How Rick Santorum Gets to be President

Nate Silver does a very thorough analysis of Obama’s chances according to which political groups are targeted the president’s campaign strategy and how that strategy could affect the electoral, as distinct from the popular, vote. The whole piece deserves attention, but this passage stands out.

… What if Rick Santorum were to steal the Republican nomination away from Romney? After his sweep of the contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri on Feb. 7, he looks like a more viable candidate — one who doesn’t seem as beholden to the 1 percent as Romney does. He has been successful at making Obama’s supposed elitism a theme of his campaign. And he is more conservative on social policy than on fiscal policy, which runs against the consensus view in the Virginia and New Jersey suburbs but puts him in line with the preferences of middle-income voters in the center of the country.

Still, Santorum, who rates as a 68 on the ideology scale (the same as a less-plausible nominee, Newt Gingrich), would probably be weaker than Romney in the popular vote. According to the model, Obama would be a 77 percent favorite to win the popular vote against Santorum given 2.5 percent G.D.P. growth.

Republicans wouldn’t care about that, however, if Santorum carried Ohio and Michigan — and perhaps even his home state, Pennsylvania — places where economic concerns tend to take precedence. Under these conditions, in fact, Republicans might be able to win the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.

I am not quite ready to suggest that Santorum would be a better nominee than Romney. But the electability gap between the two is closer than it might appear because of the way Santorum’s strengths could play in the Electoral College. …Nate Silver, NYT

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Conor Friedersdorf is very persuasive in his analysis of Rick Santorum’s urge to fine-tune your sexlife and mine. He’s been watching an interview with Santorum that he finds worrying.

What separates issues that are in the proper purview of politics from matters best left to individuals? I’d hate to draw that line for everyone, but watching Rick Santorum in the much-discussed interview above, I’m confident in declaring that he’s put himself on the wrong side of it. …The Atlantic

Here’s what offends Friedersdorf (and a whole lot of us, I guarantee it):

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, the whole sexual libertine idea… It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal… but also procreative.

That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it–and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong–but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special. Again, I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. …The Atlantic

Yes, you are, Santorum. And worse, you are running as pornographer-in-chief. Anyone who dares to interfere in (or make hay from, whether politically or financially) others’ sexuality is, at heart, a pornographer. I don’t want you in my bedroom and, now that you’ve gone this far into others’ privacy, I’d do what’s possible to stop you from sleeping in the White House. Keep your dirty-old-man hang-ups to yourself, please.

Cross posted from Prairie Weather.

The cartoon by Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons, is licensed to run on TMV. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

         

Author: PRAIRIE WEATHER

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25 Comments

  1. “if Santorum carried Ohio and Michigan”

    I’ll be shocked if he carries Michigan (although the west side of the state will probably like him). Many people here are struggling but that doesn’t mean they want a sanctimonious little dweeb in the White House.

  2. When Santorum discusses sex, he is exhibiting moral leadership. We might disagree with his view of morality. Fine. We can have moral disagreements, with our friends, and remain friends. We do have moral disagreements, in some area, with every one of our friends, and still we remain friends. If we do not have moral disagreements, then we are mindless robots.

    I disagree that Santorum is being “dirty old man.” In fact, I assert that the accusation of “dirty old man” is itself an instance of prejudice. Here is why: it is completely arguable that moral leadership, regarding sexual mores, is desperately needed in our nation. Our society is absolutely plagued by lack of two parent families for the parenting of children. We need more marriage. We need less sex outside of marriage. Among wise persons, this is not even arguable. Therefore, it is arguable that our nation needs moral leadership in this area. Santorum is providing such leadership.

    We can argue that Santorum is misguided in various ways. We can argue that Santorum is hurting his own electoral chances. We might be correct, and Santorum might be misguided. However, the “dirty old man” thing is prejudicial, and unfair. Santorum is trying to diplay leadership. If he is misguided, it does not flow from his being a “dirty old man.” It simply flows from his making an effort to do the right thing, and simply missing the mark. We need more people who make such effort and miss the mark. Such is noble, and is healthy for society. We do not need fewer such people.

