IT'S STARTING TO LOOK LIKE MORNING IN AMERICA, BUT IF IT WEREN'T...
DougJ and I usually see eye to eye, but he really doesn't understand why anyone would regard Rick Santorum as even a mild threat:
Look, Santorum lost as an incumbent by 18 points, wrote a book saying that women shouldn't work, the guy is a shit general election candidate and no amount of double-reverse contrarianism will convince me otherwise, so laissez le Santorum roulez.
Well, on that second point, Bob McDonnell of Virginia wrote a master's thesis saying women shouldn't work and then won a gubernatorial race by 18 points, a year after Barack Obama won his state. He has sky-high approval ratings in his state (even as Obama's doing well there again in the polls). He's near the top of Mitt Romney's VP short list. (America is full of people who agree with virtually everything feminism stands for but will tell you they don't like feminism.)
Look, obviously, judging from the latest polls, Obama is looking better and better to voters and all the Republicans are looking worse and worse. But if Obama now looks effectively unbeatable running against Santorum, it's because consumer confidence is climbing -- and, yes, because Republicans are shooting themselves in the foot, in Congress, in state houses and legislatures, and in the presidential race. But the latter will cease to be true sooner or later, and as for the rest -- well, yeah, Obama beats Newt Gingrich by 18 points right now, but why isn't he beating all of these clowns by double digits?
The American electorate is still conditioned by decades of propaganda to regard government spending as a monstrous evil (despite the fact that people cling to the programs they use) and to regard Republicans as careful fiscal stewards. People like sex, but I'm not sure they like thinking of themselves as people who like sex, which is why they support abortion rights and (increasingly) gay rights and stick up for single mothers and nevertheless vote for Reagan and both Bushes and, last year, a whole lot of teabaggers.
So, sure, Obama will probably crush Santorum in November 2012 if he's the Republican nominee -- but I'm not sure he would have crushed him if he'd had to run against him in mid-2011, or (especially) in 2010. I think it would have been a tough fight. America still doesn't regard people like Santorum as utterly beyond the pale.
And now Kos is trying to get Democrats to vote for Santorum in upcoming primary states? Yeah, sure, do it -- though I think it's hard to get enough people to join in these efforts to make a difference (Rush Limbaugh's pro-Hillary Operation Chaos didn't have much impact in '08). Right now Santorum doesn't seem as if he needs the help, but we all see the Romney Death Star on the horizon, so I guess Rick's the guy you want to help if you want to keep the Republicans bashing one another. (Then again, if the Romney campaign is really running out of money, as is being reported, and if Santorum is rising in every GOP poll, should Democrats vote for Mitt to keep him in the race?)