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Sunday Times STLive By Lihle Z Mtshali, 2012-02-12

Santorum win can only benefit Obama


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The tables were turned in the Republican presidential nomination race this week when Rick Santorum scored an astonishing hat-trick in primaries on Tuesday in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri.

All along it had seemed that former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, had it all wrapped up, but suddenly it's Santorum's turn to become the flavour of the month.

Despite the landslide win, pundits are still punting Romney as the favourite to run against President Barack Obama in November.

Santorum's win is further evidence of how divided the Grand Old Party is.

While Romney, with tendencies of never finishing a speech without picking on whichever opponent is the biggest threat that week, is himself not the best candidate, Santorum is a dangerous choice due to the fact he has had to cancel appearances to tend to his seriously ill three-year-old daughter, Isabella, who was diagnosed with a serious chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18 shortly after her birth.

By the end of this campaign, Santorum, who seems to use his large family and the ill toddler to appeal to the family values demographic, will have milked that cow dry.

Being a parent myself, I admire his devotion to his family and, while it is commendable that he willingly puts his family before his political career, the presidency of the US is not a job that affords you that luxury.

It makes you wonder where his head is to think he can get away with just dropping out of the race for a day or two. As cold and callous as that may sound, the fact is that nobody wants a leader who has distractions at home.

He needs to be able to put his family second and I don't know how any loving parent with a sick child can possibly do that.

The positive side of Santorum's surge in the primaries is that it benefits Obama again. The longer all these candidates stay in the race, the more they expose each other and themselves for the flawed leaders they are.

I mean, Santorum is the guy who brought you the gay relationships "destabilise" society statement. He says if he is elected president, he will annul all gay marriages.

Last year he even indirectly implied that "the breakdown of traditional families", i.e. same-sex couples, was responsible for poverty in the US. He wasn't wearing a Bozo the clown suit when he said that, either. It was during another one of those make-or-break debates.

"... The biggest problem with poverty in America, and we don't talk about [it] here, because it's an economic discussion ... is the breakdown of the American family," he said. What a guy.

He also supports the repealed military ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' law and argues that gay soldiers would disrupt the military because "they're in close quarters, they live with people, they obviously shower with people". He is clearly one of those heterosexual males who are not comfortable with their own sexuality and think all gay men are going to make a pass at them.

Another of Santorum's really outrageous views is that the US doesn't need food stamps because of the nation's high obesity rate.

He also believes freely available contraception is "a licence to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be". That's why the man has seven children. If they let him, the US would have a higher population than China.

Personally, I prefer Grandpa Ron Paul to all these other jokers. I don't know why he hasn't quit yet, since he's not winning any primaries and he, of course, could never make it as president, but he is rather amusing. I guess he can stay, if only to add entertainment value at all the debates.