Tag Archives: Santorum

Irony-Challenged Santorum

In the dust-up over contraceptive coverage, Rick Santorum–along with a number of other GOP (male) elected officials–has condemned the Obama administration’s “assault” on “religious liberty.” This charge has produced some truly ludicrous moments; yesterday, for example, the news was filled with photos depicting the witnesses at a trumped-up congressional hearing into the pernicious effects on religious liberty of the requirement that health insurers cover contraception. The witnesses were all male.

But Santorum easily wins my vote for the most audaciously irony-challenged of these protectors of religious liberty.

Santorum is one of those Christian Nation folks who believes that his religious beliefs should dictate public policy; in his 15th-Century view, violations of religious liberty occur when the law fails to follow his version of God’s plan. Santorum’s God doesn’t like gay people, so Santorum believes the law should deny GLBT folks basic civil liberties, let alone the right to marry. Santorum’s God doesn’t believe in abortion, so no one else should be able to have one, no matter how dire the circumstances or how different that woman’s own belief system.

And with respect to contraception, as a fellow Catholic recently wrote:

“This confluence of politics and religion brings me right to Santorum’s public policy opposition to contraception. In his public (and apparently private) life, Santorum has, in effect, hewed to the Vatican line that so-called “artificial” contraception constitutes an “unnatural” frustration of the natural end of the sex act. But, like most good politicos Santorum hides his Catholic animus to contraceptive rights. Notably, he takes cover in legalisms. He opposed Griswold v. Connecticut—the judgment guaranteeing contraceptive right to married couples—because he disagreed with the Court that right of privacy exists in the Constitution. Beyond its cramped legalism, I find this maneuver devious. Santorum dare not say what truly moves him in this debate—namely his unswerving loyalty to the Vatican’s proscription of “artificial” methods of birth control and family planning as against nature.”

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Santorum consistently voted to impose his own religious views on others, and he is admirably forthright about his intentions to “Christianize” America should he be elected President. He is breathtakingly oblivious to the true meaning of religious liberty. (Hint, Rick: religious liberty means that you are entitled to live in accordance with your beliefs, but others are equally entitled to live by theirs.)

I am rooting for a Santorum Presidential candidacy. He is the perfect embodiment of today’s GOP base. If Romney is the nominee, and gets crushed, the Republican base will simply conclude he wasn’t conservative enough. A Santorum-Obama contest would allow the general public to send a decisive and needed wake-up message to the culture warriors who have captured one of America’s major political parties.

Remembrance of Things Past

The Republican candidates for President continue to appeal to the current GOP base with what passes for policy in the party these days: Romney has just promised to cut funding for the arts by half; Santorum promises not just a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, but also to retroactively “annul” those marriages that have already occurred (good luck with that, Rick); Gingrich wants poor children with no “role models” or a “work ethic” (i.e., black kids) to clean public school toilets, and Ron Paul wants the US to withdraw from contact from the rest of the world. They all pooh-pooh climate change and vow to reverse current measures to protect the environment. They all promise to control my uterus, and to charge me big bucks if I am impertinent enough to demand birth control. They all want to eviscerate labor unions and cut what’s left of the social safety net.

And none of them will ever, ever, ever raise taxes on rich folks. Promise.

I remember when the Republican Party didn’t resemble the Gong Show. I remember when Republicans were fiscally prudent adults who paid for the wars they waged, were pro-equality (okay, maybe not the southern ones), and were concerned about the health of the planet.

Young people to whom I defend the “old” GOP tend to be skeptical of my recollection, but I have proof of a sort. The other day, cleaning out some files, I came across a summary of the national Republican Platform of 1956. To today’s GOP, it would read like the Communist Manifesto.

A sampling:

  • We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs–expansion of social security–broadened coverage in unemployment insurance–improved housing–and better health protection for all our people.
  • We favor a comprehensive study of the effects upon wildlife of the drainage of our wetlands.
  • We recognize the need for maintaining isolated wilderness areas.
  • We favor a continuously vigorous enforcement of anti-trust laws.
  • We must continue and further perfect…programs of assistance to the millions of workers with special employment problems, such as older workers, handicapped workers, members of minority groups, and migratory workers.
  • We must extend the protection of the Federal minimum wage laws to as many more workers as is possible and practicable.
  • We must continue to fight for the elimination of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry or sex.
  • We must revise and improve the Taft-Hartley Act so as to protect more effectively the rights of labor unions, management, the individual worker and the public.

