Skip to main content

Update [2005-5-23 11:27:7 by Bob Johnson]:

I need to add that Santorum is a product of the times. Intelligent observers, below, have noted that successful politics are generally about compromise. And I agree. But not right now. What we need (in the short term - 3-5 years) are candidates who will argue our principles forcefully, repeatedly and with conviction. That may change sometime in the future when moderation returns. But for now, we must fight these folks tooth and nail.

I recommend that folks take some time and read the piece on Rick Santorum in the Sunday New York Times Magazine titled, The Believer (subscription required).

It's an interesting read.  While Santorum would love to marry church and state (while prohibiting marriage between gays, of course), the article, by Michael Sokolove, offers up some interesting insights that could teach our side some valuable lessons in how to win elections.

In particular, I found this passage intriguing:

(read on)

Santorum has never entirely shed his image as someone not quite fit for polite political company -- he is the senator as hyperactive political pugilist, quick to engage in combat, slow to yield the floor, a little too eager to crush opponents. His instinct runs more toward total victory than to meeting somewhere in the middle. He has become important, a man for the political times, partly because he understands the Senate's courtly veneer as just that -- a fiction. He likes to fight from the extremes and disdains political moderation as wishy-washiness. He respects Democrats like Representative Henry Waxman of California; Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin; and the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota -- determined, passionate liberals. ''They're out there because they really believe this,'' he said. ''This is from their core. They're true believers, God bless them. That's what political discourse is all about. You bring in your moral code, or worldview, and I bring in mine.''

Therein lies a critical political lesson for Democratic candidates:

Believing in core principles, and arguing for these core prnciples with simple, redundant messages and passion, is the most certain way to impact the electorate in your favor.

What struck me reading this piece is that the only Democrat who would go on record for the article praising Santorum is -- you guessed it -- Joe Lieberman.  And, ironically, Santorum doesn't even mention Lieberman as on of the "principled Democrats" he admires.

Why?  Because Joe Lieberman violates the very tenets of belief in principle exhibited by the likes of Wellstone, Waxman, Feingold, and, yes, Santorum.  Lieberman, in fact, is the walking, talking poster child for the "wishy-washy moderates" that Santorum disdains.

A puzzling fact of the 2004 election is that Bush won by a slim majority even though, by a similar slim majority, most Americans thought that he was wrong on Iraq and doing a lousy job managing the economy.

So why did that slim majority vote for him when they disagreed with him on two critical issues?

I think the explanation is simple, really.  They perceived that he believed what he said.  That he believed in his core prinicples... even those principles that a majority of Americans thought were wrong. To be sure, much of that perception was bogus, driven by Rovian talking points repeated ad infinitum.  But at a time in history when Americans were looking for steadfastness in their chosen leader, Bush delivered.

Kerry?  Not to rehash his campaign, but his inability to settle on a simple three-part message (yes, the magic of threes) until the final two or three weeks of the campaign fed directly into Rove's efforts to paint the Senator as a flip-flopper.  Far too easily.

The point of all this is that the American electorate is looking for "Believers."  Not necessarily of the religious variety, but candidates who clearly articulate their core principles (repeatedly) and stick to them.

That's why I don't buy all the yapping from the centrists that we have to talk "values" or talk "personal faith" in order to compete.  In fact, unless a candidate is a truly religious person, talking about faith falls right into the Rovian trap of seeming disingenuous (see: Hillary Clinton talking about her personal faith).

We need candidates who stand for something.  Core Democratic principles.  And stand strong.

We need House, Senate and presidential candidates who understand that putting a wet finger to the wind on a daily basis during a campaign, more often than not, snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.

We need candidates who believe.

Hard to fathom, but we can learn a thing or two from Rick Santorum...

Originally posted to Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:04 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  an inspiring cause (none)
    I think standing against neo-fascism is enough for me.
  •  Bob, WTF? (none)
    You doing up at the witching hour, diarying abour Rick Santorum? Does the phrase "get a life" mean anything to you? I swear, I'd think this was Bob's dog typing, but it was about Rick Santorum, and you know how he feels about dogs.
    <midnight snarkiness, just for kicks>

    If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by bigskiphazzy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:12:17 AM PDT

    •  I'm (re)writing some ads that are due today (4.00)
      But I had to take a break.

      Hey, I'm no fan of Santorum, but his grasp of politics is pretty damn good.

      If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

      by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:17:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wasn't it Bill Clinton.... (4.00)
        Who said "it is better to be wrong and strong than right and weak" ?

        Great diary.  

        Humans can have an uncanny nose for insincerity and feigned conviction.

        But - as someone else noted :

        Barbara Boxer !

