Santorum speaks for America

Kathryn Lopez
Posted: Oct 23, 2006 3:01 PM
Santorum speaks for America

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.

Pennsylvania voters are faced with a clear choice. They can vote for Santorum, who has shown adult leadership, or for Democrat Bob Casey Jr., who ducks too many debates because his performances at them are simply embarrassing. Their votes will not only elect a senator but also set a tone for 2008. They will send a message as to how serious we are about the War on Terror, about the struggle to preserve the traditional family, and about the importance of leadership itself. Are we willing to face the truth about the enemy, an enemy that wants to destroy us and our way of life? Are we willing to embrace a politician like Santorum who -- far from being a rubberstamp, as Casey ridiculously alleges -- says what he believes on important issues, and actually makes a better case for the war we're in than the White House itself?

This election will be a character test for the electorate. If you believe that Rick Santorum should have shut his mouth about (to take just one of his opponents' favorite examples) how fundamental the family is to children and to our country -- how children need parents more than they need stuff -- then you want someone else. Bob Casey Jr., a princeling who doesn't even do his debate prep work, is waiting in the wings, ready to be one of America's 100 senators.

He won't trouble you with tiresome warnings about the erosion of the family, or about the fact that well-armed fanatics are hard at work plotting to kill us, our allies, our troops. He won't bother with too much of substance. He has his eyes on happier topics: getting elected, and getting re-elected, and . . . what a leader.

For the voters of the Keystone State, this is a gut check. It will have consequences far beyond 2006, and far beyond Pennsylvania.