New polls by the Pew Research Center and Public Policy Polling proclaim Rick Santorum the new Republican frontrunner, by a narrow margin
and a wide one
, respectively. If the race to date is anything to go by, Santorum's new status is a brief prelude to the same spectacular crash-and-burn experienced by each of the GOP's previous seven-day wonders.
This would leave Republicans stuck, again, with Mitt Romney, whose "inevitability" has already driven them to court a range of ever more grotesque alternatives like Sarah Palin, Ernie the car mechanic who has some daring ideas to stop illegal immigration, Chris Christie, Hal the guy who spends every day hanging out at the barber shop yelling about commies, Bobby Jindal, Joanne the church organist who'll tell you all about Barack Obama's fake birth certificate and keep telling you about it even after you've walked away, Mitch Daniels, somebody's brother-in-law's skinhead cousin named Reggie who has a wicked collection of handguns and an even more wicked temper, and Donald Trump.
As we wait for Santorum's wax wings to melt, let's see what he's been up to since his Missouri-Minnesota-Colorado trifecta last week.
On the very day he was basking in the glow of his victories, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling striking down California's odious Prop 8. The following day, Santorum commented on the decision
at a campaign stop in Texas:
“Where is the tolerance of someone having a belief structure that is based in nature, is based in reason, that is based in faith, and to – to ignore all of that – based in history, based in common sense…"
Translation: extending marriage rights to same-sex couples is intolerant.
"And if you think it ends there, well, just look what happens. Look what happens when the government says: Here is the right I'm going to give you, and if you don't play the way we want, we're going to force you to do things you don't want to do, whether your religion says that or not."
Translation: the government is going to force you to marry someone of the same gender. (At least I think that's what he's saying here.)
"This is the intolerance of the left, the intolerance of the secular ideology. It is – it is a – it is – it is a religion unto itself; it is just not a Biblical-based religion. And it is – it is the most intolerant, just like we saw from the – from the days of – of the – of the atheists in – in the Soviet Union. It is completely intolerant of dissent, because they fear dissent why? Because the dissent comes from folks who use reason, common sense and divine revelation, and they want no part of any of those things. They want their worldview to be imposed without question, and if you question them, you're haters, you're bigots, and you should be, as a result of that, ostracized from the public square."
Translation: I'm a fanatical demagogue who puts Savanarola to shame, and it doesn't matter if what I'm saying is pure projection and a complete inversion of reality – my fanatical cheering section eats this crap up with a spoon.
Friday found Santorum where the rest of the country's fanatical demagogues had gathered, at CPAC 2012
in DC, where he noted:
"As conservatives and tea party folks, we are not just wings of the Republican Party. We are the Republican Party."
And as such, Santorum urged them not to make the mistake of forsaking fanatical demagoguery and opting instead for a candidate with pretensions to rationality:
"As conservatives we lost heart. We listened to the voices who said that we had to abandon our principles and values to get things done. To win. But we hear those same voices today, that we have to learn our lesson, that we need to compromise, do what's politically reasonable and go out and push someone forward who can win. Well, I think we have learned our lesson. And the lesson we learned is that we will no longer abandon and apologize for the principles that made this country great for a hollow victory in November."
Translation: Mitt Romney sucks.
Yesterday, Washington's Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill making her state the seventh in the nation to achieve marriage equality. Rick Santorum was on the case
. Speaking at the Washington State History Museum over the vocal objections of Occupy Tacoma protestors, Santorum mourned another setback for his beloved homophobia.
Shortly after the former senator from Pennsylvania began addressing a receptive crowd, a group of young protesters in the front row began chanting slogans such as “go away” and “right-wing bigot,” a reference to Mr. Santorum’s opposition to gay marriage, one of them said afterward. The surging GOP-candidate then spent the next hour battling the vocal minority.
… before it was over, at least two of [the protesters] were dragged away by law enforcement officials. After Mr. Santorum finished speaking, another covered him in a blizzard of glitter, known as a “glitter bomb.”
That's apt be the most benign bombing the candidate will face this month, with the Romney campaign already beginning to turn its firepower on the Santorum insurgency in advance of the February 28 Michigan and Arizona primaries. By that time, I expect the GOP will be desperate for a brand new frontrunner.