On the day after Christmas, with the Iowa caucuses barely more than a week away, Rick Santorum donned an orange National Rifle Association baseball cap and showed his son John how to bend over for those who might make a desperate dream come true.
As if anyone cared, the Republican presidential candidate’s website had announced that, on Monday, December 26, “Senator Santorum and several prominent Iowa conservative leaders will hold a media availability following a pheasant hunt in Adel, IA.”
Santorum made good on that threat, telling Fox News Channel’s Shannon Bream that night, “Any time you’re out hunting, it’s a great time, whether you get any birds or not. … I knocked down about four.”
In his interview with Bream, Santorum described those murders as “clean kills,” as opposed to “joint kills, where everybody had a shot at it.” The former U.S. senator also told Bream that his “son got his first bird, so that was probably the highlight of the day for me.”
In going pheasant hunting with his son and U.S. Rep. Steve King, Santorum was trying very hard to convince Iowa caucus-goers that he’s not the milquetoast loser that he is — and that he has “the courage to fight for America,” as his campaign website’s cheesy, uninspired, and meaningless slogan claims.
What Santorum’s website is not boastful about is the candidate’s nickname. According to a profile in The Washington Post, Santorum was known, “from seventh grade all the way through Penn State,” as “Rooster.”
“Rooster” obviously believes that it takes great courage to shoot and kill pheasants who’ve been “planted … several hours before the hunt to ensure a bird presence,” as was likely the case on Monday, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center’s website.
“Rooster’s” pheasant hunt took place at Doc’s Hunt Club, a facility that is described on its website as “a full-service, private hunting lodge located near Adel, Iowa, dedicated to providing quality pheasants, quail, and chukar partridge for your hunt.”
“Although there is no set bag limit” at Doc’s Hunt Club, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center’s website, “usually a given number of birds are planted per hunter several hours before the hunt to ensure a bird presence within that group’s active area of the club’s grounds. Additional birds can be planted or harvested at a set rate.”
After he “knocked down about four” pheasants in “clean kills,” to borrow the folksy and unsophisticated language he used in his interview with Bream, “Rooster” offered reporters the “media availability” his website had promised he would.
In the video clip provided above, “Rooster” tells reporters, “I went on a pheasant hunt with Steve (King) a couple of months ago out in western Iowa and he let me borrow his 20-gauge Weatherby and I didn’t miss a whole lot that day. … My kids, when I came back and told them about that … they wanted a shotgun. And so we ended up getting a couple of shotguns, couple of Weatherbys … for the kids for Christmas, and my son John was out here today. It was his first time. And so we go out, (and) first bird up, boom, (he) knocks it right out of the air.”
The Boston Globe’s Glen Johnson, in the video clip provided above, asks (off camera), “Senator, what kind of signal or message are you trying to send to the people of Iowa with this kind of excursion today?”
“Rooster’s” canned (like the pheasants he killed) response: “Well, it’s the day after Christmas and not a particularly great day to go do a lot of town hall meetings. So I just thought we would do something that was fun, something that I enjoy doing and I know the folks here in Iowa enjoy doing, also. … It was an opportunity for me to get out and participate in a sport that I know is a popular one here in the state of Iowa.”
Perhaps someday, a therapist will explain to “Rooster’s” son John why his dim-witted father tried so hard, and failed so miserably, to earn the respect of America’s ignorant rednecks.