A Rick Santorum reader

A Rick Santorum reader February 27, 2012

If this be a method, there’s madness in it.

I don’t get up early enough or stay up late enough to keep track of every strange, foolish, insultingly ludicrous, blasphemous or fantastical thing my former senator, Rick Santorum, has been saying lately. The Republican presidential candidate has produced such an astonishing string of wild accusations, pure hokum, and fringe lunacy that it all sort of bleeds together at this point. And he’s produced so much of it that no one blogger could hope to keep pace.

So here’s a collection of responses, rebuttals and refutations of some of Santorum’s recent statements, roughly arranged topically, from some of the smarter observers on the Web.

Rick Santorum’s Dutch death panels lie:

Frances Martel: “Dutch TV Anchor to Rachel Maddow: The Dutch Are Furious At Santorum Over Euthanasia Claim

RTL News anchor Erik Mouthaan, ran through the list of claims Santorum made, in order: “totally not true,” “not true,” “not true and insulting,” “not true and funny,” and “would be cool, but no.”

Robert Mackey: “Dutch Puzzled by Santorum’s False Claim of Forced Euthanasia

Dutch journalists found it easy to refute Mr. Santorum’s statistics, and made fun of his “fact-free” claim that euthanasia was forced on anyone, but they had no idea where he got the idea that the nation’s elderly wear “Do not euthanize me” bracelets.

Ms. Bundy, the embassy spokeswoman, told The Washington Post, “According to the Ministry of Health, ‘Do not euthanize me’ bracelets do not exist in the Netherlands.”

Mr. Santorum’s campaign did not respond to a request to explain who or what the candidate’s sources were.

Kevin Drum: “Rick Santorum Shining a Much-Needed Light On Movement Conservatism

These myths simply never die, and the movement conservative machine has already produced dozens of defenses of Santorum’s statement. They want to believe in the secular annihilation of everything traditional and decent, so they’re GOING to believe whether it’s actually true or not.

Rick Santorum says college is for snobs and indoctrination:

James F. McGrath: “Sanctum Santorum

Pandering to the religious has never been illegal. But the combination of religiosity and lack of education, which Santorum wants in voters if not in himself, is potentially volatile, precisely because it leaves people open to being persuaded by religious rhetoric, and to failing to realize when they are being manipulated and pandered to.

zunguzungu: “Santorum’s Gift

This shot at Obama is not only that Obama is a false god and false father — though it is this — but also that he represents, as such, a permissive society’s too-modern sense of the parent and authority, in which the purpose of higher education is not to make you a better worker, but precisely to free the individual from social obligations, and in which parents enable their children to be led astray by the kind of self-gratification (and self-determination) that will lead them to hell. Too much freedom.

When liberation is the problem — and when a “permissive society” becomes a bad thing — indoctrination ceases to be the problem, and becomes the solution. The problem with Obama is that his is the wrong indoctrination: since state-run education takes the power to shape and educate away from parents, Santorum’s solution is for parents to take their power back, and this leads him to argue — quite distinctly — that it should be parents who (metaphorically) play God with their children: “I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image not his.” The idea of people making themselves in the image of their own dreams and desires is not — and cannot be — on the agenda.

William A. Galston’s 2005 review of Rick Santorum’s It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good.

In the end, Santorum does not have the courage of his convictions. The logic of his argument should lead him to conclude that parents are not free to raise and educate their children in ways that undermine universal moral truths and socially essential virtues. He shrinks from this conclusion, I suspect, because he understands that his fellow citizens would never accept it. Yet, his premises point straight toward the ultimate concentration of state power we call theocracy.

Stephanie Coontz: “Santorum’s stone-age view of women

Taken with statements Santorum made in his 2005 book, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, his opposition to contraception (as well as to abortion, even in the case of rape) seems part and parcel of a deep hostility toward efforts to empower women and enhance their status. He has shown nothing but contempt for what his book called the “radical” feminist “pitch” that “men and women be given an equal opportunity to make it to the top in the workplace.” So perhaps it’s not surprising that at the time of publication he did not list his wife as a co-author or contributor, although when asked last week about this and other comments on working mothers, he now says his wife wrote that part of the book.

… The Santorums’ apparent hostility to women’s educational and professional advancement is insulting and out of touch with today’s world. But it is also odd in light of their purported interest in the welfare of children. It turns out that the most powerful single influence on a child’s educational success is not the mother’s marital status but her own level of education and her educational aspirations for her children, according to education researcher W. Norton Grubb.

See also:

Rick Santorum vs. The Environment:

Rick Santorum sickened by the First Amendment:

Mark Silk: “Santorum v. JFK

But if, as Santorum suggests, you do go on and read the speech, you will discover that Kennedy never said that people of faith have no role in the public square or that faith is not allowed there. He did, however, articulate a number of positions that Santorum should be asked if he agrees with.

