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ELECTION PREVIEW - THREE TO WATCH IN 2006 - Part 3, Rick Santorum

by Alex Miller-Mignone

[In this three-part Election 2006 preview, Alex looks at a trio of important races involving top GOP operatives, and re-examines the evidence for e-vote fraud in our disintegrating democracy.]

“I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts.... I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who’s homosexual. If that’s their orientation, then I accept that.... The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it’s not the person, it’s the person’s actions.... In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”

– Rick Santorum, AP interview
23 April 2003

“In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might confess that both of them really don’t need to.”

–Rick Santorum in his
It Takes a Family, July 2005

“I mean people who don’t heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings....There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.”

–Rick Santorum, commenting on Katrina victims trapped in New Orleans, 6 September 2005

Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania’s junior Senator and, as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the third most powerful GOP Senate leader, is in the political fight of his life. The two-term incumbent, youngest member of the Senate, is trailing his Democratic challenger by 20 points, and has the highest negatives of any recent Pennsylvania Senator. In large part, this unpopularity stems from a variety of somewhat idiotic right-wing pronouncements Santorum has made in the past few years. A firm proponent of abortion rights, Santorum is a frequent critic of homosexuality, gay marriage, liberal culture in general, and women working outside the home, and does not believe that the Constitution guarantees any right to privacy.

Rick SantorumBorn in Winchester, VA and raised in a Pittsburgh, PA suburb, Santorum and his wife Karen Garver have six children (seven if you, like the Senator, count Gabriel Michael Santorum, the 20-week old fetus his wife gave birth to prematurely, and whose picture adorns Santorum’s Senate office). Plagued in recent years by scandals concerning his children’s legal residency (the Santorums, quite naturally, spend most of their time in a Virginia suburb of DC, but his children were registered to the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, with Penn Hills School District picking up the tab); the financial disbursements of his charitable foundation, Operation Good Neighbor (which seems to have a large number of charges to Santorum’s local Starbucks and Home Depot); and portions of the text of his It Takes a Family, Santorum’s less-than-originally-titled 2005 riposte to Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village (wherein Santorum suggests that two-parent incomes are not necessary), Santorum has been behind his Democratic opponent, state treasurer Bob Casey Jr, since before the latter even officially announced his candidacy.

Santorum’s political career has shown him as something of a conservative Boy Wonder. Undergraduate and post-graduate work at undistinguished western Pennsylvania academic institutions culminated in a law degree from Dickinson in 1986, and in 1990, at age 32, Santorum was elected to the US House of Representatives. Four years later he defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Harris Wofford in the 1994 GOP landslide which placed Republicans in charge of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Ironically, Wofford’s election in 1991 was an early bellweather of Bush Sr.’s growing unpopularity, leading to his electoral defeat in 1992. Now Santorum, defending that same seat, may be a casualty in part of Bush Jr.’s political legacy.

In his first Senate term, Santorum kept a fairly low profile on most controversial issues, with the exception of abortion, becoming one of the leaders in the Senate fight to outlaw the “partial birth” abortion procedure. But after re-election in 2000 and the installation of the Bush junta, Santorum’s true colors became more obvious.

In 2001 the “Santorum Amendment” to the No Child Left Behind bill attempted to insert the teaching of Intelligent Design into public curricula by mandating that “a full range of views” on evolutionary science be presented in the classroom. The amendment was defeated, and public reaction led Santorum to realize he had over-stepped. In 2005 he reversed his earlier position in an NPR interview, stating that he was now “not comfortable” with the teaching of ID in public schools. Howls from the right ensued.

With John Kerry, Santorum is also a sponsor of the thrice-failed Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which would require employers to accommodate their worker’s religious observances while on the job. He was also influential in expediting the infamous Terri Schiavo bill to the Senate floor in March 2005.

Although raised as Catholic, it wasn’t until he met his future wife, Karen Garver, that he became seriously religious. Santorum is now acknowledged as one of the most fundamentalist members of Congress, and the extent of his fanaticism regarding such issues as Right to Life may be best illustrated by reference to his personal life.

