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Rick Santorum
American Taliban: Rick Santorum (Steve Nesius/Reuters)
If Rick Santorum really doesn't want to be seen as a one trick pony of evangelical social conservatism, he's got a funny way of showing it. A recent Idaho appearance came off closer to a tent revival than a political rally:
The crowd was a big part of the event — booing U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., calling Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “traitor!” and reminding Santorum that American revolutionaries had more than muskets.

“And God!” said a voice from the crowd, prompting one of a dozen standing ovations during Santorum’s 75 minutes on stage. [...]

Santorum began reciting, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their — ” but paused for the crowd to shout “Creator!” — before continuing, “with certain unalienable rights.”

“That is who we are, that’s where our rights come from,” he said, eliciting “Bless the Lord!” from the audience.

Well, he certainly does get lively crowds, I'll grant him that. But even when Santorum pretends to talk about issues, he can't help himself from seeing every damn little thing as a battle between the true God-fearers and the atheists and/or heathens and/or Muslims:
Santorum said the Obama administration believes it has the right to force the Catholic Church to hire women priests. “They’re going to fight because they believe their secular values should be imposed on people of faith.”
Yeah, what's next? First they demand that just because you run a hospital or college you shouldn't be able to impose your religious beliefs on your non-religious employees, now they're going to demand women priests! Wait, they're not demanding that? Oh, well, screw that. Let's just say it's true anyway, because when you lie for Jesus it's not a sin.
He noted his longtime call of alarm about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, saying the Cold War arms race that checked the Soviet Union won’t work with the mullahs.

“Mutually assured destruction worked. Why? Because they didn’t want to die. Because when atheists die, that’s it. Or, maybe better stated, they think that’s it.”

But in Iran, “They believe these end of times (are) a good thing for them, that’s the time they will conquer the world and rule it for Allah. ... Bringing about Armageddon for them is not a deterrent. It is an inducement.”

Well, but that is true of a hell of a lot of extremist Christians as well, right? I've lost track of all the various supposedly Christian groups whose primary interest in Israel revolves around shipping enough Jews there to trigger a good Christian apocalypse, or honest efforts to breed pure red heifers because when someone breeds a pure red heifer the world is supposed to end. (Yay, destruction! Come for us, Jesus! Don't spare the hellfire!)

So if Rick Santorum doesn't want to be seen as the guy who's all about being anti-sex and pro-theocracy (as long as it's the right kind of theocracy, not that bad kind over there), he's apparently got his work cut out for him. Maybe he could try spending just a little time a day not telling people what God wants, or not immediately supposing that anyone who disagrees with his various pronouncements hates Jesus? Try 10 minutes at a time and work up from there?

Of course, then he'd apparently lose nine tenths of his audience, so maybe that's not such a hot idea. Meh, just smile and give 'em what they want, Elmer Gantry. Just smile and give 'em what they want.

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