Santorum Thinks Welfare Causes Domestic Violence and Other GOP Presidential News

Republicans have long had a grudge against social safety net programs, and a particular favorite conservative meme has been that if you want the poor to get out of poverty, you need to promote marriage. This weekend, GOP presidential contender and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum banged that drum again, this time upping the stakes by claiming that welfare programs are leading to domestic violence.

“We create a barrier to marriage, which creates an unstable home, which leads to, over time, domestic violence,” Santorum told a small audience in South Carolina, after noting welfare benefits stop when a when a woman gets married, according to Channel 7 News.

Santorum’s comments come through a massive vacuum of misunderstanding domestic violence, which affects one in three women, many of whom are in fact actually married to the person hurting them. On top of that, 98 percent of abusive relationships use financial means to keep a partner from being able to walk away, allowing the violence to continue. Welfare can provide an abused spouse the ability to walk away, ending violence, not contributing to it.

With such an inability to comprehend public policy, it’s no wonder Santorum is so low in the most recent presidential polling. Then again, so are the rest of the GOP candidates. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is the frontrunner of the newest Iowa polls, touting a whopping 17 percent backing. In comparison, however, that is still a massive lead, since the next closest candidates garner a mere 9 and 10 percent support.

“Walker is backed by 17 percent as the state enters a busy summer of candidate visits, a planned straw poll, and campaigning at the Iowa State Fair,” reports Bloomberg News. “Tied for second are Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent, with Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee next at 9 percent each. They’re followed at 6 percent by Rubio and 2012 Iowa caucuses winner Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania.” In what is sure to be a blow to the ego, the same polls also have a full third of respondents saying they will never vote for former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Coming in at just 1 percent was current South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham, but that news did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the senator’s presidential declaration. Speaking from Central, South Carolina, Graham’s announcement was folksy as a mint julep. “Some of you have known me since my family lived in the back of the bar in that building,” he said, pointing to the structure that served as a pool hall, restaurant, liquor store and one-room home, acccording to the Greenville Online. “But I’m pretty sure no one here, including me, ever expected to hear me say: I’m Lindsey Graham, and I’m running for president of the United States of America.”

With the small football-team worth of GOP contenders that have either officially declared or have made it clear that they will do so soon, it’s difficult to see exactly what Graham — who isn’t the most beloved Republican in Senate by a longshot — sees as a winning blueprint. Still, media outlets are more than happy to give him a moment in the sun to pretend he is a legitimate contender.

The Bloomberg Politics team claims he has a “pragmatic streak” that makes it possible for him to be a true, plausible candidate. “Neither climate change policy nor immigration reform has been an especially high priority for many South Carolina Republicans,” the editors write. “But Graham backed the proposals, reached out to make deals with senators in both parties and trusted he could sell the merits to his constituents. That’s leadership.”

Perhaps so. It’s also the type of politicking that has most of the GOP declaring him a RINO (Republican In Name Only). Maybe that is why his main goal in the race appears to be a desire to play a little kingmaking. “But even if he won’t become President, Graham will be a player in the chase for the White House: as a hawk in a party with renewed focused on the threat of Islamic terrorism; as an agitator whose folksy style masks a taste for skewering his rivals; and as a potential kingmaker, whose base of support in the nation’s first southern primary state gives him the potential to tip a tight contest with an endorsement,” writes Time.com.

Nine candidates officially in. How many more are still to come? Expect June to be yet another big month for hat throwing and official proclamations.