The Path of the Righteous Man

by longformphilly


Mike Newall | Philadelphia City Paper | September 2005

Rick Santorum is taking a piss. He’d been tapping his foot and fidgeting with his suit jacket throughout the awards ceremony, and after draping the last medal around the last neck, he waved to the crowd and quickly disappeared offstage, power-walking the long hallway and curving flight of stairs leading to the men’s room here in the lobby of the National Constitution Center. A trio of the senator’s aides and I struggled to keep up. Now we putter outside the lavatory, waiting.

I’d been promised some time with the senator once thisceremony honoring local students’ public service achievements had ended. But things have changed. Santorum has been summoned back to Washington for an unexpected Senate vote. There is a train to catch. I’m to ask my questions on the eight-minute ride to 30th Street Station.

Earlier this summer, the senator was all over the airwaves defending his new book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, a 449-page tome in which he methodically lays out his provocative views on gay marriage, abortion, parenting and the role of religion in public life. Released on the eve of his re-election effort against Democrat Bob Casey, the book’s timing confounded pundits. A November win would likely land Santorum the second-ranking leadership position in the U.S. Senate and help pave the way for a possible future run at the White House. But polls already had Santorum trailing Casey by 11 points, and here he was expounding on the very beliefs that were hurting him in the first place.

What the heck was he thinking?

Writer bio: Mike Newall, a native New Yorker (forgive him), covers cops for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He wrote for the two alt-weeklies, as well as Philadelphia Magazine, for six years before joining the Inquirer’s South Jersey desk in 2010.

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