may have done as a result of their fallen nature and ignorance. For this reason, we can be sure that nothing like the popular understanding of the “Crusades” (as “Christian conquest” carried out by the Catholic Church) ever really did happen because the lens the vast majority of us are looking through distorts the picture.

If Andy Barr of Politico paid attention to the Vatican as much as I expect Santorum does, he might have been able to sort out what Santorum was attempting to present despite Santorum’s fumbling a bit over the issue. The actual plan of the Vatican is in keeping with what Santorum stated in regard to his Christian school. In order to ‘combat’ Islamic jihad, we must all commit to using our gift of reason in a manner that respects basic human dignity. In other words, we must commit to debating our disagreements in an atmosphere that is devoid of hostility. It should be called a “Crusade of Words” as it is limited to the arena of ideas. This is what Pope Benedict XVI has continually spoken out for during these troubling times by encouraging countries around the world — particularly Iraq, Egypt and Pakistan — to please respect religious freedom and provide security for religious minorities.

Pope Benedict XVI

In a controversial speech delivered at Regensburg in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that Christian theology requires the use of reason whereas Islamic theology rejects reason. In his 2010 “state of the union address” to the Catholic Cardinals, Pope Benedict warned of an ‘eclipse of reason‘ that is advancing now in the world. Though human beings in diverse cultures may disagree on many things, one thing is certain: if we lose our ability to reason with each other in a manner that respects human dignity — which, at minimum, includes our commitment not to kill each other because we disagree — then we will not prevail against the Islamists who have rejected both human dignity and the importance of reason in debates about that dignity.

 

This is the only ‘crusade’ that you will see promoted by the Vatican — a ‘Crusade of Words’ that acknowledges the basics of the dignity of the human person. In lands where Christians are being brutalized, you can be sure that they will ask for their religious freedom wherever there is hope in attaining it. Otherwise, they will flee, as in Libya, or die as so many are dying now in Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

I am a contributor at NewsReal Blog and I disagree with some of my compatriots there on many issues. Many of these issues are serious issues that have to do with human dignity. One thing is certain, though. If you ask anyone at NewsReal Blog if the use of reason is important in order to defend basic human dignity — though we may define human dignity differently — I am certain that they will all answer in the affirmative. This is a ‘crusade’, of sorts, and we continually call on others to join us. We must arm ourselves not with violence but with reason and with true tolerance in the arena of ideas. Otherwise, the Islamists win.

It really is that simple.

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Who is Running for Prez in 2012?

This is meant to be a fun post speculating about who might run for the Republican Presidential Nomination. Here’s my list, who do you think will run?

Likely Running:

Rick Santorum-former Senator from Pennsylvania

Tim Pawlenty- Governor of Minnesota

Mitt Romney-former Governor of Massachusetts

Still looking into it:

Mike Huckabee- former Governor of Arkansas

Mitch Daniels-Governor of Indiana

Sarah Palin-former Governor of Alaska

Newt Gingrich-former Speaker of the House

Long shots:

Bobby Jindal-Governor of Louisiana

Paul Ryan- Congressman from Wisconsin

Mike Pence-Congressman from Indiana

Tom Tancredo-former Congressman from Colorado

Ron Paul-Congressman from Texas

John Thune-Senator from South Dakota

Jeb Bush-former Governor of Florida

Analysis:

I think potential candidates like Huckabee and Palin have to be considered front runners in Iowa because of that state’s social and culture conservative leanings. Pawlenty may have an advantage in Iowa since he governs a neighboring state.  Meanwhile, I think potential candidates like Romney and Daniels will play well in New Hampshire. I think all the candidates are going to have to build their war chests for the remaining candidates. I don’t really see any one of the current candidates running away with the nomination early on, so it may be a long drawn out battle. I don’t think it will go the distance like Obama-Clinton, but its not going to be wrapped up in a few primaries. What do you think?

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…

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