What Fresh Hell Is This?

March 28, 2005

I just don't know what to make of this.

I'll start by quoting the the first sentence of a column I read this weekend:
Rick Santorum will not be elected to a third U.S. Senate term.
Now a test. Do you think that sentence came from a left-leaning newspaper or a right-leaning news paper?

Obviously, there's a rhetorical sleight of hand going on here. Since I am making so much of this, you'd be wrong if you were to assume that that lede came from a left-leaning paper.

But not just wrong. Creationism-wrong.

It's from Colin McNickle at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Read it here.

I'll let McNickle speak for himself.
Some would say Santorum has allowed politics to trump principles. Others would say he has become a pandering opportunist. Actually, it's a combination of both. And being an unprincipled pandering opportunist is a lousy way to treat those who brung you to the dance.

The highly rated and eminently fair National Journal analysis gave Santorum a perfect conservative voter rating for 2003. He was one of 13 "perfect" Senate Republicans.

But last year, Santorum was rated slightly left of center. Thirty-two GOP Senate brethren had more conservative voting records. A trend has emerged.

As political gurus Terry Madonna and Michael Young noted in a recent column -- slicing and dicing the same National Journal numbers -- Santorum "consistently shifts toward the center in those years just before his re-election. Santorum may continue to talk like a conservative, but he's voting like a pragmatist."
By the way here's the column by Madonna and Young. Read it. It's pretty interesting.

But back to the nutcase. McNickle gets to the point. It's not a new one, but if the Trib is printing it, it should be considered a shot across the bow for the re-election campaign of Senator Man-on-Dog.

Rick Santorum's greatest political challenge wasn't beating Doug Walgren for the old 18th District U.S. House seat in 1990. Neither was it knocking off appointed U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford in 1994. And it certainly wasn't his pasting of eight-of-67-county-winner Ron Klink in 2000.

Santorum's biggest political challenge came in 2004. He claimed victory again but he lost on principle when he supported Sen. Specter for re-election over ideological soulmate Pat Toomey, then the Lehigh Valley congressman. To Santorum's base, however, it was a deep betrayal. The wound remains open.

McNickle explains further:

Many are quick to argue that Santorum had no choice. After all, he was (and is) the Republican Conference chairman. It's the No. 3 Senate leadership post. One of the post's primary jobs is to make sure incumbent GOP senators get re-elected.

But we always have choices. Had Santorum chosen principle over politics -- or more accurately, principle over power -- Mr. Toomey would have ousted Specter in last April's primary and easily beaten Joe Hoeffel in November.

That didn't happen because Santorum was not about to give up his chance for greater power: to succeed Bill Frist as Senate majority leader in 2007. Santorum blew one opportunity -- albeit the long shot of a dark horse -- when he failed to accurately assess how damaged then-Majority Leader Trent Lott was in the Strom Thurmond affair of 2002 and began courting support far too late to matter.

Had Santorum supported Toomey, he not only would have lost his leadership post but, automatically, any chance of succeeding the departing Mr. Frist. As political irony goes, his loyalty to the leadership post -- to the power base -- paid a lousy dividend; Santorum doesn't have the votes to succeed Frist.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I once met Congressman Pat Toomey. The PAC of the lawfirm I used to work for hosted a meet-n-greet with the Congressman. During the meeting, Toomey spelled out basically the same criticism (of favoring politics over principle) when discussing Senator Spector. When one of the more conservative attorneys in the room (a member of the Federalist Society, no less) asked about getting Senator Santorum's endorsement due to their close ideological stands, the Congressman laid out the same argument above. If Senator Santorum moved one inch in the direction of aiding Congressman Toomey, he'd loose his position in the party by the end of the day.

The point that both Toomey and McNickle make is that Senator Man-on-Dog wouldn't have lost his Senate seat had he endorsed Toomey - just his position in the party. All to work for an incumbent already described as favoring politics over principle.

I'm not sure anyone else in the room that day caught the irony of Toomey's situation. And honestly I kinda felt bad for the guy. He should have been welcomed with open arms by Lil Ricky. Instead he got fucked by one of the Senate's leading anti-gay legislators.

I think I might need to puke, but I have to admit that in some bizarro world sort of way, I agree with Colin McNickle.


Jonathan Potts said...

The Trib, by the way, supports abortion rights and the right of homosexuals to marry. It's editorial page is mostly libertarian.

Shawn said...

Well, lil' Ricky just moved to gain cred w/the Holy Warriors of the Right by praying with the Schiavo family.

Is this prostistution?