Editor’s Note: The Distributist Review does not formally endorse or advocate for any presidential candidate.
I have wanted to write on the mess that is the GOP primary for some time, but have waited to see how certain things will play out. My thoughts are hardly any different from three or four months ago, and I feel more confirmed in my Independent status and my general loathing of our system.
In the first place, we hear the same rhetoric from Catholics and social conservatives, namely, our elections revolve around abortion to the exclusion of all else and, therefore, we should swallow all worries and accept the lesser of two evils. This thought is fundamentally opposed not only to prudence, but to common sense as well. One cannot accomplish one’s goals by ignoring pressing issues that underpin or even cause the main fault at issue. All one does is band-aid them. Moreover, to consistently “support the lesser of two evils” is to encourage the status quo.
Abortion is not merely a moral question. It is the consequence of a social and economic order engineered to destroy the family. If we keep putting in pro-life politicians who support the status quo, all the judges in the world will not end abortion. Why? Because of our failure to address the money interests, international scientific dictatorship, and governments committed to keep abortion legal for eugenics purposes.
Since Roe vs. Wade, we have had Republican presidents 24 out of the past 40 years. We’ve banned partial birth abortion, which was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court on the basis that it strengthened the precedent of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey and did not affect abortion generally. This is, at best, a Pyrrhic victory.
The money spent to continually elect Republicans has not borne fruit. In fact, when the conservative movement galvanized to take over the House and Senate in 1994 not only did we get very little in the way of pro-life legislation, we got an increase in government. Eight years of Reagan’s massive spending and reneging on promises to shrink or eliminate unnecessary federal agencies, along with the spending increases made under George W. Bush, would have made Clinton blush. Eight years of Republican control of Congress and we got mild opposition to Clinton’s immoral war in Kosovo on behalf of the Mujahedin, pipeline politics, and a failed impeachment process that wasted much time on non-issues. In point of fact, we have seen the same policy gradually increasing under each administration irrespective of party. The current GOP hopefuls with a notable exception offer us pretty much more of the same.
Mitt Romney tends to be the media favorite to win the nomination, and it is not hard to understand why. Romney has flip-flopped numerous times on abortion, from pro-life to pro-choice when governor of Massachusetts, to pro-life when trying to win the conservative base. RomneyCare actually mandated taxpayer-funded abortion. Of course, he was not running for president then. There are, however, more reasons to inherently distrust Mitt Romney.
Some say Romney is the guy we need because he turned around a financial firm, making it profitable. Therefore, Mitt Romney knows the economy. Is this true? Romney makes a big deal about making Bain, Inc. profitable and indeed, he did accomplish that. Few, however, ask how he successfully brought his company into the black.
In 1993 Bain invested in Ampad for $5 million and pulled out a dividend of $100 million. This move cost 392 jobs and over $300 million in debt by 1999 as the company filed for bankruptcy one year later. Bain also invested $60 million in GS industries, pulling a $65 million dollar dividend (or $5 million net profit) while GS industries laid off 765 workers and went bankrupt in 2001. Again, Bain invested 46.3 million in 1997 in DDI Corp and made $85.5 million in profits, while DDI Corp fired 2,100 employees in a 2003 bankruptcy. This is to say, Bain, under Romney’s leadership made investments to make hefty profits, leveraging company assets against its loans. These companies made profits so they could pay back loans to Bain, resulting in huge gains for Bain capital. When these firms struggled Bain demanded jobs be cut, which is what happens when companies follow the capitalist template that wages are the first controllable expense.
In Romney’s defense this is what venture capital firms do to make profits. But venture capital is vulture capital, transferring wealth from businesses that produce to those who push the paper. And Romney did not fair badly, earning approximately $190 million. As defenders of Romney and Bain point out, it is not venture capital’s job to create jobs. This is true, but it is endemic of the problem with finance capital in and of itself. Since it is profit-based, finance is not interested in the mass of people working hard to make ends meet or infusing capital into living wages with smaller dividends. Finance capital is worried about handing multi-million dollar checks to investors.
Let us assume for a second that Bain’s record was spotless and Romney had run the business toward job creation. Would he qualify for President of the United States?
Where our modern concepts of ruling break down compared with the tradition of government in line with justice is the following. A businessman is not necessarily a politician in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, or even in the Platonic tradition. What is a politician? He is someone who facilitates justice so the operations of a polity can function. A businessman is not necessarily trained in justice and the tradition to rule well, irrespective of his religious faith. In short, the idea of voting for Romney on the basis of his business record, even if he were not “successful” in the financial sense, seems odd given the concept of government and politics in Western Tradition.
Rick Santorum is now poised by Catholic and pro-life groups as the real deal. Unlike Romney, Santorum is a career politician serving in both the House and the Senate. While he has voted consistently pro-life, attends the Traditional Latin Mass and has a large family, I submit that Santorum is neither a solution to abortion nor a vote that Catholics should seriously consider.
