Santorum Book to Counter Clinton’s

Posted February 16, 2005 at 6:40pm

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) will directly challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s view that “It Takes a Village” to raise a child, arguing in a book scheduled for release this summer that America would be stronger if people focused instead on “strengthening the family.”

Santorum will make his case in “It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good,” which his publisher bills as the “conservative response” to Clinton’s heralded — and in conservative circles, controversial — look at the role played by the community and society in raising children.

Santorum’s book, published by the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute, will appear roughly nine years after Clinton’s 1996 volume — just as both he and Clinton gear up first for re-election in 2006 and then expected presidential bids in 2008.

While the Pennsylvania Republican said he is not criticizing Clinton personally by mimicking her book title, he noted his book reaches a different conclusion.

“It is a contrast to how the left looks at structure and order in society and how I look at structure and order in society,” Santorum said in an interview yesterday. “To me, government should not be about telling individuals what is best for them, or ordering society so individuals can sort of run wild and do whatever they want to do. Government should be nurturing mothers and fathers to raise children in responsible families and communities.”

Santorum said his book would also discuss how institutions such as the “big media and big academia” are not helping to provide answers that are needed to strengthen the family.

“The values being transmitted by them are not the values that make people strong,” Santorum said. “The values transmitted by faith and family are.”

The book is scheduled for release July 4. James Dobson of Focus on the Family and syndicated radio host Laura Schlessinger have already blurbed the book.

Santorum currently serves as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, where he is charged with helping craft the GOP message.

Santorum said he wanted to write a book about the Republican agenda and how it is better positioned to help “lift people in society.” He kept coming back to the same theme.

“The more I started writing this, the more it became apparent to me that a lot of what I was focusing on was the importance of family,” Santorum said.

From this was born the idea to play off of Clinton’s book title, he said.

“It is not the village. It is the family,” he said. “People would get the point of the book a lot clearer if I had that title.”

Clinton’s office declined to comment, but Phil Singer, the communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was not impressed by Santorum’s decision to write a book.

“All of us here are looking forward to his next book: ‘My Life as a Two-Term Senator,’” he said.

Santorum joins a long list of politicians who have expressed their policy views in book form. He was given a $10,000 advance last year from ISI Books, according to personal financial disclosure reports. Santorum said he doesn’t expect to earn much more than another $10,000 when it is published.

“I wish I [could] command a million-dollar advance,” the Pennsylvania Senator said. “I don’t. I am doing this because I wanted to say something.”

Santorum isn’t the first in his family to publish a family-centered book for ISI. In 2003, his wife, Karen, edited a volume called “Everyday Graces: A Child’s Book of Good Manners.”