By Jeffrey Page
I was taken aback when I realized that not once in this election cycle has anyone seen Rick Santorum’s and Newt Gingrich’s birth certificates, or other proof they were born in the United States and not on, say, the planet Neptune.
Was Santorum born in Winchester, Va. and Gingrich in Harrisburg, Pa. as they claim? To determine if they’re constitutionally eligible to be president – only native born citizens can hold the office – I’m founding Birthers II, the Campaign for Natal Truth. We want to see those birth certificates right now.
I bring this up in defense of Article II of the Constitution but also, I must confess, because some of Santorum’s and Gingrich’s views are like their possible birthplace on Neptune – cold, distant, and lacking in humanity. Examples of their thinking follow.
Recently, Santorum accused President Obama of being a snob – his word – for saying he wants everybody to go to college. (The Washington Post did some checking and found that Obama never said this. What he did say was that everyone should get a year’s worth of education after high school at community colleges, four-year colleges, vocational training or apprenticeship.)
“A lot of people in this country have no desire or no aspiration to go to college,” said Santorum (Penn State ’80, University of Pittsburgh ’81, Dickinson School of Law ’86), apparently holding the idiotic belief that Obama would force you to go to college.
Santorum also said he almost threw up – his words – when he read the speech John Kennedy delivered in 1960 to a gathering of Protestant ministers about his running for president as a Catholic. It was a time when some non-Catholics believed a Catholic president would be governed by the Vatican.
“I believe in an America,” Kennedy said, “where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”
You find that sickening? The ministers gave Kennedy a round of applause.
Speaking of Kennedy, Newt Gingrich – remember him? – says he would spend what seems to be at very minimum $5 billion to start work on a moon base. Kennedy issued the original moon challenge in 1961.
Only a presidential candidate from outer space would call for a moon mission at a time like this when money is tight, jobs are hard to find, and some people are hungry.
In 1960, when Gingrich was 17, we could afford to go to the moon and to feed hungry children. Nowadays, we can’t and that $5 billion should go for the children. But at 69, and with a $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s, Gingrich is happily oblivious to what’s needed in America.
How many hungry kids? The private relief agency Feeding America reports there are 3 million children in the United States at risk of malnutrition. And those are just the ones under age 5. Feeding America also reports that 16.4 million children lived in poverty in 2010. But Gingrich plays Let’s-Pretend-I’m-Jack.
Newt, we knew Jack Kennedy, and you’re no Jack Kennedy.
Gingrich cares as much about children – especially poor ones – as he does about marital monogamy. He wants an end to child labor laws – saying such protections are “truly stupid” – and wants poor kids to do janitorial chores in their schools.
“The kids would actually do the work,” Gingrich said, “they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they’d begin the process of rising.”
It’s too bad Gingrich never served in the military. In Army basic training he would have quickly understood that mopping latrine floors and washing toilet bowls and urinals do not create pride.