Last night on Real Time With Bill Maher, panelist David Frum had the nerve to chide progressives for not supporting Rick Santorum on at least one front, namely that he’s the only Republican candidate who seems to care about the poor. Frum basically called progressives hypocrites because they support Ron Paul’s foreign policy ideas, but they don’t support Rick Santorum on poverty.
First of all, I’m not sure any of that is true: any true progressive support Ron Paul has pretty much stops at his anti-war, anti-imperialism rhetoric. Sure there are some progressives who think we need to bring our troops home from the many corners of the world where they are stationed, but Ron Paul is someone who doesn’t believe in government intervention of any type: not after a devastating natural disaster like the Haiti earthquake, not to stop genocide like in Kosovo, not even to stop Hitler from exterminating the Jews. So, that’s not really a progressive position.
But Rick Santorum? Really? You think progressives should support him because he mouths the right words about the poor? Look how much he cares about the poor:
But homeless families and troubled children were not the biggest beneficiaries of “Operation Good Neighbor.” Instead, the foundation spent most of its money to run itself, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees for fundraising, administration and office rental paid to Santorum’s political allies.
The charity also had significant overlap with the senator’s campaigns and his work on Capitol Hill. Among the leading donors to the foundation were Pennsylvania development and finance firms that had donated to his election efforts and had interests that Santorum had supported in the Senate.
Santorum, whose last-minute surge in the Iowa caucuses has brought new attention to his presidential bid, portrays himself as a common man concerned about the gap between the nation’s rich and poor. But in the case of his charity, his efforts ended up mostly helping his cadre of political friends.
Before it folded in 2007, the foundation raised $2.58 million, with 39 percent of that donated directly to groups helping the needy. By industry standards, such philanthropic groups should be donating nearly twice that, from 75 to 85 percent of their funds.
Let’s see, a politician who starts a charity which is used to help said politician’s political friends. Where have I heard that story before? Oh yeah, here. And here. I’m sure I’m missing some others.
See, David Frum: this is why progressives don’t support Rick Santorum on the poverty thing. He’s a phony, that’s why.
This is actually old news to bloggers like Will Bunch. Santorum’s scandals are well-documented, and the link provides a nice run-down. Like, for instance, the time Santorum rushed to Terri Schiavo’s Florida deathbed — not from his home in Virginia or Pennsylvania, but from the Outback Steakhouse-sponsored political fundraiser in Tampa, having been flown there on a Wal-mart private jet.
Sorry, David Frum. Apparently progressives can smell a bullshit artist a mile off. Too bad you can’t, too.