  3. desert moderate,

    What you fail to realize is that he’s not running for “moral leader” (i.e. preacher) no matter how much you might want him to be. I don’t want a president who believes it’s his business to be in my bedroom or in my uterus, for that matter. Let him start his own church, join the priesthood, whatever but he has no place in the Oval Office.

  4. Anna, I do understand your point, and I do understand the legitimacy of your raising it.

    My point is that Santorum may be misguided (as you argue that he is), but he is not misguided because of any personally disgusting nature. He simply believes in the argument that our nation can benefit from moral leadership about sexual mores.

    Separately, I started to say this earlier, and didn’t:
    I find the following argument, which is frequently made by persons on the political left, to be infinitely ironic. This is the argument:

    How DARE anyone make moral JUDGEMENT about what I do in my bedroom, or make moral JUDGEMENT about ANYTHING which I do in my private life! How DARE they! How DARE THEY, SIR!

    That said, I shall now pronounce pornography to be sleazy and disgusting!!! Anyone who, in privacy, looks at pornography, is a horrible person who ought never hold elective office, and, yea, verily, ought be spat at in the street! Further, I now accuse my ideological opponent of enjoying pornography, yea, of participating in it and benefitting from it!

    So, there! I am infinitely righteous! And those who disagree with me are judgemental and perverse jerks who dare to disagree with me!

    Any number of arguments, which come from the political left, are structured in exactly this way. You can look through TMV comments on this very day, and you can find one comment after another which is formulated in this very fashion. The political left lives in irony-free bliss.

  5. Zephyr’s description of Santorum as a “sanctimonious little dweeb” is spot on, but a pornographer and dirty old man? Prairie Weather’s definition of pornography is way too broad.

  6. @DM – you’re right but similar lack of logic is found on the right all the time. It’s not a problem with the left, it’s a problem with hyperpartisanship.

  7. Good points, DG

  8. DaGoat, I would say that persons on the right are more likely to admit they are making moral judgement, and persons on the left are more likely to delude themselves into believing that they do not make moral judgement.

    I fully support that there is hypocrisy and human failing everywhere – including amongst moderates. But, regarding this shadow type of liberal doctrine of “do not judge people”, “do not judge private behavior”, “do not use your moral beliefs to judge me”, the liberal doctrine itself advocates refraining from both moral code and from making judgement. Yet, one cannot possibly refrain from formulating moral code and making judgement. Liberals turn the doctrine into their own liberal moral code, and then judge those who do not adhere to the liberal moral code. And then, often, liberals go on to accidentally embrace a traditional moral code such as “pornography is bad”, and to accuse conservatives of being pornographers. Or, even more ironically, to taunt conservatives for being “fags”, or somesuch. The irony is squared and cubed and quintuperupled.

    By the way, I would say that moderation is its own type of hyperpartisanship. None of us are innocents, though moderates like to believe so. Moderation is a hyperpartisanship in favor of my own superiority, as in “I am so superior! I stand above the rest of you inferior squabblers.” The most insufferable egomaniacs you will ever meet are blind fools with pretensions of political moderation. Those are my people.

  9. btw

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

  10. DM- Most Americans prefer to get moral guidance from their parents, priest, pastor or rabbi than from their government– isn’t that the very definition of a nanny state??
    I don’t want to have a president who decides for us that people should not be having premarital sex and who preaches abstinence outside of marriage.

    Big surprise is— just saying no– doesn’t work– and when it doesn’t work not having birth control or abortion readily available as an option results in an unwanted pregnancy that society ends up paying for or unsafe back alley abortions that end up killing and criminalizing women.

  11. Pornographer – No way.
    Peeping Tom – Maybe he wants to watch what others do in their bedrooms. ;-)

  12. “When Santorum discusses sex, he is exhibiting moral leadership” – dm

    More like moral anachronism.

