Sick Rick's Brain
Below is the Philadelphia Daily News column which first unearthed the comments about Sick Rick (Senator Santorum to his theocratic donor base) screaming about liberalism as the root of clergy sex abuse. Its author, John Baer -- the People Paper's Harrisburg correspondent, where he sure as hell has his hands full -- is one of my heroes. You might be able to tell this from his style.
Memorably, in the aftermath of 2002, Baer almost asked Cardinal Bevilacqua if Michael Jackson would've been a suitable candidate for priestly formation. Now, he's going crazy (as is most of the political class here in Pennsylvania) about how our Lege voted itself a 16% pay raise to $81,000... and that's for backbenchers.
I'm putting this up because Deal Hudson -- winner of the first Lifetime Achievement Church Rapist Award -- has called this a "hit piece" on Rick. By Hudson's standard, the truth about his past is a "hit piece." The only real travesty, in his mind, would be if people stopped seeing him as a rep of the church in good standing and stopped giving him money.
No, that hasn't happened already.
But without any further ado, the lyrical stylings of Baerman.
A look into Santorum's brain
I'VE BEEN thinking lately about Rick Santorum's brain.
It is, and I don't care where your politics lie, something to think about.
For example: he recently said Terri Schiavo was "executed."
He was answering questions about her autopsy report confirming her irreversible vegetative state and whether he regrets what some saw as a grandstanding unsolicited visit to her deathbed during a political fundraising trip to Florida.
He bristles at this, by the way, claiming he'd have been criticized for not going down there.
By whom, I wonder?
"No, no. I don't have any regrets that I stood up for what I believed was right in defending a disabled person from being executed," he said.
Executed? I try to picture a blindfolded Schiavo dragged in front of a firing squad of "activist judges," but can't.
I'm not sure what Rick pictures.
He also said the press lies about him. In a recent fund-raising letter he said, "I can't rely on the mainstream media to tell the truth about my record."
When I ask for examples of media lies he says, "The mainstream media has fundamentally ignored my record and chronically does so. If you don't tell what goes on, that's not telling the truth."
So the truth is Schiavo was executed, and not regularly detailing the totality of a single politician's record is a lie?
See, from where I sit news is not constant regurgitation of someone's "record," it's conveying new information of sufficient public interest to warrant the space it's given.
(And you media critics can save yourself the trouble of an e-mail questioning this space; what you're reading is commentary, not news.)
Speaking of news, I also ask about a New York Times Magazine cover photo last month in which a smiling Santorum, hands folded, eyes heavenward, appears transfixed in prayer.
"Yes," he says, he posed for it.
Uh, what were you thinking, I ask?
He says he was told to do something with his hands, then look here, look there, you know, like a kid at a K-Mart photo shoot following a stuffed toy in a photog's hand. That's his story.
As you can see in the picture, I say he's practicing for his holy card.
I'd remind you this is the same Senate leader who recently likened Democrats fighting to save the filibuster to Nazis, who once equated homosexuality with bestiality and who claimed the Catholic priest pedophile scandal in Boston should be no surprise since Boston is "a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America."
In other words, Harvard, the Kennedys, Kerry and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts are to blame for priests preying on altar boys.
Now, because I do what I do, I actually appreciate Santorum's brain.
I mean contrast it with the brain of Bob Casey Jr.
I've known Casey since the days he worked on his late father's campaigns. I can't recall him saying one thing controversial. Not then, not since then, not ever.
Add that to the fact he's been pretty quiet lately as news swarms around Santorum and their Senate race. Is he Silent Bob? Cautious Casey?
I start to phrase such a question to Casey and he interjects, "Boring?"
Well, yeah, that's part of it.
Then he says, generally speaking, "It's hard to make comparisons."
Huh? No it's not. I just made one. Here's another: Santorum's brain works like a Gatling gun, Casey's like a one-shot musket.
Should make for an interesting shootout. At least that's what I'm thinking.