Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What we learned from Rick Santorum's Candidacy

From Catholic Vote, a few thoughts on why it was the right thing to endorse Rick Santorum for president.

Senator Santorum has ended his campaign for President.

Surrounded by family in Pennsylvania, Santorum announced today that has suspended his campaign, effectively ending his bid for the White House in 2012.

CatholicVote made our first-ever presidential endorsement in January. We chose to back Senator Santorum, in part, because we believed he was the best candidate with a vision that combined the dignity of work and the dignity of the human person.

No candidate is perfect. Many of you supported Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul. Each of these men has qualities we admire, and some of you disagreed with our decision.

But politics is about prudence and choices. We made our choice the day after the Iowa caucuses, and have been proud to stand with Senator Santorum and what we accomplished together.

In the end, I believe our support for Santorum sent an unmistakable message to the GOP: You cannot win without us!

Rick Santorum proved that life, faith and family are winning issues. He also sparked a conversation among Republicans about the need to show how a conservative vision for America is not simply about lower taxes, deficit reduction, less regulation and jobs. Instead the conservative vision for America is ultimately about protecting the little guy -- from the factory worker, to the struggling family, to the baby in the womb. And that a bigger government is not always the answer.

His campaign resonated with millions of Americans, propelling him to victory in 11 states across the country. He defied all odds and accomplished more than any political pundit believed was possible when he entered the race last year.

We also suspect the condition of his daughter Bella played a role in his decision to leave the race today. On Good Friday, three-year old Bella was again hospitalized with pneumonia. Bella, as you likely know, has Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that proves fatal to most people in their first year of life.

Thankfully, Bella is out of the hospital for now. But the smile on her face is an image millions of Americans have been blessed to witness.

During his remarks today, Santorum cited an article written by Time Magazine's Joe Klein as his favorite article from the campaign. The title of the article wasRick Santorum's Inconvenient Truths. Klein is not someone you would expect to be praising Rick Santorum.

But the closing paragraphs of Klein's article aptly sum up what we are feeling today:

I am haunted by the smiling photos I’ve seen of Isabella with her father and mother, brothers and sisters. No doubt she struggles through many of her days — she nearly died a few weeks ago — but she has also been granted three years of unconditional love and the ability to smile and bring joy. Her tenuous survival has given her family a deeper sense of how precious even the frailest of lives are.

All right, I can hear you saying, the Santorum family’s course may be admirable, but shouldn’t we have the right to make our own choices?

Yes, I suppose. But I also worry that we’ve become too averse to personal inconvenience as a society—that we’re less rigorous parents than we should be, that we’ve farmed out our responsibilities, especially for the disabled, to the state—and I’m grateful to Santorum for forcing on me the discomfort of having to think about the moral implications of his daughter’s smile.

There will be much more to talk about in the coming days.

But today we want to thank you for helping us stand up for Bella's dad.

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