Maureen Dowd (NYTimes) - "Rick's Religious Fanaticism"

Rick Santorum has been called a latter-day Savonarola.

That’s far too grand. He’s more like a small-town mullah.

“Satan has his sights on the United States of America,” the conservative presidential candidate warned in 2008. “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 has so deeply rooted in the American tradition.”

When, in heaven’s name, did sensuality become a vice? Next he’ll be banning Barry White.

Santorum is not merely engaged in a culture war, but “a spiritual war,” as he called it four years ago. “The Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country — the United States of America,” he told students at Ave Maria University in Florida. He added that mainline Protestantism in this country “is in shambles. It is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

Satan strikes, a Catholic exorcist told me, when there are “soul wounds.” Santorum, who is considered “too Catholic” even by my über-Catholic brothers, clearly believes that America’s soul wounds include men and women having sex for reasons other than procreation, people involved in same-sex relationships, women using contraception or having prenatal testing, environmentalists who elevate “the Earth above man,” women working outside the home, “anachronistic” public schools, Mormonism (which he said is considered “a dangerous cult” by some Christians), and President Obama (whom he obliquely and oddly compared to Hitler and accused of having “some phony theology”).

Santorum didn’t go as far as evangelist Franklin Graham, who heinously doubted the president’s Christianity on “Morning Joe.”

Mullah Rick, who has turned prayer into a career move, told ABC News’s Jake Tapper that he disagreed with the 1965 Supreme Court decision striking down a ban on contraception. And, in October, he insisted that contraception is “not O.K. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

Senator Sanitarium, as he was once dubbed on “The Sopranos,” sometimes tries to temper his retrogressive sermons so as not to drive away independent and Republican women who like to work, see their kids taught by professionals and wear Victoria’s Secret.

He told The Washington Post on Friday that, while he doesn’t want to fund contraception through Planned Parenthood, he wouldn’t ban it: “The idea that I’m coming after your birth control is absurd. I was making a statement about my moral beliefs, but I won’t impose them on anyone else in this case.”

That doesn’t comfort me much. I’ve spent a career watching candidates deny that they would do things that they went on to do as president, and watching presidents let their personal beliefs, desires and insecurities shape policy decisions.

Mullah Rick is casting doubt on issues of women’s health and safety that were settled a long time ago. We’re supposed to believe that if he got more power he’d drop his crusade?

The Huffington Post reports that Santorum told Philadelphia Magazine in 1995 that he “was basically pro-choice all my life, until I ran for Congress.” Then, he said, he read the “scientific literature.”

He seems to have decided that electoral gold lies in the ruthless exploitation of social and cultural wedge issues. Unlike the Bushes, he has no middle man to pander to prejudices; he turns the knife himself.

Why is it that Republicans don’t want government involved when it comes to the economy (opposing the auto bailouts) but do want government involved when it comes to telling people how to live their lives?

Read the rest here.

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FINALLY!!!  A major op-ed columnist comes out swinging on the ugliest elephant in the GOP beauty contest, and this should be the first of many.  Voters both democrat and republican should understand where Santorum is on the issues, just how radical he is and the danger represented by his utterly retrogressive attitudes, particularly regarding women.  My impression is that too much of Santorum's misogynistic positions have been glossed over or utterly ignored by the media, left unscrutinized perhaps because of the other candidates vying for the nomination.  With luck, the media will push further on these topics with Santorum and indeed the rest of the republican field and demonstrate just where their attitudes lay regarding women's rights.

I would give real money to see Santorum and his religious bigotry so focused on that he grows to hate the sight of a camera or a reporter.  A guy can hope, ya know!

Tags: Maureen Dowd, New York Times, Rick Santorum

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Typo - should be "lard" Danno.

"And if you are a Scottish Laird then I am Mickey Mouse!"
-- Butler, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I wonder if he really thinks he can be the US president.  I guess so, otherwise why would he be doing all of this.  Maybe he's bipolar or psychotic.  That's not to demonize bipolar or psychotic people, I would just like to have a better understanding of his psyche.  And the psyches of the people who support him.  I just find it hard to believe that he really believes what he says.  No way to know.  

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