By FRANK BRUNI
Published: December 31, 2011
AS the hour of actual caucusing drew closer, Ron Paul’s campaign trumpeted his endorsement by a pastor who, as it happens, has spoken of executing homosexuals. Rick Perry pledged to devote predator drones and thousands of troops to the protection of the Mexican border, making the mission to keep every last illegal immigrant from crossing sound as urgent as rooting out terrorists in Pakistan.
And Rick Santorum, bringing his “Faith, Family and Freedom” tour to this eastern Iowa town on Thursday, promised never to be cowed by all those craven secularists who believe that a stable, healthy household needn’t be headed by a God-fearing mom and dad.
None of these three men is likely to win the Republican nomination. But before they exit stage right — stage far right, that is — they and a few of their similarly quixotic, similarly strident competitors will do no small measure of damage to the Republican Party and no great favors to the country as a whole. What happens in Iowa doesn’t stay in Iowa: it befouls Republicans’ image nationally, becomes a millstone around the eventual nominee’s neck and legitimizes debate about some matters that shouldn’t be debatable.
Many Democrats take heart from the spectacle of ultra-conservative pandering in Iowa, correctly surmising that it bolsters their own party’s fortunes and President Obama’s re-election chances. They shouldn’t, not if they care about the country, best served by a vigorous back-and-forth about the proper size and role of government and about budgetary restraint. In its least hypocritical moments, the Republican Party has provided an important counterbalance to a Democratic tropism toward paternalism and bloat. It can’t do that if it marginalizes itself by repelling fiscally conservative but socially moderate voters who have little appetite for the shenanigans in Iowa.
Read the full article here: The New York Times
- Santorum says sharp contrast needed (sfgate.com)
- Des Moines Register Poll Shows Mitt Romney In Lead Ahead Of Iowa Caucus (huffingtonpost.com)
- Santorum coming up on the outside in Iowa (smh.com.au)
- SFgate.comIowa, Santorum ready for Republican caucus (sfgate.com)
- Iowa GOP poll shows Santorum closing in on Romney and Paul in late surge (guardian.co.uk)
- Final Iowa Poll Before Tuesday’s Caucuses (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- SFgate.comIowa Republican caucus primer (sfgate.com)