Santorum’s Double Talk!

I just listened to Rick Santorum bragging about his win last night in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.  I have to give the guy credit because he did walk away with a pretty big win, however, there have been some events in the news that probably boosted the candidates success.

The biggest boost for Santorum has to do, I believe, with his connection to the Catholic vote.  Now I don’t want to say that all of his voters were Catholic, but he keeps leaning on the language of the Christian right.  When he talks about folks out getting votes for him he calls them ‘workers in the vineyard’.  It’s as if he’s saying that folks who vote conservative are the real Christians.

Rick said that the folks at the White House were listening to the loud and ‘wide’ vote results.  He said that the current administration led by the President hasn’t been listening to the ‘American people’, and his administration will.  He said when the President bailed out big banks that it was because he wasn’t listening to the American people because he thought he knew better.  Santorum says he’ll listen to the American people.  That is pretty heady stuff for voters who imagine that the policies of the nation have been wrongheaded.  But my question isn’t about the nature of the policies themselves, my question is about the ability to change those policies!  Will Santorum really stand against the banking system?  Or is he just continuing his press for greater freedom in the banking industry?  And then I’ve got to ask if that is what Americans have been calling for?  Is it that we want less regulation of banks?  Is that what we think our Government should be doing?

Let me show you some of the people who are, or who have been supporting Rick Santorum-

But Rick Santorum the House and Senate member received more than $11 million in contributions from corporate and other special interest political action committees (PACs) over his career, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation.

Among the largest donors are giants from the telecommunications, tobacco, and banking industries, the analysis found. The Center examined contributions to the Pennsylvanian’s congressional, senatorial and 2012 presidential campaigns — as well as his “America’s Foundation” and “Fight PAC” leadership PACs, entities set up by Santorum to aid others in their political campaigns. Corporate PACs connected to telecommunications firms that became today’s AT&T Inc. poured more than $98,000 into Santorum’s campaign coffers, making the behemoth his top career patron. Those donations may have been rewarded with support for the industry; in 1996 Santorum was one of 91 Senators to approve the heavily lobbied rewrite of telecommunications law that deregulated the industry. Government watchdog group Common Cause decried the industry for “buying” the legislation.

Verizon Communications Inc. (and companies now part of the Verizon empire, including GTE, Bell Atlantic Corp., NYNEX and Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with British wireless giant Vodafone Group PLC), also made the top-ten (No. 6), with more than $75,000 in corporate PAC contributions. Santorum’s second-highest total came from the Altria Group, including predecessor companies like the Philip Morris Companies and U.S. Tobacco. The makers of Marlboro cigarettes and Skoal tobacco have spent more than $96,000 in PAC funds to advance Santorum’s political career.

Santorum, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, opposed increased restrictions on the tobacco industry — joining with 39 other Republicans and two tobacco-state-Democrats to kill the 1998 Universal Tobacco Settlement Act. The bill aimed to “prevent the use of tobacco products by minors” and to “redress the adverse health effects of tobacco use.” It also would have incorporated a settlement requiring the industry to pay billions of dollars to state governments. After Congress failed to pass it, a narrower settlement was reached between the tobacco companies and state attorneys general.

In addition, documents made public as a result of the tobacco settlement with the states indicate that representatives from Philip Morris communicated with then-Rep. Santorum in 1994 during the debate on the Clinton health care reform proposals. A March 20, 1994, interoffice memo notes that several company employees attending public meetings with Santorum reported “very positive” conversations aimed at ensuring his opposition to an increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes.

Santorum’s Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 backers were all financial services companies. Bank of America Corp. and companies it has acquired gave more than $92,000; PNC Financial Services Group Inc., a Pittsburgh-based bank, gave more than $87,000; JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave at least $76,000; Wells Fargo & Co. gave more than $73,000; and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. gave more than $69,000.

Santorum served on the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs and was one of 54 senators to back the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (commonly known as Gramm-Leach-Bliley), a bank deregulation law signed by President Clinton. That law eliminated several restrictions on the size and scope of banks, precipitating the mergers that allowed these and other financial services giants to merge and grow. The law has been blamed for setting the stage for the financial collapse of 2008 and resulting recession. Despite the banks’ largesse, Santorum has been a vocal opponent of the Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout, often using it as a club against other Republican candidates. Rounding out the top 10 were GlaxoSmithKline PLC (more than $68,000), a pharmaceutical company, and energy powerhouse Exelon Corp. (more than $67,000).

Now I’m not going to blame Santorum for the financial collapse in America, but you have to wonder what the game is?!

Rick may be the more truly conservative candidate in the GOP.  He may win the nomination.  But he was against Clinton’s health care proposals at a time when lobbyists with Phillip Morris were having positive conversations about his opposition to some of the taxes on cigarettes.  And he is against banks receiving funds while also getting lots of money from some of the biggest banks in America.  Now I’m wondering what Verizon wants, or what Exelon wants, or what GlaxoSmithKline wants?!

American politics is certainly fascinating.





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