Santorum Filibusters 300 in Brentwood

Rick Santorum was in demand after his Brentwood town meeting.

Fresh off his Iowa surge, Rick Santorum returned to New Hampshire for a town hall meeting at the Rockingham County Nursing Home Wednesday night. By the time he was done taking questions, some of the attendees may have considered inquiring about the availability of rooms, they had aged so much.

More than 300 people – fortunately, none of them a fire marshal – and maybe 50 journalists packed the room to hear Santorum. And listen to Santorum talk they did. Santorum spoke for about twelve minutes before taking questions for 1 hour, 22 minutes, testing the endurance of the speaker and the attention span of his audience. Santorum fielded 14 questions during that time, meaning his average answer took nearly six minutes. Several of his answers went on considerably longer than that. Santorum was longwinded and at times did not seem to notice that his audience had stopped paying attention. Santorum seemed compelled to prove to his audience just how much he knows about any topic imaginable. At times Santorum sounded like a college professor teaching a seminar. At other times he sounded like he was back on the floor of the U.S. Senate filibustering some bill.

You wanna talk health insurance loss ratios? Santorum knows something about that. Need a primer on the difference between the finances of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income? Santorum’s your expert.            

There were recurrent themes to Santorum’s remarks. President Obama is bent on using the “narcotic of government dependency” to gradually take away people’s freedom. The President fundamentally doubts that most people are capable of making good decisions about things affecting their own lives and believes instead that government knows best. “The more dependent he can make you, the more power he has over you,” Santorum warned.

More than 300 people jammed into the Rockingham Co Nursing Home to hear Santorum.

Questions concerned deference to courts (Santorum’s against that); Social Security (at least one questioner seemed perfectly content to be dependent on that government program, thank you very much); insider trading among members of Congress (bad); welfare reform (good); rebuilding the manufacturing sector of the economy (desirable); the National Labor Relations Board (abused by the President); climate change; the Second Amendment (Santorum’s for it); the Tenth Amendment (for that one, too); and Israel (for them as well).

Asked why one of his nephews is not supporting Santorum, the former senator responded with humor, acknowledging that the young man, 19, supports Ron Paul and that “it’s a phase.”

Santorum’s closing pitch boiled down to urging the voters not to settle, not to buy into the idea that only a moderate can get elected, and not to listen to the pundits who tell them it’s all wrapped up: “How many pundits have been right over the last six months about what was going to happen?”

He’s right about that.

 fergus@ferguscullen.com, January 4, 2012

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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