Political Animal


February 15, 2012 5:42 PM Santorum’s Rhetorical Surge

By Ed Kilgore

I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t have enough money to devise a more subtle message, or because he fears the attacks on him as insufficiently conservative. Or conversely, maybe his poll numbers have gone to his head and he truly thinks extremism in the defense of liberty can be no vice. But based on this press report from a rally in Idaho, Rick Santorum is really losing all inhibitions in expressing the rawest right-wing sentiments on the campaign trail. Gaze in awe and wonder:

Rick Santorum had a Boise crowd in his hands Tuesday, affirming his faith, ripping his GOP opponents and President Obama, and setting high stakes….The crowd was a big part of the event — booing U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., calling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “traitor!” and reminding Santorum that American revolutionaries had more than muskets.

How high are the stakes in this election, according to Rick? Losing means the very end of American liberty:

“I believe that if we are unsuccessful in this election that we will have failed in that duty and it will have horrendous consequences. … It will be the end of the great experiment in the order of liberty and freedom.”

Obama’s re-election, Santorum indicated, will represent the final triumph of the parasitical lucky duckies who don’t pay taxes and depend on government for a living:

“We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority. Freedom in an election process is not something people will care about. They’ll care about whether they get their piece.”

Santorum did not neglect to blow the “Declaration of Independence” dog-whistle by which “constitutional conservatives” assert that the Founder’s Design include God-given, immutable rights for property-owners and zygotes:

Wearing his signature sweater vest, jeans and worn cowboy boots, Santorum waved a copy of the Constitution, which he called “the operator’s manual of America.”
But he said many Americans neglect another founding document — the Declaration of Independence.
Santorum began reciting, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their — ” but paused for the crowd to shout “Creator!” — before continuing, “with certain unalienable rights.”

Ah, but this Godly country is being seized by un-American elites with alien values who hate people like you:

Santorum said the Obama administration believes it has the right to force the Catholic Church to hire women priests. “They’re going to fight because they believe their secular values should be imposed on people of faith.”
He added, “Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!”

Worse yet, suggested Santorum, these looter-feeding, God-hating elitists don’t understand Iran is a greater threat than the Soviet Union ever was, and that we must launch a faith-based preemptive war to stop the mullahs:

He noted his longtime call of alarm about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, saying the Cold War arms race that checked the Soviet Union won’t work with the mullahs.
“Mutually assured destruction worked. Why? Because they didn’t want to die. Because when atheists die, that’s it. Or, maybe better stated, they think that’s it.”
But in Iran, “They believe these end of times (are) a good thing for them, that’s the time they will conquer the world and rule it for Allah. … Bringing about Armageddon for them is not a deterrent. It is an inducement.”

It’s time, the candidate vowed, to separate the red-state sheep from the blue-state goats, achieving a sort of cultural apartheid:

During a 28-minute question-and-answer session with the audience, Santorum said he would separate the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals [a 9th circuit panel just declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional] from Idaho and other Western states, leaving it to cover only California.

Seriously, folks, Ronald Reagan didn’t talk this way. Barry Goldwater went about half this far and was eternally labeled the most extremist major-party candidate in U.S. history. If in 2008 Barack Obama had used this sort of rhetoric about the electoral stakes of victory or defeat, or the nature of the opposition, he would have been accused of introducing Kenyan Mau Mau tactics to American politics. Even now, he’s called a dangerous demagogue for suggesting Wall Street was partially responsible for the recession, or that the richest people on the planet ought to pay higher tax rates than their employees.

Perhaps Santorum’s rhetoric will prove his undoing. If Mitt Romney had an ounce of real courage, he’d call him on it.

But the scary fact is that his intraparty opponents would prefer to go after him for representing, as Mitt’s surrogate Sen. Roy Blunt said just yesterday, “the liberal wing of the Republican Party.” If that’s the case, the “conservative wing” must have taken a long flight from reality.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • internet tough guy on February 15, 2012 5:54 PM:

    Ricky, Just call for Obama's assassination and get it over with.

    Cable news would even congratulate you on your brave stance.

  • Jilli on February 15, 2012 5:56 PM:

    Good lord, five minutes of Ricky's apocalyptic gloom and doom could drive a sane person to slit their wrists. Such a maudlin and depressing message. Santorums a downer - how long is that going to play well?

  • g on February 15, 2012 5:57 PM:

    Rick Santorum - American Interhamwe

  • chopin on February 15, 2012 6:08 PM:

    Ricky's rant on Allah's Armageddon is the clearest exhibit of projection I have ever seen. What a toad.

  • Danp on February 15, 2012 6:09 PM:

    I hope Romney goes after Santorum for being a whiner. Not that Romney's message is any different, but there is a right way and a wrong way to make straw man arguments, and Santorum sounds like a loser. Maybe once Santorum goes down, people will start to realize Romney is no different.

