A good rule of thumb is this old world is to beware of ANYONE steadfastly rigid in their moral and/or ethical beliefs as to pronounce them as the only way for others to live. Ye not judge lest ye BE judged.
So here we have the case of Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, one of THE most conservative Republicans in the nation and seen, by a few, as possible presidential timber in 2008. Damn few, if you ask me.
You remember, Mr. Santorum during the distinguished Terri Schiavo debate held last year. He wore the “holier than thou” mantle proudly to keep this poor woman artificially alive despite what every court in the nation and Florida pronounced.
Well, one of the old reliable issues used by Republicans on ANY governmental level is to complain about frivolous malpractice lawsuits and disproportionate jury awards – all of which they claim need major reformation and ALWAYS at the expense of the people initiating the action (regardless of the harm done to them).
However, it seems that the folks at ABC News’ “Primetime” did some snoop-dogging and it seems as if SOME unnamed critics whose initials might be Rick Santorum CLAIM to be in favor of massive tort reform, BUT … have been the beneficiary themselves from the very laws they bitch about the loudest.
And the benefit is money, baby. Long green. Cold, hard cash.
In prior years, Santorum has lobbied and tried to legislate what he has called medical lawsuit abuse, calling for a $250,000 cap on non-economic damage awards or awards for pain and suffering. He has said is the top health issue crisis in Pennsylvania, as has almost every other GOP card carrying member.
“We need to do something now to fix the medical liability problem in this country,” he declared at a Washington D.C rally this past spring.
How noble … except for the FACT that Santorum’s wife, Karen, once (in 1999) sued a doctor for $500,000 on a claim that a screwed-up spinal manipulation by a chiropractor led to back surgery, pain and suffering. She sued for TWICE the cap amount dear old hubby supported.
So the producers at “nightline” hunted Senator Santorum down as a book signing in the Keystone State last August after the junior senator refused on-camera interviews on this subject.
When asked if he believed his stance and history were “conflicted,” he told them, “I guess I could answer that in two ways. Number one is that I’ve supported caps. I’ve been very clear that I am not wedded at all to a $250,000 cap and I’ve said publicly repeatedly, and I think probably that is somewhat low, and that we need to look at what I think is a cap that is a little bit higher than that.”
However … Santorum HAS sponsored or co-sponsored a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages … TWICE … and even testified in his wife’s case against the doctor. Santorum told the jury that he had to carry the laundry upstairs for his wife. Because she suffered humiliation from weight gain, she no longer had the confidence to help him on the campaign trail.
“Of course I’m going to support my wife in her endeavors,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that I agree with everything that she does.”
Coward! Blame your wife for your hypocrisy.
The tale was SO moving; the jury awarded Karen Santorum the princely sum of $350,000 – more than allowed under his proposed cap.
“That’s where again you’re misled is that a lot of, there was cumulative damages,” he said. “The medical bills, lost income, all those other things that were out there.”
Oops, Senator Rick, those medical bills actually totaled … $18,800, yet your wife sued for $500,000.
And that crap about lost income? The good ole judge never mentioned THAT when he took his judicial ginsu and sliced the jury’s award in half, stating that it was “excessive.”
The judge also stated that the remaining damages “awarded amounted to something in the neighborhood of $330,000 or so for injuries sustained and the effect upon Mrs. Santorum’s health, her past and future pain and suffering and inconvenience.”
Shouldn’t the principle hold that what is good for the Senatorial goose be good for the rest of us ganders?
Not when you’re Rick Santorum. You live in your own special world and we aren’t part of it. But what do you expect? Integrity? Puh-leeze (rhymes with sleaze).