Ladies and Gentlemen ~ The Surge Is On

by: HappyinVT

Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 12:24:37 PM EST



Last week Public Policy Polling teased their latest polling by tweeting that Rick Santorum had taken the lead nationally.  Today that information was formally released.

Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP's newest national poll. He's at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.

38% doesn't strike me as a ringing endorsement but it beats the other guys.  But what's driving these numbers?  Is it simply Santorum's rather surprising beat-down of his competition last Tuesday?

HappyinVT :: Ladies and Gentlemen ~ The Surge Is On
That's just part of it.  The other part is that people don't like Mitt Romney (or New Gingrich).

Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney's favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31)

Newt's numbers are even worse.  Meanwhile, people like (!) Rick Santorum by a margin of 64% - 22%.  For now, anyway.

So what does this mean for the GOP primary season?  Is Romney done as the frontrunner?  If so, for how long?  Can Santorum ride the momentum to a few more primary/caucus wins?

The Maine caucuses are today where Romney had a tough time at a townhall yesterday.  Then we have Arizona and Michigan on February 28th.  Michigan isn't a lock and Arizona seems it may just be nutty enough to go Santorum's way.  March 3rd is Washington followed by ... Super Tuesday with Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia (with only Romney and Paul on the ballot).  Seems like Santorum could do quite well in several of those states.  I would suppose Romney would win MA but has he pissed off enough Bay Staters to make it interesting?

Then we head to Kansas, Wyoming, US Virgin Islands and Guam.  Then Alabama, Hawaii, and Mississippi on March 13th.  That's a month.  To my mind the calendar doesn't make Romney's run easy.  Perhaps his best states come in mid-April.  So, does this drag on for two more months?  Can Romney ever deliver some knock-out punch or will he limp to the convention?  Or, OMG, does Santorum actually have a chance?

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Just In (2.00 / 5)
Romney narrowly edges Ron Paul in Maine caucuses:


Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the Maine GOP presidential caucuses on Saturday, winning a close contest, 39%-36%. Romney and Paul were the only two of the four major candidates to campaign in the state.

Shannon Travis - Romney does campaign first as Paul hopes for first win in Maine CNN 11 Feb 12

So Paul doubled his 2008 results and Romney survives another potential nose-rubbing.


It Might Be Noted... (2.00 / 4)
That while Maine is an unusual electorate that Romney still struggles, in the absence of Gingrich and Santorum, to break significantly away from remaining candidates no matter whom he faces.

[ Parent ]
Let him spin the win as he will (2.00 / 5)
He couldn't even break 40 percent in Maine, against three seriously flawed candidates, two of whom didn't even campaign there.  Never mind a simple majority, he barely eked out a plurality.

This is not a very good night for the R-bot.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
fwiw (2.00 / 4)
PublicPolicyPolling @ppppolls

20,000 people voted in the Wake County School board runoff, 5,500 in the Maine GOP caucus. Glad we didn't try to poll that

Donna Brazille notes there are more than 250,000 registered GOPers in ME.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Yeah... (2.00 / 4)
But turnout in Maine caucuses doesn't count for much.  It's the increasing perception that turnout is down wherever Romney wins and up where his opponents have, looking at counties and congressional districts.  Some other interesting observations which have my attention:

Streak continues: Romney has won every state Hillary did in '08 (NH, FL, NV) and lost all those she lost (IA, SC, MN, MO, CO). @DLeonhardt David Leonhardt

County-by-county analysis of South Carolina:


As a county's evangelical population expands, Romney's vote share declines. Interestingly, as a county's African-American population expands, Romney's vote share declines as well. Overall, the most strongly significant variable is the percentage of evangelicals in a county.

Sean Trende - A Demographic Divide: Could Evangelicals Block Romney? Real Clear Politics 6 Feb 12

Something is up with evangelicals and it will probably be a factor in every race in which their demographic is significant.  This is Santorum's core constituency, especially evangelical women.



[ Parent ]
James Carville... (2.00 / 4)
Doesn't seem to take the Santorum threat seriously in his "memo to the Republican establishment:"


Your latest nuisance comes in the form of an anti-contraception activist and 18-point loser, Rick Santorum. I'm not here to tell you how to do your job, but you ought to get your hands on a copy of Ricky boy's book. He's really hung up on birth control pills, huh? Not to mention, he seems to be pretty down on women having jobs outside of the home. That didn't play out too well in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I highly doubt that he will do well in Pontiac or Phoenix. Also, you should look into that little cyberschooling arrangement he pulled off. But I've said enough. I know you don't need my help in disposing of this loser.

James Carville - Carville: GOP, your real problem is Mitt CNN 11 Feb 12

Of course, Carville has a clear mission to insure Romney fulfils his appointed role in Democratic election strategy and planning.  They must be worried Romney is too incompetent or timid to do his own opposition research.


heh (2.00 / 4)
They must be worried Romney is too incompetent or timid to do his own opposition research.

Romney campaign probably didn't think they had to.

Michigan in two weeks looks mighty interesting.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Well... (2.00 / 5)
Emerging Right-wing conventional wisdom says Romney can't carpet bomb Santorum:


Mitt Romney met privately with a group of conservative activists and opinion leaders Thursday, on the eve of his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.  In a wide-ranging discussion, a number of participants urged Romney to refrain from attacking rival Rick Santorum with the scorched-earth intensity that he directed at Newt Gingrich.

Byron York - Conservatives urge Romney not to attack Santorum Washington Examiner 10 Feb 11

Given Santorum's favourables I'm guessing there are those in Romney's inner councils who are also a bit hesitant.  Notice what I mentioned upthread, Santorum's overperforming the polling, that's a possible sign that his favourables are sound and a negative campaign would blow back on Romney.

Santorum has also taken out an insurance policy on this:


"We're not going to win the election because the Republican candidate has the most money to beat up their opponent," said Santorum, who was flanked on stage by several of his children and his wife, Karen.

"We're not going to win this election over lopsided advantages; we won't have one in the fall. President Obama will have more money than whoever our nominee is, so just think about what it's going to take. It's going to take ideas, vision, contrasts."

Juanna Summers - At CPAC, Rick Santorum slams Mitt Romney's record Politico 9 Feb 11

Unpack that for a minute and it seems a concise, pointed and compelling argument for his candidacy and against Romney's tactics to date.  I get the impression he was playing to the balcony, not the bleachers, with that remark.


[ Parent ]
AZ and MI are must wins (or is someone feeling confident?) (2.00 / 5)
Sam Stein @samsteinhp

Romney camp (somewhat inexplicably) sets bar high. senior aide tells harwood they have to win both Mich and AZ bit.ly/z3Bjof
Hide tweet
John Harwood @JohnJHarwood

CPAC/Maine give Mitt psychological boost. But senior aide downplays significance, pointing to 2/28 MI, AZ contests: "We have to win both."



