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New job, same Santorum

| Monday, Feb. 5, 2007

"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man-on-dog' with a United States Senator -- it's sort of freaking me out."

That reaction came from an Associated Press reporter during a 2003 interview with Sen. Rick Santorum, right after Santorum explained that he didn't have any problem with people's orientations, just so long as they didn't act on them, say with a goat or a laid-back Shar-Pei.

With a knack for freaking out an ever-growing multitude of people over the ensuing three years, Santorum stumbled into the November 2006 election, according to the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, as the nation's "most vulnerable incumbent."

Ranking dead last in voter approval among his colleagues in the U.S. Senate at the time of the election, Santorum's drubbing at the polls by Bob Casey, 59 percent to 41 percent, was statistically the biggest win by a Democrat Senate candidate in Pennsylvania history.

In his new job, Rick Santorum is an employee of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank. "Our mission is to explore how the Judeo-Christian tradition applies to public policy," explains the center's president, M. Edward Whelan.

More specifically, Santorum will create and run EPPC's new "America's Enemies" program. "It's a stark name," says Santorum, "but we wanted to be candid about the fact that America really does have enemies and to point out that the nature of these enemies is much more complex than what people realize."

Note that we're dumb -- again. Just as we were moral pigmies when it came to understanding the gathering man-on-dog storm, now we're foreign policy pygmies when it comes to recognizing that America "really does have enemies" and that "the nature of these enemies is much more complex" than we realize.

"I was left after the election with a very clear sense of two things," explains Santorum. "Number one, the more I looked into the threat that confronts us, the more concerned I was about the gravity of that threat. And, number two, the more convinced I was that the American people didn't understand it."

He's "convinced," in short, that we just don't get it, don't see the "gravity," don't "understand it," just as too many of us didn't understand his make-em-suffer prescription for helping the poor. "Making people struggle a little bit," he maintained, "is not necessarily the worst thing."

We were also too dumb to "understand it" when Santorum suggested that our time alone wasn't exactly none of the government's business. Asserting that "the right to privacy doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution," Santorum blamed the Supreme Court for our overly-libertarian notions about individual freedom and privacy: "It all comes from, I would argue, this right that was created, created in Griswold -- Griswold is the contraception case --- and abortion."

Griswold is the 1965 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved an 1879 Connecticut statute that outlawed the use of "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception."

Start by giving married couples the right to use contraceptives, and the next thing you know it'll be man-on-dog, a full-blown barnyard free-for-all.

"What I'd like to do," explained Santorum, "is have these kinds of incredibly important moral issues be decided by the American public, not by nine unelected, unaccountable judges." Mob rule• No Constitution• No birth control if the majority of Americans become Quiverfulls?

The Quiverfull movement draws its inspiration from Psalm 127: "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them."

In any case, John J. Miller, National Review's national political correspondent, reports on how Santorum views his new "America's Enemies" job: "One of his focal points will be religious liberty and how people of faith might confront radical Islam."

On the liberty part, Mr. Santorum might want to begin by studying what the Founding Fathers had to say -- for starters, this thought from Thomas Jefferson: "Reading, reflection and time have convinced me that the interests of society require the observation of those moral precepts only in which all religions agree." Or this, also from Jefferson: "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."

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