Rick Santorum speaks in Tacoma

 by Bruce A. Smith 

If you believe you’re part of the “Real America,” you probably would have enjoyed the 45-minute speech Rick Santorum delivered Monday night in downtown Tacoma.

 Santorum is a Republican presidential candidate and is currently surging in the polls after winning several state primaries last week.  He was in Washington on Monday to raise money and elevate his exposure to Republican voters prior to the Washington state caucus on March 3.

 “Look around, this is the Real America,” said Washington state GOP chair Kirby Wilbur to the audience.

A member of the audience at the Santorum rally in Tacoma.

 That kind of “exceptionalism” was also embraced by Mr. Santorum, when he said to loud applause, “They (the Obama Administration) tax you and take your money and give it to people that the government thinks are more deserving than you.”

The notion that some Americans are more worthy than others increasingly peppers conservative pronouncements.  Tea Party founder, Keli Carender, characterized many Americans as “losers” when she addressed a Pierce County Republican gathering last June and outlined her proposal to abolish Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

 However, Santorum was preaching unity, too, Monday night, declaring that he “cares about very rich people and I care about very poor people.”  He contrasted his position with President Obama, whom he says supports the notion of the 99% of the country being controlled by the 1%, a theme stressed by the Occupy encampment next-door to the Union Station campus where Mr. Santorum was speaking.

 As for the Occupiers, Santorum spoke derisively of their protests; but more troubling, he did not mention any of the corruption on Wall Street that has brought the global economy to its knees and is the primary target of the Occupy movement.

 Santorum said his candidacy is about protecting core American values, such as personal liberty, and he stated that he believes in the dignity of every single person.

 However, Santorum struggled with his rhetoric of inclusiveness.  When he began his remarks most of his words were drowned out by the shouts of dozens of angry demonstrators, many of whom seemed to be challenging his anti-gay-marriage stance and his strong support for anti-abortion policies.

 Chants of “gay-marriage-is-o-kay” intermingled with “O-BA-MA,” which then led to counter protestors chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A.”  The cacophony was pronounced and at one point it was questionable if Santorum would continue.

Rick Santorum, as seen from the back row, speaking in Tacoma outdoors at the Washington Historical Museuam rotundra.

 However, he did, seemingly able to outlast the opposition with a developed sense of patience.  As a result, the crowd was respectful for the greater portion of his presentation, and Mr. Santorum was able to deliver a thoughtful presentation for his candidacy.

 “We live in consequential times,” he declared, and announced to strong applause that “if we don’t win this election our country will be a very different (nation).”

 Santorum warned of a governmental take-over, where control by the “very few” will be suffocating and overwhelming, choking off opportunity and personal freedoms.

 He received loud applause when he attacked Obamacare, and described it as a program to foster dependency upon the government, which will then have a greater control over the populace.

 Mr. Santorum said that the biggest issue facing the country is Obamacare and that repealing the legislation will be a “must.”

 He described religion and faith as a central part of his candidacy, and he received thunderous applause when he castigated the Obama Administration over its recent imbroglio with the Catholic Church regarding medical insurance coverage for birth control.

 “It is not about contraception – it’s about coercion!” Mr. Santorum said.

 He concluded his remarks with a strong appeal for honor and family values, saying, “How you act reflects on those whose shoulders you stand on….Take the inheritance that you have been given and make it stronger for future generations.”

A father and daughter at the Santorum rally Monday night in Tacoma.

 Mr. Santorum called for a return to a nation bolstered by the notion of “E Pluribus Unum – one out of many,” yet significant numbers in the audience did not feel included in his vision for the country.

 Response from GOP staffers was also mixed.  State Republican chair Kirby Wilbur told the crowd that his respect for Mr. Santorum had grown throughout the day as he shepherded him between meetings in Olympia and Tacoma. 

 But support from locals holding Santorum signage at the entrance was tepid.  Chris Tedesco and Tim Stoddard of the Teen Republican Club at Bellarmine Prep said that they “support the Republican Party” and will work hard for any candidate the party selects.

 “The top priority is to get rid of Obama,” they said.  “We can’t afford Obama – all the spending – it’s leading us to socialism.”

 However, Sarah Sheedy at the Pierce County GOP booth declared that the event had a “really great turnout, and shows that Romney doesn’t have it locked-up.”

 Perhaps more telling, 2nd LD Republican Club chair Matt Hamilton told the Mountain News: “I know of no one that is leading the charge for Santorum in Pierce County.  We thought he would be gone by now.  Who knew he would go this far?  As for me, none of the candidates really has my interest.  I was looking for Reagan and he was not on the list.”

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Photo Gallery:

Tea Party activists inside the Santorum rally Monday night in Tacoma.

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Gay Pride flag displayed outside the Santorum rally on Monday night. Left, Bree Kelly and right, Kay Bratton.

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Despite her lack of signs, buttons and brochures, Sharon Hart had plenty of attitude. "I came out here to protest the whole damn thing of the Republicans and Rick Santorum."

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Bellarmine Prep students, Chris Tedesco, l, and Tim Stoddard, r, carried signs for Rick Santorum Monday night in Tacoma.

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Pierce County GOP staffer, Sarah Sheedy, viewed the Santorum event as a very positive step towards selecting a presidential candidate.

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Occupy supporters, r-l, Aubrey Sparks, Elizabeth Bennett, and Katie Byrne, came to protest Rick Santorum's policies Monday night in Tacoma.

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John Schofield protested one of the key elements of the Rick Santorum presidential candidacy.

©  2012  Mountain News-WA

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4 Responses to Rick Santorum speaks in Tacoma

  1. Paula Morris says:

    How can these Republicans even speak about Obamacare (not that I’m pro-Obama either) when it is they themselves who have fought tooth and nail to prevent any meaningful progressive change in healthcare. Neither Obamacare nor the Republican concept of “privatize” everything is any good whatsoever! Both parties are corporate owned and run and beholding to big money. The Republican candidates are almost a caricature of everything that is wrong in politics.

    Thankfully, TMN is not pushing Republican agenda’s. Good job Bruce.

    • Jim Nicholls says:

      It’s all summed up so nicely by the placard “FREEDOM FROM RELIGION”. The dolt holding the sign does not realize he already has that right. He wants to force that position on ALL Americans, that is the intolerance of the Left. As to why there was no mention of the “Corruption on Wall Street as the leading cause for the world’s economic woes, well that’s just not the cause. In fact, the cause of the world’s economic woes rests squarely on the shoulders of the entitlement programs adopted both in Europe and at home. The entitlement portion of the U.S. Budget (if we only had one) exceeds the revenue taken in from ALL sources. So if you really want to bash someone look to either side and see who has their hand out.

      • brucesmith49 says:

        Thanks, Jim for reading the Mountain News.

        In your perspective, where do “banks too big to fail,” bank bailouts, or TARP fit? Weren’t they reflective of the dangerous practices of Wall Street firms? Weren’t those practices at least a partial source of the world’s economic woes?

        Also, you mention entitlements. Exactly what is an entitlement in your view? Is my social security check an entitlement? I’ve always thought it was a benefit, since I had paid into it, along with my employers, as part of my hiring contract.

        Thanks,

        Bruce

  2. brucesmith49 says:

    By the way, Jim N, we do not allow name-calling in the Mountain News. In the future, please refrain from calling anyone a “dolt,” as you did in your above post. Thanks.

    -BAS

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