I miss that party. RIP.

Rooting for Santorum

As the interminable GOP Presidential contests proceeds, I’m rooting for Rick Santorum.

Now, I realize that statement requires some explanation.

With the probable exception of Ron Paul, all the other candidates can be counted on to moderate their current positions if and when they cinch the nomination—to pivot from the shameless pandering to the nut-job base that has characterized the primaries thus far—in an effort to woo the sane Republican and independent voters needed for success in a general election. Since the great majority of Americans don’t really focus on the Presidential campaign until a month or two before the election, candidates can usually distance themselves from much of their more intemperate primary rhetoric.

A Santorum primary victory, however, would provide voters with a candidate who is steadfast in his extremism. A Santorum candidacy would be a golden opportunity for the public to really see and understand the fundamentalist Christians who, for all intents and purposes, now control the GOP, and who have recently come together to endorse Santorum in a (probably futile) effort to derail Mitt Romney’s progress toward the nomination.

What do Santorum and his supporters believe? Well, there’s the obvious hatred of gays—a hatred that has often seemed more of an obsession with gay sex than a policy position. There are the well-known quotes comparing homosexuality to “man on dog sex,” the frequently repeated assertion that same-sex marriage will “destroy the fabric of society,” and the “slippery slope” argument that recognition of such marriages would necessarily be followed by legalization of polygamy and incest.

But it isn’t just gay sex. A cursory review of his quotations paints a picture of a man who—not to put too fine a point on it—doesn’t seem too comfortable in the 21st Century.  Consider a sampling of recent quotes:

  • “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” (October 18, 2011)
  • “In far too many families with young children, both parents are working, when, if they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they don’t both need to…Here, we can thank the influence of radical feminism.” (From his 2005 book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good in which he decries working mothers).
  • “All the people who live in the West Bank are Israelis, they’re not Palestinians. There is no ‘Palestinian.’” (On the campaign trail in Iowa, Nov. 18, 2011). (Even the Israeli government doesn’t go this far!)
  • “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them someone else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.” (Iowa again, Jan. 2, 2012).

There is a lot more along the same lines.

Santorum is a poster child for the small but noisy segment of American society that is still fighting science and the Enlightenment—a spokesperson for the contemporary Puritans who reject evolution along with the idea that liberty means the right to live your life in accordance with your own conscience and beliefs. They believe instead that liberty means “doing the right thing” as they interpret their bibles to define the “right thing.”

They believe it is government’s job to legislate their version of  “Godly” behavior.

You have to give Santorum credit: unlike the other candidates, when he’s been challenged about his controversial views, he hasn’t evaded or backtracked. These are his beliefs and he’s forthright about them. He doesn’t “do” complexity, or nuance, and he obviously doesn’t see shades of gray. His views about the past may be ahistorical and retrograde, but he doesn’t let distractions like facts or evidence—or humility—shake his certainty in his own righteousness.

He’s the perfect representation of today’s Republican base.

Now, I don’t think Rick Santorum is going to be the Republican nominee, but what if he were? What if the American public had to choose between that black “elitist” Barack Obama, with his fancy Harvard education, and this anti-woman, anti-gay Christian Zionist who believes global warming and evolution are myths, and black people are taking “someone else’s money”?

Given the number of crackpots we’ve elected to public office, I’ve lost a lot of my previous faith in the wisdom of the American public. But I have enough left to believe that—given a choice between the 14th Century and the 21st—Americans would overwhelming choose the latter.

Wouldn’t we??

 

 

Out of Iowa

At least the Iowa caucuses are over.

The attention Iowa gets has long been a mystery to me. Sure, they’re first, but it would be hard to imagine an electorate less representative of America as a whole than this rural, virtually all-white state. And history confirms that Iowa’s choice of nominee (except when that choice was an incumbent) has rarely been predictive, rarely won the nomination.

I guess it’s sort of like reading the entrails of a small animal and looking for omens.

So–what did the omens tell us? Well, Pander Bear eked out an 8 vote victory over Vengeful God Theocrat. At Least I’m Authentic came in third.

Meanwhile, Marlboro Man learned that old, valuable lesson: better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  He and Crazy Eyes Lady finished at the bottom of the pack.

On to New Hampshire.