Rick Santorum Pushes the ‘Right’ Race and Religion Buttons to Capture the Deep South

The Rick Santorum campaign took right-winged flight Tuesday as Santorum and his almost indecipherable message to normal people captured both Alabama by a respectable 5 point margin and Mississippi in squeaker. Newt Gingrich showed some signs of life in coming in 2nd, while Santorum’s fellow Yankee, Mitt Romney, came up just short of Gingrich for 3rd in both states.

The media will obsess on the Santorum victories, but Romney captured just as many wins, both essentially meaningless with ‘triumphs’ in Hawaii and American Samoa. The Hawaii win was by far the biggest margin of the night – 20 percentage points with Gingrich coming in last. The irony for the Santorum camp is that proportionality will probably see him trailing by the same number of delegates that he did before Tuesday. The top three will split Alabama’s 47 and Mississippi’s 37 delegates while Romney gets to keep all of his ‘winner take all’ Hawaii delegates and he’s locked up the American Samoan contingent of 9.

The takeaway is a bit more breath in the Santorum campaign, just enough juice to keep Gingrich and his fantasy $2.50 gas prices in the race and the Deep South’s reliable support of the most extreme right-wing candidate. Santorum kept that mantle in his victory speech from Louisiana when he got a rousing cheer in saying something about the “centrality of faith in our lives”, reassuring yet another southern state that Jesus would be padding about the house and senate floors should Rick get the nod.

So, the Sisyphean Republican Presidential Primary rolls on. My local newspaper’s Tuesday headline read, “GOP rivals hit Deep South with conservative message” You’d better have that conservative message. Y’all and ‘cheesey’ grits just ain’t gonna cut it.

Going into Deep South Tuesday, the polls (almost universally off base) had Romney and Gingrich pretty much neck and neck with Romney given a slight edge. Running third was Santorum who trailed by almost double digits in some polls in two of the most narrow-minded states you’ll ever find. Third? In Alabama and Mississippi?  To a consummate outsider like Romney? Part of the pollster’s big miss was that respondents gave them the answers they wanted to hear. In other words, potential voters lied. Let me explain why Romney got edged (not drubbed) in two politically twisted states. It’s an easy answer. Evangelical right-wingers constituted the overwhelming majority of Tuesday’s Deep South voters. And they voted race no matter what they tell you.

I’ll never forget the late George Wallace who, after losing the 1958 Democratic Primary for Alabama Governor to his KKK-endorsed opponent, told an aide, “I will never be outni****ed again. And from that point forth, he wasn’t, later declaring “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” His blocking of a University of Alabama auditorium door to black enrollees remains one of the most disgusting chapters in American history. He later recanted his racism, after being nearly killed in an assassination attempt.  Clearly, the overwhelming number of Evangelicals who showed up for the Tuesday primary were not going to risk voting for someone who could be outni****ed. They were determined to elevate the candidate who they mistakenly believed had the best chance of beating the black president, Barack Obama. Santorum has no chance. Like Limbaugh, he terrifies women (and most other rational thinkers).

Yes, it was racism that drove this primary. Not overtly mind you. Everything is coded in the Deep South (remember, I live there). You won’t hear the ‘n’ word uttered in public where there might be a chance of some white liberal taking offense. I can’t speak for corner bars, hunting trips or in-home social gatherings, but publicly, out loud…ain’t happening.

When Gingrich talks about a food stamp president; that’s code. Romney’s comment “I’m not concerned about the very poor”, even though accompanied by assurances that he would help those truly in need, is code; the very poor being the very black. The main reason Santorum won is that he doesn’t even bother coding his racism, once telling an Iowa audience, that he doesn’t want to “make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Of course, he’ll eagerly give multi-billion dollar oil companies ‘somebody else’s money’.

So with the southern switchover from Democrat to Republican with the passage of ’60’s civil rights legislation, GOP primary candidates better wear their n-hating cred on their sleeves, coded or blatant, in Alabama and Mississippi.

Religion, of course, played a role. It always does with Santorum successes. You can’t get deeper immersed in more extremist right-wing religious zealotry than that of Alabama and Mississippi. And nobody does the 2 ‘R’s better than Santorum. In his victory speech from a campaign site in Louisiana, he talked of the “centrality of faith in our lives” and the crowd cheered and clapped for what seemed like a couple of minutes.

In the near-term, Missouri starts its caucus process March 17th after a February 7th non-binding vote that went overwhelmingly to Santorum. That should carry over to the caucuses. Puerto Rico comes along on March 18th followed by the next big dog, Illinois with its tasty tidbit of 69 delegates. Then it’s a month-long dry spell for Santorum until April 24th when he’s likely to pick up his home state, though Romney will probably have trumped that win with mighty New York.

As a practical matter, Santorum trails by too many delegates to catch up, but there’s that church/state thing to peddle and neither Gingrich’s or Paul’s ego will let them step aside just now. But if you’ve ever played Jenga you know Paul’s tower is about to tumble.

