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Little Ricky Tries to Soften His Image…

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Image by the ever-amazing DarkBlack.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had a story yesterday on Rick Santorum’s efforts to push "immigration" forward as his big campaign issue for the fall election.  Just one problem:  Pennsylvania isn’t a state with an immigrant problem:

In a meeting one night last week at a Monroeville fire hall, Sen. Rick Santorum bemoaned the threat of illegal immigration even though this region, by his own analysis, has remarkably little immigration of any kind…

Mr. Coker, the Mason-Dixon poll expert, said he saw the issue as a potential but not overwhelming plus for the incumbent.

"It’s not a silver bullet, but Santorum needs all the help he can get,” he said.

And then in today’s NYTimes, we find the political make-under story on Santorum.  Suddenly, he wants you to view him through a chiffon-covered lens, and see the softer side of Little Rickey.  (blergh)  But it’s not going to be easy:

Leading pollsters agree on this: The race, so far, is mostly about Mr. Santorum. The Quinnipiac poll found that more than 40 percent of those who said they would vote for Mr. Casey said it was primarily a vote against Mr. Santorum. The senator "appears to be his own worst enemy in his battle for re-election," said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, which conducted its survey June 13-19 with 1,076 Pennsylvania voters and a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points….

It has not been an easy few months for Mr. Santorum. He found himself mired in controversy over his residency in recent weeks, with his detractors highlighting the fact that while he maintains a modest residence in suburban Pittsburgh, his family lives in the Virginia suburbs when the Senate is in session, which is the majority of the year. Critics argued it was not unlike the living arrangements he denounced in his 1990 House race against Representative Doug Walgren, the Democrat he defeated.

Mr. Santorum, then 32 and a quintessential grass-roots insurgent, accused Mr. Walgren of being out of touch with his Pittsburgh-area district, symbolized by his home in the Virginia suburbs.

"He’s clearly paying a price for it now in western Pennsylvania," Mr. Walgren said, "because there’s a lot of people who remember he was so critical of my having my children in Washington."

Why, some of those people might call Santorum a hypocrite.  Imagine that.  But Santorum insists that he’s his own man, an independent maverick, an all around nice guy and a moderate with a hard-right-wing candy shell, even though the statistics and the facts beg to differ

But the Casey campaign has said, relentlessly, that Mr. Santorum has voted with President Bush "98 percent of the time," and that he is a "rubber stamp" for an administration that is decidedly unpopular here. The Casey campaign has portrayed Mr. Santorum as far too close to the K Street lobbying community and far too devoted to a national conservative agenda….

Given his voting record — Congressional Quarterly ratings show he voted with his party 92 percent of the time in 2005 and with Mr. Bush 95 percent of the time — Mr. Santorum’s ultimate challenge may come in the Philadelphia suburbs in southeastern Pennsylvania, home to many socially moderate Republicans and independents.

Little Ricky has been sending out glossy mailers that talk about the "50 things you don’t know" about him — things like his support of AIDS reseach and his "pal" Bono, or that he’s a supporter of "ultra-clean" power plants.  (Someone ought to tell all those energy companies in Ricky’s state about that one — I’m sure they’d luv to know about it.) Remember such Santorum classics as these?

— Rick Santorum frequently calls people with whom he disagrees Nazis.  Especially if they are Democrats, and he’s on the floor of the Senate.  Classy.

— Santorum’s comments about homosexuals as deviants (and worse).  (more here)

— That Griswold was wrongly decided and that states have the right to regulate married couples’ use of birth control.

Priest pedophilia on 12 year old boys is "basically, you know, a homosexual relationship, it’s not like they were 5…".

Phony WMDs.

It just goes on and on and on.  Document your favorite moments with Rick Santorum in the comments, including links, and I’ll put together a compendium at some point.  In the meantime, if you live in Pennsylvania, please consider a letter to the editor of your local newspaper discussing why Rick Santorum needs to live with his family permenantly in Virginia, and stop representing PA altogether.

PS — Take a look at these horrible numbers for Bob Ney, before an indictment has even come down the pike for him or any of his staffers.  Yeee-owch.  Talk about a sour mood in his district…let’s just hope it continues.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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