"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Michigan (1.80 / 5)
Is Santorum's chosen ground and I have to say he has an opportunity there.  If Romney can't beat him in Michigan than I'm guessing all bets are off:


There has been a growing sense in Republican circles that Santorum could give Romney a run in Michigan for all the reasons Santorum cited - the conservative, evangelical base, and the manufacturing economy that his Pennsylvania roots and up-by-the-bootstraps family story could play well with.

Maggie Haberman - Santorum: I can take on Romney in Michigan Politico 11 Feb 12

He's right, too.  It plays to all his strengths and Romney's weaknesses, especially because it is seen as a "must win" for Romney.  Interestingly Gingrich is making a parallel play for Ohio, which will make for an interesting Gingrich/Santorum clash.  What would happen if Romney came in third in Ohio, I wonder?  They would be looking for pallbearers.


[ Parent ]
But... (2.00 / 2)
As Nate Silver has noted, Gingrich is blocking Santorum too:


To have a chance at winning in the delegate count, [Santorum] will need to supplant Mr. Gingrich as Mr. Romney's major rival in the South. The results in Missouri, a borderline Southern state where Mr. Santorum beat Mr. Romney by 30 points without Mr. Gingrich on the ballot, suggest that he could run strongly if Mr. Gingrich were to bow out.

Nate Silver - The Bettor's Case for Santorum NYT 10 Feb 12

While given Adelson's wallet is now closed Gingrich is arguably on his way out but it is a matter of when.  I'm guessing Gingrich hangs in there until Georgia which is, of course, Super Tuesday, thereby splitting Santorum's potential vote in Tennesee and, decisively, Ohio.


[ Parent ]
Sorry to Spam (2.00 / 6)
But I simply can't resist this stuff.  Here's my take at the moment:

1. Firstly, Romney, while retaining resource advantages is clearly leading a troubled campaign.  It is difficult to see a path around him for anyone else but it is also hard now to see a path to the nomination which doesn't leave him deeply wounded, in terms of policy and favourables, for the general election.  Especially if the economy continues to recover.  That was always a gamble.

2. The establishment would do anything to prevent a Gingrich nomination and it's worked but it has been a Pyrrhic victory for Romney's perception in the electorate, both Republican and overall.  Santorum is a different case; it is hard to see Romney getting to his right and it is also difficult to imaging a negative campaign against him which didn't further erode Romney's favourables and/or alienate the Republican base from coalescing around his eventual candidacy.  At this point, if I were crunching Republican numbers I would be as worried about turnout as actually winning and starting to think defensively about congressional races.

3. Sooner or later Republican strategists have a difficult choice, which may be slipping from their hands anyhow.  While Santorum has never been perceived as a winning general election candidate his position at the top of the ticket might have a beneficial effect on turnout compared to an increasingly weak Romney candidacy.  As early as it is if the status quo of economic improvement is sustained Romney's poorly articulated strategy falls apart.  If Republican decision makers come to the conclusion they have lost the presidency already then perhaps a Santorum ticket is a better option for contesting down-ticket races in specific constituencies.  It would also tend to shake the Tea Party monkey off their backs in future contests, whereas a Romney defeat would potentially lead to a serious internal schism with frustrated movement conservatives.

Everything could change tomorrow, but the upcoming contests will perhaps be watched very carefully on these points.  If Romney loses Michigan and/or Ohio it would seem time to consider a Plan B.


I predict a tragic November for the GOP (2.00 / 4)
They just aren't going to win the White House, and it is a bit tedious to go through the whole process.

But if the economy continues on its path - or even avoids another recession - and heads are normal in November, I see the GOP getting a drubbing in Congress.

Incumbents are always a problem when times are hard,

nobody ever likes Congress and now less than ever,

the consensus of all the Dems and most of the centrists is that the GOP Congress tried to nuke the economy,

and the Democrats' leader put a bullet in Opie Bin Laden's eye.

It's over, Calhoun. Call a cab or start walking.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
The problem with the House is that there's little room for Dem (2.00 / 4)
pick-ups (unless it's a Dem like Heath Shuler).  I gotta think we've got an election cycle or two to go before the GOP heads toward the center (or falls apart and something else takes its place).

Shoot, Orrin Hatch is getting challenged ... from the right.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Have to Agree With Happy... (2.00 / 3)
Senate cycle, retirements and redistricting by Republican state legislatures all tend to mitigate against a watershed for Democrats this time around.  On the basis of generic polling it's impossible to really see what's going on.

Still, I suppose a status quo Senate and a House majority is potentially within reach if the stars all aligned correctly.


[ Parent ]
I don't know the details as well you folks, (2.00 / 4)
so you may be correct. But I do not see this as a period of great Win for the GOP. They have spent a few years looking like irresponsible children while the sober liberal (kills bin Laden) keeps his head and saves the economy.

It doesn't play well to the middle for them.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Agreed (2.00 / 2)
But we're up against the numbers:


Among the Senate seats up for election in 2012, there are 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 Independents.

United States Senate elections, 2012 Wikipedia

Of the likely toss-ups most, excluding Massachusetts and Nevada, are currently held by Democrats.  The House is a lot trickier and at this point I haven't a clue, frankly.


[ Parent ]
Here's my question ... (2.00 / 6)
Say Santorum is better for driving down-ticket races for conservatives.  That's likely true.  But what could that do for women, LGBT, and PoC?  I have to think women and gays in particular would be FIRED UP to take this guy out.  I'm pissed off and it's only February.  This asshat at the top of the GOP ticket, spouting his utter bullshit, surely would drive women and LGBT to the voting booth.  (I haven't heard as much crap from Santorum re: teh evil brown people so I'm not sure how pissed off they'll be but there's still time.)

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Totally Agree (2.00 / 5)
It would energise the base of both parties but that's not unlike the decision McCain made in 2008 in selecting Palin, and they certainly did that, although perhaps somewhat recklessly.  But I'm guessing it would be calculated on the basis of "races in specific constituencies."  It would be a tough call for them but I'm supposing they know, or would know by now, what those numbers would look like.  Reading this analysis of redistricting in the South and acknowledging the lesser census impact on electoral votes in 2012 one supposes the Republicans have invested in a firewall in the South which they have gone to great lengths to create and which they feel confident of holding; enabling them to reach out or maintain other constituencies opportunistically.

It's beginning to look to me like conservatives, at least, are preparing a bastion there; in a couple of decades we could be looking at a similar situation to 1860 with the role of the parties neatly reversed and both sides battling for the allegiance of Appalachia and the West.


