Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, June 13, 2011

Santorum: A Symptom?


It should surprise no one that I could do without Rick Santorum. I think he's a sanctimonious twit. But it looks like I will suffer massive writers' block blog-wise if I don't tackle his entrance into the "Best of the Worst 2012" contest--so here's something of a long-form post regarding all the things most of the things I dislike about Rick Santorum, and why I view his awfulness as typical of what I don't like about the GOP generally.


Santorum is known for being a culture warrior. He's staunchly anti-choice (anti-woman) and anti-LGBT rights (his definition of a "right" being, apparently, subject to his opinion of you). Those positions aren't rare for a Republican--it's just that Santorum manages to express those views in the most offensive way possible.  Whether he's equating gay people to pedophiles or denying the actual physical possibility of a medical threat to a woman's life arising during a pregnancy, he manages to not only reassert his social conservative bona fides, but also come across as thoughtless and extreme--to liberals, that is.

He is not thoughtless--he's just absurd. His logical contortions reveal the rickety underpinning of a slippery slope argument where no logical connection exists between the proposition he's against and the conclusions he draws. There's no reason, for example, that marriage equality for consenting adult homosexual couples would lead to acceptance of bestiality or pedophilia, because society clearly recognizes the difference between children and adults, or human beings and other species. His claim that a health exemption to an abortion ban is "phony" is an attempt to throw out the whole business of a female-bodied person's messy physical and mental complications because, to his line of reasoning: where would one draw the line? Mental distress over not fitting a prom dress?  But that, too, is absurd: abortion is a medical procedure. A woman obtaining an abortion would be subject to evaluation by a doctor. It's not the fault of women or doctors that he doesn't trust or believe them.

That part sounds like a personal problem. But it strikes me as no more extreme than the claims made by other anti-choice activists that rape exemptions should be discounted because women might just lie in order to get abortions--or because a particular woman's rape might not really count. And yet...and yet....

Santorum's manner of expressing his genuine, heartfelt....dead wrong....point of view, just uniquely pisses me off. It isn't just about social conservative issues, either.

Take his recent pronouncement on Limbaugh's show regarding climate change:


I believe the earth gets warmer and I also believe the earth gets cooler, and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man, through the production of CO2 -- which is a trace gas in the atmosphere, and the manmade part of that trace gas is itself a trace gas -- is somehow responsible for climate change is, I think, just patently absurd.


What....the....fuck? I think climate change is absurd to Rick Santorum because he doesn't know the first thing about it. Arsenic is, for example, a trace mineral occurring organically in water people drink. The activity of human beings can effect the amount of arsenic in the water, and it can become harmful--why is this process absurd when we're talking about CO2?  And why is it absurd to talk about the actual chemical properties of an atmosphere that traps more heat? It's just what CO2 does. If climate science is a conspiracy--it's a fucking beaut, because us liberals must have started a long time ago, and co-opted one hell of a lot of the scientists.

But he doesn't see how it works, so it must be absurd. But again, his take on climate change is the same ignorant  anti-intellectual position the GOP has carved out re: climate change. He just doesn't pussy-foot around with all that "I don't think the question is settled" stuff. He's strident--and sounds completely ridiculous to me.

And yet I can't say how ridiculous he would sound to the GOP base that already feels the way he does about climate science, for example, or who are anti-choice already, or who are against LGBT rights. That's what bothers me a great deal about Rick Santorum. I see him as a blustering ideologue, long on talk, and short on perspective. But in a field where he might be contending with Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich, and with Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney (who will be trying their damnedest to sound more, not less, like Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich), he might not seem as offensive to potential GOP primary voters as he does to me.

That someone like Santorum, who was pretty much blown out in his last senate race in 2006, might have a decent chance in the current field makes me concerned about how far, ideologically, the right has become.

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