Sunday, September 27, 2015

DID RICK SANTORUM EXPLOIT A FAMILY MEMBER'S MEDICAL PROBLEM FOR POLITICAL GAIN -- AGAIN?

I spotted this on Twitter a little while ago:



Fox's Greta Van Susteren spotted it, too:



Yes, it is very kind of the Pope. It's also very curious that, of the many developmentally disabled children in Pennsylvania, one who was blessed by the Pope just so happened to be the daughter of a well-connected former U.S. senator, a guy who's running for president, and who made excellent use of that developmentally disabled daughter in a presidential campaign four years ago.

Bella Santorum has a genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. Santorum shot to the top tier of 2012 GOP presidential candidates after he made Bella's condition the subject of an online campaign ad:
Former Senator Rick Santorum released a web video today focusing on the heart and soul of the Santorum family -- his 3-year-old daughter Bella, a special-needs child like so many who are targeted in abortions.

"During the last debate I mentioned how I was looking forward to taking the red-eye home to see my three year old daughter Bella, who had surgery earlier that day," the Republican presidential candidate said. "Following that debate, Karen and I got numerous emails and calls from supporters asking how she was doing. We were so touched by the tremendous outpouring of support, the thoughts and the prayers we received for our sweet Bella."

"She is doing great and back to her joyful, smiley self. But since so many people were concerned, we wanted to share a little bit more about Bella and the great blessing she is for our entire family," he said. "We hope you'll enjoy this video."
Santorum regularly worked mentions of Bella into his 2012 campaign speeches -- to great effect, as The New York Times reported:
Bella has emerged as the emotional centerpiece of Mr. Santorum's campaign. His references to her are easily the most riveting moments of his speeches, usually leaving audiences silent and weepy. He has even built entire speeches around Bella's story, telling certain audiences, especially those in churches, every painful detail of her birth and how the family has embraced her as a blessing.
And yes, Santorum and his wife published a book about Bella earlier this year -- just in time for this campaign.

Now, this isn't the first time Santorum injected the story of one of his children into a political campaign. In 2005, when he was gearing up for what would ultimately be an unsuccessful bid to retain his Senate seat, Santorum managed to get the story of another child, one who died shortly after birth, into the opening paragraphs of a Washington Post profile:
In his Senate office, on a shelf next to an autographed baseball, Sen. Rick Santorum keeps a framed photo of his son Gabriel Michael, the fourth of his seven children. Named for two archangels, Gabriel Michael was born prematurely, at 20 weeks, on Oct. 11, 1996, and lived two hours outside the womb.

Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.

"That's my little guy," Santorum says, pointing to the photo of Gabriel, in which his tiny physique is framed by his father's hand. The senator often speaks of his late son in the present tense. It is a rare instance in which he talks softly....

Karen Santorum, a former nurse, wrote letters to her son during and after her pregnancy. She compiled them into a book, "Letters to Gabriel," a collection of prayers, Bible passages and a chronicle of the prenatal complications that led to Gabriel's premature delivery. At one point, her doctor raised the prospect of an abortion, an "option" Karen ridicules. "Letters to Gabriel" also derides "pro-abortion activists" and decries the "infanticide" of "partial-birth abortion," the legality of which Rick Santorum was then debating in the Senate. The book reads, in places, like a call to action.

"When the partial-birth abortion vote comes to the floor of the U.S. Senate for the third time," Karen writes to Gabriel, "your daddy needs to proclaim God's message for life with even more strength and devotion to the cause."
In 2013, Santorum politicized the health of yet another relative, in a sppech to a right-wing group:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum delivered a solemn but forceful rallying cry when speaking about the death of a close family member Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

With tears in his eyes, the former presidential candidate talked emotionally about his nephew who passed away Thursday in Pittsburgh from what Santorum described as "a horribly painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body."

... As the silent crowd listened, Santorum spoke with conviction from his speech, which he hand-wrote an hour beforehand, an adviser told CNN. While society has made immense progress in stopping physical pain, he said, Democrats have gone too far in trying to use government programs to address almost every other pain.

"The left can always promise more stuff and make it sound like they care more, because they make it easier for Americans by providing the stuff for them through government programs paid for by somebody else's money," he said.
So, am I wrong to suspect that Santorum pulled strings to get his daughter in position for the Pope's blessing? And am I wrong to think that he arranged all this for the most selfish of motives?

I know Santorum's campaign is going nowhere this year. But as long as there's still a ray of hope, I guess he's going to work all the angles.

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UPDATE: The story is now being worked by Fox Nation, The Right Scoop, and (scroll down) The Washington Post. Nice work, Rick.

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UPDATE, WEDNESDAY, 9/30: Still working it, I see.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I doubt this'll be their last campaign: Santorum's into the $ and Bella can't object. At some point, I think we can expect them to start marketing relics.

Google search positions 3, 4, 7, 8 and 11 yield traditional Savage-inspired "santorum" links. And the pay-off is that as soon as he leaves or gets booted from this current race, each of those will climb the list by 2 or more positions. Good going, humans!