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Sorry if this has been diaried already - I missed it if so.

Santorum In '95: 'I Was Basically Pro-Choice All My Life, Until I Ran For Congress'

In an interview with Philadelphia Magazine in 1995 (images are in the article), Santorum said,

I was basically pro-choice all my life until I ran for Congress, but it had never been something I thought about.
People who knew him at the time thought of him as being pro-choice - and apparently this includes his wife.
Elsewhere in the piece, an anonymous "prominent Republican active in Planned Parenthood" said that Santorum was identified in 1990 as a pro-choice lawmaker. "No one here had identified him as anti-choice," the Republican said. More telling was the quote offered by Tom Allen, a Pittsburgh-based OBGYN who had co-founded the city's first abortion clinic, delivered Santorum's wife, Karen, and gone on to share an apartment with her.

"When Karen told me she was moving out," Allen said, "she said, 'You'd really like Rick. He's a lot like you. He's politically active and he's pro-choice.'"

His issue statement as a candidate for office in 1990 stated that it was a difficult issue and that government should encourage people to "choose life," but
it is very difficult to criminalize any activity once a large portion of society comes to see it as a "right." ... For this reason, I have placed my emphasis not on advocating a Human Life Amendment, but on measures that would reshape the current social consensus and encourage women to choose life.

Needless to say, what he thought in 1990 is not what he thinks in 2012.
"Santorum is a product of the polarization of our politics," said Pat Ewing, the former campaign manager for Senator Harris Wofford, whom Santorum defeated in the 1994 election. "He has taken advantage of it. He understands it. And he will take a position to benefit himself to get a small group of people to love him adamantly. His personality hasn't evolved, his politics has."
His apparently more reasonable past doesn't make him any less nutty today, but I thought it was interesting that his views have changed to such a strong degree. Possibly his change was at least initially insincere but he found that it was beneficial to him politically to exploit this issue; or perhaps as he became more of a fundamentalist on this issue, he also gained more of a following from people who thought similarly, and spending time with them reinforced his anti-choice, theocratic views.

Too bad he didn't evolve in the other direction.

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Comment Preferences

  •  He never thought about it... (6+ / 0-)

    the fact that "it was something he never thought about" is just classic, isn't it? He never thought about it because women and their rights meant nothing to him. Then once he became a politician he realized how much benefit would accrue to him from exploiting this issue.

  •  Wow (4+ / 0-)

    So Rick Santorum wasn't a Catholic yet in 1990?

    That's not quite right.

    Maybe he just hadn't figured out what the Pope had to say on the topic a mere 17 years after Roe V Wade?

    Seems unlikely.

    Maybe he's pandering?

    Somehow I don't think so.

    Something happened in the intervening years that deranged his brain and turned him into a fanatic. I wonder what it might have been.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra En théorie, il n'ya aucune différence entre théorie et pratique, mais en pratique, il ya toujours une différence. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:55:11 AM PST

    •  I guess one could hypothesize (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, tytalus, blue aardvark

      that it was having the disabled children that did it, but I have the feeling they are a ways down the line so he was already up for the nonuse of birth control by the time they came around.

      He says in the 1995 article that religion was part of his change. Why he got more into that I don't know.

      •  I never understand why having a disabled child (3+ / 0-)

        would turn someone anti-choice.

        I have a disabled child. Not one who will most likely die young, like Santorum's, but someone who will probably live a long, healthy, and yet thoroughly disabled life, needing all kinds of support and money and services.

        Though I hate to put myself in any category as Rick Santorum, we do have something in common.  We both are lucky enough to have the resources needed to care for our children.  Don't get me wrong, we're not in the same category as he financially, but we have enough.

        MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT IN THIS CATEGORY.  They don't have the resources.  Financial, emotional, spiritual, educational--I could go on and on.

        Raising a child with high needs and no resources is soul, spirit and life crushing.

        Some people see it as a "blessing".  I love my child more than anything, but I have a hard time seeing her condition as a blessing.  To each his own.  Now for those people who derive nothing but positive feelings and love and warmth from providing support to a disabled child, I say that's wonderful.

        People need to have the choice, they need to be able to decide for themselves if they feel they are capable of providing that child with a meaningful, happy life.  If you can't, than in my opinion it's best not to bring a child into the world.

        Sorry for the rant, but it is beyond understanding how anyone who KNOWS how difficult a life it is being a parent to such a child can be anything but pro-choice.

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 11:06:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is astonishing to me (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coquiero, blue aardvark, earicicle

          how little he seems to get it.
          Rick Santorum: Obamacare Poster Boy

          In 2009 and 2010, the Santorums racked up $100,000 in medical expenses—more than the median American family income each year—and that's after their private insurance paid some costs. During that same time period, they also had nearly $100,000 worth of household assistance—help they didn't have in 2007, before Bella was born.
          Can he really not understand that most families cannot afford $200,000 in health and care expenses? It's unbelievable.

