Saturday, May 14, 2011

How Does Rick Santorum Really Feel About Soldiers?

As an Old Soldier, I always look behind the scenes to see what people do that affects the Military rather than their “public pronouncements” when I want to know their true feelings about us. This is something I intend to do here in my Blog for the 2012 Presidential contenders as they make their announcements and the first one I want to examine is former Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum. Rick recently announced his intentions to run for the Republican nomination.

Although Rick has never donned a uniform in defense of his nation, while in both the House and Senate he supported every military intervention that came down the pike which clearly marks him as a consummate “chicken hawk.” Always ready to send your kids into harms way but not himself or anyone related to him.

Probably the best example of Rick looking out for Soldiers happened back in 1998 when he (and Ted Kennedy) tried to screw disabled and disadvantaged retired enlisted service members by trying to sneak a little-noticed amendment into an unrelated bill requiring the Old Soldiers' and Airmen's Home to sell some of its property to the Catholic University of America and only to Catholic University. In other words, there would be no free market bidding. True Kennedy was the senior partner and member of the Armed Services Committee at the time so was "leader" of this "screwing team" but Santorum was his enthusiastic partner in crime.

The Old Soldiers' Home, as it is called, is where enlisted members can retire and get care if they have no other options and it is funded by a small monthly deduction from enlisted pay. The Department of Defense and Congress have refused to raise the deduction amount but the demand has remained steady thus resulting in a large budget deficit.

The Home rests on many undeveloped acres in Washington, DC, so it was decided that it ought to sell some of its property to the highest bidder, in order to raise funds to continue its worthy work. Its Catholic University neighbor had its own designs on the property but did not feel like paying market price so they approached Santorum and Kennedy who eagerly slipped in the amendment forcing the Home to sell to the university at a price about one-third of the appraised value.

Retired soldiers were outraged when they learned what had happened so held a press conference. Once “outted,” neither Santorum nor Kennedy could defended their attempt to screw Old Soldiers to get Catholic University a steal so they were forced to amend the law.

The right result would have been to open the bidding to everyone and to let the Home take the best offer. Instead, Rick forced a bidding process where Catholic University was given the right of first refusal on any "high" bid which seriously depressed the bidding. In the end, Rick, Ted and Catholic University still screwed the Old Soldiers but not nearly as badly as they wanted to!

If Rick were to ever be elected President, which I must admit is highly unlikely; I expect the Military could look forward to this same type of questionable treatment. This is one Old Soldier that hopes that never happens.