Prospective Presidencies – II
by Stephen Foster
As we write this, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) is basking in the afterglow of his near victory in the Iowa Caucuses, pursuant to his party’s presidential nomination.
After having staked his campaign on a strong showing in the state, Santorum came within eight votes of winning the Caucuses.
He had been flying under the radar, so to speak, since most of the other contenders for the GOP nomination had previously polled better than had the two-term former Senator; but with the campaign implosions — and/or near implosions — of businessman Herman Cain, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Santorum was literally the next man up.
Nevertheless, former Senator Santorum was prepared to take advantage of his opportunity because he had visited all of the state’s 99 counties and had utilized practically all his campaign’s resources and man hours in Iowa.
Now the campaign heads to New Hampshire, South Carolina and beyond with Santorum poised to become a factor in the race.
Rick Santorum is not an unknown quantity; but if he was, his campaign site headlines and highlights his primary causes. These quotes are excerpted from his website: “His vision for America is to restore America's greatness through the promotion of faith, family and freedom…He believes that at the core of the American experience is the family, and that without strong families, we cannot have a strong and vibrant nation. Senator Santorum believes that at its core, America is a moral enterprise, but that foundation is quickly eroding. As President, Rick Santorum commits to rebuild that foundation and lead the way on restoring traditional American values.”
In this blog’s first installment we have cited a number of the former Senator’s stated views on the subject of values and the significant role he sees for government in support or in promotion of what he considers to be “traditional American values;” as relates to faith and family.
In the recent New Hampshire Meet the Press debate, after having stated that America is “hopeful of maintaining a more secular state than is in place today” in Pakistan, he paradoxically however complained that the current U.S. President “has a secular ideology that is against our tradition…” with reference to certain behavioral aspects of public/social policy.
It should be noted here that former Senator Santorum and former Speaker Gingrich have articulated similar views along these lines. Gingrich is on record as lamenting the secularization of American culture; so much so in fact that, in addition to his previously chronicled plan to have judges — with whom he disagrees on cultural grounds — subpoenaed before Congress to explain their decisions (before possibly having them removed and/or their courts disbanded), he has written books titled, Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in Our Nation’s History and Future, in which he argues the founders had intended that there be religious expression in the public square and, To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine, – enough said.
In fact Gingrich Productions along with Citizens United — yes, Citizens United; the same non-profit political organization which was the winning plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case vs. the Federal Elections Commission (that overturned provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act which had barred corporations and unions from paying for political ads produced independently from the campaigns of candidates) — have actually co-produced two “Rediscovering God in America” films (which are hosted by Newt Gingrich and his current wife, Callista).
Rick Santorum is well-known for his passionate stances and pronouncements on traditional values, and for being against abortion under any circumstances. He is also widely known for being staunchly opposed to gay marriage. Santorum is personally anti-contraception as well. These positions are of course, largely if not entirely, resulting from his deeply held religious convictions as a devout Roman Catholic. Santorum now concludes that John F. Kennedy’s approach to reconciling his Catholicism with his duties as President — that of separating them into two separate and distinct spheres — was harmful to America.
Coincidentally, partially resulting from hearing his wife Callista sing in the Basilica in Washington, DC., Speaker Gingrich credits his 2010 conversion to Catholicism for his having found God.
With my position — as a historical Seventh-day Adventist — concerning the potential dangers of governmental activism in church-state affairs being well-documented (in this blog space), there is perhaps no need to restate it at this particular point in time. What may need to be restated however is the fact that we have no idea by whom or when eschatological events will be catalyzed; but we remain convinced of why and how.
Suffice it to say that, based on experience, it appears reasonably safe to anticipate responses to this perspective along the lines of how unlikely it is that the dangers we perceive are real (if for no other reason than) because public opinion is so far removed from the scenario about which historical Adventists are so apprehensive.
In other words, some may suggest that with current public opinion (in certain areas of the country) in favor of things such as gay marriage, and with religious or moral influence to the contrary in apparent decline, how can the dangers that Adventism has historically warned against be imminent at all — if indeed real at all.
Those who think that the will of a vocal minority (or perhaps even a vocal majority) cannot be politically overcome and/or thwarted need look no further than the passage of both the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
No matter how seemingly unpopular, all that any controversial legislation would require for passage is a committed and determined President of the United States, the support of a filibuster proof majority of U.S. (60) Senators, and 218 (of 435) votes in the House of Representatives, including some who are even willing to risk certain defeat in the next election, in order to pass what they perceive as historically important legislation.
Ironically, only an unelected Supreme Court, willing to defy the will of both the duly elected representatives of the people (in the legislature) and the duly elected President of the United States, can stand in the way of the subsequent implementation of such (seemingly) unpopular legislation — on the grounds that it considers it to be unconstitutional.