The candidacies of Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are implicitly challenging voters with hard questions about the nature of society and enterprise.
WORLD has long appreciated Santorum's energy and commitment: See a profile and interviews on April 30, 2005; Oct. 23, 2010; and Aug. 13, 2011. His dogged trek through Iowa's 99 counties earned him a solid alternative-to-Romney position. Now he's the subject of a new political experiment: Can a candidate survive when his honesty has brought him fierce and unceasing opposition from gay activists?
Santorum has voiced more than any other candidate the understanding that moral issues are not purely private affairs, because if families weaken, government gets bigger. Uncared-for children mean more social workers. Adultery means more courts. One household becoming two generally means more poverty. Unmarried motherhood generally means more welfare.
Santorum has not shied away from critiquing what I'd call two-ism-the illogical proposition that marriage, once it becomes something for all to define as they see it, should be only between two people. Why not one man and four women, as Muslims contend? And if that view is legit, why not one woman and four men (let's not be sexist) or any other combination?
Romney now must decide how he'll answer questions about his work at Bain Capital in trying to turn around failing companies. It's all very well to talk about creating jobs, but sometimes turnarounds mean closing parts of a company and firing some employees to preserve the jobs of others. Can the American public handle that truth about companies? Can we handle the parallel truth that we must cut government programs-and it won't be painless?
What both candidates know is that unless we have a turnaround in our cultural anarchy and government bloat, America will fail.