Santorum: Single Mothers Destroying America

Santorum: Single Mothers Destroying America March 9, 2012

More and more old statements from Rick Santorum are hitting the media for all to see, revealing a man who has built a career on being equal parts cruel, irrational and hypocritical. Mother Jones spotlights his 1994 Senate campaign, when he actually claimed that single mothers are destroying America.

During his first US Senate campaign, Rick Santorum warned voters of a growing menace that was “breeding more criminals” and threatened to destroy America from within: single mothers.

“Most people agree a continuation of the current [welfare] system will be the ruination of this country,” Santorum told a town meeting in Clairton, Pa., in February 1994, according to transcripts of the appearance obtained by Mother Jones. “We are seeing it. We are seeing the fabric of this country fall apart, and it’s falling apart because of single moms.” …

At his Clairton town hall, Santorum came prepared with a prop—a poster-size chart tracking the increase in the welfare rolls since 1965, alongside the increase in children who were born out of wedlock.

“Open up the current periodicals—study after study, article after article, children having children is destroying the fabric of our country,” Santorum said. “If you want to close your eyes to it, if you don’t care about it, if you don’t want to solve it, if you want to continue the system, to let people stay and spiral—go ahead. Not with me.” Single mothers, Santorum argued, needed politicians who weren’t afraid of “kicking them in the butt.”

It wasn’t just a matter of cutting government spending and playing life coach, though. One month later, at an appearance in Erie, Pa., Santorum framed welfare reform as a public safety issue. “What we have is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals,” he said…

Santorum, who as a second-term congressman described his views as “moderate,” made single mothers a focal point of his welfare policy. He introduced legislation that would have required single mothers who had been on welfare for more than two years to work at least 35 hours a week in order to receive benefits. They would also be denied benefits if they could not identify their child’s father. “If they don’t give the name, they don’t get any welfare,” Santorum told the Inquirer. Under his plan, which did not pass Congress, unwed teen mothers would not be eligible for welfare at all.

Two obvious responses. First, it’s always highly revealing to see who is being targeted by the right wing for blame in any situation. Who is to blame for crime? Single mothers, so they must be punished so they’ll stop being single mothers. Who is to blame for the housing collapse? Poor people getting loans. Who is to blame for state and local government budget deficits? Teachers and firefighters and their unions. The fault is always with the people without power, not with the people in power.

Second, how about the irrationality of decrying the evils of single motherhood while simultaneously fighting against birth control, the single best way to help women avoid motherhood?

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  • Randomfactor

    The solution is obvious…more of those single moms could get married if marriage equality were a reality.

  • raven

    Well Santorum is sounding really cuckoo here.

    Single mothers are destroying America. and

    Let’s outlaw abortion and birth control. Destroy education, starting with preschool.

    Hey Ricky, how do you think women become mothers? I’ll give you a hint. It involves “biology”.

    Really, birth control and education are part of the cures for single motherhood.

    Not sure how Santorum’s Dark Age is going to work. Is he going to make single mothers wear a Scarlet A. Why bother, if they are illiterate they aren’t even going to know what an “A” is.

  • raven

    Did it ever dawn on Rick Santorum that for every “single mother” there is a “single father”. Somehow they never get blamed for anything.

    Ricky, do read up on that “biology” thing before you spout off some more.

  • d cwilson

    They would also be denied benefits if they could not identify their child’s father. “If they don’t give the name, they don’t get any welfare,”

    So, if a woman is attacked and raped and the rapist didn’t bother to introduce himself first, she should 1) Consider any pregnancy that results as a “gift from gawd” and 2) Not expect any help in raising this gift.

  • raven, you’re forgetting that “boys will be boys”. Don’t worry, Santorum will get to them eventually (after all the uneducated, birth control-free, no healthcare-having, got six kids already womenfolk die in blessed childbirth, but before gayhomoness sweeps through the remaining all-male populace like Gay Pride through Main Street with his head on a pike).

