Lighting over Pittsburgh, 3-15-11. Divine Mayhem Studios/Jason Furda
Yesterday we learned of Rick Santorum's plans to ban Internet porn. Today's shockingly beautiful March weather in Pittsburgh reminds us of the time he wanted to limit information the National Weather Service could give the public, thereby helping private weather firms like AccuWeather in State College.
He took it so far -- reported then-PG reporter Maeve Reston in 2005 -- as to criticize the weather service's warnings about Hurricane Katrina:
During a conference call that Santorum conducted with Pennsylvania radio reporters Thursday, a public radio correspondent asked him about the weather service's performance in preparing Gulf Coast residents for Hurricane Katrina and whether the rescue and recovery response could have been improved if his legislation had been law.
Santorum said he didn't think the weather service had given "sufficient warning" initially about the hurricane's path or what its impact would be when it hit Florida. He said he was "not going to suggest there were any major errors," but that the adequacy of the warnings should to be investigated along with other aspects of how government agencies have dealt with Katrina.
Storm clouds are also gathering (we're just going to stick with this, it's been a long day) over Santorum's presidential efforts in Pennsylvania. Even if he wins the popular vote in the April 24 primary, the state's 72 delegates are uncommitted and can vote for anybody. That should favor the establishment crowd pushing for Mitt Romney, writes Dan Hirshhorn at The Daily:
The ranks of delegate hopefuls are littered with Republican state committee members, elected officials and others with close party ties, who will ultimately be more beholden to a state party leadership that, while officially neutral, is visibly leaning in Romney's direction and increasingly vocal in its fear that Santorum could hurt the party in a general election — especially after witnessing his 18-point drubbing in 2006.
Speaking of GOP leaders supporting Romney, check out the super-harsh comments from Santorum's longtime friend (and until 2006, US Rep) Phil English of Erie:
“The fact is all of us have had a common experience: we served with Rick Santorum; we worked with Rick Santorum. But in 2006, I was on the ballot with Rick Santorum when he suffered a catastrophic 18 point defeat. A defeat which, incidentally, cost us two Congressional seats where the challengers, Democratic campaigns, were tied very closely to… to tying the incumbents to Senator Santorum. I campaigned with Rick Santorum in 2006 the week before he lost. So I’ve been there, I’ve stood with him and I’ve gone down with the ship. The Republican Party needs to put forward a ticket which allows us to attract swing voters, attract Democrats and build a working coalition to make a state like Pennsylvania competitive.”
Santorum said a very Santorumish thing the other day ("One of my opponents recently said that it would take an act of God for me to win this primary. I agree with him.") and former Santorum acolyte Jennifer Rubin at the WashPost was not amused:
Wait a sec. Is he saying God wants a brokered GOP convention? That's just bizarre — and a far cry from saying he felt "called" to run for president or that he prayed for guidance. Even (especially?) to religious voters, this is audacious, if not blasphemous.
But it is par for the course. Santorum seems to have confused his own ambitions with what is good for the party and the country, not to mention what the Almighty supposedly would root for. This is a common affliction among politicians, but it is rarely expressed in such blunt terms.
Finally, do you want to know what Fox's Geraldo Rivera thinks about Santorum's comments on English as the official language for Puerto Rico? Of course you do:
Although Santorum never said he would require the people of Puerto Rico to "cease" speaking Spanish, he has only himself to blame for staking out an unnecessarily confrontational position. In an exclusive interview Thursday, Florida Republican senator Marco Rubio told me, "It's not a big deal. English is already an official language in Puerto Rico. Anyone who travels there will find that the majority of the young people speak English. It is taught in the schools. It is not that big of a challenge. Hawaii is a perfect example. It is the most recent state to be admitted in the 1950's, and they have both languages. And I think having Hawaii as a state made the country a better country. And I would say for the people of Puerto Rico, they have to make a decision right now...the English thing is not a big deal at the end of the day, because English is already an official language."
Rick Santorum picked a fight he didn't have to and lost Puerto Rico in the process.