Feb
27

Santorum fails Constitution 101

By Katie Kieffer

Former Sen. Rick Santorum

Image credit: “Rick Santorum” by Gage Skidmore on Flickr via Creative Commons.

I think former Sen. Rick Santorum would make a great community organizer. Unfortunately, we are trying to remove, not re-elect, a community organizer in the White House.

Both Santorum and President Obama have a track record of ignoring the Constitution and implementing their personal ideologies at the federal level.

By incessantly talking about his principles and his seven children, Santorum has convinced some voters that he is more socially conservative than Romney, Paul and Gingrich.

Whoa, hold on. Things are not always what they seem; Obama is a politician who looks and talks like a man of principle. In 2008, Americans perceived him as a leader they could trust to reform society and enforce the law of the land. But Obama’s picture-perfect marriage and family life haven’t stopped him from cheating on the Constitution. Likewise, Santorum’s picturesque family life eclipses his poor track record of upholding the Constitution.

Let’s run through examples of how Santorum imitates Obama’s activist drive to choose ideology over the Constitution:

Constitution 101

Both Obama and Santorum have vocalized their discontent with the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. Constitution

Image credit: “US Constitution” by kjd on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Newsmax reports: “…during a September 2001 Chicago public radio program,” Obama said that the “country’s Founding Fathers had ‘an enormous blind spot’ when they wrote it [the Constitution]. Obama also remarked that the Constitution ‘reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.’”

Santorum routinely trivializes the Constitution and implies that, as president, he would override the Constitution’s own words (like the 10th Amendment) in favor of his personal ideology. He has said that the Constitution isn’t the “end-all, be-all” and he’s implied that reading the Constitution literally could lead to a French-style revolution because our Constitution gives “radical freedom.”

The Founding Fathers did not allow the president to cherry-pick sections of the Constitution to enforce, depending on his or her beliefs. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution declares the Constitution to be “the supreme law of the land” and Article II, Section 1 states that the President must take an oath to “…preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The Founders specifically forbid the president from legislating or becoming a religious leader à la King Henry VIII, who ordained himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England.

War

The Constitution states that the president needs to get Congress’ permission to go to war. I’m unsure Santorum agrees with the Constitution here. In debates, he gives the impression that he thinks it’s the president’s role to lead the nation to war and even authorize assassinations against civilian scientists rumored to be working on a nuclear program. Red flags go off when you notice that Santorum’s approach to foreign policy is nearly identical to Obama’s approach.

In a December, 2011 Fox News debate Santorum said: “…we need to make sure that they [Iran] do not have a nuclear weapon. And we would, should, be working with the state of Israel right now; we should use covert activity and we should be planning a strike against their facilities and say if you do not open up those facilities and not close them down, we will close them down for you.”

He has also said: “I’m hopeful that some of the things we’re seeing with respect to the nuclear program—that the United States is involved with. Which is, on occasion, nuclear scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran will turn up dead. I think that’s a wonderful thing. I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a nuclear scientist from Russia or from North Korea or from Iran and you’re gonna work on the nuclear program to develop a nuclear bomb for Iran, you are not safe. And if people say, well you can’t go out and assassinate people, well, tell that to [Al-]Awlaki. OK? We’ve done it. We’ve done it for an American citizen.”

The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments protect American citizens from being treated like foreign terrorists or denied due process of law. However, Santorum seems to dismiss constitutional due process for American citizens.

Wolf Blitzer recently interviewed Sen. Rand Paul on CNN’s Situation Room and asked Paul to comment on “on the issue of Iran, when it comes to Santorum saying he’s ready to bomb Iran…” Paul responded: “…you want a commander in chief who’s in charge of nuclear weapons who will not use them carelessly, who will not take the nation to war carelessly and who also understands that Congress gets to vote on declaring war; one man should never decide for our country to go to war.”