For all his pro-life rhetoric, Santorum voted for a spending measure called “Title X,” which provided federal funding for the world’s largest abortion institution, Planned Parenthood. When challenged, Santorum has said he had to support the other spending increases in the bill, carefully omitting that the bill gave funding to Planned Parenthood.1 Furthermore, Santorum thinks American taxpayers (including Catholics) should be forced to pay for contraception, just not by an Obamacare mandate:
I have my own views on these things. They are deeply held beliefs. But not everything that I disagree with morally should the government be involved in. Only where there are real consequences to society or to the rights of individuals do I feel a need to speak out and that’s why I do on the issue of abortion, because we have another person involved in the decision. But in the issue of contraception that’s certainly not the case.2
Santorum admits there are real consequences to society:
The whole conception of sexual liberation, sexual freedom had had its downside—and certainly birth control is part of that—with dramatic increase in sexually transmitted diseases, dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock births and dramatic increase in the number of abortions.3
This shows a fundamental disconnect in either Santorum’s ability to speak publicly or his entire reasoning process. It leads one to think that he is playing to the electorate, which is not unusual for career politicians. Yet there is more to Santorum’s contradictions. I would further submit to the reader that Santorum has actually voted to fund abortions. While Santorum is attacking Obama for forcing Catholic institutions to provide contraception, contrary to their religious freedoms, Santorum voted to force us to fund contraception contrary to our individual religious freedom.
While trying to be “Mr. Pro-life”, Santorum also campaigned aggressively for pro-choice politicians. In 2004 he strongly backed Arlen Specter, who was not only strongly pro-abortion, but cast the deciding vote for Obamacare in the race against Republican Pat Toomey, whose record was similar to Santorum’s in many ways. He also strongly endorsed pro-abortion governor Christine Todd Whitman. Now why would a pro-life politician support pro-abortion politicians? Because he is a party man first and Catholic second. Why? It was thought that Toomey could not have won the senate seat whereas Specter would successfully keep the Republican majority. When it comes to priorities, party unity is always the first consideration.
Rick Santorum gave half-hearted support to the war in Kosovo and authorized the Clinton Administration’s military operations by voting to end the Bosnian arms embargo (Bosnia Herzegovina Self-Defense Act of ’95; Bill S. 21), and voting to authorize force (S. J. Res. 20; Bill S. J. Res. 20) before voting to table it. Yet, in 1997, the Republican Party itself condemned the Clinton Administration for funding Osama Bin Laden’s activities in the Balkans:
Perhaps most threatening to the SFOR mission—and more importantly, to the safety of the American personnel serving in Bosnia—is the unwillingness of the Clinton Administration to come clean with the Congress and with the American people about its complicity in the delivery of weapons from Iran to the Muslim government in Sarajevo … Along with the weapons, Iranian Revolutionary Guards and VEVAK intelligence operatives entered Bosnia in large numbers, along with thousands of mujahedin (“holy warriors”) from across the Muslim world. Also engaged in the effort were several other Muslim countries (including Brunei, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkey) and a number of radical Muslim organizations. For example, the role of one Sudan-based “humanitarian organization,” called the Third World Relief Agency, has been well documented. The Clinton Administration’s “hands-on” involvement with the Islamic network’s arms pipeline included inspections of missiles from Iran by U.S. government officials … the Third World Relief Agency (TWRA), a Sudan-based, phone humanitarian organization… has been a major link in the arms pipeline to Bosnia…. TWRA is believed to be connected with such fixtures of the Islamic terror network as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (the convicted mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Osama Bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi émigré believed to bankroll numerous militant groups.4
With this knowledge Santorum voted to lift the arms embargo going to Mujahedin trained and funded by Bin Laden, and generally supported them. So Santorum supported known terrorists in going along with the Clinton administration, and helped create the routes for a drug trade running from Afghanistan into Europe worth around $400 billion, according to Interpol. Now this is not the point, as Santorum probably has no intention of funding terrorism or drugs. But his foreign affairs inexperience and his shilling for war with Iran presents problems, demonstrating that his fundamental grasp of the issues are going to bear some cost on civilian life and put American soldiers’ lives at risk. I would put up good money that Santorum has not heard of Islamic philosohers such as Al-Banna or Sayid Qutb, the main philosophers who inspired Aiman Al-Zwahiri, Hekmatyr and Osama Bin Laden, let alone the parochial view of most Islamists who want to restore Islam to their societies and remove secular values in their own countries. In this Santorum is no different from Obama, whose interventions in Libya and drone warfare in Syria and Yemen are no different from the wars Santorum wants to start.
Santorum also makes high claims for wanting to get rid of No Child Left Behind, even though he voted for it. Santorum wants to balance the budget, cut entitlements, even though he voted to increase the debt ceiling several times and voted for a number of entitlements which increased massively while a member of Congress under both Democrat and Republican administrations.
Thus we can put it this way: Obama wants to force Catholic institutions to fund contraception, Santorum wants everyone to pay for it. Obama wants more foreign wars for the questionable war on transitive verbs, so does Santorum. Obama wants more spending. Santorum’s record is constantly voting for spending increases that he now wants to eliminate. There is no practical difference. He’s simply not genuine on the issues he’s claiming to champion. He gives me no confidence that he will do anything about abortion, rein in spending, do anything about the debt, or refuse to sign outrageous congressional spending increases.
When people say Santorum is our best chance to help pro-life issues, I would say no, he is our best chance to have business as usual and virtually nothing done to further the pro-life cause, while at the same time worsening the very grave economic, military and political issues which allow for and guarantee the existence of abortion. Santorum will appear better than Obama, but in fact would end up being much worse.
So is there anyone else? I will take that up in the second part.
- Congressional Press Release, Republican Party Committee (RPC), US Congress, Clinton-Approved Iranian Arms Transfers Help Turn Bosnia into Militant Islamic Base, 16 January 1997.