In 1996, during the height of the partial birth abortion debate in the Senate, Karen Santorum gave birth prematurely to a 20-week-old fetus who lived only two hours, and whom they named Gabriel Michael, after two archangels. The Santorums were appalled to find their child listed as a “fetus” on the hospital forms, and changed this to “20-week-old baby.” But the story doesn’t end with this bit of semantics: the Santorums did not release their child to the hospital morgue or a funeral home, but wrapped him in a blanket and took him to Karen’s parents’ home in Pittsburgh, where they introduced him to their three remaining children (then ages 6, 3, and 18 months) as their baby brother. They spent several hours kissing and cuddling the corpse, sang him lullabies, and held a private mass. They then slept with the body overnight before returning it to the hospital. No one would dispute a family’s right to grieve a loss as they see fit; what is disturbing is the thought that a man whose views are so obviously eccentric and extreme is a major policy maker in the US government.

In a 2005 interview, Santorum states that they enacted this rather bizarre ritual because they wanted to impress upon the dead child’s siblings that he was “real,” not an abstraction, so they could “absorb and understand that they had a brother.” Karen Santorum later published an anti-abortion screed, “Letters to Gabriel,” organized around actual letters she wrote to the fetus during her troubled pregnancy. In it she admonishes her dead child that, “When the partial birth abortion vote comes to the floor of the US Senate for the third time, your daddy needs to proclaim God’s message of life with even more strength and devotion to the cause.” Rick Santorum still refers to Gabriel in the present tense, stating “That’s my little guy,” as he points out the picture of the tiny fetus, framed by the Senator’s hand, which graces his Washington office.

But Santorum’s Capitol Hill activities extend well beyond dramatic pro-life efforts. He has been instrumental in Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay’s “K Street Project,” a very successful attempt to turn the Washington lobbying corps into a financial arm of the GOP. Santorum has also been under fire for the running of his charity, the Operation Good Neighbor Foundation. Only 40% of the foundation’s funds have gone to charity, the remainder being eaten up, figuratively, by administrative costs, and literally, by frequent charges to the Senator’s local Starbucks.

Rick SantorumOther scandals loomed. In 2004, the Penn Hills School District sued for repayment of $67,000 in tuition for his children’s education. Though registered at the Western Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, the Santorum children are raised in Virginia, and the Senator’s local Pennsylvania home is rented to another couple. The School District challenged the Santorum’s residency status, but the complaint was later dismissed without a finding, for its not having been filed in a timely manner.

In April 2005 Santorum introduced the National Weather Service Duties Act, which attempts to “clarify” the responsibilities of NOAA and the NWS, making it mandatory that their data be made available to the private sector, and preventing the National Weather Service from competing with these privately owned companies in the distribution of weather data. Perhaps not coincidentally, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather service, a major contributor to Santorum’s re-election campaign, would be a primary beneficiary of this law, if enacted.

But it is Santorum’s severe case of foot-in-mouth disease which has garnered the most trouble. His 2003 remarks on homosexuality, while the supreme Court was reviewing Texas’ anti-sodomy laws, stand as the definitive Santorum on gay issues, and should be quoted in full:

“I have no problem with homosexuality. I have a problem with homosexual acts. As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual. I have nothing, absolutely nothing against anyone who’s homosexual. If that’s their orientation, then I accept that. And I have no problem with someone who has other orientations. The question is, do you act upon those orientations? So it’s not the person, it’s the person’s actions. And you have to separate the person from their actions.

“We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in GriswoldGriswold was the contraceptive case—and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you—this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

“Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.”

Santorum has been equally kind in his remarks about the pedophilia which plagued his own Catholic church in 2002, stating that “It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning ‘private’ moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”

In 2005 his remarks about those trapped in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina added much to Santorum’s compendium of pronouncements of compassionate conservatism: “I mean people who don’t heed those warnings and then put people at risk as a result of not heeding those warnings. There may be a need to look at tougher penalties on those who decide to ride it out and understand that there are consequences to not leaving.”

