The former senator from Pennsylvania got a warm greeting from the crowd. Someone from his hometown of Johnstown even brought him a small bouquet of flowers.
He began by saying that conservatives in Washington failed conservatism in 2006.
After his loss of his seat in 006 he was stirred to action in 2009 by the things going on in the Obama administration. He told his family, “I can’t sit here anymore. Who we are as Americans is threatened. We’re not an ethnic group, we’re an ideal. We’re not a melting pot, we’re a mosaic. The government’s role is to protect our rights, not give us new ones.”
When he saw the latest Quadrennial Defense Review and saw that Islam was not mentioned in it but there were 8 pages devoted to global warming, his fear and anger increased. He felt like we are back in early 1941 when a bill to repeal the draft failed by only one vote. We are in similarly dangerous times, he feels.
Opening his appearance to questions from the audience, he got a first one that explained a lot for me. A Pennsylvania woman asked why he had supported Specter in 2004 rather than Pat Toomey. Santorum had a thoughtful explanation.
He said he was really torn about it. His wife did not want him to support Specter, but Specter had promised he would deliver pro life justices to the Supreme Court when Bush nominated them. As chairman of the judiciary committee Specter had a lot of power. Santorum said he weighed the endorsement against the possibility that a pro choice appointment would lead to the deaths of millions of babies and chose to back Specter. He said he could not live with the idea that his vote had gone against his pro life ideals.
I found Santorum a thoughtful and ethical person and it is a shame he is not a senator in Washington now.