Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh, Mr. Santorum…

…Your hypocrisy is showing. The American Prospect has an in-depth look at the finances of the senator from Pennsylvania.

“In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to.”

— U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good

[…]

The Prospect decided to heed Santorum’s advice by taking “an honest look at the family budget” — his family budget. What we found is that Santorum’s exurban lifestyle is financed in ways that aren’t available to the average voter back home in Pennsylvania — namely a political action committee that lists payments for such unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia. Although a Santorum aide defends those charges as legitimate political costs, good-government experts say the expenditures are at best unconventional, and at worst a possible violation of Senate rules, and the purchases appear to be unorthodox when compared with other senators’ filings. Santorum’s PAC — a “leadership PAC,” whose purpose is to dispense money to other Republican candidates — used just 18.1 percent of its money to that end over a recent five-year period, a lower number than other leadership PACs of top senators from both parties.

These facts may well raise questions in Pennsylvanians’ minds about how the senator is conducting their business in Washington.

[…]

The details of Santorum’s private life have clashed with his public record on several occasions. The senator has voted for a medical malpractice bill that capped non-economic damages at $250,000, even though in 1999 Karen Santorum had sought $500,000 from a Virginia chiropractor for back pain and was awarded $350,000 by a jury. (A judge reportedly later halved the award to $175,000.)

[…]

And so the political chameleon has changed colors yet again, casting himself as the Senate’s leading reformer. But with the November election fast approaching, Santorum is trailing [Robert] Casey, his most likely Democratic opponent, by double digits in the polls. Florida pollster David Beattie has written that the 2006 election may turn on fiscally conservative, socially moderate voters with weaker partisan ties. Beattie calls them “Starbucks Republicans.” At least Santorum will know where to find them.

Very few things in the 2006 election would make me happier than to see this pompous, hypocritical, sanctimonious, and homophobic scold get thrown out on his ass.