Kathryn Lopez

About 20 days before Election Day, the Associated Press wire ran an excerpt from Republican Sen. Rick Santorum's 2005 book, "It Takes a Family" (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2005). In it, Santorum had dared to write the following: "Children of two parents who are working don't need more things. They need us! In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them really don't need to, or at least may not need to work as much as they do."

In the book, the senator continued: "Some are working because they think they must buy their kids and themselves more things that they 'need' -- instead of giving of themselves to their kids. And for some parents, the purported need to provide things for their children simply provides a convenient rationalization for pursuing a gratifying career outside the home. But in this world, at a time when it is increasingly difficult to raise children well, we should all recognize that our kids really need fewer things and more mom and dad."

The AP editors had no ostensible reason for running this excerpt; it's hard to believe they did it for any other reason than to suggest to Pennsylvania voters that Santorum is a Neanderthal. But can anyone really disagree with what he wrote? Santorum faces the possibility of defeat this November because he doesn't say what he thinks people want to hear, but what he believes should be said. He's a truth-teller; for that, Democratic chairman Howard Dean calls him "one of the most mean-spirited and corrupt Republicans in Washington."

Translation: We hate him because our special-interest groups want him gone.

Serving in Congress since 1991, Santorum has been a stalwart defender of innocent human life. One night in 1998, even though he knew the Senate did not have enough votes to override Bill Clinton's veto of a ban on partial-birth abortion, Santorum stayed at work and talked about what abortion really is. He would later learn that a TV-flipping young unmarried couple would have lost a child to abortion, had they not happened upon his speech.

He's no stranger to lonely fights. He recently ushered through the bipartisan Iran Freedom and Support Act and he is constantly focusing attention on the threat that we face from Iran. While most candidates are cutting and running from Iraq and anything like long-term fortitude on the War on Terror, Santorum is warning us about the nature of our enemy and the long haul.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.