        I suppose women don't count for the likes of Rick Santorum.  

        •  Lil Ricky's only real conviction is AMBITION. (4.00)
          He's against big awards for medical lawsuits except when the lawsuit is wife's.  During the partial birth abortion debate, they said they had to consider one during his wife's difficult pregnancy (and decided against it) and then late said they never would consider that.  There's also a rumor around these parts that his wife used to work for a doctor who performed abortions. But to get the heart of Lil Ricky's 'beliefs' I have a friend who's good friend belonged to a Toastmaster's Club with Ricky (this was before he had run for anything).  She said that Ricky used to run around with a shoe box full of issues and research and quizzed everyone on their positions and made it clear that he could run either way -- Dem or Repug -- and could go either way on any position, depending on what was popular.  
          •  Hmm... (none)
            Kind of like Bill "Catkiller" Frist, who only belatedly seems to have discovered his fondness for religious wingnuttery.  

            Look, these guys all see the religious right as one avenue to power, the one that will allow them to look passionate while stumping on their behalf.  I would agree that Santorum probably does admire Feingold's and the late Wellstone's passion, but the difference is that for them, passion came from principle, rather than from strategic calculation.  No one really gets rich giving power back to the people in American politics.  

            On the other hand, fattening the Republican's financial benefactors is what Frist and Santorum's "religious" passion is all about.  Going all-out for the religious right is a big risk, but one that probably seemed reasonable to Santorum given the bait-and-switch politics of the Republican party:  fake right on social issues, then deek around and give the fiscal right lay-up (bankruptcy laws, tax cuts, etc. etc.).

            But now that that corner of the conservative base is calling for power in earnest, we will soon see whether the Republicans have got the bottle (as the Brits say) to stand behind their expedient use of the culture wars.

            Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

            by Dale on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:36:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree... with a caveat. (none)
              What does Bush really believe?  I don't think it's much except the power of money. Yet he was able to convince enough of the American public that he was "steadfast in his beliefs" that they re-elected the clown.

              I agree that Wellstone acted on truw principle.  But whether a candidate does it Bush's way or Wellstone's way, the electorate, at present, is looking for conviction (no, not the Tom DeLay kind which is soon to come, hopefully).

              Santorum appears to be in trouble at home, but we'll see.  His re-election effort promises to be a truly nasty campaign.  How Christian...

              If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

              by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:45:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It would be ironic (none)
                to find this pious candidate's campaign founder on his attempt to circumvent residency requirements for Senators.

                He must be doing something right -- or at least skillfully -- to manage to be a hard right fundamentalist Senator in what I can only assume is not a hard right fundamentalist state.  How does he do that?

                Maybe Pennsylvanians have had their fill of wingnuttery.  I sure hope so.

                Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought. -- Milan Kundera

                by Dale on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:58:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  He has succeeded (none)
                  partly by being very Catholic in a state with many Catholics and because this state likes to elect one senator from the East and one from the West.  But also because the Dems have run weak (anti-choice) candidates against him and so they end up losing the support of pro-choice women.  They are about to do that again by running Bob Casey jr.
  •  I have 2 words for you. (4.00)
    BARBARA BOXER

    *We live in a Nation of LAWS* 11th Circuit

    by Chamonix on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:19:23 AM PDT

    •  And I have two more for you: (3.33)
      Not Hillary Fucking Clinton.

      Snowe & Collins are enabling the right wing junta

      by Alna Dem on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:05:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed, but your comment (none)
        is pretty obnoxious. It could have been made much more diplomatically. 'nuff said.

        I'm a way lefty liberal "decline to state" voter in CA.  Most of my friends/acquaintances are the same or are Dems, most of them will never cast a vote for HRC since they find her totally insincere (which ties back into this thread).

        I agree she's a poor choice for 2008, but your "framing" could be improved....

        Oh George, not the livestock!

        by espresso on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:22:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh? (none)
        Exactly why not? Boxer has a much more homogeneous constituency to please, so there is virtually zero political price to be paid for lashing out and crusading loudly. When Barbara Boxer succeeds in successfully navigating a treacherous political landscape, a landscape in which her term in office is in genuine jeapordy, then come back to me with comparisons to Hillary.

        Barbara Boxer plays a vital role I grant you, but her viability as a national candidate is not good.

        •  While I see your point... (none)
          ...it's very tough to square historically.  There just isn't much evidence that even the best Senate voting record is anything but an albatross.  What seems to matter more, stick more, adhere more, is the political and leadership persona of the candidate, regardless of where they cut their teeth.  What Boxer could (and should) lead with, imo, is the strong and fearless stances she's taken in the past year -- Gonzalez, Rice, Bolton.  She's led the charge for the Democrats and won a lot of respect from mainstream voters in the process.