[ Parent ]
I guess that's why Brewer attempted to dump the commission (2.00 / 3)
for disagreeing with the redistricting efforts.  It would seem to me to be a losing proposition in some states if not this election than the next.  Arizona could well flip blue this year in the GE.  It took several hours for the state to be called and their "native son" was on the top of one ticket.  And what about Texas?  Perry won with less than 40% of the vote in a three-way race but I'm not sure how demographics play there yet.  Maybe another cycle.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
The Real Significance... (2.00 / 2)
Of 2010, beyond the political posturing of the House and certain states which has unwound the national advantage Republicans achieved, has been redistricting.  Reading that piece I cited above one gains the impression they have virtually locked Democrats out by creating heavily Democratic ghettoes within certain constituencies which virtually guarantee white Republican minorities in state houses and the majority of congressional districts within states.  Hard to see how that gets undone, it would take decades of demographic shift to unravel.

Texas, for example:


Only by reading the voluminous lawsuits filed against the state can one appreciate just how creative Texas Republicans had to be to so successfully dilute and suppress the state's minority vote. According to a lawsuit filed by a host of civil rights groups, "even though Whites' share of the population declined from 52 percent to 45 percent, they remain the majority in 70 percent of Congressional Districts."

To cite just one of many examples: in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Hispanic population increased by 440,898, the African-American population grew by 152,825 and the white population fell by 156,742. Yet white Republicans, a minority in the metropolis, control four of five Congressional seats.

Despite declining in population, white Republicans managed to pick up two Congressional seats in the Dallas and Houston areas. In fact, whites are the minority in the state's five largest counties but control twelve of nineteen Congressional districts.

Ari Berman - How the GOP Is Resegregating the South The Nation 20 Feb 12

Not sure how this is affected by recent challenges but it's a very recent article.  Hard to beat this kind of thing with GOTV or community organising, I'm afraid.  They've stacked the deck.  Seriously, this is the Jim Crow party, let their be no ambiguity.


[ Parent ]
Ahem (2.00 / 1)
"...white Republican minorities majorities in state houses..."

[ Parent ]
What I'm Saying... (2.00 / 1)
Is that an equally energised base among certain cohorts might make for big wins for Democrats in places they were going to win anyhow but enable Republicans in swing constituencies where those cohorts are less well represented.  Women, of course, is another question but that has always been Santorum's exit polling strength, even in South Carolina, among conservatives.  Romney and Gingrich, not so much.

[ Parent ]
As For the Latino Vote... (2.00 / 1)
He's aligned with the conservative, white evangelicals, in other words pretty damn severe.  But given he's a staunch Catholic and a solid family man it is probably a wash among Latino voters inclined to vote Republican.

[ Parent ]
Whitney Houston passed away. (2.00 / 3)
Wow.

So sad. She was the greatest pure singer I ever heard.


Just because they are posting on a progressive site doesn't make them progressives. - John Allen


You wanna be blown away?! (2.00 / 4)
Listen to this ...

http://jakefogelnest.com/post/...

Just Whitney singing "How will I know?"  Not my favorite song of hers but holy mackerel.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Woooooow. #nuffsaid (2.00 / 3)


Just because they are posting on a progressive site doesn't make them progressives. - John Allen

[ Parent ]
PPP tweeted that they are still in the field in Michigan but (2.00 / 5)
they see Santurm up 10 - 15% unless something swings a lot tonight.  They do caution we're just over two weeks from primary, though.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Holy guacamole on a hot cross bun (2.00 / 5)
More on Michigan:

http://politicalwire.com/archi...


Key finding so far: Just 20% of Republicans surveyed actually consider Romney to be from Michigan.


If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Heh (2.00 / 5)
Yeah, we know:


"You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you've got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That's what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing."

Thomas Friedman - We Need a Second Party NYT 11 Feb 12

They just don't like the letters... F-A-I-L-U-R-E.


[ Parent ]
So I'm reading that while Paul may not win any states (2.00 / 6)
he may end up with enough delegates to make things interesting come Tampa.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I've Been Watching... (2.00 / 5)
Those rumours since Iowa on the Ron Paul forums.  Seems he read the convention and state delegate selection rules for content.  There just may be something to it, frankly.

[ Parent ]
Whoa (2.00 / 4)
Shades of Obama methodically running up his delegate count in 2008, eh?

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... (2.00 / 5)
But this is even sneakier.  Paul supporters specifically target the delegate selection process even where delegates are "pledged" to other candidates:


It works like this: After the actual caucus, there is another meeting where delegates are selected.  What Paul's campaign seeks to do is take those meetings over with supporters in hopes of capturing a majority of the delegates to the national Republican convention in Tampa.

The result is that the will of a majority of Republican voters will be undermined using a cold, calculating scheme that depends on voters being ignorant of the process.

Underhanded?  Absolutely.  Unethical?  Perhaps.  Illegal?  No - at least not under GOP rules.

Joe Newby - Ron Paul's delegate strategy threatens to undermine will of GOP voters Spokane Examiner

As I mentioned I've been hearing anecdotal references to this since before Iowa on the Republican blogs.


[ Parent ]
hohohoho (2.00 / 5)
This could make for one helluva wild and bloody convention.

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Holy Horseshoes, Batman! (2.00 / 5)
Didn't see this one coming:


California

2012 President: Republican Primary

33% Romney
31% Santorum
17% Gingrich
9% Paul

CA-2012 Primary: 33% Romney, 31% Santorum, 17% Gingrich, 9% Paul (SurveyUSA 2/8-9) Huffington Post 13 Feb 12

Colour me astonished.  That's a fat winner-take-all contest too.


It's the Michigan numbers that shocked me. (2.00 / 5)
ARG Santorum 33 Romney 27
PPP Santorum 39 Romney 24

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
We've Seen This Before... (2.00 / 4)
When Gingrich's Florida numbers looked good but I have a funny feeling Rick is going to take these to the bank.  The big dilemma for Romney is how to deal with Santorum; the urge to carpet bomb him must be giving them the fidgets but they've been warned.

[ Parent ]
Hoo boy (2.00 / 4)
Take a look at the latest poll numbers at Real Clear Politics.

http://www.realclearpolitics.c...