  13. Re: the National Popular Vote bill. If we’d had that a dozen years ago Gore would have been president.

  14. Well, the entire strategy would have shifted, so it’s not that clear who would have won.

  15. zephyr, El Zagna’s point was that both Bush and Gore would have run different campaigns. For instance, Gore and Bush probably put few resources into Texas and New York: everyone knew Texas was going for Bush, and New York was going for Gore. Excepting for making polite appearances there, i.e. appearances which were actually for the purpose of helping down ballot party candidates win seats, there was no reason for either Gore or Bush to make big efforts in either Texas or New York.

    Alternatively, in a wide open popular ballot election, Gore and Bush would have put huge efforts into Texas and New York. Each would have tried to acquire HUGE vote victories in those populous states.

    What would have been the result? We will never know, because Gore and Bush did not focus their campaigns on gaining popular vote victories. If Bush had focused his campaign on gaining a popular vote victory, he might well have gathered more popular votes than Gore. Bush did not do that. He ignored Texas, and New York, and other states which were already decided, and he focused his resources on battleground states such as Florida.

    No one, here, has pointed out the advantages of our Electoral College system.
    The biggest advantage: decisive victory for somebody.

    The U.S. has never seen disputed elections generate anarchy and violence. Power has always been passed quietly, with civil order maintained. This was true when Nixon resigned, and it was true in 2000, and it has always been true. A transfer of power in the U.S. is a transfer in the most powerful nation in the world. Our record of maintaining civil order is remarkable. We ought not take it for granted. The Electoral College plays a part in maintaining civil order. The Electoral College tends to produce decisive results. We ought be thankful for that. In the history of mankind, the peaceful transfer of power is somewhat rare.

    Second, in a popular vote election, every single election would be HEAVILY contested in the big states: California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Florida. EVERY election. The smaller states would be ignored in EVERY election. The citizens of Idaho would feel as if they may as well not exist. Vermont? No one would give a damn. Election after election after election, no one would give a damn. Conversely, in our current system, over time, states go through cycles where they are battleground states. When they are battleground states, they receive much attention from national candidates. This year, NH is a battleground, and will receive attention. NM is a battleground, and will receive attention. And other small states will receive attention. In a popular vote system, that would never, ever happen. Never. Would be a waste of resources. Would be stupid campaigning. Wyoming could suck it, year after year, for 200 years.

  16. Keep in mind (about the electoral process) that smaller states are ‘over-represented’ when it comes to their say in the presidential election. This was BY DESIGN! Way back when (constitution drafting time) states like Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire were (justifiably) worried that the larger states would dominate the government and use the Federal Government to exploit the smaller states. In order to prevent that, the Senate was created with each state getting two senators. Originally it was going to be one, but the larger states voted that down. When the smaller ones threatened to refuse to sign on, the compromise was created.

    In addition to the two senators, each small state would get two (extra) electoral votes for the presidential race. Once again, this was BY DESIGN!!!

  17. Rcoutme, I did not know that about the two extra electoral votes per state. Thanks!

  18. Yep, Santorum is just disgusting. I prefer the term “panty sniffer” to “pornographer”, as I don’t actually see anything wrong with shooting porn in principle.

    “We need less sex outside of marriage. Among wise persons, this is not even arguable.”

    I find this absolutely incorrect, DM. It’s kind of cute how you define everyone who strongly disagrees with you as unwise, but let’s just say I find your “wisdom” on this issue to be lacking. You can choose to only have sex within marriage. So can Santorum. Leave the rest of us alone with your moralizing.

  19. You are taking an upstanding husband, and a father of seven, and you are saying: because you are a politician who is endeavoring to exhibit public moral leadership regarding sexual mores, therefore you are a panty sniffing pervert.