Birth Control and Abortion

The U.S. Constitution is silent on birth control and abortion. The Tenth Amendment states that all powers not delegated to the federal government remain the rights of the states and individuals.

Reuters reports that Santorum once supported a bill that made exceptions for legal abortion. But, when his position became politically disadvantageous, Santorum switched his stance to be against abortion in all cases.

Santorum attacks Obama’s mandate that insurance companies cover some prenatal testing, saying that these tests can “encourage abortions.” He also attacks Obama’s mandate that insurance companies provide free birth control. Yet, three days before Santorum criticized Obama’s mandate as a violation of religious freedom, he pivoted and told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News:

“The bottom line in my position is very clear. I’ve had a consistent record on this [issue] of supporting women’s right to have contraception. I’ve supported funding for it. … I actually have been criticized by — I think it was Governor Romney or maybe it was Congressman Paul’s campaign for voting for contraception, that I voted for funding for — I think it was Title X — which I have voted for in the past, that provides for free contraception through organizations, even like Planned Parenthood.”

Santorum supported funding for Planned Parenthood by supporting a 1996 omnibus spending bill that included funding for Title X Family Planning. He also aggressively campaigned and cut ads for pro-choice politicians like Sen. Arlen Specter over pro-life, fiscal conservatives like Sen. Pat Toomey. Specter won by a slim margin and eventually cast the deciding vote on Obamacare.

Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Arlen Specter

Pictured, from left-to-right: Sen. Rick Santorum, Sen. Arlen Specter, Tom Ridge. Image credit: “Politicians in Salute” by djwhelan on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Rep. Ron Paul described the constitutional and ethical problems with Santorum’s support for Title X in the Arizona CNN debate on February 22:

“This is a consequence of the fact that the government has control of medical care and medical insurance …the problem is the government is getting involved in things they shouldn’t get involved in, especially at the federal level. …I think the immorality creates the problem of wanting to use the pills, so you don’t blame the pills. I think it’s sort of like the argument conservatives use all the time about guns: Guns don’t kill. Criminals kill. …The pills can’t be blamed for immorality of our society.”

“If you voted for Planned Parenthood like the Senator has, you’ve voted for birth control pills. And you literally, because funds are fungible, you literally vote for abortion because Planned Parenthood gets the money. ‘Oh, I’ll buy birth control pills,’ but then they have the money left over to do the abortions, so that’s why you have to have a pretty strong resistance to voting for these bunches of bills put together. Planned Parenthood should get nothing!”

If someone really wants a “law” against contraception, he or she could become a Catholic. Churches are in the business of helping individuals behave morally in their private lives. The federal government, on the other hand, is merely supposed to protect individual freedoms, private property and national security.

Private Property, Free Speech, Sex and Marriage

Per the Constitution, the federal government may not regulate sexual or committed relationships between two consenting adults. Only the states and individuals may do so.

Santorum does not appear to believe that individuals own their own persons or their own homes. Rather, he thinks that the President can dictate how individuals use their bodies and act within their homes. He has said: “There is no such society that I am aware of where we’ve had radical individualism and it succeeds as a culture.” (I would say America is a society where radical individualism has clearly succeeded.)

Santorum told the Associated Press on April 23, 2003: “…if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”

This is a troubling statement because the purpose of government is to protect private property—including the right to one’s own body. Santorum seems willing to let the federal government barge into private homes and arrest Americans for sinning.

Obama selectively enforces federal law (think DOMA or federal immigration laws). Likewise, Santorum has warned that, as president, he would not uphold the 10th Amendment. He also seems unwilling to enforce the First Amendment, which bans any “law respecting an establishment of religion” and guarantees the “free exercise” of religion.

First Amendment

Image credit: “Independence Hall – The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution” by Nicolas Karim on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Santorum told pollster Dr. Frank Luntz in Iowa on Nov. 19, 2011: “…the idea that the only things that the States are prevented from doing are only things specifically established in the Constitution is wrong. Our country is based on a moral enterprise. Gay marriage is wrong. …there are folks here who said that ‘states can do this and I won’t get involved in that.’ I will get involved in that… as a president.”

