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TheRootDC
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Posted at 11:38 AM ET, 02/14/2012

Rick Santorum: Stop being a coward

David Bowers is a native Washingtonian and an ordained minister who works in the affordable housing industry. He weighs in on the campaign.

It’s hard to respect a coward and tough to like a hypocrite. This thought crossed my mind as I watched the Sunday morning political talk shows and saw the video of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum listen to a woman at a campaign event say that President Obama is an avowed Muslim and not eligible to be president. I watched as the former senator’s response was simply to say that he was working to put President Obama out of the White House.


Republican U.S. presidential candidate Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). (Jonathan Ernst - Reuters)
Coward.

He is running for the highest elected office in what many consider the most powerful country on the planet. A man who once served in one of the most distinguished legislative bodies in the world.

He was confronted with what at best can be considered ignorance of the facts — perhaps the woman really doesn’t know that President Obama is a self-professed Christian, and that he met the legal requirements to become president of the United States. Worst case scenario, this was a woman who was intentionally giving voice to lies.

In either case, any person who wants to lead our country and make decisions impacting war and peace, the global economy and the daily lives of millions can’t be a coward.

Confronted with the choice between pandering for votes to help him meet his ambition, or doing the right thing and confronting ignorance and/or hatred, Santorum chose to shrink.

I tell the teenage boys I work with in a leadership academy, “Your opinions can’t be wrong, but your facts can be.” The woman speaking to Santorum was not offering an opinion but making factual misstatements.

Santorum wants the American people to put him in a position where he could make decisions that would impact the lives of people. He wants to to be our standard-bearer in a world where good and evil, ignorance and enlightenment battle every day in ways big and small.

And yet, he refused to demonstrate the courage that Sen. John McCain displayed four years ago when he took the microphone away from and corrected a woman who said things that were not true about his opponent.

But the deceiving didn’t stop there. After nearly two years of net positive job creation numbers in the private sector and painfully slow but steadily falling unemployment numbers, some GOP spokespeople started to pivot away from the “he’s not creating jobs” argument.

Now, they argue that Obama has increased the deficit and put our country at risk. But it was under Republican President George W. Bush that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fought and funded “off-budget.” Bush had the support of many Republicans and Democrats in Congress. Obama, unfortunately, continued the practice while extending tax cuts to Americans with the highest incomes.

Did these two things alone create our budget deficit problems? No. Did they contribute to the deficit problems? Yes. Hypocrites. Have discussions about the need for entitlement reforms. Debate the need for cuts in spending, tax reforms or tax increases. People can have differing opinions on the right way. But to act as though one man’s spending designed to help stimulate the economy is to blame for the deficit while another man’s unfunded wars and tax cuts for high-income Americans are not is disingenuous at best and hypocritical at worst.

I’ve lived long enough to realize that there is potential for good and evil, wise words and crazy talk from all people.

Americans have real needs. And so many international issues benefit from sound engagement from our leaders, particularly the president. So it is critically important that our elected officials — regardless of their political affiliation — be among the best that we can produce. We can’t afford for them to be cowards and hypocrites.

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By David Bowers  |  11:38 AM ET, 02/14/2012

Categories:  The Root DC Live

 
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