  • There also the issue that crime wasn’t rising. Granted, crime peaked in 1991 IIRC, so the general downward trend wasn’t obvious yet, but it definitely was not rising.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Santorum, who as a second-term congressman described his views as “moderate,”

    “Paging doctors Dunning and Kruger…”

  • Single Mothers Destroying America?

    I always thought it was pretty-much the other way round.

  • Captain Mike

    It’s a crying shame, but I’ve already given out all my Internets for the day, so Reginald Selkirk @ 7 shall go wanting, as shall richardelguru @ 8. But you both deserve one.

  • Larry

    Single mothers, Santorum argued, needed politicians who weren’t afraid of “kicking them in the butt.

    Because everybody knows politicians quake with fear when facing the Single Mothers on Welfare Army and their evil powers.

  • @ Raven,

    Did it ever dawn on Rick Santorum that for every “single mother” there is a “single father”. Somehow they never get blamed for anything.

    Sometimes the fathers are married men, just not married to the mother. But your point still holds. For every single mother there is a father.

  • cjtotalbro

    So, if single mothers are destroying america it would seem that there are 4 ways to fight these struggling would-be america destroyers: 1&2) make abortion and contraception more available to women 3)improve sex education 4)get them to stop having sex.

    We know what Santorum is against, and we know what he is for. how can a person with a pulse be so against sex?

  • garnetstar

    Why doesn’t Santorum say what he means?

    “Breeding more criminals” = “breeding more blacks”, right?

    Just come out and say it, Ricky!

  • eric

    He introduced legislation that would have required single mothers who had been on welfare for more than two years to work at least 35 hours a week in order to receive benefits.

    How is that, in any way, “welfare?”

    (And incidentally, its incredibly misogynistic to imply child-rearing isn’t work worth compensation. But the entire U.S. is far behind Europe on this, so I guess I can’t attack Rick for it specifically.)

    They would also be denied benefits if they could not identify their child’s father.

    I forsee a lot of “Rick Santorum”s on that government form.

    Under his plan, which did not pass Congress, unwed teen mothers would not be eligible for welfare at all.

    This is almost comic book in its evil. Evidently the point is to force teens to marry, by impoverishing them until they do.

    ***

    As Raven alluded to, there is an obvious, non-evil, non-government-welfare solution to the problem. Its only a partial solution and not perfect, but it would certainly help. If course, it requires conservatives to get over their sexist myopia and consider holding men equally responsible for the procreative act. So I’m not holding my breath on that.

  • raven

    As Raven alluded to, there is an obvious, non-evil, non-government-welfare solution to the problem. Its only a partial solution and not perfect, but it would certainly help. If course, it requires conservatives to get over their sexist myopia and consider holding men equally responsible for the procreative act. So I’m not holding my breath on that.

    Most jurisdictions do have laws requiring the father to pay child support. They aren’t all that useful for a lot of reasons. Some of my friends work for CPS and part of their job is tracking down fathers of single teenage mothers.

    What they find often is:

    1. The child’s father isn’t going to be able to help. He is in prison. Again.

    2. The child’s father is a serial predator of teenage girls and already has two children by two different teenage girls that he got drunk at parties. In this case, after the first two or three, the DA will often charge him with various offenses such as stat rape and send him to prison. The DA’s really hate this one.

    3. The child’s father is borderline retarded and/or nearly illiterate and is struggling just to survive himself.

    4. The child’s father has fled the state and isn’t easy to find and beyond state jurisdiction anyway.

    5. The child’s father is an alcohol, heroin, and/or meth abuser and is so fogged up he forgets he even has a child somewhere.

    Quite often they “accidently” forget they even found the father and hope he never tries to assert parental rights. FWIW, in all these cases the people are white. The majority of single mothers are white for that matter.

  • raven

    I forgot another common one. The child’s father is a convicted child abuser. This one happens a lot. They really don’t want this one around infants for good reasons. They can be killers.

  • Ichthyic

    his 1994 Senate campaign, when he actually claimed that single mothers are destroying America.

    Dan Quayle did that much more entertainingly years before Santorum did.

