Grassroots Commentary

The Major Issue Is Not the Economy...

By Joan Fischer · Feb. 22, 2012

…but the Lack of Integrity and Morality in Our Leadership

Many Americans, conservatives among them, have been voicing the opinion that social issues have no part in campaign debates, are criticizing Rick Santorum for placing them in the forefront of his campaign, and are branding him as unelectable as a result.

I take issue with those points of view for two reasons: Firstly, social issues, when considered in their broadest sense, should play a major role in any campaign and none other than our Founders cautioned us to demand that they do. Secondly, it is not Rick Santorum who is declaring that social issues are the entire focus of his campaign; it is the left-leaning media.

John Adams, and most of the other Founders in their own way, cautioned, “Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other.”

A conservative candidate’s focus on social issues, issues regarding abortion, contraception, sexual openness, the breakdown of the family, etc., generally has at its core a desire to do what is right. The definition of what is right differs from person to person, based on his religion, upbringing, etc., but when social issues are of genuine concern to a candidate the desire to define and do what is right is personal and passionate, and it takes second place to no other. That central desire is something that is lacking in much of modern American leadership today, especially at the highest levels. 

During the era of Clinton-Lewinsky, the American people were, for the most, part appalled at the personal morals of the man in the oval office. His character also came into play many other times during his two terms in the White House, but was most obvious during his impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice. Nonetheless, the majority of the citizenry re-elected him because the state of the economy was more important to them than the character of the man serving as their president. We all took part in debates about character during the Clinton years. 

Fast forward more than a decade and the American people are once again declaring that the economy is the major issue in this election. And yet why is the American economy imploding? The crisis is largely the result of the fact that our leadership in D.C. is sorely lacking in character. Corruption and lying have become a way of life, and the goal of being a public servant has given way to the goal of promoting an leftist agenda and amassing as much power and wealth as possible, and the nation’s security, prosperity and fiscal and monetary integrity be damned. 

The state of the economy is just one symptom of a pernicious disease. Lack of morals/character in leadership is the underlying disease. Seeking to do what is right for the country no longer plays a primary role in decision-making in Washington, D.C. If we simply vote for the candidate who stresses “fixing” the economy, without considering his character and his willingness to stand on firmly-held convictions no matter the political cost, we are declaring ourselves more interested in treating the symptoms rather than eradicating the disease.

Despite what the mainstream media would have us believe, the candidate with character, the candidate who has deeply-held beliefs regarding social issues, is not going to insist that his personal convictions be forced down the throats of the rest of the country. He will not rule by executive order. He will not appoint dozens of czars to usurp constitutionally-designated powers from the legislative branch. He will respect constitutional parameters and call upon his moral convictions to do what is right, rather than what is politically expedient or part of a political agenda.

Rick Santorum has not made social issues the centerpiece of his campaign, not because he does not have strong and unwavering opinions on them, but because his belief system is the foundation on which he has built honest policies regarding, and realistic plans to attack, every crisis that is facing America. He very much wants to express his views on illegal immigration, the failing economy, the death of American manufacturing, the threat of radical Islam, etc., and he does so extremely effectively and passionately in his stump speeches.

However the mainstream media consistently attempt to see to it that any interviews in which he is involved focus almost entirely on social issues, simply because they know that doing so will indeed make him unelectable, because the citizenry will then begin to minimize, or believe non-existent, his experience and expertise in other areas that they may believe to be more pressing. The media would have us believe that a conservative candidate’s devotion to principle is part of a zero sum game, that such devotion is an unhealthy, all-consuming obsession of sorts, somehow not leaving room for the ability to tackle real-world problems. In reality, it is such devotion to principle that serves as the catalyst for honest, genuine, common sense, moral solutions to real-world problems. I offer two words as evidence: Ronald Reagan. 

One recent of countless examples of the media’s zero-sum game plan: The day before I sat here at my computer, Rick Santorum delivered in Michigan a major 50-minute speech on energy independence, restoring America’s manufacturing base and the repercussions of federal bailouts, outlining in detail his plans for attacking all three, yet not a word of this speech has been mentioned by the mainstream media. Santorum delivers major speeches almost daily on those three topics, as well as the threat of radical Islam, and his plans to reduce the national debt and curb entitlement spending, and the mainstream media simply cover their eyes and hold their ears, pretending those speeches never occurred.

