Monday, February 13, 2012

A softening of Santorum's image?

Originally published as A softening of Santorum's image? on Technorati

Over the weekend news broke of a dramatic turn in the health of Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum's 3 year old daughter Isabella.  The New York Times reports that  she was suffering with Pneumonia which is likely a complication of a genetic disorder she's suffered since birth called Trisomy 18. 

The condition results from extra copies of chromosome 18 during embryonic development.  This causes a multitude of health issues including birth defects and serious life threatening medical conditions. 

Santorum has continued with his campaign Monday afternoon after his daughter recovered from the bout with pneumonia giving an address in Missouri with other events planned through Tuesday.

According to reports, Santorum's daughter has been a centerpiece of his campaign and when asked why he'd run with a daughter in such a precarious condition his response was his belief that the Obama health care plan was  "a threat to those like Bella, “on the margins of life.”

The story has been picked up by most news outlets with a piece by the Headline News Network discussing Isabella Santorum's tribulations over the weekend with accompanying soft focus still photos of the candidate with his daughter and light discussion of Trisomy 18 afterward.

As one of the more hard line conservative candidates seeking the 2012 Republican nomination Santorum's views have been seen as radical by some with quotes such as the following from early January;

Or in an April 2003 Associated Press interview on his beliefs on the right to privacy.

"And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we're just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family."

205747_ $25 off orders of $100 or moreSantorum's recent showing among Republicans has been poor with the attention focusing largely on his rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Whether he's seen as too radical or just ill-spoken it's unlikely the Santorum campaign can sway enough support for the nomination.  That begs the question of why he would continue on especially when his daughter's condition has been so precarious. 

Santorum has been quoted as saying a primary reason for his campaign is his daughter yet his political positions extend beyond her birth.  As the family values candidate Santorum has been quoted as saying that nothing was more important than the family.  Which makes it somewhat confusing that faced with a less than successful presidential campaign he would choose to return to it so quickly after his daughter's recent bout with illness.

With his daughter at the centerpiece of his campaign these actions seem out of step with his position.  No supporter would hold it against him if he withdrew to attend to family issues.  Still this most recent turn of events will cloud,  if at least temporarily, more radical aspects of his career.  There's no denying the effect even if the observation borders on the tasteless to some.

Soft focus press photos aside it would seem that his daughter's illness may have brought a softer focus to his campaign with extreme positions forgotten at least for now.    

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