Santorum wants to regulate marriage and religious expression with a federal marriage amendment. Per the First and Tenth amendments, the federal government has zero control over our bedrooms and marriages. Ideally, individuals would get married in their own churches and the government would stay out of marriage. However, constitutionally, states may define marriage.

Spending

Santorum’s record reveals his penchant for spilling the federal purse. The Club for Growth writes: “[Santorum’s] record is plagued by the big-spending habits that Republicans adopted during the Bush years of 2001-2006.”

Santorum voted to raise the national debt five times, the largest entitlement increase since the 1960’s at $727 billion (via the Prescription Drug Act and Medicare Improvement Act) and doubling the size of the Department of Education (via the No Child Left Behind Act).

Highlights from his voting record:

  • May 25, 1995: Voted to increase taxes by $9.4 billion to subsidize student loans
  • June 27, 1997: Voted to hike taxes by $2.3 billion for Amtrak
  • July 16, 1997: Voted to increase the administrative costs of a government finance institution (OPIC) by 50%
  • March 11, 1998: Voted against repealing Clinton’s 4.3-cent gas tax
  • March 26, 1998: Voted to give $18 billion to the IMF
  • April 2, 1998: Voted against paying off the national debt within 30 years
  • June 4, 1998: Voted to swap marriage penalty tax relief for fines on tobacco companies
  • June 18, 1999: Voted for a $1 billion bailout of the steel industry
  • April 5, 2000: Voted to pay down national debt by dipping into Social Security instead of utilizing surpluses
  • May 21 and Nov. 15, 2001: Voted (twice) to tax the internet
  • February 14, 2006: Voted for a $140 billion asbestos compensation bill
  • March 16, 2006: Voted to increase spending on social programs by $7 billion
  • May 4, 2006: Voted against transferring $20 million from AmeriCorps to veterans

Conclusions

Show me a major political issue that Santorum approaches constitutionally, and I’ll show you a pink dinosaur.

I’m concerned that Santorum would be an activist, “community organizing” president like President Obama. I fear he would sidestep Congress and violate the Constitution’s separation of powers when it comes to entering war and spending federal taxpayer dollars. By selectively ignoring the Constitution in favor of advancing his personal ideology, I’m concerned that he would encroach on the rights of states and individuals.

11 Responses to “Santorum fails Constitution 101”

  1. Custom avatar Lodzia says:

    Hey Justin Smith.
    I agree with everything you just wrote.
    Hope and pray.
    God bless our Country.

  2. Default avatar Justin Smith says:

    Incredible post Katie, I'm genuinely impressed by your writing; there is endless fragmented information (or mis-information) floating around the internet related to all the presidential candidates, and you do a really good job in drawing the connection and bringing everything into perspective. I really loved Ron and Rand Paul's quotes in this article – like father, like son.

    I'm shocked, and to be honest actually a bit appalled by the overwhelming support Santorum is getting right now. Even my (once idolized as a politically correct) father has been impossible to convince of his big spending habits and unconstitutional values. I've come to the conclusion that most Christians, or "catholics" who fear Ron Paul, fear him for one reason and one reason only; his foreign policies. A lot of "end times" scenarios are being played out right now among the religions and it seems like most people fear allowing Iran to gain a nuclear advantage.

    The keyword here is FEAR. I guess for those who live in fear, there are plenty of somewhat valid reasons for fearing what Ahmadinejad may do once he has that capacity to use such an evil technology against us. But, let's take a look at what Jesus had to say about fear… Mark 4:40 "He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" I am personally not very fond of Nuclear anything, but that doesn't mean I should let fear get in the way of doing the right thing. If there is one thing I've learned the hard way it's that two wrongs NEVER make a right, even IF Iran had bad intentions with their nasty nuclear technology – who are WE to shake our fingers in their faces telling them what they can and can't do on their own soil? I'm 100% on board with standing for what is right in hope of setting a better global example, just as Ron Paul aims to do – even if it comes with consequences.