          Of course, to your point, he is mostly out of the house so perhaps having left the task mainly to his wife and his child's caregivers he doesn't have to worry so much about the day to day challenges.

  •  Late-in-life converts are usually the "worst" ones (3+ / 0-)

    They tend to be much more reactionary and committed to the lunacy of their position.

    I wonder why that is?

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 10:55:27 AM PST

  •  So Rick is a flip-flopper on abortion? (1+ / 0-)

    Wowza. Great catch, sister!

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 12:37:52 PM PST

    •  Why yes he is, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      earicicle

      now that you mention it!

      I wonder if Mitt's people will seize on this as evidence that their candidate isn't the only one who favors breaking out the sandals.

    •  But this quote really took the cake (3+ / 0-)

      From the same 1995 Philadelphia article:

      In seizing upon this theme, too, Santorum was ahead of the curve. One ad showed a photo of Walgren's house outside Washington, shot from an angle that made it appear larger than it actually was. (This September, Santorum put his Pittsburgh residence on the market and bought a house in suburban Virginia.) And while Santorum called the need for Congressional term limits reason enough to challenge Walgren, to this day he has not announced his own term limit. Even worse, Santorum's campaign mailed out a flyer dummied-up to look like a tear sheet from the Washington Post, making unsubstantiated charges that Walgren's wife held a job that presented a conflict of interest for Walgren. “I have never in my life seen a politician so dishonest,” Walgren says today. “Typically in a campaign debate, when you confront your opponent for saying something misleading, he will back down and try to spin the issue. But Santorum would look right at me and just repeat charges he knew to be wrong.”
      Link to Dec 1995 Philly Mag

      A really great tagline appearing here soon! Watch this space!

      by madhaus on Thu Mar 01, 2012 at 02:10:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  neither (0+ / 0-)

    First, an anecdote:

    One day over 20 years ago I was doing my weekly shopping in the Giant Eagle supermarket on Cochran Road in Greentree , Pennsylvania.  I was making my way down the cereal aisle and noticed a couple about halfway down the aisle.  The guy (boyfriend? husband?) was having what i can only describe as a tantrum.   As I got closer I was really confused and then a bit offended that the guy wasn't modulating it a bit in front of a stranger (me).  I suppose this would be a better anecdote if I had listened in on exactly what the dude was whimpering about (quisp? elitist trade schools?).  but I didn't. I couldn't. I was frankly a little creeped out and move on to the next aisle without hesitation.

    A few weeks later, I'm at work in second floor office overlooking Washington Road in Mt Lebanon. Pennsylvania.  My coworkers and I are taking a break and looking out the conference room window.  We were watching the Mt Lebanon Borough children's Halloween Parade.  Lots of cute kids.  Some local celebs...a few dignitaries and local politicians....and then I see the guy walking in the parade.  I say outloud, "That's that weirdo from the Gi Niggle".  My coworkers have no idea what I'm talking about of course.  Something inside me wastrying to sort out why this dude would be parading in a kids halloween parade.  I point to a the pudgy guy decked head to toe in a very official looking Pittsburgh Pirate uniform.  "That Guy!".  I say.   "oh" says a coworker, "That's Rick Santorum".

    Was it really the same weirdo?
    I guess I can never say for 100% sure.
    But I can honestly say I formed my honest opinion of what kind of person Rick was before I even knew his name, or that he was a politician.  I trust myself.  And I've never seen him do anything to make me reconsider my opinion.

    End of anecdote

    Nothing about Santorum annoys me more than the suggestion (from his fans and even some detractors) that his statements are guided by some sort of moral compass and based on his faith and life experience.

    I was living in the old PA congressional district when Santorum ousted Walgreen in the wake of the now-oh-so-quaint "Congression postage scandal".

    Somewhere back all those years ago Santorum made a political calculation ( or probably rather a consultant or mentor sat him down and spelled it out) .  His entire congressional career was based on a deft manipulation of the wedge issue of abortion among a demographically older, Catholic-er and socially conservative Pennsylvania electorate.

    Whether Santorum was "basically" pro-choice and is now (int the same way) "basically" pro-life was of no consequence.  But staking his claim on that wedge issue made him "somebody" and he's been holding on to it for dear life ever since..

     Its always been the only arrow in his quiver, and when the dems ran Casey against him, his grift was over.  Now he's just trying to maintain his claim stake to the wingnut welfare teat.  That's it.  That's his story anything else is window dressing.  Like Richard Gere in the old movie: "Rick's Got NOWHERE ELSE TO GO !!!"

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