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Santorum’s new cause: opposing the disabled

Posted by on Nov. 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM
  • 28 Replies
http://www.washingtonpost.com/santorums-new-cause-opposing-the-disabled/2012/11/26/9ab0605a-3829-11e2-b01f-5f55b193f58f_story.html

President-unelect Rick Santorum made his triumphant return to the Capitol on Monday afternoon and took up a brave new cause: He is opposing disabled people. Specifically, Santorum, joined by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), declared his wish that the Senate reject the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities - a human rights treaty negotiated during George W. Bush's administration and ratified by 126 nations, including China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Saudi Arabia. 425 Comments Weigh In Corrections? Personal Post Dana Milbank Dana Milbank writes a regular column on politics. Archive @Milbank Facebook RSS You may also like... Ruth Marcus Clothes make the woman Richard Cohen When muscle mattered less The former presidential candidate pronounced his "grave concerns" about the treaty, which forbids discrimination against people with AIDS, who are blind, who use wheelchairs and the like. "This is a direct assault on us," he declared at a news conference. Lee, a tea party favorite, said he, too, has "grave concerns" about the document's threat to American sovereignty. "I will do everything I can to block its ratification, and I have secured the signatures of 36 Republican senators, all of whom have joined with me saying that we will oppose any ratification of any treaty during this lame-duck session." Lame or not, Santorum and Lee recognized that it looks bad to be disadvantaging the disabled in their quest for fair treatment. The former senator from Pennsylvania praised Lee for having "the courage to stand up on an issue that doesn't look to be particularly popular to be opposed." Courageous? Or just contentious? The treaty requires virtually nothing of the United States. It essentially directs the other signatories to update their laws so that they more closely match the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even Lee thought it necessary to preface his opposition with the qualifier that "our concerns with this convention have nothing to do with any lack of concern for the rights of persons with disabilities." Their concerns, rather, came from the dark world of U.N. conspiracy theories. The opponents argue that the treaty, like most everything the United Nations does, undermines American sovereignty - in this case via a plot to keep Americans from home-schooling their children and making other decisions about their well-being. The treaty does no such thing; if it had such sinister aims, it surely wouldn't have the support of disabilities and veterans groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Republican senators such as John McCain (Ariz.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.), and conservative legal minds such as Boyden Gray and Dick Thornburgh. But the opposition is significant, because it shows the ravages of the Senate's own disability: If members can't even agree to move forward on an innocuous treaty to protect the disabled, how are they to agree on something as charged as the "fiscal cliff"? And although the number of senators who actually oppose the treaty - such as Lee, Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.) - is probably quite small, Lee's boast of 36 signatures means he has persuaded enough of his colleagues to block action, at least temporarily. (Treaties require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass.) Santorum made an emotional appeal, even bringing his daughter Bella, who has a severe birth defect, to the Senate hearing room for the event. "There's no benefit to the United States from passing it," he said, as Bella wriggled in her mother's arms. "But what it does is open up a Pandora's box for the most vulnerable among us: children with disabilities." Yet the opponents couldn't agree on how this box would be opened. "Do I believe that states will pass laws or have to pass laws in conformity with the U.N. edict?" Santorum asked himself. "Do we have to amend IDEA?" the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. "I don't have any fear anytime soon that IDEA will be amended. But I do have concerns that people will go to courts and they will use this standard in this convention." This was contradicted by the next man at the microphone, home-schooling advocate Mike Farris, who pointed out that the document has a provision stating that "you can't go to court automatically. You must have implementing legislation first" - the very thing Santorum says he does not expect to happen. Still, their spurious theory of a U.N. takeover of parenting was enough to lead Lee and Santorum to oppose a treaty that would extend American values worldwide and guarantee disabled people equal treatment, and freedom from torture and exploitation. Santorum justified his opposition by saying that other countries wouldn't actually enforce the provisions. "It does not provide any moral leadership," he said. But in this fight against rights for the disabled, Santorum doesn't have a leg to stand on.
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by on Nov. 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM
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29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 11:41 AM
6 moms liked this

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.

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by 2HotTacoTini on Nov. 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Santorum Campaigns on His Disabled Daughter but Opposes Disability Rights

Lisa Simpson says prayer is the last refuge of scoundrels, but what if you already pray every day, as the ostentatiously devout Rick Santorum presumably does? Despite practically moving to Iowa to campaign for president, despite having impeccable conservative and personal morality credentials, and despite constant Republican dissatisfaction with their candidates, the former Pennsylvania senator just can’t seem to catch on.

