The American Churchill

Posted: Oct 30, 2006 11:12 AM
The American Churchill

It is not every day that a politician chooses to use the closing days of a hotly contested, and exceedingly high-stakes, election to give voters bad news. Yet, in Pennsylvania, the incumbent Senator, Rick Santorum, is courageously doing just that.

Specifically, Sen. Santorum is stumping across his state telling constituents about the most important issue with which the man they elect next week will have to contend: a world in which America's people and vital interests are in grievous danger. With pages literally ripped from Winston Churchill's memoir about the run-up to World War II, the Senator is providing an unvarnished assessment of the "Gathering Storm" that threatens our generation – and those of our children and grandchildren – unless addressed in creative and effective ways.

I had a chance to witness first-hand the clarion call Rick Santorum is giving to the people of his state and the rest of this country as I introduced him to audiences in Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Erie last week. He spoke with passion and authority about the combination of enemies who are currently joining forces – despite differences of ideology no less dramatic than those of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy when they were allies during World War II – to advance a common goal of destroying America and other freedom-loving nations.

Notably, Sen. Santorum addressed squarely the danger posed by "Islamic fascists," a term he does not shrink from using. He understands that it does not defame peaceable, tolerant Muslims. Rather, it distinguishes the latter from those who make up the virulent and violent totalitarian political movement that seeks to conquer and repress the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds, alike.

The Senator is no Johnny-come-lately to this subject. For years, he has been discussing how this ideology of hatred is translating – thanks to state-sponsors such as Iran, Syria, North Korea, Pakistan and Venezuela – into a mortal peril, not just to Israel and our forces and friends in the Mideast, but to Europe, Latin America and even our own homeland. With an indefatigability and clarity reminiscent of Britain's wartime prime minister, he stresses that the conflict we are in is, as a result, about more than Iraq and not a "war on terror." It is, instead, a war for the Free World. Voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere need to understand that next week as they entrust their lives for years to come to one representative or another.

Like Churchill before him, Sen. Santorum is far more than a Cassandra warning of the dangers ahead. He is a man with a record of leadership and accomplishment who both recognizes such perils and works effectively to devise and adopt appropriate strategies for dealing with them.

For example, Rick Santorum has sought to apply the lessons of Ronald Reagan's destruction of the Soviet Union to our current, global struggle with today's totalitarians. In the Senate, he has led on energy self-reliance, military readiness, homeland security and political warfare. The Senator has also been a prime-mover behind legislation aimed at de-legitimating the odious Iranian and Syrian regimes and empowering domestic opposition aimed at bringing them down. Such an outcome represents the only realistic hope for preventing freedom's defeat in Iraq and its imperiling elsewhere.

The commanding grasp shown by Sen. Santorum of the most important issues of our day stands in stark contrast to the haplessness of his opponent, State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., when it comes to the war. He has generally declined to debate the substance of the incumbent's positions and judgments, offering – often incoherently – canned talking points and platitudes seemingly focus-group tested to obscure his lack of knowledge or gravitas.

In the past few days, Sen. Santorum has found a way of starkly demonstrating to Pennsylvania's voters that Treasurer Casey is more than unprepared for the job he seeks in the U.S. Senate. He has also been missing-in-action when it comes to the role he could have been playing to support the war effort in his present job .

Rick Santorum has been joined on the campaign trail by Mr. Casey's counterpart from Missouri, Sarah Steelman. Ms. Steelman has shown what a state treasurer can accomplish if they understand the nature of the threat we face – and are interested in doing something about it.

Under Treasurer Steelman's leadership, the Missouri Investment Trust (MIT) has become the first public pension fund in the nation to divest from its portfolio the stocks of companies doing business with state-sponsors of terror like Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan. She has thereby ensured that the fund's beneficiaries are not unwittingly having their retirement savings invested in ways that are strategically counterproductive, morally reprehensible and even ill-advised from a financial point of view. (A study done for Ms. Steelman proved that the MIT would have performed better last year had it been terror-free than it was investing in companies partnering with our enemies.) She has also helped empower American investors to privatize the war for the Free World.

Bob Casey has not exhibited this kind of leadership in Pennsylvania. To the contrary, he has been indifferent to the fiduciary and strategic implications of a business- as-usual approach to what amounts to his state pension funds' investments in terror-sponsoring states.

Pennsylvanians should return a man we all need in the Senate – the American Churchill, Rick Santorum, not entrust the job to a man who, in his present position, has neither understood nor helped to win the war for the Free World.