Santorum nightmares.

Scary Rick Santorum. As if.

Via Liss at Shakesville, whose snark always sparkles. (Snarkles?)

Oh, how I laughed.  Rick Santorum!  As if he actually scares anyone!  He is so obviously such a fascist dolt, no one could possibly take him seriously about anything!  Liss wrote:

Finally: If you want to get a better understanding of the kind of people who support Rick Santorum (lol there are people who support Rick Santorum! ha ha nervous laughter OMG!), check out these heroes.

And so I clicked the link.  I was thinking it would take me to some hilarious Onion article, but no:  it took me to a serious piece on the Idaho Statesmen website.  And it was then and there that I became truly terrified, and convinced that Liss was being entirely unironic with her amusing captions:  Rick Santorum might actually be my worst nightmare.  It’s not his dumbassitude, or his utter moral depravity that scares me — hell, I’ve worked for lawyers fer chrissakes — though I would certainly feel differently if he were, you know, the fucking President of the United States.  Which could never happen, right?  RIGHT?  Because what scares me is this:  he is one slick operator.  As in, perfectly polished and honed like a laser-cut diamond.  Not only does he have the wingnut dogwhistles down pat, he knows how to sound like his candidacy is no joke:

Wearing his signature sweater vest, jeans and worn cowboy boots, Santorum waved a copy of the Constitution, which he called “the operator’s manual of America.”

But he said many Americans neglect another founding document — the Declaration of Independence.

Santorum began reciting, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their — ” but paused for the crowd to shout “Creator!” — before continuing, “with certain unalienable rights.”

These are the tricks of a skilled entertainer.  This is exactly the same schtick a singer performs when she or he holds a mic out to the audience and lets them sing the chorus.  It’s a very effective, powerful way to get a crowd to buy in, and once they do, they are all in.  It’s one thing when this occurs at a Bette Midler concert, but when it happens at a jam-packed political rally run by a fascist psychopath?  Be afraid.  Very fucking afraid.

He added, “Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!”

He shoots, he scores.  I believe wingnuts at some level know they are not very smart — they’ve undoubtedly been told so most of their lives, in ways both explicit and subtle.  They resent the hell out of smarter people, whose very existence is a constant reminder of their own perceived inadequacy.  (“If I’m so stupid, then how come I’m always 100% right?  Answer me that, smartypants!”)  It’s why they beat up nerds.  Not because the nerds “look down” on them and they resent it.  It’s because when that Other kid in fifth grade gets an A on the test, when the best they can do is struggle for a C, they look down on themselves.  No nerd or geek I have ever known, from grade school through college, did not want to be friends on equal footing with struggling C students, or considered them any less worthy of respect.  (Hey, some of my best friends are C students!)  The bullying and lashing out violently is a childish attempt to assuage their fragile self-image, in “retaliation” for insults that occurred entirely in their own minds.  Bullying is almost never provoked or instigated by some smarty-pants deliberately taunting the bully, but by some smarty-pants merely existing.

It doesn’t matter that the “elite snobs look down their nose at average Americans” claim is false — in fact, that is its strength, because it vindicates their unwarranted bullying and their self-perception as victims.  You see, if this were not true, then bullies would have to account their abysmal behavior and acknowledge that they are extraordinarily privileged, not victims.  And of course that is never going to happen.  But the fact remains that the “elite snobs look down their nose at average Americans” claim is simply false.

Consider:  I am a living, breathing embodiment of elite snobbery, in the sense that Santorum intends it.  And yet, I do not look down my nose at “average Americans,” the vast majority of whom I have so much in common with in all the ways that matter.  What Rick Santorum is doing here — expertly, I might add — is stoking rage and resentment where none should exist.  Because the fact is that I am an average American.  I hail from a suburban, middle-class background, my mother is a second generation Italian immigrant, I worked multiple jobs while attending an unspectacular state university, I pay my taxes, I get along with neighbors and co-workers, and I enjoy being engaged in my community.  I give money to charities, candidates and political causes, and in day to day life I genuinely try to be a decent human being and leave the world a little better than I found it.  The only difference between me and this mythical “average American” is one that in a pluralistic, secular republic based explicitly on religious freedom, should not matter one whit:  I am not religious.  Just like most of my fellow citizens, I was indoctrinated in Christianity as a child.  I eventually rejected it for many reasons, not least of which is that the benevolent moral values it claims as unique to itself are, in fact, not.  People who are not Christians can be moral, generous, genuinely good citizens; religion is the most petty, meaningless and arbitrary tribal distinction one can make.  I do not look down on Christians because they are Christians:  I simply think they are wrong about religion, and I say so.  There is no shortage of Christians who think I am wrong about religion, and say so.  This is not the same as “looking down on” fellow citizens with whom you happen to disagree, on a matter of individual conscience.

You know who I look down on?  I look down on assholes, because they are assholes.  If there is considerable overlap between assholes and Christians to the point that it is frequently difficult to distinguish between the two, that is not my problem.  And I am the first to admit that there are assholes of every stripe, including atheists.  I’ll go even further:  sometimes, I am the asshole.  So are you.  As fallible humans, we are all the asshole at some time, to someone, for something.  As but one example, Liss at Shakesville would likely think I am being an asshole for the opinions I expressed here about a piece she wrote.  She or her mods would undoubtedly strike from her blog any similar comments if I were to express them in that space.  And you know what?  I think Liss is being an asshole on this one tactical point, about the wisdom of liberals perennially taking the high road while right-wing bullying goes unchecked.  I am emphatic in my belief that responding (nonviolently) to Rick Santorum’s bullying, in kind or otherwise, is not even close to being in the same moral realm as Rick Santorum’s actual bullying, and further, that not doing so is grossly negligent.  But so what?  On almost every other issue of importance to me, we are in perfect agreement.  I respect her tremendously.  Our visions of what a better world would look like are similar, and we both work very hard to bring it about.  We are allies.

You can see it here, where she wrote this:

Someone who enjoys enormous amounts of privilege—Santorum identifies as straight, cis, male, white, Christian, and able-bodied; he is married, has children, and is personally wealthy—and endeavors to deny those privileges to other people, who actively works to entrench marginalization on the basis of his own unearned privilege, is a straight-up bully.

And because Rick Santorum endeavors to deny his own privileges to other people, and actively works to entrench marginalization on the basis of his own unearned privilege, he is also a straight-up asshole.  Bullying is the tactic, not the end goal (although I am quite sure Rick Santorum finds bullying exceedingly pleasurable in its own right, because he is a sadistic motherfucker).  So Liss, whose coverage of the Republican primaries has been outstanding and frequently hilarious, “presents election news about candidates who are discussed on the basis on their policies alone.” Iris, however, sees more utility in mocking and ridiculing assholes like Rick Santorum, mercilessly and relentlessly.  The world is not only big enough for both of us, but — dare I suggest — a better place for having both of us in it.

We are both of the opinion that we underestimate Rick Santorum and his ilk at our grave peril.  It is going to take a full-scale assault on all fronts to stop him.  While Liss’s thoughtful analysis is incredibly necessary, the Palace expertise in mockery will also be called upon:  this is war, whether we like it or not.  (Not.)   And although it is certainly no match for Dan Savage’s world-class mockery, today we humbly offer up this:

Best Photoshop ever?

4 thoughts on “Santorum nightmares.

  1. “Bullying is almost never provoked or instigated by some smarty-pants deliberately taunting the bully, but by some smarty-pants merely existing” – brilliant!

  2. Santorum will get steam rolled by Obama in the general. His rhetoric is far too extremist for normal people and as evidenced by his trouncing in his last Senate campaign, his track record speaks for itself. I would worry too much Iris, it’s all gonna work out. That’s not to say we can relax and take him lightly but as long as the sane people are focused and energized and turnout to vote, the CPD’ers will go down in flames. The enthusiasm gap between Dems and GOP have flipped. A few months back GOP held a 15 point advantage in that polling and now the Dems have a 4 point edge. Encouraging to be sure…

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