          Just not sure I agree with you.

          Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

          by The Termite on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:27:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It'd be nice (none)
            but it won't play down South. And Boxer has not shown that she's got the intestinal fortitude to handle the horrendous personal onslaught that will greet any liberal woman seeking the nomination, both from within the party and without. Hillary has been through more and can navigate the rough spots more easily, at this point in time.

            I'm also not sure Boxer is ready for the degree of exposure. Hillary has lived like a rock star for years now, she is attended by enormous crowds everywhere she appears.

            I love them both and think there's room for them both, but I don't see Boxer in the forefront for '08, not when she's fulfilling her current role as opposition scold so well.

        •  I also don't... (none)
          ...think it's fair to characterize California as "homogenous."  I know what you mean -- it's perhaps not as politically diverse as the entirety of the United States -- but even that's not true:

          Bush won more counties in California than Kerry did.

          Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

          by The Termite on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:33:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  confused point (none)
            bush won more counties in illinois ... he won more counties in florida

            more counties in the US are rural ... GOP runs strong in rural areas ...

            bottom line: ain't no news in that SFGate article ...

            •  I didn't say it was news (none)
              I was using the article to support the point that CA is not a "homogenous" political state.  Which it did, and which CA is not.

              What part of that wasn't clear?

              Two-step, lockstep, goosestep: Herr Busch's three-step plan to a righter tomorrow.

              by The Termite on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:57:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Ok now I read past (read on) (4.00)
    And frankly, Bob, I don't buy it. I certainly buy you premise, that we need democrats that "stand for something," but I don't see Rick Santorum as a shining example of that principle. (Full disclosure: I haven't read the article, but hey, I did read a People Mag. profile of him that coined him one of the "50 most influential" in America, so I got that going for me.) Number 1: I think Santorum is gunna get his ass handed to him in '06. I think he's rode a wave of political influence that is cresting and beginning to engulf those who pushed their boards over the nose and rode it.

    Furthermore, having watched Santorum speak on the senate floor multiple times (via CSPAN), I see the man as little more than a grand standing opportunist. You don't have to look beyond his utter hypocrisy in his condemnation of Byrd's utterly germane Hitler reference re: the fillibuster debate, only to be followed up by his utterly assinine reference to said Nazi demagogue himself. This fucker doesn't beleive in anything other than power and, frankly, it's these same Christofacists that are are propping up Frist's demise that back this fuckwad.

    Just one guy's midnight opinions. (As I said, this is not an indictment of your premise, just your example.)

    If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

    by bigskiphazzy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:23:12 AM PDT

    •  Read the article. (4.00)
      Of course he's a horse's ass.  But he's the #3 man in the Senate for the other side and he's young.

      I hope he gets brutally thumped in `06.  But the article, while not necessarily flattering, provides a fairly complete picture of the guy.

      I think he is less of an opportunist than you may think.

      If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

      by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:27:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bob, I will read the article... (4.00)
        I promise.
        But for now, I can only offer these words, from the Rude Pundit. I'd love to excerpt, but it only does the man a disservice. When he rants, every word is a fucking gem. (I'll get back to you on the article tomorrow when I've read it, I promise.):

        5/20/2005
        So Democrats Are Like Nazis, Nazis Who Fuck Dogs:
        The fatal flaw, which should have been mentioned a long, long time ago, in Dick Cheney's formulation that American soldiers would be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq is this: back in World War II, the famous images of American soldiers being showered with flowers, candies, and pussy are from France. Now, if you paid any attention in history class, children, France, a sovereign nation, had been invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1940 in an effort to extend the Third Reich throughout Europe. When, in 1944, American troops defeated the Germans there and forced them to withdraw from France, the nation of France was returned from its outside occupiers to the French people, and thus the French were understandably jubilant. When the United States invaded Iraq to "liberate" it, the situation was not, in the least, analogous, in part because Saddam Hussein was an Iraqi. Was a dictator toppled? Sure. But no occupying power was ejected from the country. And there was no previous state apparatus to return to. Only chaos, motherfuckers, only chaos. And, well, shit, occupation.

        So, like, Senator Rick Santorum, representing the batshit insane people of Pennsylvania, he of the famous "fags-and-dog-fuckers-are-the-same" line (or words to that effect), took to the Senate floor yesterday, and vomited out that Democrats using the filibuster rule to block extreme judicial nominees is "the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying, 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.'" Left Blogsylvania naturally exploded, and why not, since Santorum had so recently condemned Robert Byrd for simply invoking policies of Hitler in a debate over the filibuster rules in March.

