My thoughts on the Iowa caucus.

04 Jan 2012 01:41 pm
Posted by: Donna



That said, Santorum finishing in a dead heat with Romney for first place in Iowa is actually no big deal, election-wise. Santorum, like his brother from another mother Huckabee four years ago, is going precisely nowhere, except maybe a Fox commentating gig, after this. But the Republican Iowa caucus is useful as a yardstick for where the hardcore Religious Right is. The two not-Romneys getting the most votes were Santorum and Ron Paul. Santorum is the more obvious social conservative and his whackadoodle ruminations on subjects ranging from birth control to gay sex are legendary. Paul, on the other hand, is treated by the media as a libertarian with socially liberal views whose popularity is largely due to his anti-war views. This persistent narrative on Paul ignores his strict anti-abortion stance (no exceptions except life of the mother), on which he campaigned vigorously in Iowa. One well-circulated ad featured Dr. Paul making the dubious claim that he witnessed a live baby being thrown into a bucket and left to die. That Paul has substantial support among religious social conservatives in addition to frat boys who want to smoke weed and not go to war (polls reflect it) is studiously ignored by both his frat boy supporters and reporters keeping the Ron Paul libertarian mystique alive.

Paul and Santorum are also useful to us progressives in examining and dismantling a couple of conservative shibboleths – so called “states rights” and the myth that conservatives really care about debt.

States rights posturing by conservatives falls into two basic categories:

A proxy for what they really want to do. Rick Santorum clearly wants to ban gay sex and birth control. But stating those desires openly as a Presidential candidate is too crazy even by conservative Republican standards. Likewise, Ron Paul really wants to return to the Jim Crow era, if not the days of slavery. But stating that desire openly would be as unacceptable as Santorum’s desire to ban birth control. The beauty of the “states rights” argument is that it alleviates conservatives from having to own and defend their desires. So Santorum tells a reporter he wants to let states ban contraception and sodomy if they want. Not because he really, really, really dislikes birth control or anything. Paul says he would have voted against the Civil Right Act of 1964 because, you know, states rights. Not because he has anything personal against black people or anything. Their hope is that enough judges and lawmakers buy the states rights argument so that these issues are returned to the states where whackadoodle right wing legislators will gleefully pass the tyrannical laws they want passed.

A cop out for people who have nothing to fear from state government tyranny. Having privilege and money (or in the fratboy case a parent’s money) tends to shield one from the vicissitudes of anti-choice, anti-gay, or racist laws so one can just say “let the states decide those things” while one agitates for freedoms important to rich white dudes, which no state dare abridge.

Posturing on the deficit by conservatives is pure malarkey:

The farcical notion that conservatives are driven by fiscal prudence in their economic policies is easily disproved when you look at Rick Santorum’s tax plan. Republican economic policies are always directed at rewarding certain people and punishing others. Always. Rick Santorum couldn’t care less about the deficit. He wants to reward straight married middle class and above parents, rich people, and corporations. He wants to punish single parents, childless people, wage workers, and of course gay people. That is conservative ideology in a nutshell, folks. Reward and punishment. It’s Rick Santorum’s ideology and that of every other right winger. Differences between them are purely cosmetic.

1 Comment(s)

  1. Comment by Timmys Cat on January 4, 2012 4:10 pm

    Someone beat me to it..

    Aw c’mon this is great!
    We’ve got Man-on-Dog neck and neck with Flipper, and Newtie skulking around like a P/Od troll because he got the same pooh treatment he flung for years.
    If you act now we’ll add a Ron Paul one trick pony act that reeks to high heaven when the closets are aired out.
    Me hopes everyone doubles down on the slamming and trash talk, like some insanely frenzied winger whirlpool where they all forget the rest of the country is watching and taking notes for the general election.

    What’s the funniest is watching Repubers blatantly contort themselves trying to find a Not-Romney..

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