    I love this country, or, at least.. I once loved what this country stood for. But from an ethical and moral standpoint today, I can't say I'm thrilled. I believe we are all capable of better than this, we know how to do better, we NEED to be better than this. It's all going to start with getting the right man in the White House, the ONLY man who will uphold the constitution, restore liberty by returning the power of the states back to the states and encouraging a free market, cut frivolous spending and position this country for economic growth and stability. We've never experienced true capitalism, and I honestly believe with Ron Paul in office we will surely get a good taste of what the founding fathers had in mind for us. "Don't blame capitalism, we have never experienced capitalism! This has to do with a managed economy, an inflationary system, corporatism, a special infrasystem. It has nothing to do with free markets and capitalism." – Ron Paul. This country is so beaten down it's just about at the point of no return, if it isn't already. If we can't kick Obama out of Washington and get Paul in for the clean up, these next four years will ultimately determine the restoration of the constitution or the inevitable end of America.

  3. Default avatar usmcar15 says:

    Very interesting read. Thanks for the good info.

  4. Default avatar emthomas says:

    Great read, Katie. I too heard you on Church (but I've had you bookmarked long before that). Not much constitutional federal government left to speak of…as Church often says, re-focus on state and local government and try to recover the concept of federalism.

    Keep it up Katie, good work.

    -Eric

  5. Default avatar IvanCastle says:

    Katie, I just heard you on the Mike Church show. Great job! I'm looking forward to reading more of your articles.

    • Custom avatar Lodzia says:

      Likewise, you sounded right-on this
      a.m. on The Mike Church and The Jack Riccardi radio shows early this
      morning, Katie Kieffer!

  6. Default avatar James says:

    Katie, you just might be the smartest girl I've ever read. Starting to read through your other pieces now, so far it's all very well written. Looking forward to reading the rest of your work.

    Funny how it's left to individual bloggers to put out quality writing while the nation's largest newspapers wither away to nothing more than entertainment.

    • Custom avatar dmaul says:

      I agree with James. I stumbled upon Katie within the past month, and I'm impressed. "A credit to her generation", I would say. Keep up the good work, Katie!

  7. Default avatar bestsocialprgrm says:

    There are a "few" flaws with this post. I won't cover them all, but I'll cover some.

    Santorum spoke out AGAINST the MDAA. I see Santorum saying that because we killed Al-Awlaki – a massive overreach – that we will be wiling to hit foreigners at any cost, too. I don't see him endorsing treating Americans as foreign terrorists.
    It IS the president's duty to lead our military – he is our commander-in-chief. He should not declare war, no, but he does decide the direction of our foreign policy. In fact, for 60 days, he controls troop deployment himself. I see zero overreach of power. NONE.

    It's really funny how you say Rick's foreign policy is like Obama's. Most of the time during debates, he's been hitting Obama's foreign policy repeatedly. He doesn't have similar stances. To say so is ignorant.

    You say "Reuters reports that Santorum once supported a bill that made exceptions for legal abortion…but…he switched…" Which bill? Can you link to the article? Did he vote for the bill? Was the abortion part of the bill just a part, or the main focus? Santorum has said that from the moment he sat down and learned about abortion, he's been against it (except in the case of the mother's health). The mess you make of the paragraph about birth control is mind boggling: You say he pivoted on the religious freedom argument, but the quote attached talks about how he voted for a bill that included Title X. What?

    He agrees women have a RIGHT to contraception, but he opposed federal funding for it. The Title X flub was explained in the last debate; if you watched, you would know that he passed, in counter-action to Title X, Title XX. Go research (I know, the thought is troubling: Citing other bloggers isn't research).