        Santorum directly compared Democrats to Adolf Hitler (and if you watch the video of Santorum speaking, you can feel the chill as you watch his dead eyes and realize that there is an extremely stupid man flailing about, trying for the life of himself to be relevant). Byrd was offering a warning about unchecked single party rule:

        "Witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Historian Alan Bullock writes that Hitler's dictatorship rested on the constitutional foundation of a single law, the Enabling Law. Hitler needed a two-thirds vote to pass that law, and he cajoled his opposition in the Reichstag to support it. Bullock writes that 'Hitler was prepared to promise anything to get his bill through, with the appearances of legality preserved intact.' And he succeeded.

        "'Hitler's originality lay in his realization that effective revolutions, in modern conditions, are carried out with, and not against, the power of the State: the correct order of events was first to secure access to that power and then begin his revolution. Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal.'

        "That is what the nuclear option seeks to do to rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate."

        You notice that subtle difference? Byrd is saying that the will to unobstructed power is the path to tyranny. Santorum said Democrats are like Hitler. Byrd is using history to create context and signal a threat. Santorum is saying that to use rules to block a few extremist judges is like taking over a country and deserving a bombing from other countries.

        To extend Santorum's "logic," one would have to say that any time a country takes over a sovereign nation, that country should not be suprised if others want to attack it. Huh. So, like, say, the United States invaded and took over, say, Iraq, and, say, Jordanians or Syrians or Saudis, in "collaboration" with Iraqi insurgents, start to blow shit up, the U.S. would be foolish, like Hitler in Paris, to say, "How dare you bomb me. This nation is mine."

        Or maybe one could say that if the leader of one's party creates a trumped-up threat as a pretense to invade and occupy another nation, like, say, Hitler with Poland or, say, Bush with Iraq, one would be best not to mention Hitler or Nazi Germany at all.

        Or maybe we could just say this: Fuck Rick Santorum, the dim-witted savage who forced his living children to fondle a prematurely born dead fetus that was supposed to be Santorum spawn number 4. He's merely the loudest virus in the disease of the body politic, a tick on the American vein that needs to be yanked off and popped.

        Sorry, just can't take ricky serious at 12:40 pst, my man. Does it get any better than: "He's merely the loudest virus in the disease of the body politic, a tick on the American vein that needs to be yanked off and popped?" I think not.

        If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

        by bigskiphazzy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:41:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  is Byrd morally superior (none)
          or merely knowledgeble and articulate?

          Neither Byrd not Santorum flatly claimed that their opponents are like Hitler, but drew analogies between the behavior of the opponents and certain behaviors of Hitler.

          Byrd's speach is superior in the sense that it refers accurately to historical facts and analyzes them at some depth -- makes you wander how he ever managed to be elected.  Santorum speach was so incoherent that any conclusion has to be qualified with "he appeared to ..."  Did he compared GOP tactics to high-altitude bombardment with enormous collateral damage?  What point did he tried to make about Oakley-Sarbanes law?  Etc.

          Is it possible to attack a politician for idiocy?

          TV ad: politician X saying several sentences with no sense whatsoever.  Voice-over and big-letter quotes explaining why it is nonsence.  Conclusion: do not believe a politician who does not know what he is saying.

          •  Byrd is morraly superior (none)
            the question poses a man who has made great mistakes in the past, and acknolodged his shamefull actions, AND apologized for them

            against a man who continuallt makes great mistakes without acknolodging them and has no intention of apologozing for anything

      •  great diary (4.00)
        Of course he's a horse's ass.  But he's the #3 man in the Senate for the other side and he's young.

        Exactly.  Whether he holds onto his power for a long time is another matter.  

        Make no mistake, I find him loathsome too.  But The fact is that this guy has amassed an amazing amount of political power in a short time.

        The larger point, and a great point it is:  

        People who have real conviction, and who express that conviction clearly, are better candidates.  

        Paul Wellstone is a perfect example.  He was from my state, and I met him twice at the Minnesota State Fair.  He was always mobbed by people.  The guy was a rock star, and it wasn't because he was movie star handsome or rich or anything else.  It was because he has deep core convictions, and wasn't afraid to express them without waffling.  In fact, he took obvious JOY in doing so.  That's why he had the respect (though often grudging, of course) of more moderate Dems and even many Repubs.  

        I think this is a crucial issue as we move into 2006.  We need candidates who can't WAIT to tell everyone their core beliefs, not those who hope to avoid having to commit to anything, lest they be held accountable for it later.  

