Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#343: Rick Santorum

A.k.a. Frothy

Rick Santorum is a demented madman who has, for some reason, been allowed to serve as a senator (Pennsylvania) and be chairman of the Senate Republican Conference before entering into the race for a presidential nomination in 2012 (his dimwittery was pointed out early on). He is particularly well known for his dominionist tendencies (his connection to Ron Luce’s Teen Mania is discussed here, and his (explicit) plan for sharia law is discussed here), self-righteousness, feeble fails, lies, bigotry, smugness, and complete idiocy. That he did so well for a while in the nomination rounds tell you a bit about some of the problems civilization is facing at present. Shouldn’t it really be rather remarkable that a candidate who, on the topic of food stamps, says “If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?” isn’t politically stone dead?

At least he ended up cancelling his candidacy. He seems to have been very certain that he was called by God to run for president, and when he quit his rationalization was pretty feeble - though I guess it was the best one could do given making such a silly claim to begin with.

In addition to being an (incoherently stupid) theocrat (yes, he is demonstrably a dominionist) he is especially well known for his stances on the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Social Security, intelligent design creationism, homosexuality, science (doesn’t like it, and especially dislikes scientists, who are immoral), the Terri Schiavo case, his views on marriage, and sexuality (he really does, and admits that he does, want to decide when and how you can have sex, and is in general deeply obsessed with people’s sex lives). “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences,” claims Santorum, completely unmoved by the fact that research doesn’t remotely say anything that resembles what he claims that it says. Going through his demented fuckwittery is a journey into the abyss, so we’ll content ourselves with a dip.

Santorum was the one who introduced the term “Islamic fascism”, and he voted against Robert Gates to become Secretary of Defense due to Gates’s advocacy of engaging Iran and Syria to solve the Iraqi problem, claiming that talking to “radical Islam” would be a grievous error (he never specified what goal he thought would be thwarted by such dialogue, but one presumes it was his desire to usher in the endtimes). Apparently, however, it is Satan who is currently systematically destroying America by replacing bombs with dialogue. Interestingly Santorum seems to be claiming that Romney and/or Gingrich is/are Satan; certainly that is the most obvious interpretation of this.

He used to be most famous, perhaps, for his advocacy of creationism. In 2001, he tried (unsuccessfully) to insert language that came to be known as the “Santorum Amendment” into the No Child Left Behind bill. The amendment promoted the teaching of intelligent design creationism in public schools and questioned the “academic standing” (science) of evolution. The amendment was crafted with the assistance of the Discovery Institute.

In a 2002 op-ed article Santorum wrote that intelligent design “is a legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes” (argument by assertion, of course – Santorum wouldn’t be able to distinguish a scientific theory from an orthodox incantation if it hit him in the face), though by 2005 he had instead adopted the Discovery Institute's Teach the Controversy approach. The day after the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision Santorum announced that he was resigning from the advisory board of the Thomas More Law Center (who defended the Dover school board). He is still a creationist, however, and wrote the foreword for the book “Darwin's Nemesis: Phillip Johnson And the Intelligent Design Movement”, a collection of essays by Discovery Institute fellows (and no, he hasn’t toned down his creationism with his recent presidential run). He also rejects global warming, well, because there is scientific consensus about it, which to Santorum means that it must be wrong (yes, that’s the line, and it’s a frighteningly common one). There is actually reason to believe that the main difference between Romney and Santorum on global warming is that Santorum genuinely believes the most dimwitted denialist talking points. Indeed, in discussing controversial classroom subjects such as evolution and global warming, Santorum said that “science should get out of politics” (duh) and that he was opposed to teaching that provides a “politically correct perspective.” At least he has come out, officially, as a full-blown global warming conspiracy theorist.

Here’s some background on Santorum’s Biblically based rejection of science (more here, including a brilliant example of argument from word salad). And yes, despite what some may claim, presidential candidates’ views on science do matter.

But Santorum doesn’t budge; instead he kicks it up a notch or two with some breathtaking lack of self-awareness and idiocy and ignorance about science, concluding that the left is “the death of reason”. For instance, when Santorum says “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is,” some glib science-lover might say “And what do you mean your son drowned in a lake? Ask a fish how safe it is in the water.” His point, then, is surely that the leftist lovers of science, truth and reason sometimes don’t respect his reasons, since these are surely unconcerned with science, reason and truth.

Santorum has also sparked some controversy about homosexuality. In response to a question about how to prevent sexual abuse of children by priests, Santorum said the priests were engaged in “a basic homosexual relationship” with “post-pubescent men”, and went on to say that he had “a problem with homosexual acts”; that the right to privacy, as detailed in Griswold v. Connecticut, “doesn't exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution;” and that, “whether it's polygamy, whether it's adultery, whether it's sodomy, all of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.” Santorum later clarified that his remarks “were intended not to equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia, but rather as a critique of the specific legal position that the right to privacy prevents the government from regulating consensual acts among adults.” But that is demonstrably false. He did make the equation. This is what led Dan Savage to coin the neologism “santorum”. Santorum is also enraged that our troops are being brainwashed into thinking that repealing DADT isn’t really a big thing and that gay marriage may not mean the end to America, which it obviously does. Same thing with healthcare, and its alleged death panels: the reason Obama wants public healthcare is because he wants kids to be addicted to the state. Seriously. Furthermore, Medicaid proves that Obama is just like Mussolini.

