Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Last Friday, Right Wing Watch posted an excerpt from a 2008 speech in which Rick Santorum argued that Satan had taken control of a number of institutions in America -- among them the mainline Protestant churches. I said then that Mitt Romney should get this quote noticed by mainline Protestants (who make up a dwindling but still significant percentage of the GOP electorate) -- but I predicted that Romney wouldn't do it.

Well, he has done it -- or at least it seems fairly clear that he has. Matt Drudge, who has acted throughout the campaign as Romney's unofficial press agent, has now posted the quote under the headline SANTORUM'S SATAN WARNING. I don't know if this is aimed at making Santorum seem like an anti-mainline-Protestant bigot or at making him seem like an unelectable nutjob to the broad general public -- but, clearly, it's aimed.

And, via Politico, I see that it even has Loudmouth Limbaugh groping for a response:

"That stuff is out there," Limbaugh said, according to a transcript of the show. "It's headlined on Drudge and the left has it, and Santorum will have to deal with it. He'll have to answer it. I don't know. It's just not the kind of stuff you hear a presidential candidate talk about. It's not ordinary in that sense."

Wow, Rush -- that's the best you can do?

You go to the transcript, on Limbaugh's site, and you realize that it really is the best he can do. How often does this happen? How often is Limbaugh left seeming edgy and defensive? Even when he's dead wrong, he almost always thinks he's right, and he rarely seems defeated, but this thing seems to have him licked -- there's one last not-Mitt, and Limbaugh knows that this really hurts him:

Drudge has this plastered up. The Democrats have found it. It's all over the place. Think Progress and whatever leftist think tanks have dug this up, and it's part of the predictable attempt to impugn Santorum as an absolute religious nut and wacko. But he did say these things and he'll to have an answer for these things when queried.

Yes -- how dare the Democrats twist the truth by reproducing Santorum's exact words?

Oh, admittedly, Limbaugh has what he considers a snappy comeback -- but it's awfully weak:

Okay, so he said it. Can we take you back to the United Nations? What was it, 2000... I don't know, three or four or five or six. Hugo Chavez shows up, he speaks either the afternoon Bush spoke earlier or the next day, but he gets to the microphone at the United Nations and the General Assembly and starts sniffing around. (Sniffing) He says, "I can still smell the sulfur. The Devil was here," and he had accused Bush of being the Devil. And the assembled monsters that look like they're out of Star Wars bar scene that made up the UN General Assembly all started laughing. So we're back to the double standard.

Double standard? Um, Rush? May I remind you of something. Hugo Chavez isn't running for president of the United States.

Neither is this guy, Rush:

And let's not forget, ladies and gentlemen, Saul Alinsky, who's the primary mentor of "Barack Hussein Obama! Mmm, mmm, mmm!" Saul Alinsky, the author of the book Rules for Radicals -- a book about which Hillary Clinton wrote her masters or doctoral thesis, whatever it was, when she was at Wellesley. Saul Alinsky, who Obama has studied and implements to this day and whose tactics he taught while ostensibly teaching law at the University of Chicago.

Saul Alinsky dedicated his book that all these leftists love to Lucifer, the Devil! Here's Alinsky's dedication: "Lest we forget, at least an over the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical from all our legends, mythology and history -- and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins or which is which? The first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom: Lucifer." Saul Alinsky made that dedication in his book Rules for Radicals. So Santorum is just joining the crowd here in discussing this.

Alinsky isn't running for president either. And both Alinsky and Chavez were having fun. Santorum was dead serious.

But, see, this is why I don't think we should assume that Mitt Romney is a guaranteed loser. He's by far the weakest link in his own campaign, but his people are pretty good. They're working this quote -- and I have to wonder whether they're the ones who brought it to Right Wing Watch's attention in the first place. I have to wonder why similar quotes are showing up at lefty blogs. Is Team Romney spreading the opposition-research wealth? I wouldn't rule that out.


Tom Hilton said...

Just to be clear: to the extent that it is damaging within the GOP primary, it's damaging because he's naming Satan. (Obviously, having his surrogates call that wacko entails huge risks for Romney. But that's another story.) It's not damaging because it attacks mainline Protestant denominations. As I explained previously, there is no downside (within the GOP) for Santorum to attack the mainline Protestants (anyone who could conceivably object is already backing Romney).

Steve M. said...

I think you can denounce the mainline churches as satanic in a lot of right-wing venues, with impunity. I think it might be different in the days before a primary (or at least in a non-Southern primary), when reporters are on the ground can actually go into a mainline church and interview the people insulted.

Ten Bears said...

It's like reading a fantasy novel. A poorly written one.

There's no hope for humanity, we deserve whatever we get.

ploeg said...

Limbaugh knows that, sooner or later, he will likely need to pivot back to support the Republican nominee (that is, Romney), so he's not going to go too far out on that limb.

Santorum, of course, can denounce the mainline churches as satanic as much as he pleases, for as much good as it's going to do him. The mainline church people aren't his voters (never mind his base).