Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rick Santorum's Past Is Catching Up to Him

Posted by on Sat, Feb 18, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Now that Rick Santorum is kind of the Republican frontrunner, all of his years of dumb statements are coming back to bite him on the ass. Here he is on video in 2008 saying that Protestantism "is a shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it." You certainly don't need the Protestant vote if you're running for president as a Republican, right?

And here he is being asked about his comments on the "weird socialization" that kids get in public schools. In his 2005 book It Takes a Family, Santorum said that was an argument for home schooling. Now, he says it's more of an argument for one-room schoolhouses.

The big question is whether these old comments—and I have no doubt that there will be many more of these old comments cropping up in the coming days—are enough to turn a majority of Republican voters off. I'm not so sure that's the case; I bet the hardcore, primary-voting Republican base would welcome a return to one-room schoolhouses.


Comments (49) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
very bad homo 1
Most Republicans have no problem voting for dumb guys. Bush proves that.
Posted by very bad homo on February 18, 2012 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Vince 2
Look, Republicans have courted bigots for decades. Now that Mitt is the choice of the Republican elite, the bigots are coming back to bite their asses by rejecting a Mormon. Because despite all they say about him not being conservative enough, that's the real problem. And Santorum is so extreme, there's no way he can beat Obama. And when Santorum questions Obama's Christianity then it's o.k. in my opinion to question Santorum's loyalty to the Vatican.
Posted by Vince on February 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM · Report this
Actually, if you listen to the specific points he makes, it lines up pretty well with this video that was passed around by a lot of Sloggers lately:…
Posted by ScruffyBallardMan on February 18, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Wow, I wouldn't have expected to find a topic where I agree with Rick Santorum, but his comments about the weird socialization of age-grouped education are spot on.
Posted by Meat Weapon on February 18, 2012 at 12:18 PM · Report this
Paul, most of these are no doubt being dragged up and fed to the media by opposition researchers working for the Romney campaign. To me, that indicates that Romney getting negative on Santorum will be effective in Michigan.
Posted by facet on February 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
mrbarky 6
You're making Santorum's Bridge to the 19th Century sound like a bad thing. To you're typical Tea Bircher, this is all good. A time when Real Americans were white, brown people knew their place, and women thought sex was a dirty chore for their husbands.
Posted by mrbarky on February 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Report this
He said "mainstream Protestantism" is a shambles. There's a huge gulf between mainstream Protestants (Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc.) and evangelical Protestants (Baptists, unaffiliated mega-churches, etc.) This type of comment is exactly what evangelicals, who have been the driving force behind his campaign, want to hear.
Posted by Mason on February 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
What he said about one-room schools isn't crazy at all. I went to a one-room country school for several years when I was 9 and 10. It was great being around all kinds and ages of kids. The teachers had a hard time and they changed every year, but for the kids it really was a good experience.

Homeschooling, though, doesn't exactly provide a diverse experience since each family has a single ideology to instill in the kids. It also means that one parent stays home, which of course is totally crazy in this century.
Posted by sarah70 on February 18, 2012 at 12:39 PM · Report this
California Kid 10
This smells of Karl Rove.
Posted by California Kid on February 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM · Report this
As @7 pointed out, Santorum's talking about mainstream protestants. The conservative evangelicals that make up the base have about as much in common with mainstream churches as they do with Unitarians.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on February 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this

Wow...this is a case where Mr. Constant is being shamefully ignorant to rouse the crowd.

Santorum has a very valid point. School is a restrictive social environment. In fact, according to a recent NYT article, Home Schooling is no longer only the choice of Red Staters, but many Coastal Liberals as well!

I mean, if Santorum had written a book called "It Takes a Village" (and if he were a Democrat, because obviously SLOG has whored itself out as a Democrat Press Organ) you would be all over this.

Point, Santorum.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM · Report this

I find it funny that a group of religions founded by a combination of a guy who nailed a wood carving on churches as a form of "Protest" and a King who didn't like the divorce laws of his time, suddenly claims the conservative high ground.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Knat 14
Kids don't interact with other kids of different ages in public school? Has this man never heard of recess? Reading buddy programs? Teacher's assistants? Elective classes? Sports? What hell-hole of a school did this idiot go to that they didn't have any of these things, and how insulated is this man from modern society that no one's ever told him about them?
Posted by Knat on February 18, 2012 at 1:07 PM · Report this

Did your school have a schoolyard?

