I was eating a boxed lunch when my phone buzzed. It was a notification from the Huffington Post app, alerting me of a breaking story. “It can’t be,” I told myself over and over again as I, trembling, Googled the news to confirm. Sure enough, on Tuesday, April 10, at 2:07 PM EST, Rick Santorum announced that he would be suspending his campaign for president of the United States.
Though discouraged and heartbroken, I could not help but let my mind do what it does best and run through a montage of Rick Santorum’s road to the nomination. To be sure, it hadn’t been easy. It was a long, tough, strenuous, murky, frothy ride.
So, to commemorate Santorum’s suspended candidacy, I have put together what I deem the six best moments of his journey, from being the butt of a Dan Savage joke (literally?) to losing the Iowa Caucus to winning the Iowa Caucus.
1. Republican Presidential Primary Debate: Florida
A gay soldier asked whether, if president, Santorum would repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Santorum, being Santorum, essentially said no, clarifying: “And the fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give [gays] a special privilege to—” To what? Obviously, he intended for Americans to let their dirty little minds fill in the blank, because he couldn’t bring himself to finish that sentence. (His kids were watching.)
It was a proud moment for marriage-defenders and homophobes everywhere. And everyone else confirmed that Rick Santorum just genuinely doesn’t like gay soldiers due to the fact that they are clearly less preoccupied with taking shrapnel to the ass than taking…anything else to the ass.
2. The Iowa Caucus
Santorum approached the Caucus with about 10 percent in the Ames Straw Poll and “underdog” written all over his sweater vest. The night of the primary, tens of dozens of Iowans went out to the polls. He received 24.5 percent of the vote. As did Mitt Romney. So, Romney was declared victor and was then cruelly uncrowned as Santorum was announced as the real winner of the Caucus.
But whatever happened to the remaining 51 percent of the vote? Well, turns out, 51 percent of Iowan voters didn’t want Santorum or Romney to be the nominee. So, congratulations, Santorum: more people wanted you than wanted Romney…but most people didn’t want either of you. Ah, pluralism.
3. A Slur, Misunderstood
Santorum (matter-of-fact, out of context): “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.”
[CUE PUBLIC OUTCRY AND MEDIA ATTENTION]
Santorum: “I didn’t say ‘black people’, I clearly said ‘blah people’…”
Media: “What? ‘Blah people’ isn’t even a thing.”
Santorum (defensively): “Blah people is too a thing!”
Media (fed up): “No, it’s not. You’re just racist.”
Santorum (desperate): “No, you’re the racist!!”
4. Republican Presidential Primary Debate: New Hampshire
Santorum posited that “the reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees.” But how can that be? “Well,” Santorum continued, “a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion.” And just like that, Rick Santorum cleared up what has baffled political scientists through the ages—there aren’t enough workers because women had abortions! And that’s actually a really great point—why hadn’t anyone else brought that up?
Because at the time of the inception of Social Security, the US had a 6 percent infant mortality rate, physicians performed an estimated 800,000 abortions a year (not to mention back-alley procedures), and around 80 percent of women supported birth control. By contrast, today around 82,000 abortions are performed a year. So maybe that’s why nobody had thought of the abortion-leading-to-the-downfall-of-Social-Security thing…but Rick Santorum proved his awe-inspiring mathematical and logics skills in one fell swoop. And just like that, he was just one logical fallacy closer to suspending his campaign.
5. Allegations of Obama’s Snobbery
While addressing a group from Americans for Prosperity in Michigan, Rick Santorum accused President Obama of the worst possible offense: “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.” Rick Santorum was referring to the liberalism of universities, and how they “indoctrinate” their students. Many people lashed out at this comment, arguing that it was ludicrous that anyone could oppose higher education for all.
But let’s stop for a minute and consider what the idea really is here: Obama is a snob, and Rick Santorum just wants to educate the voters on that issue. Plain and simple. Obama is educated, liberal, elitist, (half) white, Christian (depending on whom you ask), political, and wealthy. Santorum isn’t all of those things! Santorum is all white and he’s conservative! More to the point, do we really want a snobby president? Santorum didn’t. In fact, Rick Santorum is so un-snobby that he suggested that not everyone should have the chance to go to college. A vote for Santorum is a vote for an un-snobby America. Catchy.
6. Santorum Talks Menstruation
According to Rick Santorum, female soldiers aren’t fit for the front line because they are an emotional roller coaster, which would logically mean that female battalions would have to make sure to roster women that are all on different cycles so that they always have enough people on the field, because that would suck if everyone’s cycle got synchronized, and everyone’s too PMS-y to fight. Santorum was not being sexist. He was simply concerned that women on their periods are too emotional to remember why they’re fighting. It’s really just a gaping hole in our Armed Forces if you think about it. (Just don’t think about it too hard.)
So those are six moments that stood out in the Santorum presidential campaign. There were many others, many other shining stars out there of moments that hold places deep in my heart, but I can’t write forever. America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, and a nation where anything is possible. Here’s to hoping that Santorum will embrace his American spirit within and try again soon.