      •  bob, I read it (none)
        Okay, I read the article. I'm going to diary on it. Unfortunately, after finishing it, I'm more convinced than ever that Santorum is nothing more than a political opportunist who uses his "principles" when it is politically expediant to do so. (the author of the piece, by the way, is completely complicit in allowing this false characterization, I might add.) To wit, Bob: Santorum, if you can beleive this, LIES about the Pope's position re: the Death Penalty in a feeble effort to rationalize his politically expediant break from the Vatican on this issue. Here's the key graphs in the article:

        There is one issue, the death penalty, on which Santorum would seem to be out of step with the Vatican. Pope John Paul II declared in 1995 that ''the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral.'' (He also opposed the Iraq war.) In March, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops made a renewed call to end the death penalty. Santorum has focused on the word ''innocent'' in Pope John Paul's statement, in line with some conservative Catholic theologians who have written that the pope's statement was ''prudential,'' as opposed to a change in the doctrine of the church -- and therefore not a moral proposition that must be followed.

        ''I would argue that my position is not inconsistent,'' Santorum told me. ''One is innocent life and one is not. One has done harm, has committed crimes, and a person has to pay for the injustice they have caused. I have said publicly that I think in the 80's and early 90's we probably got a little carried away with the death penalty. To me, it should be used only in the most heinous situations.''

        For some reason, the writer allows this falsehood to go unchallenged and unchecked. A simple google search on the Pope's March 1995 statement would have revealed that the POPE never said anything whatsoever about "innocent life" in his condemnation of the death penalty. Not a friggen' word. And yet, to justify his own hypocrisy, Santorum puts just those words into the Pope's mouth. Now, you tell me: IS that a man of principle who deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Paul Wellstone? Is that how far political discourse has sunk? That this passes for a man of "true beliefs" and convictions?

        FTR: Here's the Pope's actual statement on the matter:

        "This is the context in which to place the problem of the death penalty. On this matter there is a growing tendency, both in the Church and in civil society, to demand that it be applied in a very limited way or even that it be abolished completely. The problem must be viewed in the context of a system of penal justice ever more in line with human dignity and thus, in the end, with God's plan for man and society. The primary purpose of the punishment which society inflicts is "to redress the disorder caused by the offence."(46) Public authority must redress the violation of personal and social rights by imposing on the offender an adequate punishment for the crime, as a condition for the offender to regain the exercise of his or her freedom. In this way authority also fulfills the purpose of defending public order and ensuring people's safety, while at the same time offering the offender an incentive and help to change his or her behaviour and be rehabilitated.(47)

        It is clear that, for these purposes to be achieved, the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon, and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

        In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: 'If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.'"


        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/angel/procon/popestate.html
        My emphasis. Not once does the Pope say anything about "innocent life."

        I think Bob, when we want progressives to "learn how to stand up for what they believe" we may be better off simply pointing them to Paul Wellstone himself, rather than a guy who'll happily co-opt his name for the purposes of an extended NYT profile.
         

        If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

        by bigskiphazzy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:29:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Incidentally, (none)
          The part that the article quotes about "innocent life" relates to the Pope's comments on such issues as abortion and embryonic stem cell research, and had NOTHING to do with the death penalty. Just to clarify.

          If you aren't outraged, you're not paying attention.

          by bigskiphazzy on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:35:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hate to quibble... (none)
    ...but Bush was NEVER elected, certainly not in 2000, and arguably not in 2004. I say "arguably" because there are still those who don't think that the recent election, particularly in Florida and Ohio, was rigged. Believe what you will, but it is a Statistical Impossibility for EVERY SINGLE error on November 2, Black Tuesday, to favor Bush. Factor in the exit polls, which had never, EVER been wrong prior to 2002 (Repub expansion of their majorities in Congress) and the Traitor Blackwell's Bullshit in Ohio, and it's quite obvious that Bush and his friends cheated ON EVERY FRONT to "win" the election. Just something to keep in mind...on your general point of passionate, principled politics, I couldn't agree more...

                                      SpecialEFX

    •  I won't argue on the legitimacy of the election. (4.00)
      That's a topic for another diary.

      Let's work from the assumption that Bush is in the White House and Kerry isn't, in this case.

      If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

      by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:29:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the wagon (none)
        As you may know, I am currently enrolled with Fraudsters Anonymous. I am working the steps, and boy... am I feeling better about life.

        We have been told by reputable individuals that massive fraud is not the most likely explanation for the fiasco last November. Whatever fraud took place would not account for the margin of victory by Bush. We lost. Kerry blew it, he had his chance and he whiffed. He sucks.

