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Santorum’s Effort to Rewrite His Words

I just wanted to add an additional thought to what Alana wrote regarding Senator Rick Santorum. It isn’t simply that he spoke about his private beliefs on contraception; it’s that he publicly and proudly declared he would, as president, hold forth on the subject (see here for more).

It was Santorum, not the liberal media, who said, “One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.’ It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” It was Santorum, not MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who said, “I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These have profound impact on the health of our society.”

So for Santorum, a man for whom I have respect, to say it’s a “bogus issue,” that to bring it up is “just absurd” and is an example of “gotcha politics,” just isn’t right.

I suspect I know what happened. When Santorum made his comments in October 2011, he was an asterisk in the polls, he was trying to gain traction with social conservatives in Iowa, and he views himself as more intrepid than the other GOP candidates. So he decided to separate himself from his competitors.

He succeeded. He went out of his way to find this issue. And oh, how he did. But now he has to live with his words; and blaming others isn’t a fair representation of reality.

I can sympathize with Santorum wanting to put this issue to rest. He is, in fact, a “full spectrum” conservative – knowledgeable, informed, and conversant on the issues. But there’s a better way to put the topic to rest than to attempt to rewrite history. Why not simply say he made a mistake, that his formulation was awkward and misguided, he regrets it, and move on?

 


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