Looks like obama’s strategy of pretending to wage war on the catholic church in order to herd panicked and pissed off Catholics into the arms of Rick Santorum is paying off. Mitt Romney can beat obama. Newt Gingrich probably can too. Rick Santorum? When hell freezes over. For gawd’s sake even I would probably vote for obama in November if Santorum is the Republican nominee. The guy is a true blue FREAK of the highest degree. He is unabashedly opposed to contraception. (I linked to a right-wing site on purpose to show that even his ideological brothers don’t deny that Santorum’s stance toward birth control is radical.)
Pretty clever actually. Attack a group of people who have a strong sense of tribal identity with the Catholic church, whether because of ethnic identity or immigrant experience or religious upbringing and connections or, in probably most cases, all of the above, and BINGO! millions of otherwise moderate and modern, lackidaisically devout Catholics suddenly spring forth to defend their history and connections to their tribe against a vaguely non-denominational, religiously opaque president. Rick Santorum, Defender of the Faith of our Fathers.
Puke. It’s so transparent I’m shocked Catholics fell for it. Win-win for obama. If Santorum’s momentum continues to the nomination, obama faces a radical right winger whom independents and moderates won’t vote for and whom liberals and left wingers will be energized and determined to beat back. If all this does is humiliate and weaken Romney leading up to his eventual nomination, well that’s not too shabby either: Face a bloodied and humbled opponent in November. Yay!
And it IS a pretend war on Catholics. If the Santorum surge has legs obama will continue riling up Catholics with affronts to their traditions and institutions. It’s no coincidence that he kicked off a birth control skirmish on the field of Catholic universities. Even the most lapsed and liberal Catholic is reflexively defensive against incursions by the state into institutions they hold dear. When obama goes after the policies of places like Fordham and Boston College and Notre Dame it feels personal. It makes Catholics feel singled out and vulnerable to a pushy government. I mean, after all, 98% of Catholic women use birth control* (yes you read that right). For 35 years they’ve been able to reconcile their own personal behavior with the wacky and medieval tenets of a (supposedly) celibate priestly hierarchy. Catholics have no problemo with the church’s ban on contraception because, for goodness’ sake, they just IGNORE it!
Except for weirdos like Santorum. He is part of a teeny tiny minority of radical Catholic men who are fanatical followers of the ban. He doesn’t represent the views of 98% of Catholic women and men, but by gum if obama forces the majority of Catholics to rally around Santorum as a champion to defend their (extremely easily insulted) pride, they sure as hell will. They’ll vote for him out of spite. Some will vote for him out of fear that obama is sincere in this transparently phony war on Catholics.
And it IS a fake war. Just wait. As soon as his “war” on Catholics gets hot enough to burn him, he’ll back off. The feigned attack on the Catholic ban on birth control was cynical enough. His next move is to cave and grant the Church the exemption to mandated birth control insurance coverage they insist they have a first amendment right to. obama has NEVER intended to follow through on his demand that Catholic insurance providers offer coverage for birth control. He has merely been using the civil rights of American women as a pawn in his reelection strategy. How friggin cynical is that?
Don’t cry, Women. As long as we are profoundly under-represented in government at ALL levels of our society, as we are today, our rights WILL BE USED as bargaining chips and tactical ploys by the men who run our country. Race baiting is unacceptable in our national politics today. When candidates appear to even obliquely be relying on racism to get votes, they are excoriated by their opponents and in all corners of the media, and rightfully so. The baiting of religious groups is also offensive to most Americans, which is why obama’s intentional ploy to offend Catholics all the way to the voting booth to pull the lever for Santorum is so devious. When he called Pennsylvanians bitter clingers to their religion, obama was being his true, odiously elitist self. That was a gaffe. When he attacks Catholic policy on birth control, obama — or let’s be honest, Axelrod is the strategist here — is being Machiavellian. How pathetic is it that four years after the best American candidate for president in two generations – a woman — was hounded out of the race by sexist hounds from hell, American women are still so impotent and marginalized a voting bloc that we can be used like this? Actually, it’s no surprise at all, is it?
I’ll say it again: VOTE FOR WOMEN!
* Don’t believe that 98% of Catholic women use birth control? Look around you and believe your eyes. How many American women do you know with five or more children? With close to 40 million Catholic women in the United States, if they were NOT using birth control they’d be running around with 6,7, 8, 9, 10 kids like they used to when I was a kid back in the dark ages before the Pill. The average American family with children has 1.86 children. Face the facts: ALL women use birth control and Rick Santorum is a Bronze Age freak.