Return of Rick Santorum, Culture Warrior?
Why does Rick get the culture warrior questions? Because he leads every political talk with a culture war straw man. Yesterday it was the anti-science, anti-environmental denialism of global warming. The day before it was religious victim hood cloaked in a false construct of religious liberty.
Santorum’s biggest campaign plank seems to be “Vote for me because President Obama is a gaia worshipping radical islamic communist atheist… (and HITLER!)” It’s all Christian fundamentalist social war ad hominem rhetoric designed to demonize the President in the eyes of the fundamentalist Christians. It’s rhetoric guaranteed to pull the zealots into his corner, and guaranteed to make him lose on the national stage because he can’t have it both ways in the end. So he and his spokesperson make fantastic claims and ‘slips’ and then quietly backpedal.
It’s a desperation ploy, one designed to take people’s eyes off of the real problems in this country as the rich just keep getting richer, and the middle class submarines deeper.
“Why is it he’s the only one who gets these questions,” Gidley asked, referring to Santorum.
Part of that comes with the territory of a self-described “full spectrum conservative” whose own Twitter page states that “…self-evident foundational truths and rights (are) given by God.”
Santorum’s bio on his campaign website highlights the former Pennsylvania senator’s Congressional record and touts his action on several issues that are critical to social conservatives.
“Senator Santorum wrote and championed legislation that outlawed the heinous procedure known as Partial Birth Abortion as well as the ‘Born Alive Infants Protection Act,’ the ‘Unborn Victims of Violence Act,’ the campaign bio states.
In 2005, Santorum led the Republican charge in Congress to intervene in the life of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who was living in a vegetative state and whose family was at war over whether to remove her feeding tube.
In other words, Santorum the culture warrior never went anywhere. He’s always been here.
For now, the flamethrower rhetoric may be working with Republican voters. The latest Gallup daily tracking poll finds Santorum 10 points of Mitt Romney and well ahead of the rest of the field. Newt Gingrich is a distant third.
GOP strategists say Santorum’s tough talk on the President is likely part of a larger strategy to appeal to voters who once backed the former Speaker.
“The opening they see is with conservative primary voters, such as those who had been leaning towards Gingrich. You can certainly see that in Arizona,” former Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye said.
For Santorum, there is little down side in turning off moderate Republican voters. They are likely to back Romney anyway.
“It doesn’t hurt him. Those aren’t the voters he’s targeting and not ones whose support he’s likely to receive in the primary,” Heye said.