Below is a rundown of the top ten things that every American Jew should know about Republican presidential candidate former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). Source materials can be viewed by following the links for each item.
2. Santorum—who does not believe in an absolute separation of church and state— declared “We Always Need a Jesus Candidate” on the ballot. His campaign sent out Hanukkah cards that contained a verse from Christian scripture.
4. Santorum claimed that an important part of pregnancy care covered by the Affordable Care Act—prenatal screenings—are a means to “cull the ranks of the disabled in our society” by promoting abortion.
5. Santorum has a history of disparaging public education and even claimed that the system is “anachronistic.” He declared on the campaign trail that preschool is a scheme to “indoctrinate your children,” and that colleges are “indoctrination mills.”
6. While opposing the Affordable Care Act has become dogma within the Republican Party, Santorum has outflanked even his own party by floating a pay-as-you-go system for health insurance.
7. Despite his personal support for Israel, Santorum followed other GOP presidential candidates in legitimizing the anti-Israel Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) by declaring he would “absolutely” vote for Paul if Paul were the GOP’s nominee.
8. In direct contrast to mainstream American Jewry—which finds inspiration for protecting the environment in the Torah—Santorum uses the bible to rail against environmental protection. He denies humanity’s role in climate change—calling it “patently absurd”—and believes it to be a political conspiracy.
9. Santorum willfully disregarded the truth that more than half of all women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford contraception and justified his opposition to insurance-covered birth control by claiming that the cost of contraception is “minor,” and “something that costs just a few dollars.”
10. Santorum vehemently opposes marriage equality and argues against equal rights for gays and lesbian Americans. In addition to comparing his fight against it to President Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves, he has called for “invalidating” existing same sex marriages and even told a gay soldier that he would reinstate the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Additionally, Santorum has repeatedly engaged in offensively anti-gay rhetoric.
Santorum’s extreme record offers an explanation as to why Pennsylvania’s Jews rejected him and his extreme positions by a 22/78 percent vote margin in favor of his challenger, then-State Treasurer Bob Casey (D-PA), the most recent time he was on the ballot—in 2006.