Boy am I glad to be have been away for two weeks. Actually eleven days, but when we got back from Mexico last Thursday the airways were saturated with punch drunk campaign ads. One for Santorum punching Romney, followed immediately by one punching Santorum on behalf of Romney. Then another for Santorum and another for Romney. It all looks like the end of Rocky, which was a split decision.
Anyway, I am forced to let go of my foreign exploits and refocus on the American Taliban that is the modern Republican Party. That sounds extreme until you read things like this: Santorum Defends Saying JFK Speech On Religion Makes Him Sick : The Two-Way : NPR
The former Senator is apparently taking the tonsure, that is, stepping into the role of national Savonarola. To those who shares his views he must seem quite impressive for ‘calling like it is’ meaning as they see it. But to me, and probably a few more, he is stepping quite close to demagoguery.
What strikes me, though, is that there is something almost pathetic about his fervency. He seems to saying these things in order to get support, to win approval not rally the troops. Senator Santorum has taken this road because it gets him the attention and approval he seeks. He is more Joseph McCarthy than Joe Stalin, which does not mean he is not dangerous, but that he is not impervious.
For those who do not remember or know, the McCarthy hearings fell apart one day when a witness, Jack Welch, dared to call McCarthy out. “The afternoon of 9 June 1954 brought the emotional climax of the hearings, an exchange replayed in myriad Cold War documentaries. Ignoring a pre-hearing agreement between Welch and Cohn, McCarthy insinuated that one Fred Fischer, a young lawyer at Hale & Dorr, harbored communist sympathies. Welch responded with a righteous outburst that hit all the hot buttons: "Until this moment, senator, I think I never gauged your cruelty or recklessness....Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
Where are the Welches today, though? In Renaissance time the pope knew Savonarola was wrong, but the princes of the church today cavil to the desperate demagogue. Romney and Gingrich refuse to call him out on his intolerance, more proof of their own moral cowardice. But where are the Ed Murrows? the Walter Cronkites? The Emile Zolas?
Is not the press duty bound to hold him and others accountable for their massaged facts and slipshod reasoning? Or are they also too bound to their market?
Who will say, “Shame on you sir. You shame America with your self serving pieties and aggrandizing moral posturing. Worse, you betray the Christ you claim, with haughty judgments and bitter pronouncements.”
This self styled emperor of values has no clothes. Who will say so, though?