Rick Santorum hit the trifecta this weekend, with three quotes that show where he stands. And the Republicans aren’t real happy with it. Not because they don’t like what he’s saying, but because he’s letting the cat out of the bag.
Interviewed by George Stephanopoulos, Santorum was asked about a quote from last year, where he said that John F. Kennedy’s speech about religion and politics made him “want to throw up”. Here’s the quote in the speech he found so offensive:
“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him,”
Kennedy was addressing Protestant ministers who thought that Kennedy, the first Catholic president, would use his beliefs over theirs to make decisions for the country.
Did Santorum backpedal or soften his tone? Nope:
“I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” Santorum said. “The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country.”
You see, to Santorum, there is no separation, regardless of that pesky thing, the Constitution. To him, the church should be the ultimate arbiter. Of course, it would be HIS church, not any others. He has already expressed disdain for Protestants and other non-Catholics, going so far as to suggest they have strayed towards Satan. He has questioned the President’s theology. He believes his beliefs are the only correct beliefs. Never mind that this country was founded on the basis of religious freedom and acceptance of all beliefs.
For the second leg of the trifecta, Santorum doubled down on his attack on higher education. The President has made it clear that he wants every citizen to be able to go to college. For this, Santorum has branded him a “snob”. Santorum believes that there are plenty of ways to improve skills without college. Of course, that ignores a simple set of facts. First, that college grads are only suffering 4.2% unemployment, compared to more than 8% on average. Second, 70% of eligible workers in the US do not have so much as a B.A. degree.
All of this is further muddied by the fact that Santorum has multiple degrees – more than the President himself. But the real crux of his opposition to higher education? They “indoctrinate” students.
“I mean, you look at the colleges and universities,” Santorum said. “This is not something that’s new for most Americans, is how liberal our colleges and universities are and how many children in fact are – look, I’ve gone through it. I went through it at Penn State.”
“You talk to most kids who go to college who are conservatives, and you are singled out, you are ridiculed, you are — I can tell you personally. . .I went through a process where I was docked for my conservative views. This is sort of a regular routine. You know the statistic . . . that 62 percent of kids who enter college with some sort of faith commitment leave without it. This is not a neutral setting.”
Stephanopoulos asked whether Santorum’s comments meant that he thought there was “something wrong with encouraging college education.”
“No, not at all, but understand that we have some real problems at our college campuses with political correctness, with an ideology that is forced upon people who, you know, who may not agree with the politically correct left doctrine,” Santorum responded. “And one of the things that I’ve spoken out on and will continue to speak out is to make sure that conservative and more mainstream, common-sense conservative and principles that have made this country great are reflected in our college courses and with college professors. And at many, many, and I would argue most institutions in this country, that simply isn’t the case.’
So, his case is that they “ridiculed” the poor conservative kids, and kids who go to college come out not having the same commitment to faith. See, we’re back to the religion thing again. They don’t believe what he wants them to believe, so the schools must be “indoctrinating” them. If it were his choice, they would all teach to his beliefs, regardless of the religion they were brought up in. That’s his version of the American way. And his tactic is to somehow say that being more conservative would be more “mainstream”. A neat little trick there – if you don’t think his way, you’re out of the mainstream. It’s a clever choice of words.
The last leg of the trifecta came with his disapproval of the President apologizing for the accidental burning of Korans last week after an attack.
“This is unacceptable,” Santorum said on ABC’s “This Week.” “The idea that a mistake was made — clearly a mistake, which we should not have apologized for — it was a mistake. There was nothing deliberate…
“Say it’s unfortunate, say that this is something that should not have been done. … But to apologize for something that was not an intentional act is something that the president of the United States, in my opinion, should not have done,” Santorum said, adding that apologizing “lends credibility that somehow or another that it was more than (an accident).”
In Santorum’s world view, the only reason for an apology is if you did something wrong intentionally. If you make a mistake, however, it’s all good. So, if you accidentally kill a dozen innocent people in an erroneous drone attack, no apology necessary. Blow up an oil rig and spew millions upon millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, no apology required. As long as you didn’t mean to, no worries, right?
All in one interview.
But here’s the real kicker – Republicans are getting upset with Santorum. Because he might cost them the election? No. Because he’s saying exactly what they think. He’s spilling the beans, opening the closet to expose their skeletons.
They want the church to run things. They believe their brand of morality is the only viable one. God forbid you are anything but Christian.
They pay lip service to Jews, and thump their chests when talking about being a friend to Israel. And that’s all it is – lip service. They like Israel because Israel wants to fight in the Middle East. Israel didn’t like Hussein, and they don’t like Ahmedinejad. They have reason not to. But the war mongers on the right want a war in the Middle East. They don’t our troops home. They want conflict because conflict brings the opportunity for profit – from rising oil prices just on the speculation of war to government contracts for their defense contractor buddies.
They like Israel as long as it is useful. Otherwise, they’re the less significant part of “Judeo-Christian ethics”. And if you’re anything else, you are a second class citizen.
Have you noticed how many times in the last three years the subject of Sharia law has come up? It’s forbidden by the Constitution, and yet, it’s exactly what they want – a Christian version of Sharia law. They don’t want a separation of church and state. They want the state to be dictated to by the church. It’s what made Santorum “want to throw up”.
And what about education? Listen to them all and they want to eliminate the Department of Education, cut funding. But Santorum said it most succinctly – they don’t believe you should go to college. Why? Because education creates people who think. And people who think are a danger to them. People who think question the status quo. And people who think might just be able to change things.
They also need to keep the status quo in terms of the working class. Keeping people uneducated keeps them from being able to raise themselves out of a lower standard of living. The corporate elites need to have a compliant and expendable pool of workers to keep their fat salaries going. Educating people means they might actually want to improve things.
And the last point – the lack of need for apology – is right up their alley as well. They don’t see that they have done anything wrong, as long as they can claim they didn’t intend to do it. Look at the Wall St. debacle for an example. Apologies? Few (very few) and far between. Because they want to claim it was an accident – they didn’t intend for the markets to crash, even though they bet both sides to ensure they made money either way. It was an accident! No apology necessary. When Bush made the decision to go to war in Iraq, it was based on bogus information about WMDs. They didn’t exist. Apology? Nope – they just changed the message to “Hussein needed to go!” – no apology necessary!
What Republicans are worried about isn’t that Santorum is too extreme. They’re worried that he is showing exactly what they stand for.