Oh, Rick, we really did know ye — so imagine our surprise

    Oh, America. What can we say?

    We, the citizens of Pennsylvania, unleashed Rick Santorum on you. We launched him here in the cradle of liberty and of groundhogs who predict the weather. We take responsibility.

    And now that Rick’s withdrawn his bid for the presidency, and Mitt Romney’s become the presumptive Republican nominee, even taking Rick’s delegates here in his home state, we thought this would be the best time to say … we’re sorry. Reeeeeeeally, reeeeeeeally sorry.

    You see, when we first suggested that Rick run for office, it was a practical joke! You know, like “Let’s nominate Kermit the Frog, or Alfred E. Neuman, or I. P. Daily.” You’ve done things like that, America, haven’t you? Like on a Friday night when you were 15, and you raided Mom’s and Dad’s liquor cabinet. Then, a little tipsy, you and your crew prank-called the drug store:

    “Excuse me, Ma’am. Do you have Sir Walter Raleigh in a can?”

    Good times, right?

    We figured that because Rick’s such a dork, no one would actually vote for him. We thought everyone would notice the sweater vests (you do not want to see his high school yearbook pictures on Facebook). And hear how rabid he can get. Once they saw the real Rick run, they’d run other way. How many people would vote for the guy who actually is That Guy?

    Color us amazed

    Well, talk about your morning-after regrets. Even though Rick’s just to the right of Attila the Hun, he won the 1994 Senate election here in Pennsylvania.

    So the next time, we decided it was no joke. We did everything we could to defeat him. But somewhere during that election, we can honestly say somebody slipped us a roofie. (We’re so serious!) We think it happened at that bowling alley bar in Pittsburgh the night before the vote.

    The next day the whole state woke up with a throbbing headache, a ballot in one hand and the Santorum lever in the other. And when we finally came to, he was our U.S. senator again! But then we finally put the guy out of our misery, and defeated him in 2006. Oh that was a great day around here, let us tell you.

    But actually, after Rick lost, we were a little concerned. Idle hands are definitely this guy’s workshop. He wasn’t going to just sit there and do nothing. As you’ve probably noticed, he’s kind of intense, really driven.

    So he when he became a columnist for a Philadelphia newspaper — and then joined a Pittsburgh law firm — and then did consulting for a Washington-based think tank — while serving on a few corporate boards, we were relieved. A busy Rick is a happy Rick! We figured it would keep him out of everyone’s hair; and it did for about five years.

    Besides, he had already been a congressman and a senator. What else could he possibly run for, people? President of the United States?! Ha, ha, ha, ha (so many emoticons here)! Crazy idea. So crazy that he actually threw his hat into the ring.

    Then we got a little nervous, knowing how things turned out the last time. But we were comforted by the knowledge that he didn’t have a chance in Hades of winning a primary, let alone a nomination, against a field like Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. Never going to happen, we told ourselves. Radical Rick, who believes conception begins at courtship, would certainly be too conservative, even for the far right.

    But then you people let Herman Cain in the game, and all bets were off. That was proof to Rick that anybody but anybody could be Republican Prom Queen for a day. (Honestly, the philandering pizza guy with the crazy hats? Really, you let him be a front-runner?)

    When Rick saw Cain’s 999 Plan, we think he may have viewed it as a dyslexic symbol of the devil.

    But now it’s over, really over. And, America, we’re truly sorry for this. We hope some day you can forgive us.

    Alan Sharavsky’s humor essays appear occasionally on NewsWorks. He is the president of Sharavsky Communications, a creative development and marketing firm. He’s also director of development for Broderville Pictures, a video production company.

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