Santorum Confronted

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When your house is not in order -- when you're still smothering the flames of a scandal involving, of all things, a topless bondage club (complete with simulated lesbian sex acts!) -- who better to open the last day of the Southern Republican Leadership Conference than David Vitter?

Google auto-complete really does the legwork here. The first six results:

David Vitter senator
David Vitter who dat
David Vitter email
David Vitter who dat shirt
David Vitter letter to NFL
David Vitter diaper

(One of these is not like the other.)

So who better than David Vitter--patron of ladies of ill repute--to introduce culture warrior and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum? (Warning: Do NOT Google Rick Santorum at work.) Santorum praised Vitter for his "principled conservative leadership." And judging from RNC's expense reports, Vitter's leadership has indeed been taken to heart.SRLC header - embed.jpg

Rick Santorum spoke for fifteen minutes on his vision of a Judeo-Christian nation and took aim at the president for leading the United States in a direction of secularism. "Barack Obama wants to change who we want to be. He wants to change the vision of America that our Founders and generations before have ingrained in all of us."

Continuing Sarah Palin's embrace of The Party of No, he continued, "No, we are going to fight for America. We are going to fight for Judeo-Christian ethics. We are going to fight for our founding documents."

The most dramatic moment of Santorum's presentation came during an impromptu question-and-answer session, when a speaker confronted him over his 2004 endorsement of Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey. "We won't give the RNC money anymore," she said, "because we want to choose our candidates." Her question received a standing ovation. Santorum responded, "I prayed about it a lot. I thought about the consequences of my actions. We all make mistakes. We all fail. We all fall."

He explained the endorsement by pointing to two looming Supreme Court vacancies at the time, saying that the GOP would need moderate Republicans to get pro-life members on the court. "We got a commitment out of Arlen Specter that no matter who George W. Bush nominated, he'd have his support. And now we have Justice Roberts and Justice Alito."

Santorum deserves credit for continuing the session as the questions intensified from disaffected Republicans and Tea Party activists. Unexpectedly, many of Santorum's answers were interrupted by the first jeers of the conference. Perhaps it is RNC chairman Michael Steele's looming presence that has rightfully brought out the disenchanted of the party. It remains to be seen whether Steele can calm the unrest, or whether the GOP remains a party in bondage.

D.B. Grady is the author of Red Planet Noir.


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David W. Brown is the coauthor of The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army and Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry. Generally published under the pseudonym D.B. Grady, Brown is a graduate of Louisiana State University, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, and a veteran of Afghanistan. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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