  • BoulderBo on February 15, 2012 6:15 PM:

    This hateful and divisive talk will help him with ultra-conservative GOP primary voters, but won't play well with most of the voting public if he ends up being the loon the GOP are stuck with going against President Obama in the fall.

    Kepp it up Ricky, the more you speak the more you're revealed as a crazed teahadist.

  • E L on February 15, 2012 6:21 PM:

    Now Mitt is contractually obligated as a Republican crazy to top this. Wheeee!

  • j on February 15, 2012 6:24 PM:

    "...the Founder’s Design include[s] God-given, immutable rights for property-owners and zygotes..." and even other people like you.

  • bdop4 on February 15, 2012 6:44 PM:

    I'm standing with Sinclair Lewis on this one: “When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”

    Time to exchange those brown shirts for sweater vests.

  • TCinLA on February 15, 2012 7:01 PM:

    He added, “Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!”

    Always nice to be reminded that the ignorant white trash aren't all southern. I mean if you want to meet stoooooopid white people, go to Idaho.

  • wab on February 15, 2012 7:04 PM:

    Seriously people, does anyone envision any way in which the current nuttiness/extremism/inanity/etc. of the Republican Party ends well for the Republic? It's all very well to laugh at them, but at some point these lunatics could easily win the White House and Congress (e.g. because of a dire economic situation, or some major Democratic scandal, or by buying elections the way Romney is trying to).

  • Rick Massimo on February 15, 2012 7:05 PM:

    Gosh, there's absolutely nothing Mussolini-from-a-balcony-like about that rhetoric. Nothing at all.

  • emjayay on February 15, 2012 7:08 PM:

    Ricky is right about the Declaration. The Constitution is about how it's gonna work, plus the particular enumerated rights in the first ten amendments. The philosophy part is really in the second sentence of the Declaration.

    John Locke said "life, liberty, and property." Thomas Jefferson (run through a committee, which is where the Creator stuff came from) said "life, liberty, and the putsuit of happiness."

    (Not previewed - that function no longer works in any logical way, although it used to) Any typos, please use your imagination.

  • emjayay on February 15, 2012 7:10 PM:

    Obviously, I meant "pursuit".

    WM: please reinstitute a Preview function that makes sense and actually works.

  • mudwall jackson on February 15, 2012 7:13 PM:

    “Mutually assured destruction worked. Why? Because they didn’t want to die. Because when atheists die, that’s it. Or, maybe better stated, they think that’s it.”

    so exactly what was our excuse?

  • Donald from Hawaii on February 15, 2012 7:14 PM:

    And thus, the GOP candidates' relentless duel for the coveted unhinged right-wing crackpot vote continues unabated ...

  • FlipYrWhig on February 15, 2012 7:20 PM:

    Um, Rick, don't you Christians look forward to the end of days too? Rapture, Second Coming, all that stuff?

  • Danny on February 15, 2012 7:22 PM:

    In your guts, you know he's nuts.

  • schtick on February 15, 2012 7:23 PM:

    Both Ricky and Mittens only condemn Obama and the dems. Neither one has actually given even a try at any solutions except to say they will be better.
    I'm so sick of the lies and bull they spew, and I mean the whole party of NO, that I doubt I will ever vote for a republican again. From now on to get elected, they will never be able to tell an ounce of truth and I think they will pull a "Walker" if they do get elected.
    What has happened that the tealiban hates America so much?

    crapcha....pardoned videdo....I hope not.

  • coralsea on February 15, 2012 7:36 PM:

    Is it just me, or are these crazy bastards actually TRYING to get some loon to shoot the President -- or start a new civil war??

    The rhetoric from Barbie Spice in '08 was over the top; we're not even in full campaign mode yet, and it's already worse.

    I just see so many ways this could end very unwell...

  • Anonymous on February 15, 2012 7:37 PM:

    “We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority."

    He's almost right and oh so wrong. The tipping point is coming because the nation is aging and those with means are retiring early to draw on Social Security.

    At the other end, all the babies he and his Bishop friends want produced use a lot of services with out earning wages (unless they become jr. janitors, I suppose).

    There is a demographic wave under way, but its mostly white middle class people that we have to be afraid of. That's who's gonna suck up the bennies and not pay.

    Not that you'd ever know it from the racist, xenophobic, war-mongering party of fear. They don't bother to connect the dots.

    Or if they do, its Paul Ryan style, and old white people don't actually like his plan.

  • RalfW on February 15, 2012 7:41 PM:

    BoulderBo: "Keep it up Ricky, the more you speak the more you're revealed as a crazed teahadist."

