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Tag Archives: Rick Santorum

Sure, they built that… but what do they have to show for it?

Rick Santorum, discussing the GOP presidential loss last year, made a good point while missing a much larger one.

The former Pennsylvania senator recalled all the business owners who spoke at the Republican National Convention.

“One after another, they talked about the business they had built. But not a single—not a single —factory worker went out there,” Santorum told a few hundred conservative activists at an “after-hours session” of the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington. “Not a single janitor, waitress or person who worked in that company! We didn’t care about them. You know what? They built that company too! And we should have had them on that stage.”

Well, that would have proved at least as entertaining as Dirty Harry talking to an empty chair: “Hi, I’m a factory worker. As soon as they figure out how a machine can do my job or hire people in another country to do it for slave wages, I’m out of here… with no severance.” Or: “I’m a janitor, who apparently makes so much Newt Gingrich suggests that they give my job to my kid… who’s still in school.” And, of course: “I’m a waitress. I stand on my feet 10 hours a day just to keep my head above water. I have no health insurance, and I make so little, my retirement plan involves falling over into a customer’s steak and eggs.”

And I think their respective companies all had them sign strongly worded documents insisting that whatever they built or might someday build belongs to the company alone.

“When all you do is talk to people who are owners, talk to folks who are Type A’s who want to succeed economically, we’re talking to a very small group of people,” he said. “No wonder they don’t think we care about them. No wonder they don’t think we understand them. Folks, if we’re going to win, you just need to think about who you talk to in your life.”

That’s nice, Rick, but none of your party’s policies makes any attempt to help them. Considering the GOP platform, here’s what would actually make sense:

“Hi, I’m a janitor. I barely make ends meet, but what are ya gonna do? What will really ruin things for my family is if gays could marry. Can you guys handle that?” Or: “I’m a factory worker whose plant is being shut down and its operations sent to China. However, that’s not the worst thing happening in America. Some women are getting abortions when their rapes weren’t legitimate!” And, of course: “I’m a waitress with this persistent cough that I should probably see a doctor about, but if I take time off, I won’t make rent. Anyway, I hear that illegal immigrants are going to take my cushy job!”

Maybe if they do enough of this in 2016, they’ll win.

 

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The Many Loves of Rick Santorum…

I’ve stated before that Rick Santorum is the political version of Nick at Nite: His views all come from the 1960s. In an especially dated episode, Santorum says that insurance shouldn’t cover birth control at all.

“This has nothing to do with access,” he said. “This is having someone pay for it, pay for something that shouldn’t be in an insurance plan anyway because it is not, really an insurable item. This is something that is affordable, available. You don’t need insurance for these types of relatively small expenditures. This is simply someone trying to impose their values on somebody else, with the arm of the government doing so. That should offend everybody, people of faith and no faith that the government could get on a roll that is that aggressive.”

Yes, this is the same guy who has won 4 out of 8 GOP presidential contests so far.

Let’s examine what he says here: He makes the case that insurance is essentially requiring someone else to pay for something they find morally objectionable. He tortures logic like it’s a Gitmo inmate and claims that providing a “choice” is “imposing” values on others. I wonder if I can get a refund for all the money I spent on insurance premiums during my vegetarian years that went to treat ailments resulting from eating meat.

I thought freedom of choice meant that we respect the rights of people to choose to do things that don’t personally affect us. Guess not. No, it just means that we are free to do whatever is agreeable to other people.

Santorum ignores the fact that birth control such as the pill can have uses beyond turning women into Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct. He also argues, based on his extensive experience as a woman, that birth control isn’t really an “insurable” item because it is “affordable, available.” The availability argument is interesting. I see car lots all over town. Guess I shouldn’t bother insuring mine. Is he correct about the affordability?

I popped over to Planned Parenthood’s Web site, where I received an e-abortion, to get a rough estimate on birth control pills. Looks like they range from $15 to $50 a month. Santorum probably also thinks comic books still cost a dime.

