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Right Turn
Posted at 08:16 PM ET, 02/09/2012

Santorum says ‘other types of emotions’ could preclude women in combat

For a candidate with virtually no staff and who tends to talk off the cuff, Rick Santorum has been nearly gaffe-free. However, this evening might have been his first, and it comes at a time when he is trying to convince voters he is more than “just” a social conservative.

When asked about the Pentagon’s plan to allow women to serve in some combat roles, Santorum told CNN’s John King: “I want to create every opportunity for women to be able to serve this country . . . but I do have concerns about women in front-line combat.

“I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved. It already happens, of course, with the camaraderie of men in combat, but I think it would be even more unique if women were in combat,” Santorum added. “And I think that’s not in the best interests of men, women or the mission.”

Such remarks may please some social conservatives who were never that keen on women serving in the military, but this may not sit well with women who work, sometimes in male-dominated jobs.

This is not the first time Santorum has ventured into this territory. In 2005 the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported:

So not long after his first book, “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good,” hit Washington bookstores over the Fourth of July weekend, his opponents were sifting through the 430 pages at warp speed -- culling controversial passages in which the Pennsylvania Republican criticizes public schools, America’s “divorce culture” and argues that more American families should consider whether both parents really need to work. . . .
Many women, he adds, have told him that it is more “socially affirming to work outside the home than to give up their careers to take care of their children.”
That ideology, he says, has been shaped by feminists who demean the work of women who stay at home as primary caregivers.
“What happened in America so that mothers and fathers who leave their children in the care of someone else -- or worse yet, home alone after school between three and six in the afternoon -- find themselves more affirmed by society? Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism,” Santorum writes.
“Sadly the propaganda campaign launched in the 1960s has taken root,” said Santorum. “The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.”

Yikes. Santorum might want to rethink that and figure out a way to walk back some of that. With women making up almost half the workforce (and now out-numbering men among workers with at least a bachelor’s degree), Santorum’s remarks sound badly off-key. Perhaps he’ll walk back his comments on CNN and explain he’s rethought what he wrote in his book. In such matters, the sooner he does that, the better.

By  |  08:16 PM ET, 02/09/2012

Categories:  2012 campaign

 
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