Lurking just off the political stage is the possibility of a brokered convention. If you think Santorum’s scary, it’s starting to look like Sarah Palin is making herself available.

Call 911.

10 Replies to “Rick Santorum Pushes the ‘Right’ Race and Religion Buttons to Capture the Deep South”

  1. I’m originally from south MS and I knew that Santorum would win there…He would fit right in..I will never, ever move back to that state..The thinly veiled hatred is something I don’t see going away for many years to come.

  2. I have never seen a guy lie like Santorum did today our last night in his we did it again speech. Well except for Romney of course. Both of them are lying about the state of energy in this country. And whichever one of them wants to take these lies to a debate with Obama had better be ready to back them up because quite frankly I don’t think they’re going to be able to.

    Santorum is surely letting the self know he’s a Christian and that he would fit in at any one of their supper tables.

  3. it’s the same here in Tennessee. While there are many many good people, you can tell in the older people that there is certainly an undercurrent of hate towards blacks and anyone else that isn’t one of them or white. If you are not white and our Christian, you still don’t count

  4. I am convinced that the people of Alabama and Mississippi have been so brain damaged by the lead in their water (because they have no regulations anymore) that their hatred and ignorance is ingrained in them and will not change. I suggest President Obama re-election team not even waste a dime there campaigning.

  5. This poor child has stated that he wants to return to the times before 1965 Selma, he thinks this is the most important election since 1860.
    I hope he gets the nomination for the republican party. It is time for this country to truly decide if it wants to become a hateful, bigoted, segregated, third world theocracy or of it wants to move forward with democracy. It only took Hitler a few short years to kill and evict millions I am sure we could “get er done”.

  6. Yup. Same here in Texas. It’s funny how the rest of the western world completely disagrees with these yokels on a number of important issues, and these idiots act like they are the ONLY ones with the answers to everything under the sun.

    I asked a dominionist/fundie aquaintance of mine ( sorry, can’t call someone like that a friend )how it’s possible for people in this section of the United States to be right about all these issues, and the rest of America, Canada, Europe, and Australia is wrong. I sure wasn’t surprised by his answer…. he said “liberalism and the devil have corrupted the rest of the God fearing Christian world”. Hraf is right about these people. Rationality is a useless tool, they get you coming and going.

  7. This IS the GOP push – conservative Dominionist Christianity vs. intelligence, science and fact. And it’s all a mask, a dupe, a diversion from the ongoing corporate hostile takeover of the United States.

    This is NOT “business as usual,” many Republicans are switching sides, their religious nutcases are so far off the rails.

    But it does NOT mean that the GOP is simply using the Teavangelicals to get their cotes and will then abandon them – not by a long shot. Pass the Dominionist agenda, and you not only have a slave labor force willing to work for next to nothing because they believe “God” wants it (not just Fred Phelps and Mitt the Vulture.) The GOP will have a FREE religious police force, who delight in exposing affection, beauty, anything not geared toward increasing the compliance of the $2/day laborers, the kids cleaning the schools and those damn liberal heathen who persist in the illusion that humans have rights…

    ———————————-
    THE DOMINIONIST BILL OF RIGHTS

    (If you are a female, none of these rights apply to you, you slut. Why are you reading this, anyway? This is Men’s business. And who taught you to read, anyway…)

    You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, you will be silenced. Dissent is blasphemy.

    You have the right to confess your sins, repent and believe in Jesus(TM) before we burn you with the other heretics, liberals, smarty-pants with your GED and, of course, gays.

    You have the right to marry – a human female. You may have sex – once – on the days when you can prove it is possible for your chattel to get pregnant, provided no contraception and no foreplay beyond chaste kissing is involved. Once she is pregnant, you must stop till two days after she gives birth. And once menopause sets in, no more sex. But you have the newt-given right to divorce and remarry a younger, fertile woman.

    You have the right to bear Crucifixes and sheets, and to pretend you love Jesus(TM.)

    You have the right to worship the God of my choice.

    You have the right to vote for the candidate of my choosing.

    You have the right to kiss my – ring. After all, I own your ass…
    ———————————–

    Guess what, Ricky No-Dicky – God is NOT on your side. Neither is time. neither is the human race. Perhaps it’s time to consider the Todd Tiahrt solution? Your man, your ideas – quote, “suicide helps.” Try it, Ricky, you’ll like it. And so will we.

  8. Exactly. The frightening thing is that people who believe like the idiot you quoted are the ones who often have a half dozen or more kids whom they are home-schooling to think just as they do.

  9. Although I agree that it looks grim, we must recall that this was the Republican primary in which Democrats played no role. Also, Mississippi DID defeat the fertilized-egg-is-a-person initiative last year, which shows the whole state is not totally brain-dead.

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