Politics

Ten Outrageous Ideas Rick Santorum Actually Believes

CREDIT: AP

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum will announce Wednesday that he will launch another bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He will make his formal entry into the race at an event at a manufacturing company in his hometown, Butler, PA.

Now that he’s running for president again, many analysts and voters may recall Santorum’s controversial assertions during his 2011 campaign. His frequent comparisons of same-sex relationships to inanimate objects like trees, basketballs and paper towels became a major punchline of the campaign cycle.

But here are ten equally outrageous comments he’s made that you may not remember:

Putting women in combat is a bad idea because of “emotions that are involved.” Women’s “emotions” may render them unworthy soldiers and thus not fit for the battlefield, according to the former Pennsylvania senator. “People naturally may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved,” Santorum said after the Pentagon eased restrictions on women in combat in 2012. He has also made dire warnings about what would happen to the military after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed and gays were allowed to openly serve.

American culture is being corrupted by “the NBA” and “rock concerts.” According to Santorum, our culture and manners and decency have been collectively ruined by the NBA, among other culprits. These remarks came during a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University: “The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a rock concert or whether it’s on a movie set.” Of course, just like his anti-welfare rant against “blah” people, there’s certainly no racial undertone to decrying the NBA as chipping away at American culture and decent manners.

His top issue in 2012 was opposing “all forms of pornography.” During his 2012 presidential bid, Santorum vowed to oppose “all forms of pornography” if elected president. In fact, pornography was the top issue on his campaign’s website. He warned that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography,” which “causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences.”

Obamacare is (a) like apartheid, (b) a plot to kill the opposition’s voters, and (c) the “final death knell” of America. Santorum’s anti-Obamacare arguments regularly delve into the absurd. Following Nelson Mandela’s death, Santorum memorialized the former South African leader by noting that, like apartheid, “we have a great injustice going on right now in this country […] and Obamacare is front and center in that.” More than that, Obamacare is actually a Trojan Horse to “get rid of” voters who oppose the government, he later argued. Worst of all, Obamacare will, according to Santorum in his 2012 campaign, be the “final death knell” of America.

If you don’t have an ID, you’re trying to rig the election. More than one in ten Americans don’t have a government-issued photo identification, like a driver’s license or a passport. And, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice, minorities and low-income citizens are more likely than others not to have a government-issued photo ID. But to Santorum, each one of these millions of individuals aren’t disenfranchised voters; they’re out to commit fraud. “The only reason you don’t have a voter ID is you want to continue to perpetrate fraud,” he told ThinkProgress during his 2012 presidential bid.

Even if it survives Obamacare, “our country will fall” because of same-sex marriage. The government recognizing gay people’s love will be the downfall of America, according to Santorum. “The family is the bedrock of our society, unless we protect it with the institution of marriage, our country will fall,” he declared in 2011.

He believes consensual sex between gay people should be illegal. Until 2003, states were still permitted to outlaw sodomy. Though those statutes were struck down in a landmark Supreme Court case that year, as recently as 2011, Santorum was still wishing for the good old days when states could tell gay people what they can and cannot do in the bedroom. He told radio host Bradlee Dean, “[I] said this is wrong. We can’t do this, we can’t have a constitutional right to consensual sexual activity, no matter what it is.”

In Obama’s America, religious people are on “the path” to being beheaded. During a Texas town hall in 2012, Santorum predicted that America was on the road toward beheading religious people because of their faith. Discussing anti-religious sentiment during the French Revolution, Santorum argued that “we’re a long way from that, but if we do and follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road.”

After Jerry Sandusky sexual assault revelations, he defended Penn State. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is currently in prison serving a 30-60 year sentence for molesting young children. But Santorum, an alumni of Penn State, rushed to the university’s defense after an investigation found that officials had covered up evidence of Sandusky’s misdeeds. “A lot of the conclusions in the Freeh report aren’t matched by the evidence that they presented,” he declared during a radio appearance.

Health insurance companies should discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. There’s a belief among some conservatives that insurance companies should be permitted to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, though they leave open the question of whether or not insurers ought to do that. Not Santorum. According to the former Pennsylvania senator, people with pre-existing conditions “should pay more.” After all, they’re “going to be very expensive to the insurance company and, you know, that cost is passed along to us.”