PARKER: Obama's prayer

WASHINGTON — Let me be blunt: If Republicans nominate Rick Santorum, they will lose.The prospect of four more years of Barack Obama holds some appeal for many Americans, but probably not for most Republicans. It may give doubters among them some comfort, however, to know that Obama and Santorum share the same prayer: that Santorum be the Republican nominee.

It gives me no pleasure to rap Santorum, a man I know and respect even if I disagree with him on some issues. Not that he minds. He's a scrapper who loves a fight -- and he forgives. Bottom line: Santorum is a good man. He's just a good man in the wrong century.

This doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong about everything, but he's so far out of step with the majority of Americans that he can't hope to win the votes of moderates and independents so crucial to victory in November. The Republican Party's insistence on conservative purity, meanwhile, will result in the cold comfort of defeat with honor and, in the longer term, potential extinction.

Increasingly, the party is growing grayer and whiter. Nine out of 10 Republicans are non-Hispanic white and about half are highly religious, according to Gallup. This isn't news, but when this demographic is suddenly associated with renewed debate about whether women should have access to contraception -- never mind abortion -- suddenly they begin to look like the Republican Brotherhood.

Add to that perception the abhorrent, pre-abortion ultrasound legislation proposed in Virginia, and you can kiss the pope's ring and voters' retreating backsides.

The proposed law, temporarily tabled, called for women seeking an abortion to be forced to submit to a vaginal ultrasound. Aldous Huxley's "The Devils of Loudon" comes to mind, but he was writing about exorcisms in a convent of 17th-century France. When did Republicans, who supposedly believe inlessgovernment intervention, begin thinking that invading a person's body against her will was remotely acceptable?

Saner minds have prevailed, at least for now, but the fact that the bill was ever conceived and taken seriously by at least some number of legislators gives freedom-loving voters every reason to run the other way.

Informed consent is, in my view, a reasonable goal. Surely removal of a human fetus deserves the same level of awareness we would insist upon in removing, say, a gall bladder. If some women change their minds after viewing the contents of their womb, then they obviously needed more information than they had going in. Still, any procedure should be voluntary, and inserting a probe into a woman against her will is rape by any other name.

Obviously, this is no place for the state.

The Virginia bill and the broader (bogus) message often repeated on left-leaning talk shows that Republicans are campaigning against birth control have created a perfect storm for defeat. The math is clear: Sixty-seven percent of women are either Democrats (41 percent) or independents (26 percent); more women than men vote; 55 percent of women ages 18-22 voted in the 2008 presidential election.

Republicans are caught in a nearly impossible situation, none more than the more temperate-minded Mitt Romney. It is important to remember, however, why contraception came up in the first place. Republicans were forced to man their battlements by the Obama administration's new health care rule mandating that Catholic organizations pay for contraception in violation of conscience. From there, things spiraled out of the realm of religious liberty, where this debate belongs, and into the fray of moral differences.

Santorum's original surge was based not on social issues but on his authenticity and his ability to identify with middle-class struggles. He was the un-Romney. But now this appealing profile has been occluded by social positions that make him an outlier to mainstream Americans.

Republicans may sleep better if they nominate The Most Conservative Person In The World, but they won't be seeing the executive branch anytime soon. It's too bad this election season got lost in the weeds of religious conviction. It wouldn't have happened if the Obama administration had simply taken one of several other routes available for providing birth control to women who want it. Instead, Obama aimed right at the heart of the Republican Party and, one can only assume, got exactly what he wanted: a culture war in which Rick Santorum would be the natural point man and, in the broader public's perception, the voice of the GOP.

Email nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker at kathleenparker@washpost.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/kathleenparker.


kevin 3 years, 6 months ago

this article is about as derogatory as you can get. Rick should be praised for keeping his ideals and principals and not wavering to the so-called "new American" beliefs. Doctrine, or whatever you want to call foundation principals, should never be chnaged just because the general population want to live by the "changing times." Religous, like other ideals, don't change because the people don't like the old way of doing things. Those principas are written in stone by a higher source. This just goes to show how the liberal media keeps bounding people that don't have their "modern" view of things. This is also the main reason this country has gone down the tubes. However, the worse is still to come if liberals get re-elected for four more horrilbe years to run this country. Kathleen, I am afraid you messed up this piece and showed your true colors.


Jan 3 years, 6 months ago

I am not in favor of Sharia law and I don't believe you could find many people in America, even among Muslims, that would desire such law to be enforced. Then we have right wingers like Rick Santorum that seem to think that their religious law should be enforced, but only those they have cherry picked from the Bible. Yes, I mean the same Bible that has been been quoted to attempt a justification for slavery, limiting the rights of women, preventing interracial marriage and many more ways to justify why they should have rights that certain other groups do not deserve. No religion has the right to legislate their beliefs of morality onto others, especially when it limits the rights of others. Rick Santorum is allowed to have absurd beliefs, whether it is that any form of birth control is a sin or that chickens should be sacrificed at midnight on the full moon; but he has indicated that he believes that he should pass legislation to force some of his unreasonable beliefs onto others. Every sect, whether it is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or one of the other religions still in practice today, has some points of religious disagreement. No organized sect can claim even 10% of the population and yet Kevin claims that Santorum's principles are written in stone. If that were true, then shouldn't their be more agreement? I defend the right for you to have your religious beliefs just as I defend my right not to be forced to adhere to your religious beliefs.


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