Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Kidsploitation: Santorum's Son Wants Your Shekels!

Lost in the midst of Santorum Housegate was a recent article which pointed out just how much Rick is using his children to shill for him. It made me think; no wonder he and the wife were so upset about the faux prowling, without Elizabeth and Jonathan and the rest, who would front for the campaign?

I refer specifically to a piece that ran in the Patriot-News on Sunday, May 14th. In it, writer Brett Lieberman pointed out the following;

"An e-mail with the subject line "Surprise My Dad"-- purportedly from Jonathan and sent to thousands of supporters -- included a picture of the Santorum family and asked for $48 contributions for the senator's birthday."

Tell you what folks, in my book this is outrageous. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't think that Senator Santorum should be relying on his youngsters to help raise money for him in such a direct and clearly manipulative fashion. Let's face it, as much as Jonathan loves his dad and wants him to win, this is way over the line. And "Surprise My Dad?" Doesn't it go without saying that this had to be approved by the righteous Senator before it ever saw the light of day? Where's the surprise? To me the only surprise is that Rick's base didn't revolt against this specious bit of flotsam. Is raising money now a "family value?"

Mind you, I'm not surprised. Families have been "used" in campaign commercials right from the start. There is no going back. We'll see all manner of kids romping with their candidate parents this year, but to have your children come right out and ask for donations is just plain...well....creepy.

And as to whether this sort of campaign tactic rises to the level of kidsploitation, long-time Santorum friend and advisor John Brabender said this,

"There is a right place and time. Voters are smart enough to understand when it is appropriate and when it is exploitation," Brabender said. "Children should never be part of a negative attack."

Which means, I guess, that anything and everything is fair game when it comes to the kids, short of an all-out "swift boating." That Brabender and Santorum don't view this exploitation of Johnny and Elizabeth as wrong tells you something very important, and troubling, about the candidate and his enablers.

[You can read the entire Patriot-News article I quoted by going here.