So Santorum has resorted to exploiting his youngest child’s disability for political gain. In a new ad, Santorum holds his young daughter who was born with Trisomy 18, a condition similar to Down Syndrome, as he talks about her health struggles and his love for her.

“Some people describe people like Bella as ‘disabled children,’ ” Santorum says. “I look at her and I look at the joy, the simplicity, the love she emits, and it’s clear to that we are the disabled ones, not her.” I find it offensive that Santorum uses “disabled” as a synonym for small-minded or otherwise flawed. It’s akin to saying “retarded” as a synonym for stupid (e.g., “it’s clear that we are the retarded ones, not her”). But we know what he means and let’s give him credit for meaning well.

Unfortunately, this sentiment does not in any way relate to Santorum’s policy proposals or platform. And that’s the problem. Disability is a legitimate political issue, but not in the way that Santorum uses it. People with disabilities need real policy commitments, not feel-good commercials. Chiefly, say advocates, those policies are: robust protection from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), adequate funding and enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), and sufficient funding with the right priorities for health insurance and long term care. On every single one of these, Santorum, like nearly every other Republican, is either silent or in the wrong.

The ADA has been gutted by conservative judges, invariably Republican appointees, who have ruled that requiring state or local governments to make facilities accessible to people with disabilities violates states rights. When he was a senator, Santorum routinely voted in favor of George W. Bush’s anti–civil rights judicial nominees, without ever raising the question of how their rulings might impact people with disabilities. Nothing he has said on the campaign trail suggests he would take a different approach as president.

On education, Santorum’s fiscal conservatism is contrary to meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Santorum has pledged to “cut back a lot in the Department of Education.” That’s the Department responsible for overseeing IDEA. Santorum acknowledged there are programs “that may still need to be provided for on the federal level,” but IDEA is not one he mentioned.

As for healthcare, Santorum has taken advantage of his daughter’s disability to denigrate a proposal that was very much in the interests of people with disabilities, namely healthcare reform. Speaking in Iowa in April, Santorum claimed that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will deny coverage to children such as his daughter Bella. ““I look at how society with socialized medicine treats children like Bella, and children like Bella don’t survive, Children like Bella are not given the treatment that other children are given.” This is false. As Think Progress noted: “the law actually prevents insurance carriers from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions (and disabilities), prohibits health plans from putting a lifetime dollar limit on benefits and offers new options for long-term care. This why groups like the American Association of People with Disabilities, National Organization For Rare Disorders, and The Arc of the United States not only support the law, but have gone filed an amicus brief [sic] in its defense.”

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD’s) board chair responded in a letter at the time, writing, “We find the comments of Sen. Rick Santorum in his recent visit to Iowa regrettable and misleading.… AAPD firmly believes that the ACA advances health care coverage broadly for those with all types of disabilities. Most important, the ACA eliminates the use of pre-existing conditions to deny insurance to people with disabilities, like Senator Santorum’s daughter Isabella.”

So Santorum’s campaign pledge to repeal the ACA is the opposite of support for people with disabilities. “When you talk about valuing people with disabilities, is there a policy behind that?” asks Lara Schwartz, spokesperson for AAPD. “Most people with disabilities don’t have a dad who is a former senator. For them medical care, long-term care and education are potentially bank-breaking issues. Santorum should make sure everyone has the opportunities his daughter does.”


29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 12:08 PM
4 moms liked this

This country does NOT need a UN resolution/treaty/whatever to keep us mindful of our disabled citizens!!  Anyone ever heard of the ADA?? 

Carpy
by Platinum Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 12:19 PM
6 moms liked this
I would oppose it as well. We are sovereign nation and should not be under the dictates of the UN, for ANYTHING.
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mikiemom
by Silver Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 12:29 PM

The UN carries weight around the world because of the US backing, ratifying this treaty protects disabled people around the globe for the love of pete why are you against that. I think the hatred and vitriol displayed on this issue shows the true heart of the GOP - it is as evil as they come.

Quoting 29again:

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.


29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM
2 moms liked this

No, actually I believe the UN is evil.  How does one country protecting the rights of the disabled protect their rights in all the other countries?  And if this is the case, then why is this even necessary, since we have had the ADA for a couple of decades, at least.  WE have laws to protect our disabled citizens, why is that not sufficient?  Why are OUR laws not enough to protect disabled people around the globe?  If other countries whose leaders are not so inclined feel the need to be pushed by the UN to do what is right, that is their perogative.  However, the US does NOT need that kind of oversight!  If you want to be controlled by the UN, there are plenty of countries where that could be arranged.  I happen to not want the UN to control my life, tyvm. 

