Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has announced plans to form a presidential exploratory committee! Santorum is, of course, the anal sex byproduct candidate, but he's so much more than that, too—he's also the family values candidate:
In his Senate office, on a shelf next to an autographed baseball, Sen. Rick Santorum keeps a framed photo of his son Gabriel Michael, the fourth of his seven children. Named for two archangels, Gabriel Michael was born prematurely, at 20 weeks, on Oct. 11, 1996, and lived two hours outside the womb.
Upon their son's death, Rick and Karen Santorum opted not to bring his body to a funeral home. Instead, they bundled him in a blanket and drove him to Karen's parents' home in Pittsburgh. There, they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel with his three siblings, ages 6, 4 and 1 1/2. They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass.
We were going to list all the nutty stuff Santorum has done and said, like the time he blamed the Catholic Church abuse scandal on the city of Boston or the time he didn't understand why American blacks aren't uniformly anti-choice, but that would take us almost forever, and besides, what more can you ask for besides "they spent several hours kissing and cuddling Gabriel... They took photos, sang lullabies in his ear and held a private Mass."
Update: It seems many of you feel very strongly about Rick Santorum's right to take the 20-week-old fetus (which is not the same thing as a "dead child"!) home, and then tell The Washington Post about it, and then not get made fun of at all. Which is fine! We are all delicate flowers who mourn loss in various delicate ways, etc. My mistake was perhaps that I didn't explain what was additionally loathsome about Santorum's fetus playdate—that is, its deployment as anti-choice propaganda:
He and Karen brought Gabriel's body home so their children could "absorb and understand that they had a brother," Santorum says. "We wanted them to see that he was real," not an abstraction, he says. Not a "fetus," either, as Rick and Karen were appalled to see him described — "a 20-week-old fetus" — on a hospital form. They changed the form to read "20-week-old baby."
Karen Santorum, a former nurse, wrote letters to her son during and after her pregnancy. She compiled them into a book, "Letters to Gabriel," a collection of prayers, Bible passages and a chronicle of the prenatal complications that led to Gabriel's premature delivery. At one point, her doctor raised the prospect of an abortion, an "option" Karen ridicules. "Letters to Gabriel" also derides "pro-abortion activists" and decries the "infanticide" of "partial-birth abortion," the legality of which Rick Santorum was then debating in the Senate. The book reads, in places, like a call to action.