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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Anti-Kinder Gentler

For a revealing take on the warped spirit of the GOP front-runner-in-waiting, check out Ed Kilgore’s “Santorum’s Rhetorical Surge” at Washington Monthly ‘Political Animal.’ Kilgore pieces together a disturbing portrait of the candidate, “expressing the rawest right-wing sentiments on the campaign trail” from Dan Popkey’s report in the Idaho Statesman. A couple of gems from Santorum’s diatribe at an idaho rally:

“We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority…”
“Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!”
“I believe that if we are unsuccessful in this election that we will have failed in that duty and it will have horrendous consequences. … It will be the end of the great experiment in the order of liberty and freedom.”

There’s more. But you get the idea. As Kilgore explains, “Seriously, folks, Ronald Reagan didn’t talk this way. Barry Goldwater went about half this far and was eternally labeled the most extremist major-party candidate in U.S. history. If in 2008 Barack Obama had used this sort of rhetoric about the electoral stakes of victory or defeat, or the nature of the opposition, he would have been accused of introducing Kenyan Mau Mau tactics to American politics. Even now, he’s called a dangerous demagogue for suggesting Wall Street was partially responsible for the recession, or that the richest people on the planet ought to pay higher tax rates than their employees.”
A revealing portrait, especially for those who thought Newt was the point man for Republican nastiness. Kilgore concludes of Santorum’s splenetic rant, “If Mitt Romney had an ounce of real courage, he’d call him on it.” Such are the stakes of 2012.

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