As of 2/13:

Michigan Republican Presidential Primary PPP (D) Romney 24, Santorum 39, Gingrich 11, Paul 12 Santorum +15

Georgia Republican Presidential Primary    Mason-Dixon Gingrich 43, Romney 29, Santorum 12, Paul 6 Gingrich +14

California Republican Presidential Primary SurveyUSA Romney 33, Santorum 31, Gingrich 17, Paul 9 Romney +2

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination Pew Research Santorum 30, Romney 28, Gingrich 17, Paul 12 Santorum +2

2012 Republican Presidential Nomination   Gallup Tracking Santorum 30, Romney 32, Gingrich 16, Paul 8 Romney +2

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


[ Parent ]
Here's an odd bit of news i picked up. (2.00 / 5)
ID (Super Tuesay) has more delegates (32) than MI (30) and AZ (29).  Santorum should do well in Idaho, I would think.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
That doesn't make sense (2.00 / 3)
even if Michigan has been stripped of half its delegates. Michigan has 6X as many people as ID.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
well, that's the GOP for ya. (2.00 / 3)


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


[ Parent ]
Since i got that from twitter i went to teh google: (2.00 / 2)
http://www.2012presidentialele...

And it appears to be true.  Makes absolutely no sense.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Did a quick check. (2.00 / 3)
Delegates are allocated based, in part, on how well the GOP Presidential candidate did in the prior election. They also get bonus delegates for having GOP senators, House Reps, Governors, and state houses.  

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
And while I'm at RCP (2.00 / 4)
Latest polls as of 2/13, Obama versus the GOP field:

Romney vs. Obama Pew Research Obama 52, Romney 44 Obama +8

Romney vs. Obama Rasmussen Reports Obama 48, Romney 42 Obama +6

Santorum vs. Obama Pew Research Obama 53, Santorum 43 Obama +10

Santorum vs. Obama Rasmussen Reports Obama 49, Santorum 41 Obama +8

Gingrich vs. Obama Pew Research Obama 57, Gingrich 39 Obama +18

If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.


Should I send Santorum's campaign a donation? n/t (2.00 / 4)


The future is unwritten

How About... (2.00 / 4)
A facsimile reproduction of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom suitable for framing:


That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time...

Thomas Jefferson - Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Wikipedia

"Fallible and uninspired men...?"  Methinks he could make good use of it.


[ Parent ]
Go Virginia! (2.00 / 3)
Now there's a good read.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
You're in MI, yeah? (2.00 / 4)
It is an open primary ... just sayin'.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
But if the unthinkable happened (2.00 / 5)
I'd carry an unthinkable burden for the rest of my life.

I've read The Handmaid's Tale.  Not going anywhere near that looking glass.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
Unthinkable? (2.00 / 4)
Nah:


"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," Santorum said in Spartanburg on Tuesday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."

He added, "They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem."

After asserting that Christianity had not shown any "aggression" to the Muslim world, the former Pennsylvania senator - who is considering a 2012 run for the White House - argued that American intervention in the Middle East helps promote "core American values."

Andy Barr - Santorum: Left hates 'Christendom' Politico 24 Feb 11

Lest we forget.  Any thoughts Strumm?


[ Parent ]
I'll corroborate (2.00 / 6)
While I am clearly on the left and therefore representative of "the American left," I only hate DUMB Christians...well...I don't hate them, I just find them annoying, like all species of dumb.  So with that emendation, I will go and record:

The American left is annoyed by Christian-dumb.  But only because of the dumb, not because of the Christian.  

And as Rick Santorum is one of the dumbest of dumb public Christians, and he therefore annoys me, who represents the American left, I will also go on record with:

The American left is annoyed by Rick Santorum.

By the way, the American left is also annoyed by Islam-dumb, but not because of the Islam, only because of the dumb.

Oh, and we like contraceptives, as they allow us to get freaky.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
Agreed, Doc... (2.00 / 4)
He's not just dumb, he's purblind, pug-ugly, "a world lit only by fire" dumb; a palaeolithic crow would have had more intellectual curiosity.  He's so dumb he's not even wrong.  And evidences absolutely no self-awareness whatsoever.

[ Parent ]
It is "Catch Phrase True", as you folks point out below. (2.00 / 1)
It hits the key resonant tone of the discontent with all the discontent.

The least articulate (and, therefore, loudest) part of the left does in fact come off as being blanket condemnatory of western culture, particularly if you are not 'Of' the left.

But arguing back at that amorphous western liberal angst as if it was a coherent point is taking the art of debate into a metaworld where the laws of physics no longer apply. It's the "liberals want to kill your grandmother" world, where points are pontificated upon to show that the current lack of the 11th-dimensional dragons is proof positive that your opponent is wrong.

It will work among those who like to believe that liberals are threatening the fabric of space-time with their Evil Incantations, but it just further distances the moderates and centrists he needs to win.

Keep at it.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Oh, Bollocks... (2.00 / 3)
Not to you, but to this whole notion of the demons of the Left and Right and that history "proves" anything less than the broadest strokes, and sometimes not even then.  Santorum's whole pitch is not just anti-historical, it's ahistorical.  I have spent a lifetime wrestling with history and it leaves one disinclined, on the one hand, to make sweeping statements and on the other to be all the more confident of saying "Bollocks!" to the kind of claptrap Santorum is peddling.

History is full of nuance, contradiction and unintended consequences, to be sure, but it is also the intelligence test of the intellectually curious.  Arguments like his have no weight whatsoever among those who aren't content to impose their contemporary world view on a past of which they are almost completely ignorant.  History is an uncomfortable subject to deal with at best of times and our tendency to align ourselves with certain historical personalities and movements is a fool's errand.  

I am as guilty of this as any but at least know when I'm doing it.  Those who cheerfully cry No Pasaran! for effect in modern times, as I sometimes do, must make a mental note to imagine the extensive, unmarked graves of victims of Republican democide in less public moments of sober reflection.


[ Parent ]
"Things did't happen that way" (2.00 / 2)
followed by:

"If you think they are happening that way, then you are wrong."

and

"Sometimes you may think that it looks like it is happening that way, but they aren't."

This is the whole problem with picking a world-view, whether religious or otherwise. You then set about fixing everything around you into that view - usually with massive use of Unconscious Duct Tape.

"This has to fit here, because there is a hole of about the right size..."

The true things are the Sweeping Truths - that everyone wants a peaceful day, for their children to do well, to not be stabbed with a pointy stick - not the specific truths we wedge into our orifices.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Neither of you are paying attention (2.00 / 5)
It's not about history, it's about sex.  Santorum hates contraception because he opposes non-procreational sex.  Sex must only be a means to creating more Christia...errr...Americans.  

It's really strategically flawed.  If he really wants Americans to be his kind of Christians, then he should be passing out contraceptives and encouraging as much sex as possible, as this is the only sphere in which the godless secularists call upon Jesus.  Well, at least if it's done right.

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
Fair Point (2.00 / 3)
But I sense in Santorum a theologastric impulse which is swinging for the fences.  Never mind that he labours from a subpar mental subtlety, he sees the angels of Sodom in the same frame as the biblical exegesis in Pulp Fiction; transposing scraps of ancient aphorism into a comic-book commentary on a complex social and cultural world.  Just look at his eyes the next time you observe him talking about Iran or Israel: it is the same guileless simplicity and confidence in his narrow and limited world view; though equally banal and homicidal.

