What Santorum Means

With Rick Santorum’s Tuesday sweep in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, the number of non-Romney “surges” in the GOP presidential contest now threatens to eclipse the number of debates. Pundits respond every time in competing choruses: the “It’s Not Over Yet!” song of jubilation, and the “Sorry, Mitt Is Still Inevitable” retort. It can be as tiresome as hearing Romney recite snatches of “America the Beautiful”—and it presents the campaign as a largely substance-free succession of stats and fundraising numbers and demographics. But the candidate who surprised everyone in the non-binding contests on Tuesday has, unlike the front-running Romney, based his campaign on big ideas—a bold plan to bring back manufacturing jobs and an ardent desire to rekindle the culture wars. As he showed again last night in Missouri, where he delivered one of the angriest and least-celebratory victory speeches in memory, Santorum is not competing on the basis of charisma and charm; his best moment was inspiring his fans to repeatedly shout “No!” And he’s not doing better than expected because he has a competitive money machine or organization. Instead, in a time of high unemployment, and in a moment when battles over gay marriage and reproductive-rights have returned to the headlines, Santorum’s working-class message and unyielding religious-right proclamations make him the only GOP candidate speaking to the party’s base in anything but empty platitudes. Even if Santorum can’t work the miracle it would take to win the nomination, the emphatic messages he is preaching will reverberate into the convention and the fall campaign—and in ongoing debates over the soul of the Republican Party. 


So They Say

“Look at what’s happened just in our tolerance for abortion. Fifty years ago, 60 years ago, people who did abortions were in the shadows, people who were considered bad doctors. Now, abortion is something that is just accepted. … This is the erosion. And it happens in the medical profession. It happened very fast. And I think Obamacare will lead us down that road.” 
Rick Santorum, speaking at the American Heartland Forum in Columbia, Missouri

Daily Meme: Piling on Mitt

  • Paul Begala: "There’s a technical term in political consulting for a performance like that: it’s called sucking." 
  • John Dickerson: "Mitt Romney is a sickly front-runner."
  • Ross Douthat: "Mitt Romney is a strikingly weak frontrunner"
  • Robert Reilly: “Romney’s businessman pitch won’t work.”
  • Jonathan Chait: "Romney will probably quickly resume his proven strategy of burying opponents under gigantic piles of money."
  • John Cassidy: Santorum’s “portrayal of President Obama as an out-of-touch elitist ... tickles the erogenous zones of right-wing Republicans in a way that Romney can’t hope to mimic."


What We're Writing

  • Jamelle Bouie argues that Santorum’s Tuesday sweep doesn’t give him what he needs: Big mo’.
  • Clare Malone explains what’s so “super” about super PACs. 

What We're Reading

  • CNN's Caucus Cam: "What would happen if iCarly covered politics." 
  • Is this a Republican campaign, or a dodgeball match
  • The Romney campaign gears up for a big-money takedown of Santorum. 
  • Forget Sparta and Athens: The 2012 general election is shaping up as a battle between Sparta and Sparta.
  • Give us more debates

Poll of the Day

Pew finds that TV news is Americans’ predominant source of campaign news, while newspapers’ influence has fallen away and reliance on the Internet has stagnated. 



It appears that nobody at The American Prospect has been listening to interviews with right-wing and conservative voters. Santorum won precisely BECAUSE the caucuses are "non-binding" and there are no delegates at stake. Interviews with caucus and even primary voters confirm this time after time. The media don't seem to catch the nuances of political thought in the US, prefering rather to focus on the "who's-up-who's-down" scorecard.
One of these "enlightened" voters in Florida said that she would vote for Santorum as a "protest vote" because it was well-known that Romney would win anyway, and that she could vote for Santorum because "he has no baggage." That statement alone exposes how poorly the media cover events and people, let alone politicians, and how little the truth about ANYTHING is a factor in the media's mission. As a Pennsylvanian, I can tell you the TRUTH: Santorum has so much baggage that he would be charged triple on an airplane. In 2006 he lost his Senate race by the largest margin in PA history, even though he was the incumbent--and for good reason. Even the fringe rednecks in middle PA got tired of his hypocrisy and lack of ethics. (James Carville correctly characterized PA as "Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west, and Alabama in between").
Even the Wikipedia page on Santorum, which has been sanitized several times, has more information than any media reports, including this one, have disclosed, and I don't usually recommend Wikipedia as a source for "news". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Santorum
Santorum is ethically-challenged as an elected "public servant" and he reeks of the basest hypocrisy personally and professionally. The non-profit bi-partisan organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Santorum among the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" in their 2006 report. http://www.citizensforethics.org/blog/entry/just-the-facts-rick-santorum
Santorum forced the taxpayers of PA to pay for his children's "cyber-education," even though he and his family were residents of Virginia; although he was "shocked, shocked!" when the taxpayers demanded that he repay the public coffers for his duplicity (he didn't), he had run for office on that very issue, lambasting his opponent for not living in his district!
Santorum supported "tort reform" with severe caps on the amount injured and maimed patients (or the families of dead patients and permanently disabled children) could sue their healthcare providers for after a malpractice event; yet his wife sued her chiropractor for twice that amount, claiming it was a "private matter." http://santorumexposed.com/pages/issues/issues-malpractice.php
Santorum introduced a bill in the US Senate that prohibited NOAA from using their own data and that privatized the publication and use of weather data, even though companies acquire it for free from the government, in support of his major PA campaign contributor, Accu-Weather.
Santorum coined the term "Islamic fascism," painting all Muslims with that brush (how's that for gaining friends and influencing people?); nuance has never been his strength (he has never spoken, though, of "Catholic fascism"). He supported torture at Guantanamo prison (no doubt he was inspired by the 3 historical Catholic Inquisitions and the Crusades). In line with his lack of understanding of nuance, he would risk starting WW 3 with his position on bombing Iran off the face of the map.
Santorum believes that everybody in the US should live their lives as Catholics, yet he claims that he advocates for "freedom of religious thought." He claims that his idea of family and the role of women, who should be out of the workforce if they have children, and the prohibition of contraception even in marriage, is "how things are supposed to be." Can you say "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche" (the definition of the "supposed to be" role of women by the Nazis)?
Santorum is a climate change denier and calls the science a "scam by the left." He supports teaching "intelligent design" in public schools, even though it has been ruled as a "purely religious teaching" in PA court; he claims that there is a "scientific controversy" between it and the theory of evolution. He supports the religious propaganda of the Discovery Institute, even though it has been discredited numerous times.
There's so much more. Unfortunately, the media, no matter the source, have absconded their responsibility for reporting on issues and informing the American public about the world, to the point that a non-PA person, a "voter", no less, can say, "He has no baggage."
Please do your research, keep your reporting real, and tell the TRUTH for a change.

--Anne Carroll

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