I don't agree with Santorum, but I respect him

I suppose I should say that obviously I find his politics twisted and dangerous. And there are certain ethical questions that no one has bothered to raise because he’s not really important enough. I literally wouldn’t vote for him if I were in a Twilight Zone episode and he were the only person on the ballot. And yet I think: if he were a liberal, he’d be pretty close to being my kind of guy. He’s consistent (you haven’t heard anyone accuse him of flip-flopping), he appears to care about the lives of working-class people, and while he mouths a few platitudes, you can tell he doesn’t like it…

This was a room of 200 or so people; 250 counting cadets. There was no way to pad it. You bought a ticket or you didn’t. In other words, it was not a massive, final-night campaign event. Rather it was a debt paid to a place that’s been good to him. I’m sure that part of him would rather have been speaking to a larger crowd in a part of the state that’s going to be better for him. But I think it’s kind of honorable that his last public event, not only of the South Carolina campaign but maybe the campaign period, was this low-ish key and only partly political event.

I couldn’t care less whether Santorum lasts past South Carolina. What I do care about is seeing a spark of feeling in politics that goes beyond ideology and beyond even “commitment,” but into a place where our political selves and our real and full human selves collide. It is a far rarer sight than you’d think. Or maybe it isn’t far rarer than you’d think. Whichever the case, I saw it Friday night, and I wish it weren’t so rare.