Ok, how many times did you hang out with people not in your Class?

In my case, nil.

My sister was one grade behind me. My other sister two behind her and my brother one behind her. We spanned 5 years of grades.

But basically it was pretty much as if we were born to different families when it came to interactions among friends and all! If say, a junior in high school dated a sophomore we would call it "raiding the nursery". And so on...
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 16
I'm sorry your siblings wouldn't acknowledge you at school, supreme leader. That explains so much.....

My nephew is home-schooled. He's a bright kid, but a mama's boy, and they are heading for an ugly adolescence. His only Interaction with other kids is karate and church.Nhis social skills are exactly what you expect from that combination.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 18, 2012 at 1:32 PM · Report this
Mixed age classrooms and ability-grouped classrooms are superior for reasons that extend well beyond the capacity of "recess." Age-grouped classrooms, e.g. most public school classrooms, are unnatural and, in many cases, developmentally harmful. AKA "weird." There simply is no pedagogic reason why students should be grouped by age, and it's stupid that we do this and assume it's somehow good.
Posted by Meat Weapon on February 18, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
DOUG. 18
Santorum's model is insane. How could a teacher manage a classroom with, say, four 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 year olds? Our current model might be "weird socialization," but it serves a purpose, and the purpose is learning.
Posted by DOUG. on February 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Well, he's got the schoolmarm vote locked up.
Posted by Irving on February 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM · Report this
@18, just look at any Montessori or RE classroom. It's a time-tested and proven model that works better. And it's not limited to Montessori and RE. Happens all the time.
Posted by Meat Weapon on February 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this

NYT has a whole section on Home Schooling!…

See, Libs, New York Times!

That means, Home Schooling is ok!

Here's an article that I know you guys will like:

My Parents Were Home-Schooling Anarchists…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Y.F. Redux 22
Remember, as nutso as the creeps the Republicans are running are, they can still win. It all depends on whether or not Democrats and Independants and etc get their asses out and vote. Register if you're not and make sure you vote or otherwise this guy or somebody just like him will be sitting in the White House.
Posted by Y.F. Redux on February 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Posted by Johnston on February 18, 2012 at 2:17 PM · Report this
artistdogboy 24
@3 As much as I believe Santorum will not ever be President. On education what he is apparently saying here is in line with getting away from the current factory school model that does not teach students social interaction that reflects what real life is really like. See #3 FTW
Posted by artistdogboy on February 18, 2012 at 2:34 PM · Report this
The point isn't so much whether he will turn off the die-hard Republicans - the sort of people who looked at the economic downturn and said "I know that things are bad under the Bush Administration, but since Democrats are so fiscally irresponsible, imagine how much worse it would have been with Gore in office!"

The point is whether he's going to turn off the people who actually are potential swing voters. I saw today that Obama is now polling at something like 70+ percent among single women voters, for example.

No, many of the die-hard Teabaggers will hold their nose and vote for whatever Republican runs, but there will also be a lot of pissed off teachers, union workers, sexually active women, and people who just filled out their taxes who aren't going to buy the party line much longer.

If they lose this one, I strongly expect the Republican Party to split over it, into the Big Business branch of the party and the Morals Police branch of the party.
Posted by Lymis on February 18, 2012 at 2:47 PM · Report this

I'm not sure what the "Big Business" branch of the GOP is any more!

I mean, if Microsoft and Amazon are for Marriage Equality, and Boeing is applauding Obama, and the richest citizens in Medina dine in Medina, and the banksters were all rewarded by TAARP...who exactly among the "elite" is left for the Republicans to align with?

Seems like the Republicans at the national level are composed of those few subgroups who are unable to succeed within the current monoculture. And of course, the Aristocrooks and their lapdogs (SLOG) are there to release a barrage of agitprop and smear even the smallest dissenter.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Knat 27
@17: I was referring to his remarks regarding interaction and socialization, not education. Those are two related--but separate--developmental issues. But make sure you include the condescending tone in all your comments; it really convinces people who might not otherwise be receptive.
Posted by Knat on February 18, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 28
Just shows you how desperate Republicans are for someone to support. The fact that they'd even consider this goon is very telling.