    There is nothing wrong or hateful or insulting about exhibiting moral leadership regarding sexual mores. We need more citizens who will stand up and do this. It might drive you crazy. It might be bad campaign strategy. But it is not perversion. It is not wrong, not hateful, not insulting. It is not an unfair imposition on you: you have not been wronged, and your peace has not been unfairly disturbed.

  20. “There is nothing wrong or hateful or insulting about exhibiting moral leadership regarding sexual mores…It is not wrong, not hateful, not insulting. It is not an unfair imposition on you: you have not been wronged, and your peace has not been unfairly disturbed.”

    Until such an “upstanding husband, and a father of seven” imposes his “moral leadership” upon others and uses his power (i.e. as a Senator or — God forbid — as president) to step on the rights of others, to demonize and legislate against those “others” who happen to be of a different sexual orientation or have social views (abortion, gay marriage, adoption by gays, birth control, DADT, etc., etc) that “his upstanding morals” do not approve of.

  21. Your and Santorum’s issue disagreements have nothing to do with the act in question, which was Santorum’s exhibiting public moral leadership regarding sexual mores.

    Secondarily: neither a Senator nor a President have the right to “step on the rights of others.” If you valued the Constitution, you would not be concerned about this. Part of the price of believing the Constitution is “living”, and thus of believing the Constitution is malleable in ways which are not provided for in the document itself, is you then must worry about what rights will be stepped on when your political opponents are in power. It looks, to me, as if Democrats are about to begin a long stretch of being out of power. Maybe this present moment is the time for you to embrace the American Constitution. Out of an instinct to protect that which you hold dear.

  22. Thirdly, lets talk about tolerance. The writer labeled Santorum a pornographer and a dirty old man (i.e. pervert). 80 labeled Santorum a pervert. You label Santorum a demonizer, and a person who legislates against other human beings.

    Why so intolerant? Because Santorum follows ethical precepts which are consistent with the CATHOLIC CHURCH!?! Because both Santorum and Pres. Obama oppose gay marriage? Because Santorum, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, John McCain, and most military officers in America support DADT?

    I do not support DADT. I am a fan of contraception. But I am willing to do the intellectual work to understand Santorum’s arguments.

    If we do not understand both sides, are we moderates or extremists?

  23. You are entitled to your opinions.

    However, I stand by my comments and opinion that Santorum’s extreme views on gay-lesbian and other social issues (“mores”??)– while I could not give a rat’s ass if he was just a regular Joe Blow — become immensely important to me and millions of gay-lesbian and other Americans if and when he –God forbid — would become our nation’s Chief executive officer and Commander-in-Chief — and nothing you can say will change my opinion on this. Sorry.

    And please don’t lecture me on the Constitution. I served twenty years to protect it.

  24. Are Santorum’s views extreme? Approximately half of all Americans, and most of human beings on the planet, agree with these views which are shared by the Catholic Church and by Santorum.

    Second, your original claim was not merely that Santorum’s views “are immensely important to me”. Rather, you said Santorum demonized “others”. “Others” is a common term, which is even used by President Obama and by the First Lady, to point to Person A being ignorant about Person B.

    Santorum is not ignorant about Person B. The Pope is not ignorant about Person B. Neither Santorum nor the Pope are either demonizing, or are acting out of hatred. They simply have a different opinion. You guys demonized Santorum, and, by extension, the Pope, for the crime of disagreeing with your opinions. Who was doing the actual demonizing? You guys were.

    In light of your restatement of your take on things, i.e. Santorum’s extreme views “are immensely important to me”, I will consider that you no longer consider Santorum to be acting out of either ignorance about Person B, or out of hatred for Person B. If you merely disagree with Santorum’s opinions, great. I disagree with some of his opinions.

    Last, re the Constitution, wrapping yourself in your camoflage uniform only cheapens the true honor of your service. My point was fair: it is only your belief in a living Constitution which causes you to believe that a legislator or a POTUS has the right to violate citizen’s rights.

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