As we’re freshly reminded by the Presidents' Day debut of Clinton, a PBS documentary on the Man from Hope, one big question clouded his 1992 primary campaign: When would the “bimbo eruption” come? (Thanks to Gennifer Flowers, it came early in the process; thanks to Hillary’s “stand by your man” command performance on 60 Minutes, it didn’t derail him from the ultimate goal.) Twenty years later, with Rick Santorum having been raptured to the top of the GOP polls, the question was a bit different, though no less pressing: When would the Bible eruption come? It happened this weekend, a little more than a week before the Michigan and Arizona primary shoot-outs with Mitt Romney. Lurching away from his economic message, Santorum told a Tea Party crowd in Columbus, Ohio, that President Obama bases his environmentalism on “some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.” Santorum then spent the rest of the weekend simultaneously back-pedaling and continuing to imply that Obama’s, you know, not like us. He first grudgingly allowed, “If the president says he’s a Christian, he’s a Christian,” and then, on Face the Nation, affirmed and then obliquely questioned the president’s faith all over again: “I’ve repeatedly said that I believe the president’s Christian. He says he’s a Christian, but I am talking about his world view and the way he approaches problems in this country. I think they’re different than how most people do in America.”
Things didn’t exactly improve today when Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart went on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports today and let loose with this explanation: “There is a type of theological secularism when it comes to the global warmists in this country. That’s what he was referring to. He was referring to the president’s policies in terms of the radical Islamic policies the president has.” (She soon called back to insist that she meant, of course, radical environmental policies.) Above the din, you could almost hear Romney’s trademark cackle, heh-heh-heh. The super PACs couldn’t do a better job, with all their millions, of demonstrating that Santorum is unelectable. Will we find Rick and Karen on 60 Minutes some Sunday soon, showing his tender and tolerant side to the world? Stay tuned.
So They Say
"We're a hopeful people. … We think, 'Well, you know it'll get better. Yeah, he's a nice guy. I mean, it won't be near as bad as what we think. This will be okay.' I mean, yeah, maybe he's not the best guy after a while, after a while you find out some things about this guy over in Europe who's not so good of a guy after all."
—Rick Santorum, making an analogy between the 2012 election and the rise of Hitler in Cumming, Georgia
Daily Meme: Presidents' Day Distractions
- Forty-four presidents, 44 songs.
- The inevitable Presidents’ Day quiz.
- Why our presidents make up the most inclusive and odd club among the global leader set.
- Sarah Palin loves herself some Lincoln and Reagan.
- Lincoln wins most-talked-about president award, judging by this tower of books.
- The ten best presidents for black America.
- The ten best presidents for Native Americans.
- Or maybe Presidents Day is a bad thing?
- Heck, maybe it's time to give up on the whole electing-presidents business.
What We're Writing
- The Clinton Experience: Bob Moser on the new PBS documentary, and the spectacularly flawed president who inspired it.
- Paul Waldman says that Pat Buchanan is no First Amendment martyr.
What We're Reading
- Why doesn't the Ron Paul lovin' ever translate into votes?
- Democrats acknowledge they need a back-up plan in case Romney isn't their opponent.
- Are the Brits bad at covering U.S. elections?
- How did Santorum offend the Netherlands?
- Latino Mormons part with Romney over immigration.
- Paul says Santorum’s social conservatism is a “losing position” for Republicans …
- … but Jeffrey Bell argues that the GOP can’t win without it.