Why is the ludicrous Santorum running Mitt Romney ragged?

He may be the most fanatical Christian contender ever, but at least he's not the blue-collar voter's worst enemy

Column LAST UPDATED AT 09:46 ON Thu 23 Feb 2012
Alexander Cockburn

RICK SANTORUM certainly comes on as the most fanatical Christian to run for the Republican nomination in the modern era. There's fierce competition for the title, not least from Pat Robertson, billionaire founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network who ran in 1988. Four years ago we had Mike Huckabee, the evangelist and former governor of Arkansas.
 
I wouldn't want to question either man's commitment to the Christian faith, but with Senator Santorum - a conservative Roman Catholic and member of Opus Dei - there's a truly manic edge to his religious pronouncements and activities. For example, Santorum doesn't believe in the right to privacy. Christian snoops can kick down the motel door, twitch aside the blankets and haul couples off for all manner of moral abominations.
 
Contraception in Santorum's opinion is "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be". Pre-natal testing is also a no-no in Santorum's book.
 
In 2003 Santorum said he favoured having laws against polygamy, adultery, sodomy, and other actions "antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family". The possibility of bestiality in today's licentious times bothers him a lot. Not for him the possibility of abortion in cases of rape: "I believe and I think that the right approach is to accept this horribly created, in the sense of rape, but nevertheless, in a very broken way, a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving to you."
 
Santorum, who was two when the Sixties began, is like many cultural conservatives who believe everything went to hell when the love generation came of age: "Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. They prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that's sex. And the whole abortion culture, it's not about life. It's about sexual freedom. That's what it's about. Homosexuality. It's about sexual freedom."
 
In 2008 he gave a speech in which he ventured that "Satan has his sights on the United States of America. Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those great vices of pride, vanity and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that have so deeply rooted in the American tradition."
 
In his more expansive moments, Santorum traces Satan's hoofprint back to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Just the other day he told an audience: "They are taking faith and crushing it. Why? Why? When you marginalise faith in America, when you remove the pillar of God-given rights, then what's left is the French Revolution.

"What's left are no unalienable rights, what's left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you'll do and when you'll do it. What's left in France became the guillotine. Ladies and gentlemen, we're a long way from that, but if we do follow the path of President Obama and his overt hostility to faith in America, then we are headed down that road."

The whole diatribe is ludicrous, not least because it was the revolution that promulgated the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which defines a single set of individual and collective rights for all men.
 
Why is a guy like this currently running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination? The usual maps drawn by political experts stipulate that at some point in the prolonged nomination battle the candidate has to shed the extremism that got him traction in the early primaries and reach out to the "independents" without whose support no presidential bid can succeed.

There's zero sign that Santorum is of any disposition to do this. So why does he turn out to be the last man standing in the path of the Mormon billionaire Mitt Romney in the battle for the nomination?
 
Because he's not Mitt Romney.

Candidates, now long forgotten, like Herman Cain, or still vaguely remembered like the fading Newt Gingrich, fared well with this simple asset. Blue-collar Americans in the old industrial states don't care for Romney, who began life as a rich kid and then became a lot richer by buying up businesses, putting them on a "sound footing" (fire half the work force), selling them and moving on.  

So Santorum can work the blue-collar vote with a few populist slogans. He can also work the racist, anti-Obama vote by hinting that the president is driven by a non-Christian, environmentalist, New Age agenda: "The president has reached a new low in this country's history of oppressing religious freedom that we have never seen before. If he doesn't want to call his imposition of his values a theology that's fine."

A few days ago Santorum declared that Obama's actions are motivated by "some phony theology, not a theology based on the Bible." Then he added a day later by way of clarification that he understands Obama is a Christian, but that the president was misinterpreting God's truth.
 
After the Florida primary everyone thought Santorum was toast and Romney coasting to the crown. Then Santorum won three fairly insignificant contests in Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota. A billionaire gave his campaign a huge wad of money and he was on his way again.

Suddenly Romney was fighting for his life in Michigan (next Tuesday's primary), where he was born and where his father was governor. Polls showed Santorum ahead, both in Michigan and nationally, and also with a slightly better chance than Romney of beating Obama in November, though the president leads both of them by around four to six points.

The very latest poll, taken as Romney has desperately poured money into a fresh negative ad campaign against Santorum, shows the Mormon two points ahead in Michigan – no small achievement since Romney has denounced the bailout initiated by George Bush and ratified by Obama that saved GM and Chrysler, both companies now doing well and hiring thousands in a stricken state. Santorum also denounces the bailout, which shows just how insane these Republicans are.
 
Last night in a debate in Arizona, where he has a decent lead, Romney was pronounced the clear winner, thumping Santorum for being a Washington insider and a hypocrite. It would be folly to predict what will happen next Tuesday night. If Santorum prospers, a huge disaster for the Republicans looms in November. Don't believe the talk about a brokered convention and someone like Jeb Bush or Governor Christie of New Jersey parachuted in by the Republican establishment.
 
These are cheering days for the Obama campaign, already awash with money. · 

Disqus - noscript

I think that you miscalculate if you think that Santorum cant win.   Beyond your apparent bias for O' Bama you must surely appreciate that there will inevitably be those that will become desensitized to what you consider extreme views and who will simply vote for the candidate who appears most honest.   O' Bamas Christian credentials are at best dodgy and when placed under severe scrutiny, it may be the ' I believe a bit in God and a bit in liberalism' O'Bama candidate that will be exposed for what he is, a fraud and political opportunist.
Some of the people are more frightening than their guns.
"What's left are no unalienable rights, what's left is a government that will tell you who you are, what you'll do and when you'll do it''.
i am truly amazed , if you cannot see the absolute truth of that statement. I'm not saying santorum is generally right or has the best solutions, but honestly, in my heart, i feel oppressed by my government here in england, and i can only see worsening prospects for my children. any man who stands up and states that universal truth, will be one step ahead of the opposition in my view.
@019bad64767928a04aca07557a092dde : Why "O'Bama"? His surname is Obama, so presumably you (a) are making a point (which one?) or (b) don't know. Both are very strange conclusions.

@dcd57baf60469c5605afd32f40f66311: One of the "inalienable rights" written into the American constitution is religious freedom; and also written into the American constitution is the complete separation of chuch and state - to the degree that someone's religion should not be a bar to any national or state office. Santorum wants to enshrine his religious bigotry in law, and that is frightening: anyone want to bet against him proposing burning at the stake for atheists and heretics. The man is a prick.

Mitt Romney may be a Mormon but he's not a billionaire.