    …by railing on a fictional TV character…

  • Ichthyic

    see the original speech, and note the commentary afterwards…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApHt7dzMovM

  • lashadmin

    This is so typical of religion here. Santorum against womens rights is starting to sound a lot like Islam against womens rights. Santorum with the horns of religion and the pitch fork of ignorance working to subdue free thought and expression is a crime against humanity.

    Rodney King asked, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

  • Aquaria

    It wasn’t just a matter of cutting government spending and playing life coach, though. One month later, at an appearance in Erie, Pa., Santorum framed welfare reform as a public safety issue. “What we have is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals,” he said…

    He really needs to be more specific here with his single moms. I notice these lackwits failing to do that a lot. Single moms includes divorced and widowed women, Rick. Did your rise in women-led households account for that, Rick?

    This asshole also doesn’t take into account situations in the past that have gone the way of the dodo, like women being shipped off to grandma or her aunt somewhere else to have a child and give it up to an orphanage.

    Of course, what’s really ironic is that the stupid woman-hating anti-abortion fetish of people like this numbnut has resulted in women who the antis scream about keeping their bayyybbeeezz, think of how precious the babies are. So they believe you, and think the babies are so precious, they should keep them. Sorry that you don’t like the results of your stupidity, but there you have it.

    Anyway, they’d be screaming their tiny heads off if they had to support orphanages should all these women start giving up their kids.

    They just don’t like it that women have sex, rather than kissing jesus’s ass all the time.

  • Ichthyic

    They just don’t like it that women have sex, rather than kissing jesus’s ass all the time.

    *pictures groups of women walking about town, blowing kisses at… nothing…*

  • Crudely Wrott

    Single mothers, Santorum argued, needed politicians who weren’t afraid of “kicking them in the butt.”

    That’s it. He’s certifiably batshit insane.

    Sometimes, not often mind you, I think how simpler life would be if we could all agree on the Pure Scapegoat who’s perpetuation would mean peace, harmony, no more secret handshakes and maple sap that flowed year round (oh, what it does for bacon!).

    Then I see this and after an endless three seconds of reflection I realize that I (and by extension, some others) must accept that life and the business of being civilized will never be so easy, so convenient, so . . . unobstructed and clean. In fact, we admit, it’s a messy business.

    Messy enough already without someone like Santorum being mimed by his acolytes and sycophants constantly fouling things up even more then they would have been without the unwelcome meddling and crybaby pouting.

    Seriously, isn’t there some way that we can make them take their myths and fears and go away? So that the rest of us can get on with the business of humanity? With a bit of elbow room, if it’s not asking too much?

    *retreats to lair to imagine increasing the effects of concentrated pointing and laughing*

  • spamamander, hellmart survivor

    Yet again I’m wowed by the fact that I have a hand in the destruction of all that is Good and Holy in America. Who knew I had so much power?!

    Let’s see, I did what the Reichwing wants- married young, followed my husband around while he was in the military, became a stay at home mom. Yet when my ex decided he was bored with me and moved on to someone else, I’m somehow at fault for destroying the country with my single-parent-ness. Because I was a stay at home mom, I have to take whatever job is available, work what hours they will give me (under 34 a week so I won’t get benefits), and can’t work more than that because I can’t get childcare (thanks to the right-wingers as well, since childcare is evil but somehow I’m supposed to work). I need childcare because one of my children is disabled, so in their logic I’m “good” for not aborting, but they’ll be damned if they’ll want to help care for a 16 year old with DS.

    In short- fuck you Santorum. Actually, don’t fuck you. How your wife has done it that many times is beyond me.

  • sunsangnim

    We really are headed back to the days of women wearing scarlet letters:

    http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s2526046.shtml

    A teenage girl was kicked out of school for being pregnant. The ACLU reminded the school that this was illegal. The school readmitted her, but held a special assembly just to humiliate her.

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • dingojack

    Wait now.

    Minnesota representative Mary Franson goes into the wilderness to hand-feed completely wild bears? Is this show on cable*?

    Dingo

    —–

    * What’s it called When wild bears rip ya face off?

  • fastlane

    I thought it was us atheists that were destroying ‘merka. Now I learn that it’s the single moms?

    Damn, guess we’re going to have to step up our game.