As I was trying to point out, we all tend to identify with historical or mythological narratives; whether it is tales of the founding fathers, Gandhi, FDR or Nelson Mandela.  Of the vast repository of the historical record we adopt a condensed vision that suits our respective temperaments and work from there.

Rick Santorum has unimaginatively chosen a single work and projected all his fears and prejudices onto it and now seeks to impose his narrow interpretation on us all.  It is not just about sex, although that clearly informs Santorum's perceptions, it is about turning the lights out across the world and resuming our meditations in isolation and torchlight.


[ Parent ]
I would like to nominate this (2.00 / 4)
for the Best Prose award at this year's Moosies:

But I sense in Santorum a theologastric impulse which is swinging for the fences.  Never mind that he labours from a subpar mental subtlety, he sees the angels of Sodom in the same frame as the biblical exegesis in Pulp Fiction; transposing scraps of ancient aphorism into a comic-book commentary on a complex social and cultural world.  Just look at his eyes the next time you observe him talking about Iran or Israel: it is the same guileless simplicity and confidence in his narrow and limited world view; though equally banal and homicidal.

That is simply spectacular.  

I do, however, have one quibble.  There's no exegesis in Pulp Fiction.  If anything, it's recitation.  Except it isn't even that, just Samuel Jackson riffing.  He basically ad libbed it.  The fact that so many people think it's authentic quotation is a tribute to his skills.  And there is more religious profundity in his imitation of the Bible than there is in Santorum's ramblings about "God's law."

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
Fair enough (2.00 / 3)
I was referring to the discussion in the diner but wasn't aware it was a concocted quotation.  In any case, thanks for the vote of confidence, there's no better forum than the Moose and it tends to bring out the best in all of us, it seems.

[ Parent ]
romney's taking on water, big time (2.00 / 5)
for the last few days i've been feeling the urge to temper my certainty in the 'inevitability' of Mr. Momjean's ascension.  even yogis think this guy has run out of positions, and the GOP body politic is rejecting him like a transplanted baboon heart.

Photobucket

he's in deep trouble.


Earth is the best vacation place for advanced clowns. --Gary Busey
 


So Now... (2.00 / 4)
Santorum is leading Romney in Ohio and there are rumblings that Romney is running out of other peoples' money; come to think of it his advertising buy in Michigan is a fraction of his astronomical spend in Florida.

And Daily Kos does a fascinating analysis of his 'electability' contra the parade of not-Romneys we've seen over the whole course of the primary so far:


Up until this point in the campaign, Mitt Romney could reliably claim that polls showed he was a better candidate to go up against President Obama than his Not Romney rivals. But according to some interesting numbers from Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen, that's no longer true.

According to Jensen, Mitt Romney's electability advantage in PPP polling has disappeared in the wake of Rick Santorum's surge. Before the surge, Romney consistently outperformed his leading Not Romney rival in a hypothetical contest against President Obama by 7 points in July, 6 points in August, 7 points in September, 6 points in October, 3 points in November and 7 points in December. But in PPP's first post-surge poll, it's Santorum who fares better against President Obama.

Jed Lewison - Mitt Romney's electability 'advantage' disappears+ Daily Kos 15 Feb 12

More blood in the water.


Quote of the Day (2.00 / 3)

These Are Not The Candidates You're Looking For - Charles P Pierce

I've been chuckling to myself about that one all morning.


[ Parent ]
Me too, now. (2.00 / 2)
That one comes back on you.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
According to Karen Tumulty at WaPo (2.00 / 4)
Romney, who had no public events during the day and whose campaign won't say what he was doing, was at a leading bankruptcy firm calling potential big-money donors with The Donald.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Hmmm... (2.00 / 4)
"Dialling for dollars."  The thing is he's potentially tapped out a lot of donors already on the $2500 limit:


Republican fundraisers say that despite his success so far, they think Romney is fast approaching a wall, and that he will likely be forced to pay for the campaign out of his own deep pockets.

"I don't know that he's completely tapped out, but they are trying to look under every stone," said a top New York Republican fundraiser. "You run out of people you can hit up for $2,500," he said, referring to the legal limit for primary contributions.

"Here in New York he has had fundraiser after fundraiser after fundraiser," said another top New York Republican. "Even in New York, there's only so much you can get out of the city."

Zeke Miller - Is Romney Going To Run Out Of Money? BuzzFeed 15 Feb 12

Not a good sign at this stage, really, but Romney could always dip into his personal assets.  Heh.  By the way, BuzzFeed is really a must-read site this cycle; amongst the tabloidish stuff there is some pretty good political reporting.


[ Parent ]
Can I just say that the notion of Romney dipping into (2.00 / 4)
his personal finances is fabulous!  I'm turning into a vindictive person but it serves the guy who gloated about forcing Kennedy into mortgaging his house right.  I hope the primaries drag out forever all the more if it forces   Romney to have to spend some dough that his smarmy kids won't see (even if they won't miss it).

And I have zeke and andrew kaszinski on my list of twitter follows.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Yeah... (2.00 / 4)
I was thinking of the Kennedy boast when I read that.  Of course this is primary money, the limit resets for the general but still you have to suppose that Romney thought once he beat off Gingrich in Florida he was home and hosed.  I'll bet his primary campaign budget looks pretty thin; he spent something like $7M in Florida but is only spending $1.2M in Michigan?  Whoops.  Not counting SuperPAC money but still.  And now Arizona is looking dicey too.  

Every big state is a "must-win" for him.  How the hell is he going to go "big" for March 6th if he's strapped for campaign cash?  Ohio?  Tennessee?  SuperPACs can flood the airwaves but campaigns like his burn through a lot of administrative overheads as well.  Remember what happened to Hillary?  It was the death knell of her primary campaign and that was around May or June from memory.


[ Parent ]
No, Sorry... (2.00 / 4)
It was in February 2008 when Hillary's staff were reported as foregoing they're pay; and from memory Hillary wrote the campaign a check later, isn't that right?  There may be something to this and the mere fact it is being credibly reported seriously undermines Romney; this BuzzFeed story has been cited all over the Internet now.

[ Parent ]
LOL (2.00 / 4)
Best LOLquote from that article:

"All the low-hanging fruit has been picked," said a top New York finance industry donor and fundraiser who is currently neutral in the race and described Romney as "a Republican John Kerry running Hillary Clinton's campaign."


If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

[ Parent ]
Yeah, except (2.00 / 5)
John Kerry has a record of service (got his money the old fashioned way, by marrying into it).  How do you swift boat an economic vulture?  Do you argue that Romney exaggerated how much money he made destroying other people's livelihoods?

