Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rick Santorum: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.

A while back I caught some flack for having the nerve to write that Rick Santorum was the first true conservative – in the presidential race that is – who wasn’t certifiable.  “Myopic, misogynistic and homophobic, yes; but crazy? Hardly.”  Well, at the risk of being flogged, I stand by my claim.  Rick Santorum is many things, but nuts isn’t one of them.

In fact, one of the reasons Santorum hasn’t gone the way of every other flavor of the month, anti-Romney candidate in this year’s Republican presidential primary season is due to the fact that, while extremist in every way imaginable, he has not fallen on his sword.  Consider the competition.  Michele Bachman was bat-shit crazy, Rick Perry comical, Herman Cain dumb as a stump, and Newt Gingrich suffers from a Napoleonic complex that would’ve made Richard Nixon blush.  I omit Ron Paul in large part because he was never a serious contender for the nomination; though I predict he will be a royal pain in the ass for the GOP come convention time.

In fact, the more you look at Rick Santorum, the more you realize just how sane he really is, which is why the used-car salesman from hell hasn’t been able to shake him like he has every other pretender in the GOP lineup.  That’s the problem for Romney.  Santorum isn’t a pretender; he’s about as authentic as they come within the Republican Party.  As I wrote last month, “Santorum doesn’t just drink the Kool-Aid, he bathes in it. He’s loved by both social and fiscal conservatives alike.”

And that’s what makes him so dangerous.  It’s one thing to be an ideologue; it’s quite another to be an ideologue who doesn’t look like he’s one miscue away from being a resident at the funny farm.  Even voters who don’t support his views and positions have been forced to grudgingly admit he’s the real deal.  Compared to Mitt Romney, Santorum looks like the second coming of Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

And now all that authenticity is starting to pay real dividends.  As of last weekend, an ABC / Washington Post poll had Santorum within three points of Barack Obama in the general election.  Let me repeat that just in case you weren’t paying attention, or perhaps were choking on your phlegm.  RICK SANTORUM IS WITHIN THREE POINTS OF BEATING BARACK OBAMA IN THE GENERAL ELECTION!  He is not only doing well among far-right conservatives, he is holding his own among moderates and independents.  Consider he came within a whisker of beating Romney in his home state of Michigan.  And now that he has captured Mississippi and Alabama, it’s time to ponder this.  What if Rick Santorum had Mitt Romney’s money?  That was supposed to a rhetorical question but feel free to answer it anyway.

Not only isn’t this primary race over, it’s just heating up.  In the end Santorum may not have the delegates to win the nomination, but neither will Romney.  That means an undeclared winner going into the convention.  And anybody who thinks this isn’t going all the way to Tampa is kidding themselves.

I have said this on a couple of occasions – much to the chagrin of a few of my comrades – but a Mitt Romney win in November wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen to the country.  Given his past, it’s likely that a President Romney will drift back to the center and attempt to govern through consensus, like he did in Massachusetts.  Assuming that the Democrats hold the Senate and pick off a few seats in the House, Romney will have no choice but to give a little if he plans on accomplishing anything substantive.

All this goes out the window with a Santorum victory.  He is defiant in his stance and equally unyielding in his principles.  He is the consummate wet dream for a Tea Party who thinks Fox News is too moderate and the nightmare of all nightmares for the rest of the country.  If you thought last summer’s debt ceiling charade amusing, if somewhat sad, try imagining a repeat, only this time with a president fully willing and able to let the nation’s credit rating go up in smoke and a complicit Congress backing him up all the way.

Try also imaging rollback after rollback of virtually every significant achievement in civil rights and environmental laws, all because they differ with a narrative that people like Santorum have carefully developed over the years.  Then consider the prospect of public education, as we know it, wiped out of existence in favor of home schooling or vouchers.  Medicare and Medicaid?  Kiss them goodbye too.

And we haven’t even arrived at the coup de grâce: religion.  Santorum is drunk on it, like a sailor on shore leave.  His take on John Kennedy’s famous speech on the separation of church and state during his 1960 presidential campaign revealed not only a complete misread of what it was Kennedy was trying to convey, but a deeply held belief by a particular – and thankfully small – segment of the population that the nation, in spite of every bit of evidence to the contrary, is Christian in origin and thus should be run as such.  Imagine a nation with no separation of church and state?  As John Lennon once said, “It’s easy if you try.” 

It’s one thing to hold a particular belief or conviction; it’s quite another to force that belief or conviction upon an entire population.  But that is Rick Santorum’s plan for America.  In his world view, Christianity must be the dominant religion in the country.  Why? Because everything he’s been taught his whole life tells him that.

I know well of what I write.  I have been around many people just like Santorum in my faith.  I can’t tell you how many misbegotten and naïve Christians hold onto to this twisted ideology.  Secularism scares the hell out of them.  They are forever decrying the auspices of a post-modern ere like it was some kind of plague.  For close on fifty years they have been trying to put the genie back in the bottle.  Intelligent Design is their lame attempt at thwarting the spread of science because they see the scientific community as a bunch of heretics spreading a false religion to their young.  Indeed the diversity and pluralism that is the United States in general is an anathema to everything they hold near and dear, and to a man and woman they have committed themselves to eradicating any trace of it in this country.  Rick Santorum has become almost a deliverer to these people.  Their Joshua, if you will, to Sarah Palin's Ruth.  What better way to have their demented prophecy come to fruition than to see their beloved hero in the White House?

A couple of months ago I would’ve scoffed at the notion of Rick Santorum winning a general election.  Even as recently as last month I all but dismissed it.  The time for dismissing Rick Santorum is over.  The “runt” of the GOP field is within the margin of error of being the next President of the United States.

Be afraid, be VERY afraid!    


Link:  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/president_obama_vs_republican_candidates.html

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i have been concerned for our future when it comes to who might be elected to any office. but after the last admin and what i have seen happen, and what might be possible, i am now officially terrified. of what is to come, and it doesnt seem to abate to much even with the current potus. the downsizing of America is rolling along full speed ahead. religion has set progress back hundreds of years, and it looks like we may be in for another round of the dark ages.