Thursday, May 19, 2005

On further reflection...

I'm not certain that the clearly deranged individual who compared Democrats to Nazis on the Senate Floor (confused? click here or scroll down!) was actually the Senator Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum we've all come to know and loathe.

Why do I have doubts? Is it because comparing your political opponents to Hitler -- and not just any Hitler, but Adolph Fucking Hitler -- is a ludicous comparison that goosesteps all over the final precious shreds of decorum in the Senate? Nah. Santorum is just the sort of inelegant blowhole to do just that.

And it's certainly not because he's doing the bidding of the so-called "religious" so-called "right" in opposing judical filibusters so Bush can get his radical, right-wing, civil-rights-hatin' judges approved. Face it, Santorum is so deep into the James Dobson's back pocket that he can smell his ... well, santorum. So it ain't that.

No, it's this: In comparing the Democrats to Hitler, he compared his precious "nuclear option" -- eliminating the right of the minority party to filibuster judical nominees -- to Paris. And when was the last time you heard a Republican say something nice about France?

But if this indeed was Santorum, he might have just put the final nail in his Senate career. This seems to me a major political blunder, revealing him for the extremist he is. He'll roll right through the primaries, but come the general election...

...it'll be "man on dog" time. And he should expect to bark.

Rob

10 comments:

Greg! said...

I wish I could say Santorum's comment sent my jaw rolling across the floor. Sadly, I can't. Nothing -- and I do mean NOTHING in large emphatic capitals -- that Santorum says would surprise me.

Actually, that's not true. If he said something remotely reasonable, I'd be dumbstruck.

But in terms of inaccurate, uninformed, poorly reasoned and just plain stupid rhetoric, this idiot has proved himself a master of the form. Hearing Santorum speak on most any subject is like listening to a soft skulled conservative christian preacher spew irrational and self righteous condemnation of, well, pretty much anything.

I also wish that I could believe something like this would scuttle Santorum's political career. Frighteningly, I can't. The dopes who voted for him in the past are not likely to understand the implications of what he's said here. Hell, a bunch of them might well agree, even though they don't understand.

Can I still move to Canada?

Jeri said...

I'm not surprised, either. When the Republican party has this much power over the media, they know that they can say stuff like this without having to worry about being made to look bad by the media.

Because that would mean the media would have to do its job and report on this and they don't do that anymore.

--Christian

Andrew said...

Okay, i have to say this. I didn't think he was comparing Democrats to Hitler. He was trying to illustrate his problem with the Democrat's complaint by presenting a much more extreme version of it. Granted, it's never a good idea to invoke Hitler, and the Cavalier way in which he does so should insult people on both sides of the aisle. But I really don't think he said Democrats are like Hitler.

I'm pointing this out because I think it's important that we not get bogged down in condeming how he makes his point, especially when there is such a clear argument against the point he makes.

He claims that that blocking a vote on nominees is some new tactic never before employed. He implies that up until 2002, everyone in the Senate agreed that nominations should be voted on by the whole body.

In fact, as we know, the GOP prevented full Senate vote for many Clinton nominees. They did not use a filibuster, but they still blocked the vote. By Santorum's rationale, the GOP was thwarting the Constitution.

It is also ridiculous to imply that filibustering nominees is some new tactic. The purpose of the filibuster has always been to prevent a vote in the Senate, and it's been used by both parties many times. Sure, holding up this particular type of vote is new, but that doesn't make it unprecedented.

We know that both parties have filibustered to block a vote. We know that both parties have used procedural tactics to prevent a full vote on a nominee. Therefore, the current filibusters have plenty of precedent.

That's the argument I think we need to focus on.

Jeri said...

I'm with Greg: no surprise, no consequences for Santorum, and likin' the idea of Canada more and more.

I started to post a really long comment, then decided to just make it a blog post.

Rob S. said...

You may be right that these comments will have no effect on Santorum. He’s certainly resilient, and he’s one of the Repugs’ favorite attack dogs (no pun intended), so they’ll pump his campaign full of dough. And you’re certainly right, Andrew, that whatever their nature, they’re a distraction from the real issue.

But I think the comments – along with a host of other factors, such as the fact that he no longer lives in Pennsylvania but bilked a lot of money (I think the figure was in the neighborhood of $200,000) from PA school systems faking his residence – will sour his image with an electorate that increasingly looks upon him unfavorably. Once that slide starts (a poll in April had his favorable ratings at 35%, as opposed to 49% for Bob Casey, the presumed Dem challenger), I think he’ll be cut less and less slack for idiocy like this.

Also, from what I understand, Casey is anti-abortion, which if nothing else, will let like-minded fence-sitters vote for him with a clear conscience.

Rob S. said...

One thing I don’t agree with, though, is that Santorum didn’t intend to compare Democrats to Nazis. He gave himself a little wiggle room, sure, but if he didn’t intend the comparison, he would have picked another analogy.

Andrew said...

I've re-read the quote, and I'm not seeing it.

His point is that the Democrats have absolutely no basis for seeking to protect the filibuster. To underscore his point, he likens it to another claim that everyone can agree is baseless, namely Hitler's claim on Paris. That's not the same as saying Democrats are like Nazis.

He's wrong, of course, because the Democrat's claim on the filibuster is not baseless by any measure. That's the point we need to call him on, but that argument is no addressed in most of what I've read. By focusing on the inapproriateness of Hitler comment, we are leaving his assertions un-challanged.

I don't doubt this is why he chose this analogy. By insulting the opposition, he's managed to get us off-message on this issue.

Rob S. said...

No, it’s not the same – and that’s where his wiggle room lies. Nonetheless, his comment was meant to insult and provoke (and I agree that we could be playing into his hands). But if there’s no comparison there, where’s the insult? The comparison isn’t explicitly stated, but the mere nature of his analogy implies it. And whether or not he wants us to, we’ve got to confront this sort of rhetoric, and not let it go unnoticed. Or else the next comment to push the envelope will find that envelope in an entirely different place.

And yes, I say things about him that aren’t appropriate for the Senate floor, either. But I’m not a Senator. He represents 12 million people; I represent myself. His words carry a lot more weight than mine, and he should either choose them more carefully, or, if these were indeed chosen carefully, then he should just shut the hell up.

Jeri said...

Rob, you sound just like O'Reilly there at the end of your last comment. Hey, the way I figure it, let him spout--it just makes reasonable people (and there are plenty of them in PA--after all, Kerry won there) less likely to vote for him.

--the real Jeri

Rob S. said...

Ew, really? I guess so. And you're probably right that we should give Santorum as many chances to fit his foot hin his mouth as possible (no small feat when his head's already up his ass).

Still, while I think the little-d democratic impulse to let everyone have his say is a good one, I think big-D Democrats shouldn't shy away from saying "Shut up, you're talking horseshit" when it's so abundantly true.