But boy oh boy do I want him to be the Republican nominee.
Posted by Bauhaus I on February 18, 2012 at 3:41 PM · Report this
@18: Typically the age range isn't so great (3-4 grades), schools are small and you can have the children help each other rather than compete: Teaching someone else is a good way to review. There is at least one public school each in Seattle and Shoreline that do this on a small scale.

Setting up a large school district along those lines would be a challenge to say the least but as a place to learn; it has worked in the past and can sometimes work today. Unfortunately it really messes up what seems to be the important things: tight central control, large facilities and AAA sports.

Posted by david on February 18, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
venomlash 30
@7: Not all Baptist denominations are evangelical nutsos. A pretty good proportion are actually among the mainstream; we just hear about them less because derp.
@26: LOL
Posted by venomlash on February 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this

Bottom line is, once the SLOG community got ME from the Democrats, it pretty much dropped the whole Occupy movement and threw any kind of general economic equality movement to the dogs.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Fnarf 32
I think y'all are missing the most obvious point about Santorum and schools, which is that when he was a senator he billed the government to send them to a charter school in PA even though he lived in VA, as he has for most of his adult life. His only PA "residence" is a small rental house he owns.

That's the funny thing about Santorum; he's playing to the Tea Party, but he was a monstrous Big Government earmark wizard and con artist when he was in office.

A lying sack of shit, in other words.
Posted by Fnarf on February 18, 2012 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Baconcat 33
Santorum also found WMDs with Pete Hoekstra. Also, AccuWeather paid him to push a bill to gut the NWS.

It's easy to find flaws with this guy. Virtues, on the other hand...
Posted by Baconcat on February 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM · Report this


Let's face it, Liberals such as Bill Gates have been pushing Charter Schools as a way to break the unions and so they can push their software into the channels currently managed by state Government.

Charter schools are a way of cutting into the Teachers control of the classroom.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 6:38 PM · Report this
I bet the hardcore, primary-voting Republican base would welcome a return to one-room schoolhouses.

The hardcore, primary-voting Republicans base would welcome a return to cave dwellings.
Posted by Proteus on February 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM · Report this


Look if some marketing manager said she was hightailing it up to Montana to create a one-room school house that would be "globally connected" and teach kids about vegan lifestyles, you SLOG-o-crites would be touting it night and day. Heck, the NYT Magazine would beat you to it!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM · Report this
WA for Santorum's catchy slogan is 'We Pick Rick' ... hmmm, i wonder if there's a contest in there somewhere... Pick Rick for Biggest Prick?
Posted by Cassette tape fan on February 18, 2012 at 7:24 PM · Report this

>> I was referring to his remarks regarding interaction and socialization, not education

I don't think you can separate those three things in a school setting. I'm pretty sure you can't. Education happens in the context of relationships. But no matter, age-grouped classrooms tend to produce weird (and admittedly inconsistent) outcomes in all those areas. My only point in making this observation was that Santorum, in this case, is not ill informed or thoughtless, which surprised me, because he usually is both.

>> But make sure you include the condescending tone in all your comments

I'm not sure what you're talking about. Perhaps it was my characterization of age-groupings as "stupid?" If so, I'm afraid I still hold that opinion. You could tack on other modifiers, too: useless, counter-productive, arbitrary, probably a few others.
Posted by Meat Weapon on February 18, 2012 at 8:07 PM · Report this
Knat 39
@38: I forgot to include in my last post: what does RE stand for? (Googling "re school" and "re education" doesn't get anything useful.)

In my mind, interaction and socialization are pretty synonymous, but I draw a distinction between those skills and "formal" education, like math, science, reading, etc.

I'm not a child psychologist or an educator, but as far as I know, socialization is just as important to development in children as anything else. So recess shouldn't be dismissed as unimportant, which it sounded to me like you were doing. Though after reading your subsequent posts, it seems like I was misinterpreting your statement.

I disagree with the idea that a class based on students' age is a bad idea. More advanced kids take AP classes or skip up a grade, less advanced kids get tutored, repeat classes, are held back, etc. That was how my public school worked, and the system seems effective, to the extent of my experience anyway. But I don't know enough about alternative schools to really debate the topic. Also, it's very late and this post is big enough, dammit.
Posted by Knat on February 19, 2012 at 2:13 AM · Report this
@39, RE = Reggio Emilia. Unlike Montessori, RE doesn't explicitly prescribe mixed-age groupings, but in practice it works best that way. Montessori, by contrast, requires a mixed-age grouping.