Yet whenever Rick is interviewed by any mainstream outlet, they insist on relentlessly hammering on his stances on social issues, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. Of course snippets of those interviews are what the average American sees on his television screen every night, so the average American comes away with the notion that Santorum is merely a one-trick pony who wants to speak about nothing else, and who may not even have a deep understanding of anything beyond the issues of abortion or birth control.

If the results of November’s election are to steer our republic back onto the path our Founders so painstakingly laid, the campaign mantra “It’s the economy, stupid” needs to give way to the belief that the state of the economy, no matter how fractured, must be considered secondary to the need for integrity in our elected officials, and a willingness to hold a biased media accountable for their skewed effect on the election process.

Franklin’s prophetic warning, when asked if America was a republic or a monarchy, “A republic, if you can keep it”, will find itself sorely tested between now and November. We must not allow our concerns about the economy to trump our far more urgent need to elect leaders of integrity. Likewise, we must not allow the unelected, unaccountable media to paint distorted portraits of our candidates. Allowing ourselves to follow the piper who would have us attack the symptom of a failing economy rather than the disease of corruption in leadership will do nothing more than weaken, if not dismantle, the foundations upon which our republic was built. Keeping our republic may amount to nothing less than demanding that virtue in leadership, and truth in journalism, will not be compromised.

Joan Fischer is a freelance writer from Lancaster, PA, and may be reached at


Eleanor in AK said:

The Conservatives should therefore circumvent the Mainstream media. Reach out via Twitter, Facebook, You Tube. Pay Google for top spot on the search engine results. Buy billboards. Buy time on Christian media, EWTN, Wilkins Communications, etc. Why are the Conservatives spending money in the Times, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, etc.? Don't you think the public would be better informed if the media friendly to the Conservative, family values, Limited Government, Constitutional Government messages had the resources of the Liberal Media? A Conservative paying for an ad on NBC is like a man paying a rapist to assault his sister!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 2:02 PM

Steve said:

I agree that immorality and social dysfunction are huge problems that threaten America's future. The Founders did repeatedly state that morality and religion were essential to our form of government.This is because we are a republic that is vulnerable to the same flaws that make democracy suicidal. The Founders tried to prevent the "Tyranny of the Majority" with checks and balances, the electoral college and other means. To paraphrase Ben Franklin, "Liberty will be lost when the voters learn they can vote themselves monies from the treasury."Usurpers have destroyed the republic the Founders gave us. Lincoln, FDR and LBJ were central figures in converting our federal republic of republics into a centralized empire ruled from D.C. We, The People, didn't do enough to stop them. We elected FDR four times... and chose LBJ over the constitutionalist Barry Goldwater.Before FDR, Americans valued rugged individualism and self-reliance. The idea of accepting charity or government handouts was repulsive. NOW, fully one half of Americans do not pay income taxes, yet demand more and more spending on wasteful programs. Many Americans want the government to steal yet more from Americans who earned the money for the purpose of giving said funds to those who didn't earn it. Walter Williams calls this "Legalized thievery." THEFT is never moral.Lincoln's war ended chattel slavery in the US, but replaced it with political slavery and now, since 1913, we have authorized tax slavery which FDR promptly put into place in the 1930s. Our willingness to accept and encourage government theft and tax slavery illustrates America's moral decline. The disintegration of the family is a more recent phenomena but was accelerated by LBJ's War on Poverty which attempted to replace fathers with Nanny Gov, and thereby discouraged marriage and two-parent homes for children.In the sense of the above, I agree that morality and religion should be restored to popular practice and the public sphere. However, to avoid handing the 2012 election to a marxist pretender, Santorum must preface his remarks on his beliefs and faith with something similar Ron Paul's answer. He should say, "THAT issue, is not within the proper purview or authority of the President, and thus isn't relevant to the campaign." Santorum should state that his OATH OF OFFICE and commitment to the Constitution will always trump his personal views with respect to actions he would take as President.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Capt. Call in New Mexico said:

"Our willingness to accept and encourage government theft and tax slavery illustrates America's moral decline."--SteveThat is certainly true; but before this came about, our willingness to accept the false religion and fairy-tale of evolution, replaced God with Government. Thus, if there is no God, then what is right or wrong is merely based upon the views of the man with the most money (or, power;) this is known as the Golden Rule of the Left : "He who has the gold makes the rules." The evolutionists themselves know this: "As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism."Provine, Will, "No Free Will," in Catching Up with the Vision, Ed. by Margaret W. Rossiter (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), p. S123. So the natural product of the evolutionary world view is atheism. In atheism, there is no one to whom we are accountable for our actions. The Founders were men with Christian backgrounds, although a few of them were deists. They nevertheless knew that only in a Christian framework, would our country prosper.

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Jeff Head said:

Joanie, as always, thank you for your wonderful words and eloquent analysis based on solid American principles and values.We will never adequately or successfully address our other issues, from the deficit, to jobs, to the economy, to abortion, to defense, to foreign affaris, to our borders, etc., etc. unless we as a people address the moral decline.John Adma's did say it best...and he was involved in writing it. Our Constitutin IS desgined for a moral and religious people ONLY. It is wholly inaedquate for governing any other.That is because a moral and religious people, who base their life on fundamental moral principle, will utilize their unalienable rights in a moral way...and the other issues will resolve themselves. An immoral people will do the converse...and sadly, we are seeing the impact of the loss of morality and virtue on a larger and larger scale as it impacts society as a whole...and it is reflected in those we elect. They mirror us.I pray to God in Heaven, in Jesus name, that the people of this country will turn to their roots and re-enthrone fundamental moral principle based on the teachings and gospel of Christ in our soceity...and then vote accordingly. If we did, we would turn this administration out and elect one that put American ideals, values and interests first.Thanks again, Joanie, God's speed to you and yours.Sincerely,Jeff HeadAMERICA AT THE CROSSROADS OF HISTORYhtp://

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 3:46 PM

joanie-f in PA said:

Steve, I wholeheartedly agree with your entire comment, and your advice to Santorum regarding how he should respond to questions about his personal belief system.I also can't help but wonder why no one in the media questions Barack Obama in a similar manner, asking, for instance, 'How does your former close relationship with, or embracing of, authors/leaders/mentors such as Frank Marshall Davis or Saul Alinsky impact your decisions as President?' I'd love to hear the answer, although I know it would be nothing more than a tap dance, after which the interviewer would simply turn to another line of questioning.

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 6:09 PM

Glenn Koons said:

But in the Blue states: Mich, Ca. especially, NY the poll numbers even in Pa. show Bama's approval rates rising. How can this be? Well our educational system is one reason. The MSM of course. And the fact that 50% of Americans are entitlement freaks now. It is amazing that liberty, freedom , morality all the ideals of the Founders find little acceptance in many American minds nowadays . Keynes over Adams and Washington, huh? And liberal Dems seem hell bent on dissing the 1st Amendment of the Const. especially on rel. conscience. We shall see if newer polls on eco. figures showing displeasure with the liberal policies of Bama will translate into votes against the Dem program in Nov.

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Scott Bussinger said:

The moral rot of the governmental leaders of this country is not the root cause rather, it is a symptom. The real problem is a populace that could have elected such a person as Obama in the first place. There were no questions asked of him in 2008 (and still to this day) only "hope-and-change" cheerleading. Obama is the Prince of Fools; his supporters are the fools with their palms up.

Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 7:57 AM

Nancy Holpert said:

Joan, as always, this is an amazing article. The moral decline in our country & government is surely a great problem which spurs greed & corruption! Praying for our country to make a turn around & I know Rick Santorum is the man for the job!

Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 8:51 AM

M. Hinksman said:

Very interesting article. I agree completely that Rick Santorum is a rounded candidate with a lot to offer across all areas of policy. It is a pity that the MSM seems obsessed with his social policies to the exclusion of all else. That said, Santorum is a rare breed. He has integrity. He has not changed his views or policies for "convenience" even when most others would have done so.I think this integrity counts for so much and I wish him every success in his campaign.

Sunday, March 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM