By now, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty must be kicking himself in the backside and feeling like Terry Malloy. Terry who? Malloy -- the character Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront. If you use your imagination, you can hear Pawlenty muttering: "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. If only I'da stayed in the race, even I coulda been the Republican flavor of the month . . . instead of all those other guys . . . like Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich and now this guy Santorum . . . If only I'da known, I too coulda run for beatification insteda nomination . . ."
Indeed, listening to the former Pennsylvania senator these past few weeks -- and going back over what he's said these past few years -- its difficult to tell if he's running for POTUS (President of the United States) or POTMA (Pope of the Middle Ages). Since he has emerged from the shadows, Santorum has been making one outrageous statement after another -- on issues ranging from Global Warming and Evolution to Contraception, Gay Marriage and the Crusades. Not only has he shown himself to be as rigidly far-right as any presidential candidate in memory; he has proven that his grasp of history is as tenuous as that of Sara Palin. A sampling of some of Santorum's more ludicrous comments make the determination as to whether he is running for President or Pope truly a difficult endeavor:
- On Global Warming: "I believe the earth gets warmer and I also believe the earth gets cooler. And I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 -- which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the man-made part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas -- is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd when you consider all the other factors . . . [Global Warming is] just an excuse for more government control of your life, and I've never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative." (Santorum on the Rush Limbaugh Show)
- On contraception: "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. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. [Sex] is supposed to be within marriage. It's supposed to be for purposes that are yes, conjugal"but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen"This is special and it needs to be seen as special." (Santorum speaking in Minnesota 2/7/12)
- On homosexuality and gay marriage : "Let's look at what's going to be taught in our schools because now we have same sex couples being the same and their sexual activity being seen as equal and being affirmed by society as heterosexual couples and their activity. So what is going to be taught to our people in health class in our schools? What is going to be taught to our children about who in our stories, even to little children -- what are married couples? What families look like in America? So, you are going to have in our curriculum spread throughout our curriculum worldview that is fundamentally different than what is taught in schools today? Is that not a consequence of gay marriage?" ( Speaking in Iowa, Jan. 2012)
- On the teaching of Evolution: "What we should be teaching are the problems and holes and I think there are legitimate problems and holes in the theory of evolution. And what we need to do is to present those fairly from a scientific point of view. And we should lay out areas in which the evidence supports evolution and the areas in the evidence that does not." ( On NPR's "Morning Edition," Aug. 4, 2005)
- On Health Care and World War II and the Normandy Invasion (!): "Almost 60,000 average Americans had the courage to go out and charge those beaches on Normandy, to drop out of airplanes who knows where, and take on the battle for freedom. Average Americans, the very Americans that our government now, and this president, does not trust to make a decision on your health care plan. Those Americans risked everything so they could make that decision on their health care plan." (June 6, 2011)
- On President Obama: "The president's agenda is not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your job. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology. But no less a theology." (2/18/12)
- On the Relationship Between Social Security and Abortion: "The Social Security system, in my opinion, is a flawed design, period. But having said that, the design would work a lot better if we had stable demographic trends. We don't have enough workers to support the retirees . . . A third of the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion."(Radio Inteview in New Hampshire, Mar. 29, 2011)
- If Barack Obama is Reelected, Christians May Well be Beheaded: "When you marginalize faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights then what's left is the French Revolution. What's left is a government that gives you rights. What's left are no unalienable rights. What's left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you'll do and when you'll do it. What's left in France became the guillotine." (Speech in Plano, Texas, Feb. 9, 2012) and lastly,
- Satan is Attacking America: "If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the United States . . . . He didn't have much success in the early days. Our foundation was very strong, in fact, is very strong. But over time, that great, acidic quality of time corrodes even the strongest foundations. And Satan has done so by attacking the great institutions of America"" (Speech at Ave Maria University in 2008)
The above quotations don't even come close to giving a full accounting of the Santorum catechism. Suffice it to say that his views are so arch, so far off the beaten track as to make him un-electable. And for that, all forward-thinking people can breathe a collective sigh of relief.
America has no need of a Pope -- especially a medieval one.
Yes indeed, Tim Pawlenty is kicking himself in the rear . . .
-2012 Kurt F. Stone