One of Santorum’s current chief political assets for re-election is the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, a fundamentalist voting organization modeled after the Ohio Restoration Project, so useful to the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004. This statewide network of “Biblically-faithful clergy” and GOP activists comes very close to crossing the line of separation from political activity which affords religious institutions their tax-free status. The organization is training ministers in Pennsylvania on how to “educate their congregations about the Pennsylvania Marriage Protection Amendment,” and is also focused on de-funding Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood and tightening adoption laws to oppose gay adoption. Rick Santorum is the only politician to have sent a videotaped message to their training sessions.

Rick SantorumSantorum has another, key ally in the Keystone State— Diebold elections systems. Although John Kerry won the state in 2004, he did so by a far narrower margin than exit polling showed, a circumstance pertaining in 23 states of the union on Election Day 2004. Remember, these are exit polls—taken of actual voters moments after voting. They are the most accurate polls ever taken, usually with a margin of error of less than 1%, and they are used in Third World countries as early markers of election fraud. Exit polls in Pennsylvania in 2004 gave Kerry an 8.7% win over George W. Bush, 54.1%-45.4%. But when the final tally was released, Kerry’s margin had dramatically eroded, with Kerry receiving only 50.8% of the official vote, to Bush’s 49%. The 3.3% drop actually reflects a 6.6% swing, which has a statistical probability of less than 2 in 1000.

Clearly Santorum’s chances of victory this November are heightened dramatically by electronic voting, which somehow always seems to favor GOP candidates.

A look at Santorum’s natal chart shows an impressive line-up of Deep Space energies, as one would expect from someone who has risen to the highest levels of government and power. The Sun at 19 Taurus, a sign which can stubbornly dig in its heels on an issue and can be surprisingly petty, is within the event horizon, or orb of influence, of Black Hole Eurydice at 16 Taurus. It also makes two other Black Hole aspects, an exact trine to Black Hole Hel at 19 Capricorn, and an exact inconjunct to Black Hole Ereshkigal at 19 Sagittarius. As with many Black Hole Sun natives, Santorum can be compelling, but is also fundamentally dishonest in his self-presentation. His boyish charm allows him to cast himself as a squeaky clean champion of morality and right, but the evasive maneuvers regarding his children’s tuition issues and the personal charges to his charitable foundation belie that innocence.

Mercury is also exactly conjunct a Black Hole, Hades, at 24 Aries, and opposes natal Jupiter at 23 Libra. Forthright and unambiguous, Santorum often verbally rushes in where others fear to tread, frequently tripping over his own tongue in the process. He cannot seem to prevent himself from rhetorical over-reach. Again, his speech can be compelling and persuasive, but there is a darker side to his pronouncements—one in which a more totalitarian agenda of intolerance and bigotry can be apprehended. Through his utterances, Santorum is his own worst enemy.

Venus at 5 Aries falls on the open leg of a Galactic T-Square of energies comprised of the Black Holes Parvati and Durga at 4 Cancer and Capricorn, and a Quasar at 5 Libra, which Venus exactly opposes. Santorum likes to portray himself as an almost penniless servant of the people, but Venus/Quasar is highly acquisitive and largely successful financially; in conjunction with the stealth attributes of the Black Hole and their desire for acquisition, it seems unlikely that his financial picture is quite as bleak as the one he paints.

Mars at 10 Pisces is opposed Black Hole Apsu at 9 Virgo and squared both Black Hole Anubis at 10 Sagittarius and the Maser at 7 Gemini. In combination with Venus’ Galactic entanglements, this is the signature of one who is sex-obsessed. Since Santorum’s private life is presumably above reproach, this energy has found its outlet in his prurience and the Puritanism which he attempts to inflict on everyone else. It is also a marker of the rather atypical fecundity of his wife’s seven pregnancies and their six children. The Maser’s influence here can be seen in the Senator’s rather uncompromising and controversial stands on sexual issues, particularly homosexuality and abortion.