BTW, I'm rooting for Romney at this point.  If he manages to win now, he'll be an unprecedentedly damaged candidate.  Let Santorum surge a bit more and cover a few more of Newt's tantrums.  Then have them both speak at Mitt's convention.  If Santorum were to pull this off, he'd seem like some David vs. Goliath white night (I mean, can you get whiter?).  I'd rather a bloody and fumbling Goliath than a victorious David.  Who's gonna rally to Mitt if he squeaks into it now?  He's not going to have a compelling narrative or message.  He's neither Javits nor Reagan.  He's just a rich guy who pays people to crap all over his opponents.  

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
I Agree (2.00 / 5)
However I'm pretty confident that the Republican establishment, as demoralised as they are becoming, still has enough equilibrium to asphyxiate the Santorum campaign, sooner or later.  We'll see.  In the meantime the damage he is doing to the party, never mind the presumptive nominee, beggars description.  

It's really a matter of which defeat damages the Republicans for longest; personally I'm going for a Romney loss exacerbating the split among the establishment and movement conservatives.  On the other hand, a Santorum loss might silence the Tea Party and evangelical cohorts for quite some time.  It's a tough choice.  Part of me wants to see a responsible opposition party emerge but at this point one is still inclined to reach for the wooden stake and mallet.


[ Parent ]
In today's CNN headlines (2.00 / 5)
First four headline story links under "Latest News":


   * GM posts biggest profit ever
   * Home building off to strong start
   * Big progress on payroll tax cut
   * Interracial marriage growing in U.S.


If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done subjunctively.

Yep, further proof of the looming End of Days... ;~) (2.00 / 4)
The world seems to be working out alright.

Good work, folks. :~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
And yet we have hearings in Congress on freakin' birth control (2.00 / 4)
With nary a woman in sight.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
I didn't say it was perfect... ;~) (2.00 / 2)
Even that may be part of what perfection we do achieve, though. As you are doing with this comment, the fact of the demographics of that argument will not be lost on observers. This may not work as well for those proposing imposing restrictions on the activities of those they are not.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
Heh (2.00 / 5)
Guessing you'll just love this:


Friess: I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.

Kyle Leighton - Santorum Backer Friess: 'Gals' Used To Put Aspirin Between Their Knees For Contraception TPM 16 Feb 12

That's Santorum's sugar daddy but he sounds like someone's mad old grampa off The Andy Griffiths Show.  Sheesh.


[ Parent ]
I'm trying to embed the YouTube video but it WON'T! (2.00 / 3)
I'm using the "use old embed code," too.  Damnit!

I think old Foster just screwed his candidate but good 'cause he's trending all over twitter and not in a good way.

And, actually, the scariest thing he said was the bit about the "jihadists camps in Latin America" just before his Bayer Aspirin endorsement.  Proves even rich people are stupid.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Speechless... (2.00 / 5)
With good reason.



[ Parent ]
By the way, the five seconds of stunned silence made me (2.00 / 5)
guffaw.  Andrea Mitchell was speechless!

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Santorum... (2.00 / 4)
On birth control:


"It's not OK because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be," he said.

Z Byron Wolf - Rick Santorum Declared Contraception 'Harmful to Women' in 2006 ABC 15 Feb 12

How can you argue with that?  Santorum is clearly as didactic as your average jihadist; a pair of theologastric bookends with the reasonable bulk of both cultures crammed in between.


[ Parent ]
It's gone beyond birth control now. (2.00 / 6)
That hearing isn't about birth control. It's about giving employers and exception for anything they don't find morally acceptable. For instance, if I , as an employer, feel that bringing children with Down's syndrome into the world is immoral then I can deny coverage for delivery services and future care for such children? Another example might be if an employer doesn't approve of alcohol then they could conceivably deny coverage for liver disease or even for children born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Or... (2.00 / 5)
If the employer were a Christian Scientist there would be simply no health care.

[ Parent ]
Darell Issa tweeted proudly that his second hearing had TWO (2.00 / 5)
women as witnesses.

I can't even be angry anymore.  It beyond stupid and farcical.  Of course, my mood is helped by knowing that unmarried women have swung back to POTUS by 18 points in the last two months.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


[ Parent ]
Great! (2.00 / 3)
Now if we could just get those unmarried women out to vote. 39% aren't even registered to vote. http://www.voterparticipation....

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
Seems the GOP is doing its part. :) (2.00 / 3)
But you're right.  Need to make sure everyone knows this is important.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Sooner or Later... (2.00 / 3)
Someone is going to point out that the Blunt bill could be seen as a major milestone in supporting Sharia law broadly in a single stroke and bring thousands of American workers under its jurisdiction.  An Islamic employer might easily decide, for example, that health care for women should be provided only with the consent of their husbands or closest male relative.

[ Parent ]
It's all the same song. (2.00 / 4)
If I believe that the Magic Cricket will cure my son's cancer, then that is my right.

If I believe that my children should only learn to spell Jesus, then that is my right.

If I believe that my children should only learn to kill Jews, then that is my right.

...

No, it isn't.

This isn't an Anarchy, it is a Republic. It isn't a bolt-hole Libertarian Wunderwald, it is a culture. A society. Where people live, together.

The ignorant thesists just see everything in the context of the shadow they throw. Moral Relativity with only one reference point. They don't see - none of them - that the Other they battle is the same as they are.

I would love to have something like this bill turn around and bite the hand of the theocrat who is feeding it. If it allows one person to enforce Christian extremism on others it will work as well to support Islamic extremism, because they are the same damn thing.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Umm...Chris, why do you want your children to kill Jews? (2.00 / 4)
There is a major difference between Christian extremism and Islamic extremism.  Christian extremists are extremely right, extremely good, and extremely laboring on behalf of the creator of the universe, who loves them, extremely.  I think we owe it to Santorum's God to obey Santorum's understanding of his God's law, as our rights come from Him and not from Allah (which, by the way, just means God and is not the proper name of an idolatrous deity).  See.  It's about religious liberty.  How free are you if you labor in darkness instead of living freely and productively in the manner that Santorum teaches that we should.  And he teaches that we should bomb Iran and support all of the "Jewish" territorial claims in the occupied territories.

It's really quite simple:

Blask wants his heathen children to kill Jews.

Santorum wants to kill heathen Iranian children to protect Jews.

Now, decide, do you respect religious liberty, or not?

[But really, I didn't think anything could surprise me from the right in this country anymore.  But I cannot believe we are actually having this argument.  I don't doubt that some believe this crap.  But I can't decide if those orchestrating it are monumentally disingenuous or fundamentally cognitively impaired.]

