By John Doe
In the beginning, the 2012 Republican Presidential
field was comically diverse. There was
Rep. Michelle Bachmann who said HPV vaccines
caused mental retardation. She said that carbon
dioxide is not a harmful gas.
She re-wrote history by proclaiming that the founding fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery. And Bachmann said that if we take away minimum wage we could wipe out unemployment. Next, it was businessman Herman Cain’s moment in the sun. But his frontrunner status quickly faded after a handful of former female employees accused him of sexual harassment.
In trying to explain his innocence (he couldn’t), Cain implied that for every woman who came forward with false accusations, there were thousands who didn’t. But even absent the sex scandal, Cain wouldn’t have lasted much longer because he was subject to the same kinds of gaffes as Bachmann. Said Cain, “If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.” Meanwhile, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has risen and fallen in the polls several times, vows to stay in the fight until the end.
Along the way, he has provided us with continuous laughs and cringes. Responding to a question about the homeless problem in national parks, Newt said, “Give the park police more ammo.” He also promised to colonize the moon and give it statehood. But my favorite Newtism was when he said of the War on Terror, “The more successful they’ve been at stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we’re in danger.” Mitt Romney, once considered to be the presumptive nominee, keeps losing support every time he opens his silver-spooned mouth. He challenged Gov. Rick Perry on a debate point by saying, “I bet you $10,000.”
He admitted to strapping the family dog into a carry case on top of his car. He also said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor because they have a safety net.” And, he tried to sympathize with a crowd of unemployed people by saying, “I’m unemployed too.” Yes, the Republican candidates have given us hours of laughter and many head-scratching moments.
But as the field of competitors has narrowed,
so has their rhetoric, most of which is spoken with disturbing religious
fervor. Newt, a Georgia fundamentalist turned born-again Catholic,
has tried to gain ground by reminding voters he is the true conservative
in the race. Mitt, a Mormon, told CPAC he was “severely conservative,”
and admitted to having baptized dead people.
But as scary and weird as that seems, it’s tame compared to the cataclysmic catechisms coming out of Rick Santorum’s mouth over the past few weeks. The former Pennsylvania senator says that American citizens derive their rights from God, not the Constitution, and he does not believe in the separation of church and state. He says that President Obama is a snob for wanting everyone to go to college. He also believes that homosexuals shouldn’t serve in the military, and that women should be barred from combat.
He implied that female soldiers could get hurt (translation: have sex or get pregnant). No one knows his reasoning for the ban on homosexuals in the military, but he sure talks about gay men a lot. If he wins the nomination, perhaps he should name Marcus Bachmann as his running mate. Santorum, a Catholic, also denounces any form of birth control, and says that states should have the right to make birth control illegal.
But if you really want to feel some chills going down your spine, listen to what Righteous Rick said about prenatal screenings. Said Santorum, “Free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions.” For the record, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services says prenatal tests are a standard part of modern medical care, and that such tests “help keep mother and baby healthy during pregnancy.”
And as for birth control, the Centers for Disease Control states, “Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission.” Moreover, 14 separate, independent European studies show an 80 percent reduction of HIV incidence when men use condoms.
Yet with all of the data available to prove that condoms and pre natal screenings save lives, Santorum is more concerned with church doctrine than he is with health and safety. What’s really frightening, though, is that Santorum is gaining momentum, and could conceivably face off against President Obama this fall. That means preacher Rick’s pious bilge will consume the debates and the campaign, rather than important issues like jobs, fair trade, education and wars which we can’t afford. The only thing we can do now is “pray” that some moderate Republican will emerge at a brokered convention. That would leave Santorum dead in the water, and a candidate for a Romney baptism.
Jim Longworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15)