Quoting mikiemom:

The UN carries weight around the world because of the US backing, ratifying this treaty protects disabled people around the globe for the love of pete why are you against that. I think the hatred and vitriol displayed on this issue shows the true heart of the GOP - it is as evil as they come.

Quoting 29again:

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.



mikiemom
by Silver Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM

That's exactly what this treaty does. The UN is not evil they do much good around the world. The UN has no intention of ruling your life. You are basing this on scare tactics that are not real - conspiracy theories that are perpetuated to keep people like you in line. Seriously you need to research the UN before you decide they are not needed in this world.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml 

Quoting 29again:

No, actually I believe the UN is evil.  How does one country protecting the rights of the disabled protect their rights in all the other countries?  And if this is the case, then why is this even necessary, since we have had the ADA for a couple of decades, at least.  WE have laws to protect our disabled citizens, why is that not sufficient?  Why are OUR laws not enough to protect disabled people around the globe?  If other countries whose leaders are not so inclined feel the need to be pushed by the UN to do what is right, that is their perogative.  However, the US does NOT need that kind of oversight!  If you want to be controlled by the UN, there are plenty of countries where that could be arranged.  I happen to not want the UN to control my life, tyvm. 

Quoting mikiemom:

The UN carries weight around the world because of the US backing, ratifying this treaty protects disabled people around the globe for the love of pete why are you against that. I think the hatred and vitriol displayed on this issue shows the true heart of the GOP - it is as evil as they come.

Quoting 29again:

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.

 



mikiemom
by Silver Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 1:07 PM
1 mom liked this

And the UN recognizes that and does not interfere with the sovereignty of any of it's nation members. First page of the charter that I posted.

Quoting Carpy:

I would oppose it as well. We are sovereign nation and should not be under the dictates of the UN, for ANYTHING.


Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM
3 moms liked this

She is simply Anti-American.  Anything that diminishes America, she luvs.

Quoting 29again:

No, actually I believe the UN is evil.  How does one country protecting the rights of the disabled protect their rights in all the other countries?  And if this is the case, then why is this even necessary, since we have had the ADA for a couple of decades, at least.  WE have laws to protect our disabled citizens, why is that not sufficient?  Why are OUR laws not enough to protect disabled people around the globe?  If other countries whose leaders are not so inclined feel the need to be pushed by the UN to do what is right, that is their perogative.  However, the US does NOT need that kind of oversight!  If you want to be controlled by the UN, there are plenty of countries where that could be arranged.  I happen to not want the UN to control my life, tyvm. 

Quoting mikiemom:

The UN carries weight around the world because of the US backing, ratifying this treaty protects disabled people around the globe for the love of pete why are you against that. I think the hatred and vitriol displayed on this issue shows the true heart of the GOP - it is as evil as they come.

Quoting 29again:

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.

 



29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2012 at 1:10 PM
2 moms liked this

So, then, you support the UN's CRC?  Really?  You think a board of whoever can tell you better how to raise your child?  And yet, I'm the one buying into so-called conspiracy theories and scare tactics to keep me in line.  And I need to research the UN.  Tell me, who needs to keep me in line, and for what purpose? 


(btw, why won't you answer my questions in the other thread?  just curious.)

Quoting mikiemom:

That's exactly what this treaty does. The UN is not evil they do much good around the world. The UN has no intention of ruling your life. You are basing this on scare tactics that are not real - conspiracy theories that are perpetuated to keep people like you in line. Seriously you need to research the UN before you decide they are not needed in this world.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter1.shtml 

Quoting 29again:

No, actually I believe the UN is evil.  How does one country protecting the rights of the disabled protect their rights in all the other countries?  And if this is the case, then why is this even necessary, since we have had the ADA for a couple of decades, at least.  WE have laws to protect our disabled citizens, why is that not sufficient?  Why are OUR laws not enough to protect disabled people around the globe?  If other countries whose leaders are not so inclined feel the need to be pushed by the UN to do what is right, that is their perogative.  However, the US does NOT need that kind of oversight!  If you want to be controlled by the UN, there are plenty of countries where that could be arranged.  I happen to not want the UN to control my life, tyvm. 

Quoting mikiemom:

The UN carries weight around the world because of the US backing, ratifying this treaty protects disabled people around the globe for the love of pete why are you against that. I think the hatred and vitriol displayed on this issue shows the true heart of the GOP - it is as evil as they come.

Quoting 29again:

We already have laws on many levels that prohibit the discrimination of disabled people.  There is absolutely NO need for a UN treaty of this nature.  In fact, there is no need for a treaty with the UN on any matter.  They need to just go away.





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