Let’s see: That’s $150 to $600 a year; $5400 to $18,000 over 30 years. Maybe I shouldn’t insure my car.

 

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Santorum on Sick Kids and iPads…

Rick Santorum wants to make voters realize Mitt Romney isn’t the only candidate in the presidential race with a glaring lack of empathy for the poor.

Santorum, in a discussion with a mother and her sick child, bravely stood up for the defenseless drug companies and said demand would determine the cost of medical therapies.

“People have no problem paying $900 for an iPad,” Santorum said, “but paying $900 for a  drug they have a problem with — it keeps you alive. Why? Because you’ve been conditioned to think health care is something you can get without having to pay for it.”

Uh, Rick, poor people have a problem paying $900 for an iPad because they don’t have $900 and thus don’t have an iPad. They have an issue with $900 for a life-saving drug because they don’t have $900 nor even the $400 it would cost for their child’s funeral.

An iPad is a luxury item. You can live without it. Your children are not luxury items. If times are tight, you can’t simply put little Susie up on eBay.

Santorum said drugs take years to develop and cost millions of dollars to produce, and manufacturers need to turn a profit or they would stop developing new drugs.

“You have that drug, and maybe you’re alive today because people have a profit motive to make that drug,” Santorum said. “There are many people sick today who, 10 years from now, are going to be alive because of some drug invented in the next 10 years. If we say: ‘You drug companies are greedy and bad, you can’t make a return on your money,’ then we will freeze innovation.”

Santorum believes that people are only motivated to develop life-saving drugs out of profit. I’m not religious but just what are they teaching him in that building with the cross on top that he goes to every Sunday? Is it an Ayn Rand book club? Couldn’t the motive to develop drugs that save children’s lives be to… save children’s lives?

However, as Santorum points out, drug manufacturers have to turn a profit or they couldn’t stay in business. Then no drugs would be developed. I’m sure the cost of producing a $900 drug breaks down as follows:

Ingredients: $898.25

Labor: 75 cents

Overhead (rent, electricity, Flavia coffee machine in break room): $1

Abilify, the drug the child takes for schizophrenia, is produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb, which last year saw its first quarter profits increase 5% to $3.3 billion. Maybe this Mom and Pop can afford to spring for two Flavia machines in the break room.

Santorum told a large Tea Party crowd here that he sympathized with the boy’s case, but he also believed in the marketplace.

“He’s alive today because drug companies provide care,” Santorum said. “And if they didn’t think they could make money providing that drug, that drug wouldn’t be here. I sympathize with these compassionate cases. … I want your son to stay alive on much-needed drugs. Fact is, we need companies to have incentives to make drugs. If they don’t have incentives, they won’t make those drugs. We either believe in markets or we don’t.”

If Bristol-Myers Squibb made just $1 billion in the first quarter of 2011, its employees might have to get by on that nasty instant coffee and no drugs would get produced. Basically, if you don’t believe in the markets and global biopharmaceutical companies preying on the sick and desperate, you want children to die.

 

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The Image of Welfare…

One constant during the GOP primary is the misrepresentation of welfare and how it works.

Rick Santorum said the following:

It doesn’t matter if he said “black” people or “blah” people. He still presented the notion that welfare amounts to taking money from hard-working people and giving it to non-working people.

However, tax dollars fund social programs. Everyone pays taxes. Even those so poor that they pay no federal taxes still pay payroll and sales tax. Unemployment is funded through payroll taxes, but yet many Americans incorrectly view that as a “hand-out,” as well. Do we think that executives who leave companies with million-dollar payouts are living on “hand-outs”?

The goal of this misinformation is to convince Americans that there is a permanent underclass that is constantly siphoning resources from the permanent overclass. Imagine the poor as not just a minority group but a slightly sinister, parasitic one, as well. Sort of like the Morlocks from H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine.