Jupiter and Neptune make an interesting pair in this nativity, governing as they do between them the twin aspects of religious affiliation or dogma and deeper spiritual ethic. Just barely conjunct at 23 Libra and 2 Scorpio, their sign dissonance makes them uncomfortable bedfellows. While Jupiter in Libra might ordinarily seem inclined to tolerance, or at least an ability to see opposing views, in Santorum’s case this seems to have been perverted into a rather Old Testament view of justice and condemnation, his caveats regarding homosexual persons as opposed to their acts aside (the stereotypical fundamentalist “love the sinner, hate the sin” dodge to avoid owning their homophobia). This may be due to Neptune’s rather more strident placement in Scorpio, coloring his spiritual views with a highly sexualized overlay—for Santorum true religious ethic has much more to do with genitalia than generosity. It is more about carnality than charity.

As noted above, Jupiter opposes Black Hole Hades, and it also trines a Quasar at 25 Aquarius, while Neptune conjoins one Quasar at 4 Scorpio, opposes another at 4 Taurus, is sandwiched between two Black Holes, Pele at 28 Libra and Dionysos at 6 Scorpio, and is square to Black Hole Merlin at 2 Leo. Quasar/Black Hole combinations can be very powerful, allowing the native not only to develop his own unique vision of reality (Black Hole), but also to successfully put that vision into effect in this world (Quasar).

Rick SantorumSaturn at 24 Sagittarius is exactly conjunct a Pulsar and just two degrees away from the supermassive Black Hole at the Galactic Center. This denotes a very significant role to play in public affairs, quite possibly with global import. Santorum has been spoken of as a possible contender for the GOP nomination in 2008. A defeat in his re-election bid this autumn would quite possibly cause him to immerse himself more wholeheartedly in that goal. The Saturn/Pulsar connection also speaks to a somewhat adversarial relationship with the press, for whom he acts as a lightning rod, and its conjunction with a Black Hole is indicative of the rapid career advancement and upset victories which marked his earlier races, as well as the anomaly of his comparative youth at the time.

Uranus at 7 Leo is conjoined Black Hole Cernunnos at 9 Leo and square Black Hole Dionysos at 6 Scorpio. His connections with Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay’s “K Street Project,” which successfully attempted to transform the Washington lobbying corps into a fundraising arm of the Republican Party, show Uranus’ networking proficiency at its most diabolical and Machiavellian, both Black Hole modifiers. It may also be that his associations (Uranus) are a key factor in his defeat. Among the boards on which he serves are the Thomas More Law Center, a national right-wing Catholic legal society that often supports anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-evolution plaintiffs in their lawsuits.

Pluto, too, is galactically encumbered; at 29 Leo retrograde, it fills in the missing leg of a Galactic T-Square of Deep Space energies comprised of the Quasar at 28 Scorpio, Black Hole Hekate at 27 Aquarius, and the Maser at 27 Taurus. This dynamic placement shows a massive urge for and accumulation of power (Black Hole), the ability to project that into the world for good or ill, but in a way that is very visible and undeniable (Quasar), and its use in a highly controversial manner (Maser).

Rick Santorum has been lucky in his political career, if galactic advantages can be termed luck. He found a wedge issue to win his first congressional race (ironically, it involved the fact that his incumbent opponent claimed residency in western Pennsylvania while raising his children in suburban Virginia, a karmic mirror image of Santorum’s own present circumstance), then was swept into the Senate on the 1994 GOP tide, and had no meaningful opposition in his 2000 re-election bid. But that luck may be running out. Though a Democrat, his opponent Casey is pro-life and favors a limited gun control policy, taking two traditional Republican base-rallying issues off the table. Polls show that while support for Casey is soft, most of his voters are casting anti-Santorum ballots. It’s hard to see how Pennsylvania’s junior Senator can turn that around, short of a little help from Diebold.

Alex Miller-Mignone, photo
Alex Miller-Mignone is a professional writer and astrologer, author of The Black Hole Book and The Urban Wicca, former editor of "The Galactic Calendar," and past president of The Philadelphia Astrological Society.

His pioneering work with Black Holes in astrological interpretation began in 1991, when his progressed Sun unwittingly fell into one. Alex can be reached for comment or services at