He also said concerning the Roman Catholic Church sex abuse scandal:
“It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning “private” moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.” Robert Traynham, Santorum's Director of Communications, explained that “[i]t's an open secret that you have Harvard University and MIT that tend to tilt to the left in terms of academic biases. I think that's what the senator was speaking to.”

Santorum has also elsewhere expressed his hatred for universities, given that science has to do with figuring out reality and reality has a tendency to disagree with Santorum (and that the fascination with reality tends to produce people who don’t vote for him). He doesn’t like preschool either. Apparently he realizes that one doesn’t need very much education to start to suspect that Santorum’s claims have a tendency to be a little off.

There have, of course, been other scandals as well, and his entrance into the presidential race opened up for a whole slew of new insanity. You can find his attempt to argue that forcing people to adopt his bigoted and arbitrary views on sexuality increases liberty here, and here is his attempt to explain how marriage equality is what ruined the nation’s economy (any semblance to reality anywhere in Santorum’s mind is apparently purely coincidental). But of course, it isn’t he, but everyone else, who is bigoted. So when he attacks other candidates for not being anti-gay enough, the problem is apparently that they are too bigoted. Who knows, perhaps they even disagree with his contention that an imprisoned father is better than a gay one, and obviously it is maliciously bigoted to disagree with him regarding that claim. Among his policy suggestions is curtailing single-motherhood, since single mothers apparently constitute the foundation for the Democratic party. Part of his strategy in that respect is to go after contraception. Some might point out that there is a certain discrepancy between means and ends in the case of that strategy, but then Santorum was never particularly bright (also here).

Here is Santorum on evolution and sex. He fails both.

Apparently he found a soul mate in our good old friend Bryan Fischer, who gave him a chance to display his ridiculous martyr complex on his show. Santorum used the opportunity to claim that the “media attacks me because I have deeply-held religious beliefs,” rather than, you know, because he says some fantastically stupid shit. He followed it up by saying some fantastically stupid shit. And to clinch it, he claimed that Obama has put America on the path of executing religious people by decapitation. Bryan Fischer chimed in, claiming that an attack on Santorum is an attack on Jesus, but you’ve come to expect this level of delusion from that source.

Finally, for some miscellaneous items: Here is one outright lie from Santorum, here is another; here:  is a third. You get the pattern. Here Santorum rejects the notion of personal autonomy, and here he gets his perspectives … well, “wrong” doesn’t quite describe it.

At least Santorum is fully backed by the batshit crue. Among the more central characters who supported Santorum’s presidential candidacy you find:
- Texas Eagle Forum’s Cathie Adams, who thinks the UN is trying to “subvert our children’s faith in God by elevating its earth-centered zealotry that would grant the UN dominion over the earth.”
- Patron saint of all things wingnut, Gary Bauer
- Elaine Donnelly, who thinks that repealing DADT is equivalent to “forced sodomy”
- Homeschooler activist for Generation Joshua and marriage equality opponent William Estrada
- Joseph Farah, professional village idiot
- Virulent bigot Maggie Gallagher
- Pennsylvania Family Institute’s Michael Geer
- The eternally confused Tim Lefever
- WilliamMurray of the Religious Freedom Coalition, who fights ardently against any semblance of religious freedom, and who claims that gays cause train crashes
- Preston Noell III, of the pseudo-militaristic American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property
- Pam Olsen of the Florida Prayer Network, a hardcore Seven Mountain dominionist who plans to raise people from the dead, and who believes that gay rights cause natural disasters

Yes, it’s guilt by association, but what association!

Here’s a 2011 list of the 12 most offensive things that had fallen out of Santorum’s mouth until then. It needs to be updated.

Diagnosis: A fanatic mullah whose lunacy, evil, and stupidity know few bounds. It is an understatement to point out that he is hardly even worthy of his own name.


  1. At least Santorum explains to us what the Founding Fathers meant by "pursuit of happiness". They meant the freedom to pursue God's will.

  2. And apparently Santorum has joined the columnists at the WND. At least he definitely belongs there.

  3. Santorum repeats his idea that liberal colleges indoctrinate students with antagonism against Christianity – because, of course, people who know and understand stuff tend to disagree with Santorum, and that must obviously be an attack on Jesus himself.

    Here is Santorum being incredibly dishonest, and here he weighs in on allowing gays in the boy scouts with all his usual acumen and insight.

  4. Santorum made it to RWW’s list of top 5 religious right claims concerning consequences of lifting the gay scouts ban. His is a pretty good one (though Fred Luter wins). Here is Santorum on YMCA showers.

  5. Well, here are some of his future plans, apparently. In the meantime, he has tried to argue that opposition to Obamacare is "just like Mandela". Yes, not only is it completely delusional, it is also quite horribly offensive.