The most hateful rhetoric of Tuesday night came from the mouth of a white male,
probably late 20s-mid 30s, who was part of a CNN focus group in Ohio, a key
state in next week’s Super Tuesday voting.
The man seemed to be a Santorum supporter, but he was more adamant about one
Only he didn’t say it exactly that way. He didn’t say, “We need to have a
candidate who can defeat President Obama.”
No, the man said someone had to “take Obama out,” and that some candidate had to
“take him down.”
I’m all for sports metaphors in politics and would have gladly accepted “we’ve
got to knock out Obama.” But even boxing was too civilized for our focus group
guy. If this man was talking sport, he was talking blood sport. Hunting.
Killing. To him this was Election as Assassination.
That’s how scary and uncivil our politics has become.
And that’s why it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. The red-meat Right has so
much vitriol and misplaced anger against the president they just want him gone
in the worst way.
The birthers now want to unbirth the presidency.
So electability is the only way someone like our focus group guy picks an
elitist like Romney, or a faux-little man like Santorum.
It’s like they’re saying, “Hey, man, just do it. I don’t care about your
politics. We’ll scratch your back, you take out Obama.”
It’s one unholy alliance that Romney and Santorum would gladly enter for a win
next week, though neither really do speak or relate to our focus group guy.
But they’re both trying.
As the two main candidates exited Michigan, Romney seemed to want to make his
mantra “more jobs, less debt, smaller government.”
Simple. Kind of like the old Lite beer commercials.
Puts the main concerns in one sentence, but where’s the passion?
Can’t he just put out a bumper sticker that says: ” I can take him out.”
Santorum, on the other hand, seems poised to go into Super Tuesday as “Mr.
Little Guy.” He ended his speech talking about how he was a “bottom up” kind of
guy. (I don’t think he meant that as some kind of gay code.)
He even invoked General Washington, the first president, in his post-election
speech: “Some of his boldest moves came not from him and the generals, but from
the ranks. That’s how America’s freedom was won. Leaders believing in the people
that they led…against those who thought all the answers resided in those in
So Santorum’s the bottom up revolutionary, a different part of the 99 percent,
But please forgive him throwing up on the Constitution over freedom of religion.
Or a woman’s right to choose.
Or for the right of every snob to go to college, even poor snobs of minority
backgrounds who yearn for equality.
Santorum will need a shield from his own intolerant words and contradictory
beliefs as he campaigns the next few days.
It may take a full body condom.