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Farewell, Rick Santorum

April 11, 2012|Stephen Markley

Hey, Elton John, can we get “Candle in the Wind” rewritten for my boy, Rick Santorum?

“Goodbye, America’s Rose/ You’ll forever live in our hearts/ you were the smarmiest homophobe/ I want your book in my Amazon cart…

“And it seems to me you lived your life/ Like a mixture of fecal matter and semen/ Never knowing who to cling to/ when the Google bomb set in…”  

OK, I’m not a songwriter, that was bad. The point is Ricky Santorum has suspended his campaign after a series of heavy losses to “Mittsanity” Romney, which means the Tea Party-religious right faction of the Republican party has just nominated their own Manchurian Candidate they so desperately wanted to avoid—a guy who once claimed he was to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights issues.

But there will be enough time to game out the Romney candidacy. Right now I want to concentrate on saying goodbye to Santorum, the least likely Romney challenger in the entire field, who came closer than anyone else to rupturing the Republican field like anal sex gone wrong.

Rick Santorum is most famous for being a virulent, uncompromising social conservative, but after arguing with him about education and student loans following a Republican debate when he was at 2% in the polls and had no choice but to stick around and take questions from RedEye columnists, I can assure you his opinions on just about everything else are just as odious.

Santorum represents no new strain in the body politic, he is just the latest expression of white religious hostility. We don’t really vote based on policy preference anymore, everyone has just ran to their own “team” and refuses to leave that side no matter how nonsensical a candidate’s views. Thus the white rural voters who attend church regularly and whose economic livelihoods have explicitly benefited from President Obama’s stimulus, tax policy, and health care reform and who would be devastated by a Rick Santorum tax code and unrestricted corporate plundering of the air they breathe, water they drink, and the products they purchase from banks, nevertheless voted for him—likely because he believed the government should force rape victims to bear their attacker's children.

It’s all so interesting.

If you look at any map of any of the Republican primary states where Santorum and Romney were in serious contests against each other, you’ll note that Romney won the urban centers and college towns while Santorum dominated the rural areas. This is the exact way the maps will look in November when Obama and Romney face each other, only with Romney taking the Santorum areas while Obama cleans up in the population centers.

And that’s what the Republican Party with Rick Santorum as its chosen expression of ideological rage has become: a way for white people outside of the cities to vote their resentments. It doesn’t matter that the party’s sole obsession is with maintaining the power, wealth and influence of the economic elite, the Santorum voter is still described as the actual “base."

Therefore you can have a candidate like Santorum capture those people’s hearts and votes, propelling him to within a few thousand in a few key states like Ohio and Michigan of actually stealing the Republican nomination from the pre-packaged, pre-approved candidate. Yet Santorum’s economic plan, which he talked about with a straight face, would have dumped more money into the pockets of millionaires and billionaires than any previous candidate had ever dared articulate.

I’ll leave you at the end of this post with a few of my favorite Santorum quotes. 

• "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual [gay] sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. ... That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing."

• "One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country.... Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that's okay, contraception is okay. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

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