Santorum Is “Exhibit A” When It Comes to Hypocrisy on Tort Reform

I’ve remarked more than once to my friends and colleagues that, watching just a few of the 20-plus Republican Party primary debates these past few months, there were times that I honestly didn’t know if I was watching a skit from Saturday Night Live. (I mean that.) So pathetically laughable, shallow, and completely filled with hypocrisy were they, that a local dog catcher’s race would see more highbrow performance. For any one of these pathetic exercises in mindless blathering and needless media coverage, it wouldn’t be hard to pick out losers (and by “losers” I don’t mean who won or lost any of these alleged “debates.”)

But for the title of all-time hypocrite, the current award has to go to the nutcase who’s risen to the current top-tier challenge to Mitt Romney. Yes, that would be former Senator Rick Santorum, Republican from Pennsylvania. Now, many of you may know Mr. Santorum (or Mr. “Sanitarium”, as I prefer,) as the far-right evangelical conservative, who likes to trot around the country preaching that “Satan is attacking the United States” (yes, that’s a direct quote. Click here if you don’t believe me.) No less a cerebral giant than Sarah Palin rushed to Santorum’s defense, blaming the “lame-stream media” for getting “all wee-weed up.” Imagine the deep thinking process involved in that profound comment. Now, that’s intelligence on display.

While I thoroughly understand that Mr. Santorum’s delusions – I mean, opinions – can result when anyone misplaces his medication, his tirades don’t stop with speeches about the Prince of Darkness. No, they go to former Presidents, too. Even a President who was murdered in office.

You see, when Santorum hasn’t been busy dancing with theomania these days, it seems he took time to comment on JFK’s famous speech about the separation of church and state. Readers either old enough to remember themselves, or schooled enough in contemporary history to know otherwise, will recall that JFK delivered that famous speech when he himself was running for President, offering reassurances that if he were elected as a Catholic President, he would not impose his faith on other Americans. From everything I’ve always studied, this has been one of the most admired speeches delivered on this subject. Santorum’s take? “It made me want to throw up.” Hard to believe, I know, but click here if you doubt it.

As nauseating as Santorum’s views on the devil and JFK are, try taking a good look at his hypocrisy when it comes to the subject of tort reform and medical malpractice: You see, even though Santorum spends a lot of his time calling for limits on jury awards in medical malpractice cases, railing on about how our civil justice system has “run amok,” he and his wife didn’t hesitate back in 1999 to sue Mrs. Santorum’s chiropractor, alleging he injured her back.

Santorum actually testified in the case, telling the jury in the case that the injury had caused his wife pain and limited her ability to campaign for him. Really? “My wife likes to be fit,” Santorum informed the jury, according to an article in the December 1999 Roll Call. “We have to go out and do a lot of public things. She wants to look nice, so it’s really difficult.” The couple, he testified, “knocked on 20,000 doors together” during a previous campaign, but as a result of the accident, he testified in court that “She doesn’t have the confidence to do that (now).” Even more reason that damages should be awarded in the case, according to Santorum’s testimony , was that (gasp – sit down here) – the injury forced Santorum himself to “do more work around the house.” This testimony is all a matter of recorded fact.

What happened as a result of this case and Santorum’s testimony? The jury awarded his wife $500,000 – which was later reduced by a judge to $175,000.

On the subject of medical malpractice and tort reform, Santorum serves as “Exhibit A” when it comes to hypocrisy on parade – and I’m sure his hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. But the greater problem is that this kind of hypocrisy about our civil justice system is practiced by so many other politicians – almost always Republicans. Do yourself a favor: Take yourself away from the too-often mindless experience of normal television programming, and watch “Hot Coffee.” This award-winning documentary will send shivers up your spine when you see who the forces are that are really behind “tort reform” – the most shocking attempt in the 20th century to abolish the legal recovery rights of Americans everywhere.

It’s so shameful that – who knows? – some might even think it would embarrass, say, Satan. Church Lady, are you listening?