        That's a bit harsh, I know. He was great in the debates. But that was all he had. We lost for a lot of reasons. Diebold didn't help, to be sure. Neither did the media. But it was mostly 911, religious right fanaticism... you know the story. But the facts on the ground are starting to change. Or rather, they are coming into focus. The hated RWCM or MSM, whichever, is becoming more and more helpful to our side. Funny that, considering they are part of the sinister conspiracy to keep the Republicans forever in power.

        Bottom line, Bush can't "wave his magic wand" and lower gas prices. Stagflation, Peak Oil... when the next recession hits (just in time for next years elections, perhaps?) these guys will be toast. Suddenly, noone's going to care how strongly they believe their bullshit. Neither will they care much, IMHO, how strongly we believe ours. It's the economy stupid.

        But yeah, sure. Strong and wrong beats right and weak. Big Dog didn't clobber Bush and Dole because he was politically inept. If only Kerry had listened to him, and maybe if it hadn't been for those damn machines... no... must resist.

        "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

        by tricky dick on Mon May 23, 2005 at 07:24:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bullies respect/fear Strength, not (4.00)
    ....accomodationists.

    Look at how Coleman fell to pieces in front of Galloway.

    Look at how the wingnuts run around, like Betty Boop: fleeing panic, every time Howard punches them in the face...(and they cry foul to the Refs.)

    Look at how freaked they are about Randi Rhodes and Krugman, Michael Moore, Richard Clarke, Gens Zinni, Clark, Shenski, Joe Wilson,...etc.  I surprise they haven't gone after Jon Stewart and Ted Hitler.

    Look at how freaked they've been over Giv'em Hell Harry Reid....they used to laugh at Daschle and Gephartd.

    Just look at the past and how the feared Jim Wright, George Mitchell, Tip, and LBJ.

    Strength, not accomodationism is the road.  After all that's the road the Goopers and Newt took in 1993...

  •  Point/counterpoint (4.00)
    Much is made of Bush's "stand up for your principles and rally your base" approach in 2004, but little attention is paid to his "obscure what you stand for and try to look moderate" approach in 2000, when he was a lesser-known quantity.

    I also think Bush's 2004 win is overhyped considering that very few of us would have considered his 2004 campaign to be a shining example of honesty.  While he took a strong stand on the issues he couldn't run away from (and what other choice did he have?), it's not like he presented himself as a right-wing powermonger when he had the choice.

    •  Agree, Steve (none)
      Campaigns are products of their times.

      Perhaps this "strong beliefs" period will pass, but I don't think it will be gone before the `06 or `08 cycles.  (Unless we have a massive, worldwide economic collapse.)

      If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

      by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:42:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  First of all (4.00)
    I agree with everything you've written. I'll also say here that since reading your Bigger Picture diary, I keep thinking that Kansas was the out of town opening and it went so well, they've taken the show national.

    But dammit, you made me go look at this for crying out loud. And I circled half a dozen things in the article that just plain pissed me off, but since that's not the focus of this diary, I'll hold off on that rant.

    Mostly. There are two key differences between the "core beliefs and principles" of someone like Santorum and dems (or at least the principles that I can get behind): 1) Santorum and his ilk are victim Christians and, 2) they believe in a single, overarching, infalliable, indisputable, unquestionable TRUTH. I would argue that these two elements are more powerful than the beliefs and principles themselves.

    They are also antithetical to what I would call core democratic principles. Viewing oneself as the victim allows you to ignore not only those who are truly oppressed but the oppressors. And the inflexibility and intolerance which flows from the unquestioning adherence to A Truth, is, at its roots, inimical to all human rights.

    "I still think politics is about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing." -Molly Ivins

    by hono lulu on Mon May 23, 2005 at 12:38:47 AM PDT

  •  This is a good Diary... it reminds me.. (4.00)
    ...how sick and pissed I get when I see people on our side or the Broders preaching capitulation and accomodation.

    Not only for the sentiments, but for the ignorance.  History  [just in the last 25 years] shows how nothing is gained, only lost, by "getting along, to go along."

    This Nuclear crap is the best example....the goopers blocked Clinton's appointees and Fortas, now they're don't want to play by the past practices.... in order words, they're not going to accomodate anything or anyone, so why should we accomodate.

  •  Waxman (none)
        Having been represented for a number of years by this study in narcolepsy, I can assure you that he is not actually a liberal.  He's in Congress to do the bidding of Beverly Hills, representing about 10% of his district.
    •  Wow (none)
      Would you care to expand on that?  

      I've always seen Waxman as a hardcore progressive, but I live on the other side of the country, so don't see his actions from a local perspective.

