Rick Santorum, former Republican senator of Pennsylvania, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit in Greenville, S.C. on May 9, 2015.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Santorum intends to ‘abolish the State Department’

Updated
When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently announced his belief that the federal Department of Education shouldn’t exist, it almost seemed like a cliche. Republican presidential candidates have, for quite a while, talked about scrapping various cabinet agencies, with Commerce and Education nearly always topping the list.
 
What’s far more interesting is when national GOP candidates think outside the box. Ben Carson, for example, recently made the case for eliminating the Department of Veterans Affairs – a position that did not endear the right-wing neurosurgeon to veterans’ advocates.
 
BuzzFeed, meanwhile, reports that Rick Santorum wants to abolish the State Department.
Santorum made the comment in an interview with radio host Glenn Beck, who told the former senator from Pennsylvania that he was hoping to hear the party’s 2016 contenders call for everyone at the State Department to be fired.
 
“I have said that,” Santorum replied. “I said that when I ran four years ago — the first thing I’d do is abolish the State Department and start all over.”
The fact that Santorum wants to eliminate the State Department – created in 1789 as the first U.S. cabinet agency – is itself foolish. But to appreciate just how ridiculous this position is, consider his misguided reasoning.
Pressed by Beck about the practicalities of firing the entire State Department, Santorum responded with a critique of the department’s single-minded focus on international diplomacy.
 
“It’s like, if all the tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” Santorum said. “Every problem that the State Department has, the answer is diplomacy. Why? Because if it’s not diplomacy, they don’t have a job.”
Hmm. So, in the mind of the former two-term senator and GOP presidential candidate, the problem with the State Department is that it’s filled with diplomats, who have a nasty habit of focusing on … diplomacy.
 
Santorum added that, among State Department officials “the answer is never to do anything, the answer is always to appease, to talk.”
 
Got it. So appeasement and diplomacy are, in Santorum’s mind, literally synonymous, and reaching diplomatic solutions has the practical effect of doing nothing.
 
When the dust eventually settles on the 2016 election cycle, there should be a contest to choose the single most foolish quote – and this Santorum gem should be a strong contender.
 
 

Cabinet, Rick Santorum and State Department

Santorum intends to 'abolish the State Department'

Updated