Irrelevant Rick Santorum is out of time

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks in Cranberry, Pa. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo, file)

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks in Cranberry, Pa. (Jae C. Hong/AP Photo, file)

You’ll rarely see the names “Rick Santorum” and “The Rolling Stones” appear in the same sentence. But we live in extraordinary times.

I’m normally loath to give Santorum even a scintilla of attention, given the fact that he was rendered irrelevant by the voters of Pennsylvania, who threw him out of the U.S. Senate with overwhelming force in his landslide loss of 2006; and by the national Republican electorate, which summarily rejected him during the ’12 and ’16 primaries. Santorum exists today merely as a denizen of the CNN green room, because it’s de rigueur in Washington that losers live on, unbowed and unapologetic, courtesy of the cable studio.

But on Sunday, in the wake of the historic mass marches against gun violence, Santorum said something so repulsively ignorant – on behalf of his former clients, the gun industry – that I’d be remiss to ignore him. It was the Republican party at its most reactionary, clueless to the pivotal shift in the zeitgeist. I was reminded of an old song by The Rolling Stones: “You don’t know what’s going on/ You’ve been away for far too long…/ Baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time.”

It’s inexplicable that CNN even chooses to pay Santorum, whose time has long passed, but this is what happens when news networks strive for “balance.” Surely there are conservative commentators for hire who don’t sound like fools, but, instead, this was what we got on Sunday, when Santorum decided to dis the student protestors:
“How about kids, instead of looking to someone else to solve their problem, do something about maybe taking CPR classes or trying to deal with situations that when there is a violent shooter that you actually respond to that…They took action to ask someone to pass a law. They didn’t take action to say, ‘How do I, as an individual, deal with this problem?…What am I going to do to actually help respond to a shooter?’…instead of going and protesting and saying, ‘Oh, someone else needs to pass a law to protect me.'”
That may not qualify as the wackiest Santorum riff; lest we forget, first prize is his ’03 remark that gay marriage would be as blasphemous as “man on child, man on dog.” But it’s nonetheless instructive that at a time when gun reform has gone mainstream (as evidenced even in Fox News polls), and at a time when people have taken to the streets as never before, Santorum is still the NRA stooge who earned an A Plus rating in his final Senate year.
Out of touch, out of time, and, with respect to factual reality, woefully out to lunch. It was bad enough – hypocritically so – that he mocked the kids for demanding gun reform laws (“‘Oh, someone needs to pass a law to protect me'”), because Santorum himself has frequently demanded laws to protect people from stuff he abhors, like gay marriage and abortion. But even worse – ignorantly so – was his insistence that kids in school be trained to combat mass shootings by learning CPR.
Apparently the cable studio oxygen was not sufficient to fully power his brain, because anyone even remotely familiar with with the destructive power of the AR-15 (the semi-automatic weapon used at Parkland) knows that CPR is futile when a torn-up body has already bled out.
As Heather Sher, a radiologist who handled Parkland victims, recently pointed out, “A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than – and imparting more than three times the energy of – a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun…The high-velocity bullet does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic damage. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange (with) so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to the trauma center.”
On Sunday, after Santorum weighed in, Sher tweeted a simple corrective: “CPR is not effective for catastrophic bleeding.” She was joined by a slew of medical specialists who whacked Santorum like a pinata. Jo Buyske, executive director of the American Board of Surgery said: “Mr. Santorum, CPR doesn’t work if all the blood is on the ground.” Eugene Gu, a surgeon, said: “I’ve operated on gunshot victims who’ve had bullets tear through their intestines, cut through their spinal cord, and pulverize their kidneys and liver. Rick Santorum telling kids to shut up and take CPR classes is simply unconscionable.”
But alas, thanks to cable TV, the has-beens of yesteryear – history’s roadkill – are free to spout nonsense and pretend they’re still relevant. Santorum won’t pay a price. If only we could persuade Stormy to spank him with an NRA magazine.
Speaking of defunct Pennsylvania politicians: Another Republican congressman has called it quits.
Incumbent Ryan Costello has decided that he can’t win another term under the new, fairer congressional map, and that it would be a drag to spend the next seven months defending his fake president. So he’s bailing. He blamed “hate” on the “the left” for soiling the political environment – standard stuff for a retreating Republican – but these remarks to his local paper were more revealing: “Whether it’s Stormy Daniels, or passing an omnibus spending bill that the president threatens to veto after promising to sign, it’s very difficult to move forward in a constructive way.”
So it’s bye bye. Cue the song,  Rolling Stones:
“You are all left out / Out of there without a doubt / ‘Cause baby, baby, baby, you’re out of time.”

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