The reality is that anyone could wind up in need of assistance. Poverty is like what foolish people wanted to consider AIDS back in the 1980s — an affliction only certain people suffered from who lived a certain type of lifestyle. It was easier to judge than to help. Our biggest shame is that we had to realize that wasn’t the case before we started taking the matter seriously. Although GOP candidates like to invoke Ronald Reagan with awe, we should not forget the thousands who died because of his inaction.

It’s more accurate to view welfare as a form of insurance. I have paid thousands of dollars for health insurance over the course of my working life. I have been fortunate that I’ve never had a serious injury or illness. I don’t begrudge those who aren’t so fortunate. I also know that the system only works because healthy people participate and help spread the risk. Welfare is not a “hand-out.” It does not promote laziness anymore than health insurance promotes a poor diet.

It astounds me that we would even ascribe sloth to the people who collectively enjoy the least amount of leisure in the country. These are more often the people who stand on their feet all day, who work out in the elements, who risk life and limb either to protect us or to construct the things we need. If these people are Morlocks, then we are the Eloi, who live easy thanks to their efforts.

If you’ve read The Time Machine, you know that the Eloi become a dissolute race over time, so dependent upon the Morlocks that their relationship has evolved into a symbiotic one: The Eloi are fatted cattle, and the Morlocks are the farmers. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that, as I taste terrible without a good vinegar dry rub.

 

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The Country of Pig People..

Zeke Miller wrote about Rick Santorum’s concerning popularity in Iowa:

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and his aides were frantically refreshing laptops and phones to see the results of Saturday’s Des Moines Register poll yesterday evening, results that showed him within striking distance of Mitt Romney, but it probably didn’t matter: The last surging Republican candidate is uniquely ill-suited to snatch the nomination from Mitt Romney.

Miller is right that Santorum won’t win the nomination, but I disagree that it doesn’t matter. It’s frankly as depressing as my high school prom night that a candidate “within striking distance” in Iowa of the likely nominee is someone who, in 2012, says things like this:

“Diversity creates conflict. If we celebrate diversity, we create conflict,” Santorum told the audience in Ottumwa.

Well, that’s not good. It’s also oddly familiar. Where have I previously heard such sentiments expressed?

“I say to you now…I say to you now that there is no such thing as a permissive society, because such a society cannot exist! They will scream at you and rant and rave and conjure up some dead and decadent picture of an ancient time when they said that all men are created equal! But to them equality was an equality of opportunity, an equality of status, an equality of aspiration! And then, in what must surely be the pinnacle of insanity, the absolute in inconsistency, they would have had us believe that this equality did not apply to form, to creed. They permitted a polyglot, accident-bred, mongrel-like mass of diversification to blanket the earth, to infiltrate and weaken! Well, we know now that there must be a single purpose! A single norm! A single approach! A single entity of peoples! A single virtue! A single morality! A single frame of reference! A single philosophy of government! We cannot permit… we must not permit the encroaching sentimentality of a past age to weaken our resolve. We must cut out all that is different like a cancerous growth! It is essential in this society that we not only have a norm, but that we conform to that norm. Differences weaken us. Variations destroy us. An incredible permissiveness to deviation from this norm is what has ended nations and brought them to their knees. Conformity we must worship and hold sacred. Conformity is the key to survival.”
The Twilight Zone, “Eye of the Beholder”

I often think of this “Twilight Zone” episode when I hear Santorum, or Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry rant against homosexuality. Donna Douglas’s character is seeking a “cure” for her “condition,” one that causes no harm to those who wish to marginalize her. Her “crime” is being different, and as we see, there’s no “cure” for that. Douglas is revealed to be beautiful underneath the bandages, and her tormentors ugly. But there’s more to it than that. What writer Rod Serling was really saying is that we become twisted, inhuman when we refuse to see the worth of others.

Even if Romney — who is hardly a champion of diversity but at least his primary residence is the planet Earth — wins on Tuesday, the majority of votes will be cast for Santorum, Bachmann, Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. These are all votes cast to make the United States a country of pig people.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2012 in Political Theatre, Pop Life

 

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