If you consider that presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is running a campaign ahead of his time, then his views on abortion, contraception, women working outside the home and females serving in the military are spot-on. Based on his outdated, out-of- touch approach to the realities of modern life in the 21st century, "his" time appears to be somewhere around 1912 -- before Margaret Sanger founded the nation's first birth control clinic, before women were guaranteed the right to vote, and before World War II introduced middle-class women to the workforce in large numbers.
While others assume that Santorum is a holdover from the "Father Knows Best" era of the 1950s because his financial backer Foster Friess waxed eloquent about the contraceptive power of an aspirin held between a woman's knees, they're giving him too much credit for advanced thinking. Santorum is deeply mired in a world view that is a hundred years behind the times...and we mock him at our peril. Instead, we need to take his assault on women seriously.
Democrats want him to win the nomination because they assume Obama will win easily over Santorum in the general election. Republicans want him to win because they see him as the red-blooded, holy rolling embodiment of the conservative movement and a more exciting choice that Mitt Romney.
But to give Santorum's anti-women opinions any validity whatsoever or to sanction his beliefs in any way sets women back decades and even centuries. He's careful to couch his sentiments in statements that are open-ended and non-threatening; when he talks about the importance of home schooling and opposes government funding for public schools, he doesn't follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, which would result in women staying home to teach those children. That opinion is part of a belief structure that's been in place for quite a while and was on display in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family.
He really doesn't give a **** about the personal fulfillment of women (and an article in the Washington Post affirms that a majority of women gain more fulfillment in paid work outside the home than in unpaid parenting.) Interestingly, he's the son of a working mother. Is this why he throws up roadblocks that are intended to thwart women from achieving the same sort of success as men? Does his rage springs from resentment toward his own mom for not "being home" for him?
We can say all we want about Santorum's views on these issues, but wouldn't you like to hear them in his own words? I've assembled some choice bits from his recent headline-grabbing statements in the article below. Add some of your own in the comments section if I've missed any that we should all know about.
Photo of Rick Santorum © Jay LaPrete/Getty Images