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
I blame decades of pandering to the Religious Right (2.00 / 4)
and John McCain.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Well... (2.00 / 2)
This is the unspoken argument of atheists and agnostics when debating the undebatable:


"I used to be fucked up on drugs now I'm fucked up on Jesus."

Cheech and Chong

Nice believers say, "Faith is good and wholesome."  Yet history is littered with the wreckage of these homicidal crackheads.  It's still a problem.


[ Parent ]
For Example... (2.00 / 3)
Here's a little insight into Santorum unplugged:


[Satan] was successful. He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions. The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they're smart. And so academia, a long time ago, fell.

And you say "what could be the impact of academia falling?" Well, I would have the argument that the other structures that I'm going to talk about here had root of their destruction because of academia. Because what academia does is educate the elites in our society, educates the leaders in our society, particularly at the college level. And they were the first to fall.

Kyle Mantyla - Santorum: Satan is Systematically Destroying America Right Wing Watch 16 Feb 12

That was in 2008, not 1633.  Honestly, go read the whole thing; Republicans are seriously considering nominating someone who believes that all of our institutions of higher learning, and all their scholars and learning of generations, are the unequivocal work of Satan.  Not to mention a fair proportion of other established faiths.  This is a mind preserved in aspic since medieval times.

And not only that, it is a demagogic mind which sees these "elites" as an illegitimate structure which needs to be overthrown, no doubt by others of the same simplistic persuasion.  Pitchforks and torches, folks.  It's like a bad zombie film.  


[ Parent ]
You missed all the snide emphasis on "smart". (2.00 / 3)
"F-ing Smart people."

I spit on you.

Holy batpoop. You could do a quick search-and-replace on that and have the Al-Qaeda manifesto.



John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Yeah... (2.00 / 3)
With post-1950 America cast as the Great Satan in both cases.  You can understand Santorum's obsession with Iran, however; he's envious of their theocracy, but pissed they chose the wrong book.

[ Parent ]
Let's just see what a quick search-and-replace leaves us with. (2.00 / 3)
No change in meaning:

This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country - the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age. There is no one else to go after other than the Saudi Arabia and that has been the case now for almost fourteen hundred years, once Saudi Arabia's preeminence was sown by prophet Muhammad.

He didn't have much success in the early days. Our foundation was very strong, in fact, is very strong. But over time, that great, acidic quality of time corrodes even the strongest foundations. And Satan has done so by attacking the great institutions of Saudi Arabia, using those great vices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has so deeply rooted in the Saudi Arabian tradition.

He was successful. He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions. The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they're smart. And so academia, a long time ago, fell.

And you say "what could be the impact of academia falling?" Well, I would have the argument that the other structures that I'm going to talk about here had root of their destruction because of academia. Because what academia does is educate the elites in our society, educates the leaders in our society, particularly at the college level. And they were the first to fall.

And so what we saw this domino effect, once the colleges fell and those who were being education in our institutions, the next was the Mosque. Now you'd say, 'wait, the Salafi Mosque'? No. We all know that this country was founded on a Islamic ethic but the Islamic ethic was a Sunni ethic, sure the Salafis had some influence, but this was a Shia country and the Shia ethic, mainstream, mainline Shiaism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Shiaism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Islam as I see it. So they attacked mainline Shiaism, they attacked the Mosque, and what better way to go after smart people who also believe they're pious to use both vanity and pride to also go after the Mosque.

After that, you start destroying the Mosque and you start destroying academia, the culture is where their next success was and I need not even go into the state of the popular culture today. Whether its sensuality of vanity of the famous in Saudi Arabia, they are peacocks on display and they have taken their poor behavior and made it fashionable. The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it's the NBA or whether it's a rock concert or whether it's on a movie set.

The fourth, and this was harder, now I know you're going to challenge me on this one, but politics and government was the next to fall. You say, 'you would think they would be the first to fall, as fallible as we are in politics,' but people in political life get elected by ordinary folks from lots of places all over the country where the foundations of this country are still strong. So while we may certainly have had examples, the body politic held up fairly well up until the last couple of decades, but it is falling too

My pardons to anyone insulted by my maladroit intepretation of Islamic politics and history, but you get the drift.

If this strays one iota from either the the original text or Al-Zawahiri's fanatical worldview than I am missing it.

This is not to say that Mr. Santorum would follow an Al-Zawahiric path if he were president, but the mindsets are on the same highway system. That doesn't make me comfortable.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Well Done (2.00 / 3)
And appropriately scary.  You really should diarise this on Daily Kos or something where it might get a wider viewing, methinks.  It's a very strong point.

[ Parent ]
I may have to leave that to you and others, (2.00 / 3)
you're free to run with it. I just don't have the time to either write it up correctly (I'm pretty sure I mangled the Protestant/Catholic translations, for example).

Fun times in the Real World, though. Seems we may actually be able to make a difference. I'll diary some of that as things unfold one way or another in the near term.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
Not Only... (2.00 / 5)
Stupid and farcical, but downright denial of reality:


And then, a few days ago, for no apparent reason, Scott Brown decided it was time to step on his own dick.

He signed on with the radical bill proposed by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri that would allow any employer or insurer to opt out of any health-care services that the federal law otherwise required that they cover. All they need to do is gin up a "moral objection" to providing the treatment.

Charles P Pierce - Scott Brown Takes a Pill Esquire 16 Feb 12

It seems Brown didn't even read the bill:


The reporter repeatedly pointed out that the measure goes much further than just exempting religious organizations from covering contraception; it also allows employers and insurers to refuse to cover any health service they find morally objectionable. Brown repeatedly insisted that the bill doesn't do this.

"You acknowledge that Senator Blunt's amendment that you're supporting goes far further than religious objections, no?" The reporter asked.

"No, I don't," Brown answered, adding that "one of the cornerstones of our Constitution" is "to allow for religious freedoms."

The reporter then increduously pointed out that the bill also allows for denial of coverage due to "moral conviction," and pressed Brown again and again.

"That's the language," the reporter said. "I'm repeating it verbatim, Senator Brown."

"I disagree with your interpretation," Brown said. "It's very clear that this is about the ability for religious groups - churches, universities who want to practice their faith in adherence to our Constitution."

Greg Sargent - Scott Brown struggles to refight old culture war with Elizabeth Warren Washington Post 16 Feb 12

WTF?  Admittedly this is in Massachusetts but it would seem inarguable that Scott, who is facing a tight election, has bought into an argument he hasn't considered carefully or just has had the vapours.  I have a sneaking suspicion it will play out much the same elsewhere.


[ Parent ]
Fwiw new Suffulk poll has Brown up nine on Warren. (2.00 / 3)
Looking for more info.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Just For the Record... (2.00 / 5)
Here are a couple of well informed pieces on current religious liberty and social values issues.  The first a reasoned, historical perspective on the Catholic bishops' arguments regarding the contraception mandate:


Catholics have long realized that their own grasp of certain things, especially sex, has a validity that is lost on the celibate male hierarchy. This is particularly true where celibacy is concerned.