Sarah Posner: “Cues for Throwing Up

This view is frequently thought of as emanating from evangelical organizations like WallBuilders or the classrooms at Liberty University. But Santorum had a Catholic mentor, if not for the precise physical reaction, for the overall contempt for Kennedy and for the Establishment Clause. …

… Two years ago, near the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s speech, Archbishop Charles Chaput, then Archbishop of Denver and now Archbishop of Philadelphia, returned to Houston and gave his own speech at Houston Baptist University. There, Chaput accused Kennedy of giving a speech that “profoundly undermined the place not just of Catholics, but of all religious believers, in America’s public life and political conversation. Today, half a century later, we’re paying for the damage.”

Today, Santorum’s (and Chaput’s) reactions to their fellow Catholic’s view reflect a fundamental(ist) shift: evangelical activists do not want to hear that the White House will be free of religious influence; in fact, a White House free of religious influence (conservative religious influence, that is) is something to be reviled.

ABL @ Balloon Juice: “Rick Santorum’s Views on Church and State Make My Brain Vomit

Kennedy did not say that “people of faith have no role in the public square,” nor did he say that “faith is not allowed in the public square.” Not even close. Kennedy said that all people and churches should be created equal. That’s it. It’s a simple concept, really — one that Republicans, the self-styled masters of the Constitution, should have grasped by now. Frankly, I can’t even begin to understand what Santorum’s Brain was thinking when it interpreted Kennedy’s speech as some sort of attack on faith and the First Amendment. It is nutbaggery most foul, and I simply do not get it.

Steve M.: “Santorum’s been attacking JFK for years

[In 2002] Santorum told NCR that he regards George W. Bush as “the first Catholic president of the United States.”

Rick Santorum on Real, True [Republican] Christianity:

Kyle Mantyla: “Santorum: ‘You’re a Liberal Something, but You’re Not a Christian’

During the Q&A following his speech, Santorum was repeatedly asked about Barack Obama’s Christian faith, which he asserted was simply “an avenue for power” for Obama while claiming there was a “conscious disconnection” between Obama’s proclamations of faith and his stances on public policy issues.

In fact, said Santorum, there really is no such thing as a “liberal Christian” at all and anyone who doesn’t share his right-wing views doesn’t really have any right to claim to be a Christian:

[I]s there such thing as a sincere liberal Christian, which says that we basically take this document and re-write it ourselves? Is that really Christian? That’s a bigger question for me. And the answer is, no, it’s not. I don’t think there is such a thing. To take what is plainly written and say that I don’t agree with that, therefore, I don’t have to pay attention to it, means you’re not what you say you are. You’re a liberal something, but you’re not a Christian. That’s sort of how I look at it.

When you go so far afield of that and take what is a salvation story and turn it into a liberation theology story, which is done in the Catholic world as well as in the evangelical world, you have abandoned Christendom, in my opinion. And you don’t have a right to claim it.

Rachel Tabachnick: “Santorum Not Source of ‘Phony Theology’ Idea, Origins in ‘Biblical Economics’ Partnership

Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is not the original source of many of his quotes being replayed over and over on network news this week. And he’s not the only candidate referencing narratives from a “Biblical economics” and a “Dominionist” worldview.  It is time for the American public to become educated about how these narratives have emerged — from a world in which big business, a few ultra-wealthy families, and the Religious Right are rewriting history and science, and interpreting the Bible as supporting laissez-faire capitalism.

Charlie Pierce: “Where the Church of Rick Santorum Came From

That’s what produced Rick Santorum — a 20-year effort to develop Roman Catholics who could talk like Southern Baptists, bonded as both groups were now by their twisted views of human sexuality, and by their desire to re-establish control over what American women can do with their bodies. It is an alliance of powerful convenience. It has as much to do with religion as it has to do with agriculture.

Ed Kilgore: “Of ‘Phony Theology’

Santorum’s dog-whistle is aimed not so much at people who ignorantly believe Obama is a secret Muslim, but at people who look at Episcopalians and Presbyterians and Methodists and Congregationalists (Obama’s own denominational background) and see infidels who don’t understand that “true” Christianity requires hard-core opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, or for that matter, environmentalism, feminism, and other departures from nineteenth century American mores.

Scott Lemieux: “Santorum’s Double Standard

Perhaps the ultimate example of this was inadvertently demonstrated in a fawning New York Times Magazine profile of the Princeton “natural law” theorist Robert George. You will not be surprised to learn that for George, as for Santorum, “natural law” has political implications that always happen to map exactly on to reactionary Republican political consequences. Catholic teachings that might prove inconvenient to Republican policy preferences or require sacrifices of important Republican constituencies — on subjects such as poverty or the death penalty — can be safely ignored, but if you don’t favor embedding the church’s teachings on human sexuality into secular law this is unacceptable.

See also:

 

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