What The Hell Is Rick Santorum Thinking?

Heather covered the specifics of this little gem already (and seriously, if you're not checking out VideoCafe, what's wrong with you? You're missing out on some great clips), but I wanted to have a larger, more meta discussion on Santorum's

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Heather covered the specifics of this little gem already (and seriously, if you're not checking out VideoCafe, what's wrong with you? You're missing out on some great clips), but I wanted to have a larger, more meta discussion on Santorum's tactics here. Tactics, which frankly, flummox me completely.

The conventional wisdom of the Republican primary horse race is that while Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee, he can't quite break that 40 percent bar. Romney can't get the social conservatives, because they think he really isn't a conservative. He's having difficulties with the leaning Republican independents, because they view him as a flip-flopper. He can't get the evangelical vote, because he's a Mormon.

And it's that last one that Santorum hoped would allow him to slide past Romney into the nomination. Santorum has packaged himself as the guy that the religious right can get behind. He talks the talk and walks the walk that the evangelicals want to hear: so pro-life he doesn't want contraceptives, home-schools his kids to prevent worldly secular influence,questions evolution, thinks global warming is a hoax and said he would annul all existing same sex marriages.

So far, so good. It's a niche, but Santorum is well-positioned to grab the religious right vote. He's even made the obligatory Obama-as-the-scary-other statement:

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum challenged President Barack Obama's Christian beliefs on Saturday, saying White House policies were motivated by a "different theology."[..]

Obama's agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology," Santorum told supporters of the conservative Tea Party movement at a Columbus hotel.

When asked about the statement at a news conference later, Santorum said, "If the president says he's a Christian, he's a Christian."

But Santorum did not back down from the assertion that Obama's values run against those of Christianity.

With all the jockeying around, what is Santorum thinking when he starts dissing "mainline" Protestants as not true Christians, actually saying that they're under the sway of Satan? When he is fighting for such a narrow niche of voters, what benefits him to alienate such a large portion of them?

This isn't some eleventy dimensional chess move; it's flat out stupid. Fifty years ago, JFK had to sway a large number of voters to trust that he wouldn't be under papal control in the White House. Every president before and since has been a Protestant. So now Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic, wants to make this distinction and alienate such a huge percentage of his voting bloc?

What the hell is Santorum thinking?

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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