    Unfortunately, as tough guy says up top, Rick's rhetoric is damn near inciting assassination. Romney was and is lying his ass off about Obama, but not in this way that is likely to incite a McVeigh-type response that I fear from Santorum's unhinged rhetoric.


  • Anti-constitutionite on February 15, 2012 7:45 PM:

    Now we're getting somewhere. It's obvious God didn't intend to have the Declaration and constitution apply to everybody. We need to repeal a few cumbersome constitutional amendments. A good start would be 14, 15, 16, 19, 23 and 24. They've been nothing but trouble. And don't get us started on 1-10.

  • AK Liberal on February 15, 2012 8:18 PM:

    "Barry Goldwater went about half this far and was eternally labeled the most extremist major-party candidate in U.S. history."

    Well, they still had Rockefeller Republicans in those days. I'm not sure what is too extreme for the GOP now. But, I sort hope that Santorum somehow manages to get the nomination. He doesn't strike me as smart enough to walk that talk back. It would make for an excellent contrast of visions between him and the President.

  • citizen_pain on February 15, 2012 8:24 PM:

    This really pisses me off. Words matter. This inflammatory rhetoric only poisons our society and serves to fan the flames of the right wing hate machine. Only violence will ensue, and it will get even worse with an Obama victory, and the democrats taking the house which is possible.

    My question is, why isn't he being publicly called out on this hellfire and brimstone snake oil? Where are the men and women with standards, decency, character, and integrity?

    Someone needs to hit back and hit back hard on this guy. Not for concern of his actual chances at a nomination which are nil, but for his sheer lunacy! I mean this guy espouses a 13th century mentality! Enough is enough already! Where are the defenders of a civilized 21st century society?

  • TR on February 15, 2012 8:45 PM:

    He added, “Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!”

    Someone contact the estate of George Wallace, because Santorum is ripping off his stump speech, word for word, and they're due some serious royalties.

  • mellowjohn on February 15, 2012 8:56 PM:

    in little ricky's defense, he was in idaho.

    p.s. @emjayjay: i believe the original document said "and the perfuit of justice." at least that's what stan freburg taught me.

  • burro on February 15, 2012 9:38 PM:

    President Obama has shown an ability to give the freaks enough rope to hang themselves with, and they get so caught up in their own exalted delusions that they take the rope and wear it with pride, until they realize that they can't wiggle out of what they've done.

    The country has indicated recently that it's not as tuned out or apathetic as might have been feared. There's an awareness that there is an element of self preservation involved and that there is a difference between Obama's path and the nihilistic road to hell that is the only path that the r's know.

    The President hasn't gotten to the pope-mobile point, but I bet he's being pretty closely watched. The loons are being so blatant that there can be no doubt as to the danger.

    The disgusting Santorum and the feckless Romney aren't 3rd party fringe candidates. They are the best and brightest that the Republican Party of the United States of America can come up with. Take a look America. Take a close look all of you who aren't in the Kool-Aid marinated 27% and ask yourself what these strange, possessed men can do for you.

    President Obama, and the people we pay to protect him, may be wary, just as anybody with a lick of common sense would be, but I would think he's glad to see the freak show be as visible as possible, because they are saying the same crazyass shit that they've spoken freely to each other in the quiet places that Romney likes so much, but which they haven't shared with the general public to as great an extent.

    They're really bad people, but the rest of America isn't going to know how screwed up they are unless they get to let their freak flags fly. How appropriate, NPR just had a piece talking about how the Mormons have been baptizing folks from whatever, or no, religion posthumously. Let them out creep-out each other, and encourage folks to think critically about their votes. It's the only hope there is, and President Obama has faith that American's will choose a future over a clueless disaster.

  • citizen_pain on February 15, 2012 10:51 PM:

  • Texas Aggie on February 15, 2012 11:31 PM:

    “They believe these end of times (are) a good thing for them, that’s the time they will conquer the world and rule it for Allah. … Bringing about Armageddon for them is not a deterrent. It is an inducement.”

    Good thing that he specified that he was talking about Moslems or I would have been sure he was referring to his base. Isn't bringing about Armageddon the reason the right wing is so supportive of Israel and trying to get it involved in a war?

  • Coop on February 15, 2012 11:40 PM:

    Santorum is more honest, one might say, than most Republican politicians, but what he says is not extreme in a Republican context. The essential message is to all moderates and liberals is, "We are right, you are wrong: shut up, pay us your taxes, and get out of the way while we spend your money the way we want to because you don't have the right to your beliefs."

  • fergie on February 15, 2012 11:45 PM:

    mellowjohn I can still recite parts of Stan Freeburg presents The United States of America! When I read the pursuit of happiness above I recited in my head the purfuit of happiness. lol.

    All the rest of the posters I so agree with everything being said.

    And I too am extremely concerned about the hateful words being spoken and spewed! I am also flabbergasted that there NEVER IS ANY push back to the degree warranted by the words of the racist, hateful, radical right-wing ... really traitors to America.

