Santorum Makes Splash on 2012 Field

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 14 2011 9:18 AM

Santorum Makes Splash on 2012 Field

Three years ago, I remember meeting Rick Santorum in a booth at the Values Voter Conference, helping advertise a V-Chip-esque product. He looked as miserable as any ex-politician I've ever seen. A young conservative sidled up as we were talking, and informed Santorum of the new website she was putting together.

"It's called Catholic-dom."

Advertisement

"Catholic- dom ?" he said, looking simultaneously bored and confused.

"Like Christendom, but Catholic," she said.

I remember this to point out that Santorum is now running for president , and boredom with the life of an ex-senator and ex-rising star has to be part of the reason. His slogan is "Fighting to Make America America Again," which evokes Langston Hughes' 1938 poem "Let America Be America Again" -- a strong, if obvious, play for the black vote. Santorum's trips to Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have gotten more coverage than five years of op-ed columns and think tank work have, although there might be a reason for that. Santorum's think tank work is not very interesting .

Of course, he's a politician and not a policy wonk. He can have an effect on the race something like Michele Bachmann's, as internal pressure in debates and news stories that nudges the frontrunners to the right. He can provide free content for liberal news sites and blogs, which really seems to be the function of most of the 2012 campaigns announced so far.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Behold
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 1 2014 12:21 PM How One Entrepreneur Is Transforming Blood Testing
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 1:01 PM Can Activists Save Reyhaneh Jabbari?  
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM The Many Faces of Texas
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM Watch a Crowd Go Wild When Steve Jobs Moves a Laptop in This 1999 Demonstration of WiFi
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.