      "You may experience episodes of explosive amnesia."

      by redcloud54 on Mon May 23, 2005 at 01:19:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Waxman - 2 (none)
            On certain national issues, he is a Democrat.  On certain local issues, he is the slave to the parochial interests and not in a good way.
            An example comes to mind.  In the 1980's, a subway started to be built in Los Angeles.  It was to start at Union Station and go all the way out Wilshire Boulevard to the ocean in Santa Monica.  It would serve all sorts of high-density areas, including UCLA and Beverly Hills.  (Wilshire Blvd. runs right through Beverly Hills.)
            The good folks of Beverly Hills wanted none of it because "those people" (one presumes the poor) would be able to reach their town far too easily.
            Waxman pushed a bill through Congress that prohibited the use of any Federal money for an subway that went through the Fairfax District along Wilshire Blvd.  That's not Beverly Hills, but if the subway can't go through the Fairfax District it can't reach Beverly Hills.
            The given reason for this legislation was a fear that the digging would disturb methane deposits in the Fairfax District.  (It turns out, according to the LA Times, that there are no such deposits or they are minimal and easily handled with existing technology.)
            Several people in power in Beverly Hills were openly grateful to Waxman for keeping the subway out of their town.  All those undesirables getting their easily on the subway was causing them sleepless nights.
  •  Agree 100 percent. (none)
    In itself, it's a decent thing to say what you believe and stand up for it.  Not to say that Santorum actually does this.  These guys got where they are by selling out the people who vote for them.  But their unapologetic, take-no-prisoners approach seems an awful lot like integrity to some people, even if it's really just complete cowardice.  It's going to take real, fuck-it-all dems to break through the bought-and-paid-for media smoke-screen.  Compromising with them is just another way of losing.
  •  Now Rick Santorum would be my new hero (none)
    if he could just find the courage within himself to act out his fantasies.
    Kossacks, please hide your dogs.Rick is on the prowl.
  •  Russ For President!!! (none)
    There we go, they can't tag Sen. Feingold with the charge of "flip- flopping".  The man was the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT ACT in 2001.  This is what people respect and like, a strong, principled leader.  Kerry was not that person.

    "You have the power to take back the Democratic Party."- Gov. Howard Dean- DNC Chair

    by maxgray7 on Mon May 23, 2005 at 03:04:01 AM PDT

  •  Santorum isn't one of the kool kids in DC (none)
    Santorum is on the radical GOP base chicken dinner circuit, not rubbing attending gala dinners with Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee and going around social D.C.. That explains a lot of his disdain for moderates who thrive in that environment.

    If people moderate their position in a "can't we all get along" position to fit in for personal comfort in social Washington then I agree with Santorum.

    But Santorum isn't back home representing the people - he's criss-crossing the country raising special interest money from rabid partisans. Fuck him and his ideas of who he respects.

    I don't oppose the "nuclear option" because I'm an extreme ideologue any more than he supports pulling the trigger for some principle. It's a naked power grab and the desire to impose his ideas on everybody rather than tolerate personal freedoms. So I beg to differ on your views of Santorum. Isn't he a one-term Senator polling at 35% in his home state?

  •  Yeah, it's called puppy love (none)
    and not in a metaphorical sense.

    Religious conservatives are motivated by the suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun. - Badtux @ K5

    by BullitNutz on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:16:20 AM PDT

  •  I couln't agree with you more ... (4.00)
    But to run like Santorum, a politician (a Wellstone, Feingold, etc) is running from personally held principles. That's what makes them such fantastic elected officials: they don't pander to the party line.

    So, to put this together with kos's frontpager called The curse of the single issue groups: there should be an official party platform that is battled out in the trenches, but we shouldn't allow the single interests to dictate to our party to reject a candidate who doesn't completely tow the party line, especially when that candidate is strong, agrees with the most fundamental party principles, and is running from personally held principles that they are unwilling to abandon ... especially for monied interests.

    Those are the good Democratic candidates. I find the Dems who can be bought (eg. for the bankruptcy bill, the Attorney General slot) not worth our time or our votes.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:46:43 AM PDT

  •  I'm trying to figure out ... (none)
    how to recommend this diary 3 or 4 times.  Hmmmm.

    Or maybe to preserve it in bronze. This one's a keeper.

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Mon May 23, 2005 at 04:51:14 AM PDT

  •  the only thing I'd take issue with (none)
    I do think Lieberman believes in principle just as much as Santorum or Wellstone.  They're just not a set of unififed Democratic principles, especially when it comes to foreign policy or the role of religion in public life, but they're principles, and he's pretty consistent with them.

    And this is why Santorum is more popular here than you'd think.  Because however nuts his views may be, at least he's sincere in them (unlike, say, Specter), and there's something to admire in that.

