Posted by: coastcontact | March 7, 2012

Rick Santorum is Pulling the GOP Too Far to the Right

   He is a sincere man who is clearly outside the mainstream of American opinion on the place of religion in our society.  He wants religion to participate in government and direct everyone’s behavior.  He couldn’t be more wrong. The First Amendment to the Constitution specifically says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  Those are the very first words of that amendment.

From The Week magazine

Rick Santorum may be leading Mitt Romney in the polls, said Jennifer Rubin in WashingtonPost.com, but the sweater­vested Pennsylvanian reminded us this week of why the GOP would “get slaughtered with Santorum as the nominee.”

 In a speech on President Obama’s energy policy, the devout Catholic veered off into an attack on Obama’s “phony theol­ogy” that, he later explained, “elevates the earth above man.” Then Santorum set off a fresh controversy by saying he opposes free prenatal testing for pregnant women because it can lead to abortions of fetuses with birth defects. With Santorum heading the Republican ticket this November, one GOP senator moaned this week, “we’d lose 35 states,” and the House of Representatives, too. Santorum’s social conservatism would be less problematic if he weren’t so abrasive, said David Kuhn in ReaIClearPolitics.com. But he has compared the battle to defeat President Obama to the struggle against Hitler in World War II, and this week, a tape surfaced of Santorum telling a crowd in 2008 that “Satan has his sights on the United States of America.” This fire-and-brimstone rhetoric is clearly helping Santorum with the social conservatives who vote in GOP primaries, but it’s a major turnoff to “the independent voters who elect American presidents.”

 Santorum’s appeal to these voters is not hard to understand, said Harold Meyerson in The Washington Post. His worldview “summons the ghosts of religious and patriarchal orders that once regulated much of working-class life,” for which many conservatives are deeply nostalgic.

But Americans also value personal freedom, said Conor Friedersdorf in TheAtlantic.com. Are voters really going to hand the presidency to a man who wants to criminalize abortion even in the case of incest and rape, opposes contraception even for married couples, and famously equated homosexuality with “man-on­dog” sex? Republican presidential candidates don’t have to be Ron Paul libertarians, said Philip Klein in WashingtonExaminer.com, but Santorum seems “actively hostile” to the idea that people have a right to make their own moral decisions. Nominating a smug scold who wants to “lecture Americans about their sex lives” would “ensure a Democratic rout in November.”

 “Santorum’s style of social conservatism is deeply American,” said Rich Lowry in National Review, despite what “the media and political elite” would have you believe. He walks the walk, as the father of seven children, including one with a serious birth defect that often leads other couples to choose abortion. His “pas­sionate intensity” plays very well with blue-collar voters, many of whom share Santorum’s belief that issues of family and culture are inextricably bound up with “the struggles of the working class.”

Santorum should probably avoid “the weeds of theological debate,” said William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal. He should also stop criticizing contraception. But the core of his appeal is that he’s a “conviction politician,” and even those who might not share all his views “are hungry for a nominee who does not bend with the wind.” Perhaps so, said David Weigel in Slate.com. But even Santorum now realizes that as a front-runner, he needs to tone down the harsh rhetoric. “Santorum 2.0” is saying that gays should be “treated with respect,” and noting that as a senator, he voted for two international aid programs that provided contraception. His problem is that, as the 2008 “Satan” speech illustrates, Santorum 1.0 has left a mother lode of extremist positions and off-the-wall statements for the media and his opponents to mine. And the digging “has only just begun.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: