As I have made clear recently, of the major candidates for President of the United States beginning in 2012 - which I currently estimate as current president Obama, and challengers Romney, Paul, and Santorum - I am most sympathetic to Santorum, with Paul running a close second and Romney a distant third. Practically this matters very little at the moment as I am not registered with any party affiliation at all, but there it is.
The reasons for my attraction to Paul and dislike for Obama should be clear to anyone reading this blog; I will not go into them in detail here. Romney I distrust as a consummate politico, though I have little objection to his current "face". Why Santorum? There are three main reasons.
In the first place, I agree in large part with Santorum's presuppositions and, unsurprisingly, also most of his political conclusions.
In the second, he is of all the candidates - and this includes Paul - the one most open about what he believes and has done. Even if I disagreed with him substantially, I could respect him for that, as I hold Biden or Nader in relatively higher regard than our current actual President, given what I know of them. Santorum is the only candidate about whom I can confidently say that the reasons for voting for him are the same reasons as those for voting against him.
And in the last place, Santorum is the candidate most maligned and misrepresented both in the mainstream press and by my recent favorite whipping boys, the internet liberals. After my last post, I wanted to let the subject drop, but then the ugly side of uncivil discourse raised its head again.
I have The Daily What in my feed for a number of reasons - tech stuff, nerd news, cool videos of Messi, random trivia - but when it comes to political discourse they exemplify the failures of the collective liberal internet. Here is the post in question.
Let's look through what this supposedly informative post does to Santorum. It takes little analysis to conclude that the entire post is made from a viewpoint of supporting Obama.
First, the graphic presents a good picture of Obama and a bad one of Santorum. (Thus my headline.) We like to think superficialities like that don't matter, but we know they really do make a difference.
Second, Santorum's positions are given either the worst possible spin, or misrepresented entirely. Look:
- "Rape victims should make the best of it," is what is quoted. This is part and parcel of the steadfast refusal to admit the humanity of unborn children, on which point myself and others have said so much as to make further commentary here fruitless. But not even a tiny effort is made to understand Santorum - the poster is only interesting in discrediting him to like-minded people.
- "Free prenatal testing leads to more abortions," is, I am forced to assume by the tone of the post, held up for ridicule. Yet we live in an age where "sex-selective abortion" is the new big PC worry, and where mothers are encouraged to abort "defective" or handicapped children. How exactly is Santorum wrong on this one?
- "Contrary to the Constitution, the separation of church and state should not be absolute," - oh wait, I just wrote about that.
Now it is important in civil discourse to be as accurate as possible and - perhaps more importantly - to assume the best when possible. Thus I largely keep silent on the record of Obama's administration. But I am losing patience, and feel called on to demonstrate what could be done. If I wanted to apply an "internet conservative" approach to the President, I would discuss in detail at least the following two things, which - unlike the attacks on Santorum - are beyond disproof.
- The administration itself, if not Obama himself, is fundamentally dishonest. The Obamacare package was rushed and bullied through Congress and we still don't know the half of it; bad enough, but that is politics. Worse, the package was reputedly passed on the back of an executive promise to issue an order mandating protection for those not wanting to be forced to pay for abortions: even if not, the Constitution and all of American law is rife with such protections. Obama still has not, to my knowledge, given such an order, and in fact - well, you've maybe heard of the HHS mandate which is both diametrically opposed to the alleged promise and in clear defiance of American traditions. His so-called compromise is anything but.
- The administration has made investments - in, most notably, Solyndra - driven by ideology, cronyism, or sheer bad judgment. Meanwhile, such economic progress as has been made has been made in the interval while the freshly reinvigorated Republicans in Congress have tied the administration's hands to prevent any of the neo-socialist bailouts that didn't help the mess in the first place (thanks Bush - or Keynes? FDR?). And the lesson goes unlearned by either Democrat bigwigs or the administration itself, while the Republican candidates, noticing facts and listening to constituents, are all doubling down with promises to continue the approach and in fact go farther.