    Add on the planned parenthood/komen, and now birth control!!! Which has me absolutely howling. I think this country has gone nuts and it's not our side. They don't just want to beat Obama or liberals/progressives, they want us all to die and die hard, and then go roast in hell for eternity.

  • joanneinDenver on February 16, 2012 4:13 AM:

    The real problem with little Ricky is, of course, that he is winning. Never mind that the Republican primary season only encompasses a handful of voters. It has dominated the news for months. It has allowed the republicans to "frame the debate and define the terms." The republican party has developed strong party organizations in all the primary states, which include key states for 2012.

    Here in Colorado at the JJ Dinner, the talk among Democrats was all about the need to "do something." "Shouldn't we be thinking about getting organized." They should have been passing out fiddles.

    I see a Romney/Santorum ticket. I see gas at $5 plus a gallon come summer.
    I see the "Arab Spring" go the way of "Prague Spring." I see Obama winning the popular vote and losing in the Electoral College.

  • rea on February 16, 2012 6:57 AM:

    Of course, at the time, Jefferson's language, "endowed by their creator," was carefully non-Christian and Deist.

  • Kathryn on February 16, 2012 9:03 AM:

    The hate has gotten out of hand, the video of Santorum at the podium is facism personified. As one commenter noted, a dead ringer for the histrionics of Benito Mussolini. Was the press in Italy and Germany as supine as ours or even worse? Romney is a lying sack of sh-t who would be a puppet to the right wing, Santorum is dangerous on a whole other level. Some talking heads, even on MSNBC, are suggesting that Rick is somehow more authentic because he believes what he's saying, good grief, all the more terrifying.

    @Joanne in Denver, see you commented in the wee hours of the morning, hours I personally find gloomy if I happen to be awake, but I sure hope your predictions aren't close to being realized. Gas prices are climbing now, Iran and Israel are escalating, Syria is aflame, I see your point. Romney and Santorum will make it so much better. We may pay a high price for the ignorance of our voters, and we couldl take the world down with us.

  • JoanneinDenver on February 16, 2012 10:08 AM:

    I post my predictions in the hopes that they will not come true. What I find so
    disconcerting is that so many liberals/progressives/democrats are content to ridicule the republicans and think that blogging is a substitute for organizing. I confess that I am a member of that latter lazy group. I remember 2010. I take no comfort from national polls or the presence of Organizing for America. I do not think they are a replacement for state by state organizing. I think the republicans have their "eye on the prize."

    As for my late night musings, I wish I knew those hours because I was up rocking babies. But, for women of a certain age, those are the hours we are awake; watchful and trying to sound the alarm, but computer keys are quiet, and our voices muted.

  • 2Manchu on February 16, 2012 10:21 AM:

    "But in Iran, 'They believe these end of times (are) a good thing for them, that’s the time they will conquer the world and rule it for Allah. … Bringing about Armageddon for them is not a deterrent. It is an inducement.'”

    But if you bring on Armageddon, then you don't have a world to rule.

    And the idea that the rulers of Iran want to kill themselves it silly. If that were true, then the Supreme Islamic Council would have martyred themselves a long time ago.

    They want to live and stay in power, and leave the dying for those they feel are below them, just like all authoritarian rulers.

  • biggerbox on February 16, 2012 11:04 AM:

    I'm surprised he didn't come right out and accuse Obama and those elites of "stabbing Real America in the back."

    Talking that way in Idaho is likely to get someone hurt, if not killed. They already have people there who aren't at all shy about wearing brown shirts and swastikas. Violent white separatists aren't gone; there are plenty of them in Idaho.

    Worse, I'm pretty sure Ricky knows that.

  • Brian on February 16, 2012 12:01 PM:

    How is one not to believe that Santorum is an out-and-out cretin? Routinely complaining about government intrusion while simultaneously wanting government control of the most private areas of our lives...

  • CDW on February 16, 2012 12:31 PM:

    I'm a little late to the party here, but I have to say that I don't know why you're so perturbed. Or why you're more perturbed than usual because santorum's rhetoric sounds pretty much like the standard goper party line to me at least since palin started calling Obama a terrorist in '08.

  • Hannah on February 16, 2012 12:37 PM:

    "Obama’s re-election, Santorum indicated, will represent the final triumph of the parasitical lucky duckies who don’t pay taxes and depend on government for a living"

    He's talking about war profiteers and corporations and mill/billionaires who pay little or no taxes here, right?

    Oh, wait. What?

    "You're going to find that the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view" Obi Wan tells Luke. Best movie line ever and so true.

  • Fred on February 17, 2012 1:57 AM:

    I am far more concerned with President Obama's actions than with Rick Santorum's words.