There was broad disagreement with Pius XI's 1930 encyclical on the matter. Pope Paul VI set up a study group of loyal and devout Catholics, lay and clerical, to make recommendations. The group overwhelmingly voted to change the teaching of Pius XI. But cardinals in the Roman Curia convinced Paul that any change would suggest that the church's teachings are not eternal (though Casti Connubii had not been declared infallible, by the papacy's own standards).

When Paul reaffirmed the ban on birth control in Humanae Vitae (1968) there was massive rejection of it. Some left the church. Some just ignored it. Paradoxically, the document formed to convey the idea that papal teaching is inerrant just convinced most people that it can be loony. The priest-sociologist Andrew Greeley said that Humanae Vitae did more damage to the papacy than any of the so-called "liberal" movements in Catholicism.

Garry Wills - Contraception's Con Men New York Review of Books 15 Feb 12

The other is a classical analysis of Santorum's 2005 book It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good tracing its religious doctrine and the underlying conflicts with Santorum's other claimed antecedants, the founding principles of the United States:


The logic of his argument should lead him to conclude that parents are not free to raise and educate their children in ways that undermine universal moral truths and socially essential virtues. He shrinks from this conclusion, I suspect, because he understands that his fellow citizens would never accept it. Yet, his premises point straight toward the ultimate concentration of state power we call theocracy. Nothing could be farther from the intention of the Framers in whose name Santorum claims to speak.

William A. Galston - Scold War Washington Monthly December 2005

The inevitable conclusion is that Santorum is a small-minded opportunist rigidly adhering to a pre-1968 vision of Catholicism and a fanciful, in fact surrealistic, perspective of the formative period and personalities of the early United States.  This is not a great thinker by any stretch and his "sincerity" seems mere reactionary stubbornness.



And... (2.00 / 4)
Jonathan Chait has finally lost it completely:


The unpredictable Republican presidential race has taken another surprising turn as recent numbers show Mongol warlord Genghis Khan seizing the lead in national polls of likely GOP primary voters. Benefiting from widespread doubts about Mitt Romney's authenticity and ideological commitment, Genghis has changed the shape of the race by sounding sharp populist themes that resonate with supporters of the tea party. "Mitt Romney wants to manage Washington, D.C.," he told an enthusiastic crowd in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I want to burn it to the ground, slay its inhabitants, and stack their skulls in pyramids reaching to the sky."

Jonathan Chait - Romney Straining to Get to the Right of Genghis Khan New York Magazine 16 Feb 12

I have been wondering when the mental toll of reporting on the Republican nomination would take its first scalps.  Signs of delirium and babbling among other noted pundits, forced for months to seriously contemplate the freak show of Republican presidential politics, is increasingly evident.  The intellectual strain of considering any of these candidates as remotely suitable for any public position, never mind the highest office in the land, is an unforeseen but immediate occupational hazard for journalists and commentators nationwide.  

It this a clever, and necessary, 11th-dimensional chess strategy by the GOP to incapacitate the rationalist media, and their readership, ahead of the general election?  Full story at seven...


Helloooooo Ohio! (2.00 / 4)
Mike DeWine, OH's current AG and professional pol, is set to switch from Romney to Santorum.  This on the heels of polling showing Santorum up in the Buckeye State.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

Mitt is down in Michigan, too. (2.00 / 5)
I was afraid he would be a tough opponent for the Prez in Michigan, but recent polls in the state show President Obama up big over Romney. I think the auto bailouts are the main reason for the turnaround.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
The Delicious Thing... (2.00 / 4)
Is that the GOP is now apparently stuck with this for a while.  And Romney, Santorum and Gingrich are each caricatures of a loathsome aspect of their party among the electorate; The Three Stooges Go to Tampa.

[ Parent ]
And Adelson is considering giving Newt-friendly PAC (2.00 / 3)
$10 mill more.  He's in Israel and hasn't reached a firm decision.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette

[ Parent ]
Here We Go... (2.00 / 5)
Torquemada's accusation of apostasy:


Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator known for his social conservative views, said Obama's agenda is based on "some phony theology. Not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology."

Steve Peoples - Rick Santorum questions Obama's Christian values AP 18 Feb 12

There you have it, the evangelical version of "religious liberty."  So now Obama's not a Christian?


Frankly... (2.00 / 5)
It's a slow news day, as late Saturdays always are, but from the rapidity with which this remark has gone around the web I think that Santorum just overstepped badly, at least I hope so.  To say something like that is at once disrespectful, despicably narrow and an insight into just what kind of theocratic megalomania possesses him at all times.

I'm praying that Americans draw the line somewhere with this kind of crap; now would be a good time.  We shouldn't have to put up with this, it could have been any of us that pursue our faith modestly and with humility whom he was attempting to marginalise.  Such arrogant ugliness from such a small mind.


[ Parent ]
It would be nice (2.00 / 5)
if every candidate would answer the same question that JFK and Mitt were required to answer about whether they would subordinate the constitution to a higher authority.  I want Santorum to come out and say it.  For him, as president, the Constitution would come second to his theology.

Of course, there is a movement afoot to treat both the Declaration and the Constitution as semi-revealed, or directly inspired documents.  They have become the Third Testament, an American Testament that sets the US apart from the rest of the world in the formal sense of a new covenant.  Some Mormons say this explicitly.  But it's implicit in the right wing demand that everyone affirm US exceptionalism.  

The future is unwritten


[ Parent ]
This is very true. (2.00 / 6)
I lurk on Redstate quite a bit. One of the people that posts there has a tagline that reads something like this, "I am first a Christian, a Conservative, and then a Republican." I wanted to ask him where "American" falls in there.

This is not a recession. It's a robbery.

[ Parent ]
If I am not mistaken, there is no more mortal insult between theists. (2.00 / 4)
It is one thing for a non-believer like me to question a believer's faith, and another altogether for a believer to slander a fellow believer's beliefs.

A recent visit from a Christian living in Utah demonstrated that. Her vehemence that Mormons were not Christians exhibited that personal nature of intra-faith squabbling (yes, btw, Mormons are Christian. Take it from an outsider, all y'all are one group).

So, Santorum chose to insult 51.6% of the population by slandering Protestants as a whole, and now in focusing on the President's faith goes after the specific 6.9% that represents the Black Church.

It's OK, he still has the 23.9% of the population who are Catholic. Well, at least the 52% of those who voted for Bush in 2004.

OK, there is still the 12.4% he can count on. Until he starts on what he thinks a "real" Catholic is, anyway...

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
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