And for clarity, I was not trying to trivialize the importance of recess. Rather, I was disparaging the notion that socialization and education can be compartmentalized, as though children leave behind everything but their cognitive skills when they enter a classroom, or that they don't learn when they go out to play.

Social, emotional and cognitive development don't fit into a Venn diagram model because they're not really "parts" of a whole, but more like "filters" through with to discuss more narrowly aspects of an irreducible whole.

This is a more involved discussion than a comment thread allows for, but Paul lumped Santorum's distaste (hee hee) for age grouped classrooms into a bucket of "dumb statements," and as much as I hate Santorum (the man), there's a large body of compelling evidence that he's right about this. Age-grouping relies on a set of assumptions that are demonstrably incorrect, and it's a testament to human adaptability that they work as well as they do. And once you disregard his ideological reasons for reaching that conclusion, that's basically what he said.
Posted by Meat Weapon on February 19, 2012 at 7:13 AM · Report this
I think school classrooms based almost solely on age is non optimum but obviously it can work ok and scales up well. Administering a school district with a thousand employees and maybe 30k students: hard to avoid getting factoryish. There are worse ideas in the world.

I'm not a child psychologist either but I dont see how being around a wider range of ages in classrooms leads to less effective socialization than an age near-monoculture.

In recent years, recess has been minimized. It doesn't show up much on standard test results.
Posted by david on February 19, 2012 at 7:23 AM · Report this
Riiiight, cause there's nothing weird about the radical, alternative lifestyle that is Christian Homeschooling, where kids aren't allowed to socialize with anyone outside their family or church.
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on February 19, 2012 at 8:02 AM · Report this
Why would those of us who are Democrats be worried about Republicans backing off Santorum? Wouldn't it be much easier for President Obama to shellack a Santorum versus a Romney, who is robotic and uncaring, but a less over the top conservative?
Posted by Patricia Kayden on February 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM · Report this

"I find it funny that a group of religions founded by a combination of a guy who nailed a wood carving on churches as a form of "Protest" and a King who didn't like the divorce laws of his time, suddenly claims the conservative high ground."

I find the social conservatism of Christianity in general to be incongrous, but if it helps you out, just remember that Luther was a raging anti-Semite, and Henry VIII showed a disreguard for women that even Santorum would find hard to match.
Posted by Park on February 19, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
HellboundAlleee 45
I'm all for returning to one-room schoolhouses. We just have to shell out for a hell of a lot of them in order to school all the children. We need to have an awful lot more teachers and buildings to do it. He's talking wishful thinking here, though. People don't all live in tiny towns and tiny communities anymore. In the "good old days" a lot of those "one room schoolhouse" type kids didn't get to go to school at all--girls, blacks, kids who had to work in the farm or take care of their own babies. The golden past just wasn't what people believe it was. Back in the good old days, people just didn't read at nearly the rate they do now. Let alone write.
Posted by HellboundAlleee on February 19, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Why does he think public schools are full of students of "the same socioeconomic group"? Not my experience at all.
Posted by Nitidiuscula on February 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 47
@46: Because, in his eyes, there are only two socioeconomic groups: Fabulously wealthy, and the rabble.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty on February 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
As a former teacher, I can tell you that age-divided classrooms work out a whole lot better than just about any other method in terms of getting a lot of kids 'learned' quickly, with minimal labor. When you start using mixed age classes you need to have smaller classrooms. When you start teaching every child at different levels for every topic you introduce complexity in testing and scheduling that isn't realistic for elementary schools. If you want to spend a lot more money, we can certainly do it the old way...but we have decided that it isn't important enough for us as a society, so we do it the new, cheap way.

The upshot is this: Not all 6 year olds are the same, but they are a lot more similar to each other than they are to 8 year olds, 12 year olds or 17 year olds. we can put 20-30 of them into a room and do a fair job of teaching them developmentaly appropriate stuff. In Korea in the 60's they were teaching kids 60+ to a class, and they did just fine.
Posted by Chris Jury on February 19, 2012 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Fair enough
Posted by david on February 19, 2012 at 2:43 PM · Report this
@43, no, it wouldn't be easier. People--at least the anti-intellectual voters that seem to be prevalent lately--don't like robotic candidates. They may indeed like crazy but personable candidates. Romney's neither; Santorum is both, and thus dangerous.
Posted by sarah70 on February 19, 2012 at 8:16 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy