Question for the Day

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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21 Responses

  1. Kyle says:

    The same universe as Dennis Kucinich?Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Here’s how, I reckon.

    It’ll take a handful of assumptions about why he was elected in the first place and why he was not re-elected. It’ll also take a handful of assumptions about why Obama was elected in 2008. More than that, it’ll take a handful of assumptions about 2012.

    Assumption #1: The Tea Parties contain not only a handful of cranks and racists but are actually representative of a sizable number of conservatively-minded folks who feel that they are no longer represented by either of the mainstream parties.

    Assumption #2: The elections in 2006 and 2008 (and *ESPECIALLY* the Presidential election) were representative of “throwing the bums out” rather than an endorsement of a positive message (see, for example, the enthusiasm for Sarah Palin compared to the enthusiasm for McCain).

    Assumption #3: The reticence of democrats and “independents” and “moderate republicans” to pass Health Care Reform recently was indicative of phone calls made by constituents to their offices telling them that they did not want that particular bill (rather than by some other, more nefarious, reason).

    Assumption #4: Democrats lose a “surprising” number of seats in 2010. (“Surprising” will be defined as “more than can be explained by ‘everybody knows that they’re going to lose some seats'”)

    Assumption #5: Democrats assume that the losses in 2010 are due to Fox News lying to the American People, the teabaggers (note the use of that word) being cranks and racists, and a narrative of “angry white men” picks up in places like the NYT and Boston Globe.

    Assumption #6: Obama in 2011 is about as arrogant and dumb as Bush was in 2005.

    Assumption #7: Santorum actually talks about cutting spending and reducing entitlements more than he talks about homosexuality being analagous to bestiality.

    Assumption #8: The media talks more about Santorum being a teabagger who talks about homosexuality than it talks about Santorum talking about spending.

    Assumption #9: Andrew Sullivan spends a great deal of time talking about Gabriel Santorum and how crazy Karen Santorum must be and, by extension, how crazy Rick Santorum must be. He posts the picture of the family with Karen holding the dead baby more than once. He defends his posting it. He crows about how he’s the only one talking about this.

    If all of these assumptions hold to be true, that’s how Rick Santorum might be elected come 2012.Report

    • Lev in reply to Jaybird says:

      I suppose this scenario isn’t impossible, though I’m heavily skeptical of most of your assumptions–I’m not interested in going point by point, though I think #9 in particular having any effect is most preposterous, as Sullivan isn’t a household name and hardly anyone actually reads political blogs. If anything, Sullivan’s Trig birtherism seems to have only angered right activists and annoyed La Palin herself, without having any further fallout.

      But I suppose I should outsource this task to one more eloquent than I. Here is Daniel Larison on Santorum (

      Speaking of short memories, for some reason Rick Santorum is apparently being taken seriously as a national Republican figure again. It is unlikely that Santorum could have prevailed in 2006 even if he had not run the most tone-deaf campaign in recent history. The anti-incumbent and anti-GOP sentiments around the country and especially in Pennsylvania were probably too strong for him to have survived, but he made sure that his defeat was overwhelming by obsessing about the dangers from the Venezuelan air force and Iran, the leader of the so-called “Islamic fascist movement.” At that point, all Bob Casey had to do was show up, demonstrate an ability to speak English, and he was in.

      The frustrating thing about Santorum is that he is at his worst when he talks about national security issues and he has nonetheless chosen to make national security alarmism his central and overriding message for the last three years, and he shows no signs of stopping. The conventional view is that Santorum’s strong social conservatism is his greatest liability with the public if he were to pursue a presidential bid or another attempt at statewide office, but this is exaggerated. What was disastrous for Santorum in 2006 and ever since is his obsession with foreign threats that do not exist or which he grossly exaggerates. Not only did this make him seem hard to take seriously three years ago, but it meant that he spent most of his time fixated on problems about which most voters knew little and cared even less. For the last three years, he has made his role as alarmist his full-time job, so we have to assume that this would figure prominently in any future political campaign.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Lev says:

        Hey, I wasn’t saying that he *WAS* going to get elected.

        I am not a fan. I am one of those libertines who feels that the Social Conservatives and Hawks/Neocons abandoned any precept of Fiscal Conservativism once they realized that they could run for a couple of years on military spending/national security if they made noises about “protecting traditional marriage”.

        I am *NOT* defending Santorum!

        I will, however, say that Obama is vulnerable and, more’s the point, he’s most vulnerable to “generic republican”. If Santorum runs as that… he’s got a shot.

        I do *NOT* assume that Santorum is capable of running as that, for the record.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’d watch Hilldog. If Obama gets so Carterish and weak that Santorum actually has a shot you will see her at the very least and likely a couple other Dems actually mount a primary challenge. If he doesn’t pass anything he can at least claim as HCR he could possibly get thrown out by his own party though I’ll be the first to admit that is a strech.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            She won’t be able to do it. Teddy (HIMSELF!!!) wasn’t able to take on Carter.

            Hillary, god bless her, is no Teddy Kennedy.Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              I agree. Obama would have to be low low low indeed for her to even consider it. He does, after all, have an automatic lock on one major constituency. My main point though is that long before Obama is feeble enough to be at risk of loosing to Rick Santorum I think his own party would be gunning to replace him.Report

    • RTod in reply to Jaybird says:

      Umm, no. Not even then.Report

    • North in reply to Jaybird says:

      Jay my lad, your #7 pretty much stops the train. If Santorum ever managed to do that he’d implode into a singularity and probably suck the whole planet into his gravity well.Report

  3. Art Deco says:

    What must it be like to be Rick Santorum…in what universe does this guy think he can be president (when he got smoked in a Senatorial race in Pennsylvania)?

    Maybe the same universe in which a man whose most salient preparation was eight years in the Illinois legislature gets elected President.Report

    • carlos the dwarf in reply to Art Deco says:

      Mr. Santorum’s on-record comments, such as the one equating homosexuality with bestiality, make him a complete laughing-stock to most voters under 50. In comparison, Mr. Obama, in 2006, was not on record with such patently absurd and scorn-worthy remarks.Report

  4. Art Deco says:

    The purist examples of delusions of adequacy are invariably found north of the border.

  5. Dave says:

    I always found Santorum’s comments on the legal opinion in Lawrence v Texas to be my guiding light when I took up constitutional law as a hobby.Report