Tube City Almanac

November 17, 2008

Pete and Repeat

Category: General Nonsense, Rants a.k.a. Commentary || By

Editor's Note: Due to circumstances beyond our control, we're a little bit swamped.

Here's a "classic" (read: "crummy old rerun") Almanac from the archives. It originally appeared Nov. 26, 2004.

Luckily, this topic was back in the news again this month, which makes it semi-timely.

. . .

News item: Santorum's Penn Hills house gets occupancy permit

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has cleared up another issue that arose after the Penn Hills School District began investigating whether he is a Penn Hills resident.

The municipality yesterday inspected the home he and his wife, Karen, own on Stephens Lane and granted them an occupancy permit. ....

(Code officer Mary Lou) Flinn said the residents are listed as Alyssa DeLuca, Rick Santorum's niece; her husband, Bart, who is not related to Penn Hills Mayor Anthony DeLuca Jr.; and a child. ...

In the county for jury duty yesterday, Santorum, who has six children, said, "We have a nice arrangement there. It works out well. Candidly, we just sort of work it out.

"Sometimes, a couple of my kids stay over there [with the niece and her husband]. We get to stay at grandma's house, and a couple of kids go over and stay with their cousin. To me, that's a family situation.

"I don't know what people's business that is, to be very honest with you. The fact is, I own a home, pay taxes, reside here, go to jury duty. To me, this is much ado about nothing.

"We usually stay at the in-laws. They raised 10 kids there, so they have plenty of room for us. They [niece and her husband] house sit for us; they watch the house."

. . .

You know, Sen. Santorum and I go way back. When I was in college, and Santorum was a freshman legislator, I had a weekly comic strip in the student paper that was semi-biographical and about the Mon Valley. (Come to think of it, it was a low-tech version of the Almanac.)

One week, I introduced a new character --- a conservative, young, and slightly dim congressman named "Rich Sanitarium." (As you can tell, my leaden rapier was every bit as dull back then as it is now.)

A group of College Republicans who hosted a talk-show on the school radio station had Santorum as a guest that week, and he and they took the time to denounce me, which delighted those of us in the newspaper office at the time, any publicity being good publicity.

Nevertheless, I kind of liked Santorum, and I can particularly remember taking a special trip home on one Election Day to vote for him. Who knew that our little joke would eventually get out of control?

Since the Senator and I have this relationship, I thought I'd take today to write a special letter to my friend.

Dear Senator:

The "people's business" is that if I went to Virginia and registered to vote as a Democrat but lived full-time in Pennsylvania, the Republican Party would be all over me like fleas on dogs, and rightfully so. New York Republicans nearly blew their fuses when Hillary arrived to run for the Senate, but at least her husband is living in Chappaqua and keeps his office in Harlem (that is when he's not in Arkansas screwing around with his godawful library --- how big is that thing, anyway? It's at least a double-wide).

You know, the right-wing is fond of talking about the "founding fathers" and the "framers' intent." Well, as I recall it, the framers intended our elected leaders --- that's you, Torquemada --- to be part-time legislators, and to live among the citizens they represent. That's so they would understand the problems and issues facing their constituents.

I realize that the life of a Senator can be awful busy, what with the 160 days of work per year, and the free office, and the paid staff, and the meals with the lobbyists and all that. But perhaps you might find some time if you gave up being the self-appointed moral arbiter of the United States, and instead came home. That's your Penn Hills "home," not the place in Virginia where you actually live.

You remember Penn Hills, right? That's where the taxpayers have been paying to send your kids to charter school, even though you only come back to visit. It's kind of funny to people in Penn Hills, because you apparently don't think you should actually have to (gasp) live amongst the teeming wretched refuse of eastern Allegheny County, but you have no problem if they pay your way.

It's a funny thing. Some of the refuse is feeling a little slighted. I can't imagine why.

There's also a precedent here. You know, once upon a time, there was a U.S. representative who didn't live in the South Hills congressional district that he was supposed to represent. It seems he was spending most of the year in Washington, D.C., instead. Along came an young opponent who pointed out the very same hypocrisies that I've just pointed out. The good burghers of that district rose up in their righteous indignation and tossed the bum out of office.

Remember that? You should, because that's when Doug Walgren lost his seat, and Pennsylvania's little treasure named Rick Santorum went national.

Anyway, if you ever need directions to Penn Hills, let me know. (It's east of Pittsburgh, which is exit 57 off of the Turnpike. And more good news: Because of the strike, the tolls are reduced this weekend!)

In the meantime, if the carpetbag fits, then wear it.

Your Pal, Jason

Your Comments are Welcome!

Good go Jason! I’ve always wanted to say something like that about Mr. Santorum but can’t get the words from my brain to the paper. Thanks for saying it for me. (and I’m sure thousands of others in the area)
Bill - November 18, 2008

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