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Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 in Media, Politics, Religion | 11 comments

Insanity in a Sweater Vest

RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch

Twice I have seen America on the brink of losing the boundaries of political reason that have kept us stable and free for well over two centuries—-during the McCarthy uproar of the 1950s and in the Nixon era leading to the resignation of a lawless president before he could be impeached.

Rick Santorum is no McCarthy or Nixon (yet) but he has the same wild disregard for truth and rational discourse and, like his predecessors, is being abetted by a compliant media giving “equal-handed” treatment to fear-mongering and traditional standards of sanity

Sarah Palin elicited outrage by positing death panels for the old, but Santorum goes further by claiming that, under new health care laws, doctors are doing the same with newborns:

“Let’s take a child who is high cost and who…the medical profession increasingly is looking at as less utility, less value than others in society: ‘I don’t want to see this patient. This is going to be a real cost for me. I’m going to get nailed on this one, so let’s minimally treat, let’s not treat all because it’s going to be such a cost to the system.’ That’s happening now.”

Evidence for infanticide? None, except in Santorum’s imagination, but horse-race journalism is too interested in primary polls to “nail” him on such wild charges.

Instead, the GOP nomination contest is now not about the economy but a holier-than-thou zealot’s prescriptions for a diverse nation, as superPACs, including one funded by a firearms manufacturer, line up to support Santorum.

While approving of his theological bent, the Wall Street Journal advises him to lie low while campaigning…


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  • wesleypresley

    What I find shocking about this group of Republicans is their openness about letting people die for lack of health care, abolishing child labor laws, calling the President a Muslim from Kenya, denying global warming, etc… It is shocking we have reached a point in our body politic where Republican leaders are running on such reactionary positions.

  • The_Ohioan

    This article complains that Mr. Santorum [is being abetted by a compliant media giving “equal-handed” treatment to fear-mongering and traditional standards of sanity.]

    On the other hand, the Wall Street Journal complains that when Mr. Santorum speaks against same-sex marriage he get hammered. [President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands—nudge nudge, wink wink—that he’s not telling the truth. The press understands that this is just one of those things a Democratic candidate has to say so he doesn’t rile up the great unwashed.

    It’s arguably the most glaring double standard in American life today.]

    Mr. Santorum is not insane, he’s simply not able to play games with his convictions (which the WSJ thinks he should do). An admirable trait, but one that may cost him the Presidency, and should if he proposes to sign them into law – which he indicates he would do.

    The WSJ falls into the double standard they so abhor by giving Mr. Santorum credit for a truly held conviction while asserting that Mr. Obama’s truly held conviction is suspect.

    If the media didn’t report all Mr. Santorum says, it would not be to the benefit of the public’s decision process. And there has been plenty of fact checking in the public domain.

  • zephyr

    “like his predecessors, is being abetted by a compliant media giving “equal-handed” treatment to fear-mongering and traditional standards of sanity”

    Right smack on the beam. We now have a 4th estate (the MSM ~ not TMV) that parrots information with little regard for it’s value or credibility. They give media opportunities to crazy people and liars with as much glee and love as they do people who are decent and responsible. It’s no wonder so many people in this country are confused and stupid when it comes to politics.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “It is shocking we have reached a point in our body politic where Republican leaders are running on such reactionary positions.”


    Have finally gotten back to “civilization” and was shocked to see and hear yesterday the son of a revered Evangelist get down in the gutter with the rest of them.

    I have previously expressed my disappointment at seeing and hearing the (adopted) son of a former president — and, yes, I do have some respect for Ronald Reagan — do likewise.

  • zephyr

    “Among media questioners, will there be even a pale version of Edward R. Murrow or Woodward and Bernstein to bring out the essence of what the nation is facing now?”

    Doubtful. Mostly what I see in that world is a self-satisfied and comfortable clique with little desire to rock the boat. There are certainly courageous people with high standards working in the media, but their views don’t get the same degree of coverage as the namby pamby status quo.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    And talking about getting back to civilization, I just had the pleasure of listening to president Obama in a lighthearted moment at the White House sing the Blues, only to be brought back to the harsh political reality of watching Republican Elisabeth Hasselbeck in “The View” slam the President for daring to have such a moment while “our gas prices are almost up to five dollars.”

    At the known risk of offending my Republican friends, where was she when president Bush had gala affairs at the White House and urged Americans to go shopping while our young men and women were being maimed and getting killed at that little nation building exercise in Iraq.

    Let me have it now…

  • The_Ohioan

    It seems the Washington Post, Woodward and Bernstein’s old paper, has several people critically reporting on Mr. Santorum’s zealotry, Jennifer Rubin (often posted here), Dana Milbank, Eugene Robinson (also often posted here).

    Reuters, ABC, NBC and CBS have all had critical pieces.

    Mr. Scheiffer is probably the closest we now have to Edward R. Murrow. Mr. Olbermann would like to be, but hasn’t the clear objectivity of Mr. Murrow. Even FOX News has had Republicans on to speak criticizing Mr. Santorum’s words.

    I see no compliancy in the mainstream media; indeed Mr. Santorum elicits jeers in many venues.

  • slamfu

    Funny how people that talk of death panels and such somehow imagine that the same thing isn’t going on with HMO’s allocating healthcare. HMO’s actually have a financial incentive to let you die. You think they don’t cut corners if it effects their bottom line? I’d rather have a bureaucrat making that decision than an accountant in the P&L dept of an HMO thank you very much.

  • zephyr

    Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a loyal partisan and loves her opinion – an opinion usually informed by animosity and nonsense.

    Bob Scheiffer? He’s one of the good guys allright, but he’s also quite old. He doesn’t have the fire in his belly… I wouldn’t either at his age.

  • roro80

    “President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands—nudge nudge, wink wink—that he’s not telling the truth.”

    I’d like to point out that this is most certainly NOT the case among the LGBT communities I’ve come into contact with. If he gets a “pass” at all, it’s only a pass insomuch as at least he’s not actively working against LGBT rights, not telling people that the homos are coming to have sex with your children, not saying they’re hell-bound sex-addicted moral miscreants who will bring about the ruination of society. Obama looks pretty darn good on LGBT issues when compared to the other guys. That does not mean that those who actively work for the civil rights of gay people have failed to notice that he’s not exactly marshalling any parades.

  • roro80

    While I agree with most of the article, the rhetoric here strikes me as off, and specifically incorrect. I don’t think there’s anything “insane” about these opinions being spurted from Santorum like so much offal. Awful, bigoted, fear-mongering, fundamentally incorrect — yes. But certainly not stemming from some mental disability that can’t be helped. They are opinions crafted for specific purposes, and they do an efficient job of acheiving those purposes.

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