    The states have a right to ban contraception, just like ANY OTHER THING. They can deem something as being illegal to sell. Contraband, anyone?
    Will they? Most likely not. But they have the right.

    You also say Santorum doesn't seem to think individuals own their own homes. Besides the fact that you don't cite a quote, this is yet another of your ridiculous outstretches. In fact, in most cases, people don't own their homes – banks do. But your idea that Santorum doesn't support people owning their own homes is just ridiculous. A new low, really.

    We aren't an example of radical individualism because we're really a group. We're all in groups. And we can't make decisions for ourselves without considering any effects on others. A radical individualist society would allow everyone to smoke pot, kill others, and not pay for Social Security. Doesn't sound like the America I know.

    The bigamy comment is another thing you stretch, just like the media. He's saying that if the government allows you to have "consensual sex," they're letting you do anything in your own home. Correct. But he doesn't think things like incest or polygamy should be allowed. THE HORROR! Have fun with your cousin, I guess.

    Ah, once again, you hit Santorum on Arlen Specter. Gee, I guess you didn't watch the debate. Or maybe you did, but only watched the Ron Paul segments, since you quoted Paul. This is the same, overused argument against Santorum, and it's frankly losing steam. He's said that it was more important for him to get those justices approved than anything else – I, and a lot of American people, agree. You can't always pick the person who shares your beliefs in one particular, less-important issue. First you downplay Santorum's abortion stances and say he's ridiculous, then you play the same thing up by emphasizing Specter's pro-choice stance. Hypocrisy.

    Oh, look, another quote. Out of context, as usual. Yawn. I see Rick saying that he will get involved as supporting traditional marriage. You score a point because he does support a Federal Marriage Amendment. I'm not quite sure where he's said specifically that he wants to repeal the 10th Amendment (or that he doesn't support the 1st amendment – which is a hilarious claim you make), but perhaps you could cite another "source." It should be easy to conjure up, especially if you use the Ron Paul Spellbook for Magical World Happiness.

    The spending part of this post doesn't seem to challenge any sort of constitutionality of anything. Rather, it looks like a rider. Ironic.
    IMF funding? Oh no, I can't believe he would do that! That's so evil. We can't send money to support good countries.
    The other votes he can, and should, explain. Of course, let's just hope you actually listen through some unbiased ears this time.

    Great use of pictures though! It seems to be your forte.

    • Default avatar Kris says:

      Dear bestsocialprgrm, It's pretty clear that you want a president who's a big spender, who dismisses the 1st Amendment and private property rights and who wastes his time trying to do the impossible and unjust: Police people's private sex lives in their private homes.

      If you read the Founding Fathers (Federalist #78 is a good place to start), you'll notice that the President may not spend money – Congress controls the purse strings – so a president who takes a flippant view toward spending money (as Santorum's record of throwing money on the IMF, etc. shows) would likely be an unconstitutional president because he would abuse executive power. The President dispenses honors and publicly declares Congress' bidding — he can make suggestions to Congress, but he's not the guy in charge of sending our troops to war or spending money, Congress is.

      If you are so into the social issues, you should really look into Santorum's totally inconsistent record on life (re-read Katie's article or do your own research). Santorum plays the pro-life card like a politician. And, thanks to Santorum, we got Specter and Obamacare. Is he really a man you can trust in the White House?

    • Default avatar dave says:

      bestsocialprogram: Are you actually defending sending money to the IMF? Why do we need bailouts for foreign countries? I would love to hear the explanation behind that.

      "smoke pot, kill others and not pay into social security". I'm not even sure where to start here. To equate smoking pot and not being forced into the Ponzi scheme that is social security, with killing others, is beyond words and shows your bias.

      There is no counter to Title X. The damage is done when you fund planned parenthood(repeatedly) with tax payer dollars; there is no undoing it by supporting abstinence. Why should the tax payers be forced to pay for either program?

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