    "Let's put our heads together/And start a new country up/Our father's father's father tried/Erased the parts he didn't like" - R.E.M., "Cuyahoga"

    by Adam B on Mon May 23, 2005 at 05:08:01 AM PDT

    •  I'd probably agree on Lieberman's religious tenets (none)
      But it's his constant pandering and ass-kissing of the other side that offends.

      As noted in my diary, he is the only Democratic senator who would go on record with anything good to say about Santorum.  Which is a bit surprising considering Bayh co-sponsored one of Santorum's egregious mingling of church and state bills under the guise of "building stronger families."

      If it ain't in the Bible, it ain't science!

      by Bob Johnson on Mon May 23, 2005 at 08:28:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sure (none)
      Lieberman has principles.

      Neo-conservative principles.

  •  Just this a.m. ... (4.00)
    ... on c-span they were taking calls about Howard Dean on Meet The Press. The opposition, I believe, is scared shitless of him because he dosen't turn all meely-mouthed when confronted. He stands by what he says & they don't like that.

    They mentioned his 'anger' & such. This coming from supporters of a party whose members often resemble a rabid pit-bull when opposed!

  •  reminds me (4.00)
    of a New Yorker article on Scalia. Guess who is his favorite fellow justice? (Their families even spend New Years together)

    Ruth Bader Ginsberg

    Why? Same reason.

    Who are his least favorite? O'Connor and Kennedy, because they keep waffling around in the middle.

    That being said, this may be something of an issue of temperment. Some people just prefer people who take more extreme stands, even if there's some collateral fall-out. Other people would see compromise and threading the middle as the way to more effective, practical, and less dogmatic solutions, even if this leads to ideological inconsistency at times. I don't see anything wrong with being a moderate as long as you're doing so out of a strong belief in moderate principles--not because you're afraid of being more strident, or because you simply don't have any belief system at all.

    Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

    by JMS on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:13:25 AM PDT

  •  great article (none)
    on His Frothiness (R - Wal Mart):

    http://www.pnionline.com/dnblog/attytood/archives/001715.html

    i was trying to find info on impeaching senators, but i'll take this.  heh

  •  DIEBOLD believed in Bush (4.00)
    It was all the "believing" Bush needed to win in Ohio, Florida and some other places...

    We're back in the U.S.S.R.
    (You don't know how lucky you are boy
    Back in the U.S.S.R!)

    by lawnorder on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:44:30 AM PDT

  •  What can we learn from Rick S. (none)
    That you can succeed in public life even with a dreadful name like his. Perhaps even because of it, as I'm sure all the fights and teasing while growing up toughened him up...

    ;-)

    We're back in the U.S.S.R.
    (You don't know how lucky you are boy
    Back in the U.S.S.R!)

    by lawnorder on Mon May 23, 2005 at 06:46:35 AM PDT

  •  "We need candidates who believe" (none)
    It's not like we have to do a whole lot to accomplish this.  All our side has to do is tell the truth clearly and often, rather than telling little lies in order to manufacture the illusion of moderation.  Or use language that mimics the Republicans or uttering rhetoric they assume reaches out to the "faith base".  

    Going along to get along is a sign of emotional illness and woosiness.

  •  Great diary... (none)
    ...Thanks.

    Be the creature. (But not a Republican.)

    by boran2 on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:03:46 AM PDT

  •  Rick Santorum is truly nuts (none)
    and I think the NY Times did the Dems a big favor in highlighting this man.  They covered the Man of Dog stuff, they covered his cheating the Pennsylvania taxpayers out of their money for his kids' education, and the cover picture: he looks like a priest or like he is a candidate for sainthood! I guarantee that picture will scare a lot of moderates a lot more than even the story will.

    Good job, NYTime.  

    "If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention."

    by adigal on Mon May 23, 2005 at 09:31:00 AM PDT

  •  You Are Right About Santorum and Kerry (none)
    In 2003 a groups of professors released a study called Political Conservatism and Movitated Social Cognition. This study covered the mindset of conservatives. It found that conservatives dislike ambiguity; have a tolerance for inequality; want cognitive closure; and are movitated by fear of threat or loss. If you look at the kind of politics that Santorum and Bush practice, you see how the above characteristics play into how they advocate political positions.

    One other thing, they are not afraid to win by a small percentage provided they win.

  •  Bob, you hit the nail on the head... (none)
    The 'Art of War' appropriately tells us to "know your enemy" and we certainly are at war!  Any time studying Santorum and the rest of his buddies, looking for any possible advantage, is time well spent.

    Keep it up!

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site