Saturday, January 07, 2012


Maggie Gallagher of the gay-bashing National Organization for Marriage writes this (at National Review and in her syndicated column):

The left, which thought it had buried Santorum years ago, is going to go after him with a hatred unlike anyone else has yet generated in this race. They hate him with that special ire reserved for his virtues, not his vices.

They will go after him not just to defeat him, but to smear his good name, to associate it with their own muck, to take a decent and honorable man and try literally to make his name mean mud.

My first response to this was: do the wingers have a keyboard shortcut that generates passages like this? Didn't they say this about Sarah Palin too -- that we especially needed to drag her down because she was so darn virtuous, and we simply could not let such virtue stand?

But I think Gallagher is on to something -- for the wrong reason. We are going after Santorum pretty hard (myself included). Partly it's for the obvious and perfectly understandable reason that he's in the headlines now, as a momentary near-front-runner.

But I also think we're going after him hard because he's such a soft target. He really isn't cagey enough to win the presidency, or even the nomination, and that's largely because he has ideas that are unpalatable to the vast majority of Americans. (Birth control is evil! It's better to have a father in prison than two same-sex parents!) He was beaten like the proverbial rented mule in his last run for elective office, and now he's going to lose the nomination, and in the time between his Senate loss in '06 and his current presidential run he's had little to no impact on the culture. And yet he's been the target of the most successful online attack on a gay-basher. Why him? I mean why him still? He wasn't a driving force on Prop 8 in California. He didn't help bankroll a campaign to remove judges who endorsed gay marriage from the bench in Iowa. (That was Newt Gingrich.) On this and other social issues, including abortion, he's been on the wrong side, but he hasn't been in the arena -- not for years.

So why him? Well, I think sometimes we like going after right-wingers who aren't that powerful. It makes us feel not so powerless. We continue bashing him, and bashing Palin and Michele Bachmann, because they're comic figures, and mostly pretty harmless.

The folks we really have to worry about are the establishmentarians, who still might win this thing, and win the House and Senate as well. The Washington Monthly had a very scary series of articles about how bad things could get if President Obama loses. And even if he wins, the wingers will probably still control (or effectively control) Congress, and threaten to blow everything up for at least two more years. That's what we need to focus our attacks on.

But it's hard to resist attacking a clown like Santorum, or Palin, or Bachmann. It's fun. I think it makes us feel these people aren't all that scary.


aimai said...

Virtue doesn't mean to us what it means to them. Santorum (and Palin) are the classic "Whited Sepulchres" of biblical imagery. That's white and clean on the outside but crawling with corruption on the inside.

We don't attack them because they are so virtuous, but because their virtue is so false and misleading. Maybe it would help to parrot back to them this observation "The Devil can Quote Scripture for his Own Purposes." Santorum and Santorum's ilk disgust me not because they are so virtuous but becuase they are truly sick people--they parade and preen a false virtue that consists entirely and solely of pursuing a Torquemada like social agenda to cover a wholly mammon focused economic agenda. In reality--not in some fantasy--Santorum pursues private gain the old fashioned way: by sucking up to corporations and rich people while pretending to a largely moral focus on other people's genitals. I despise that on its own merits.

Maggie Gallagher et al (I'm looking at you Gertrude Himmelfarb and Bill Kristol because this argument is theirs) can pretend as much as they want that better a fake public piousness than barefaced atheistical libertinism but that's not at all what Jesus thought. And its not healthy for a democracy. I'd rather government picked my damned pocket than stuck its hand up my vajayjay and let me die of a back alley abortion.


pygalgia said...

Aimai just hit the nail on the head. Santorum should be attacked for all his K street corruption, while hiding behind a mask of piety. But the current repubs will applaud that type of hypocrisy. Vice is a virtue, as long as it's the greedy kind, and not the sexual kind.
I may write a post on that side of Santorum soon, and will link to this if I do.

c u n d gulag said...

I have a new nickname for Rick Santorum that I think describes him - for me, at least:
"The K-Street Torquemada."