Of all of the crazy arguments of those divorced from reality, the one premised on “character” and “consistency” in the face of witheringly true opposition is the most mind-boggling. All of his views are dangerous and wrong, an apologist might say, but it takes boldness and character to be so wrong.
Enter Rick Santorum, a man who still–I’m not kidding about this–insists there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq–despite Bush’s having said there weren’t any. This alone disqualifies him from the community of informed citizens, least of all the United States Senate.
What conclusion does Michael Smerconish draw from this? Take a look:
>Personal qualities are at least of equal importance, and what I find Santorum lacking on policy matters, he more than makes up for on the personal ledger.
>Rick Santorum is unique. He’s a man of rare substance and conviction.
>In our poll-driven political climate, dominated by blow-dried politicians with their fingers to the wind, he stands for things. And even where he stands for things with which I disagree, I come away admiring his unwillingness to placate dissenters by telling us words that we want to hear. What you see with Santorum, is what you get. He speaks from the head and heart.
>Here’s an example of what I am talking about. Tim Russert confronted Santorum with his near unanimous support of the Administration, an Administration that the world knows is in political free-fall. Santorum, having already indicated several areas of disagreement with the President, nevertheless did not back off and went so far as to say that he thought the President was doing a “terrific” job.
>Look, I continue to like George W. Bush, the man, far more than most. I think the president’s heart is in the right place even when his head isn’t. But “terrific” is not a word I would use to describe his effort, particularly if I were running for the U.S. Senate. But Rick Santorum gave what was for him an honest answer to a difficult question. He didn’t look at the president’s approval rating. He didn’t duck. He offered no sound byte. And I find his honesty refreshing amid all the BS and spin that comes out of D.C.
As Smerconish admits, the President is not doing a terrific job. But rather than draw the obvious conclusion that Santorum has been honest about holding views out of step with reality–and praising him for his honesty–Smerconish draws the absolutely wrong conclusion that this qualifies him to hold the office. Admitting your disqualifyingly erroneous views does not qualify you for the job for which you admit to being disqualified, simply because you admit them.