Friday, January 06, 2012

Bobo goes to bat for Rick Santorum, twice in one week

David "Bobo" Brooks has a particular place in the Republican political ecosystem. He speaks like a guy with a college education. And he offers calm, seemingly reasonable justifications for the nastiest characters and the goofiest ideas the Republicans serve up to the public at any given time.

Now, he's a leading member of the punditocracy. So he's obligated to pooh-pooh the significance of minor candidates in a Presidential race. Until the Very Serious People register them as serious candidates or leaders. Since the 2010 election, he's been swooning over Paul Ryan, who is an immensely talented actor who does a very convincing impression of being a soulless android. But Bobo admires him as a courageous leader and serious idea man because he wants to abolish Medicare and published a plan that hardly pretended to add up that would accomplish that goal.

Bobo has a "tell". When he's speaking on the PBS Newshour or some other talking-heads venue, the tell is when he lowers his voice, puts a very earnest-serious look on his face, and start speaking as though he's choosing his words very carefully. Then you know that he's defending some particularly egregious Republican cause and being moderate and non-threatening.

It may be some policy that is impractical and/or destructive, which Bobo will explain is entirely benign. It may be some Republican in good standing who has said something more appalling than the average daily Party output, and Bobo will clarify how it will appeal to the Real Americans. Bobo is a leading expert on Real Americans - white people who vote Republican, in the Boboverse. Because he makes periodic anthopological studies out in The Heartland to discover what simple and charming things are delighting them these days.

Here's Bobo's basic schtick (A New Social Agenda New York Times 01/05/2012):

I’m to Rick Santorum's left on most social issues, like same-sex marriage and abortion. I'm also put off by his Manichaean political rhetoric. He seems to imagine America's problems can best be described as the result of a culture war between the God-fearing conservatives and the narcissistic liberals. [blah, blah, etc.] ...

But having said all that, I'm delighted that Santorum is making a splash in this presidential campaign. He is far closer to developing a new 21st-century philosophy of government than most leaders out there.
Yes, Bobo is practicing how to pump Rick Santorum as a visionary political leader and natural statesman. Rick Santorum, the Christian nationalist who's up to his holier-than-thou eyeballs in Washington's legalized corruption.

Much of the rest of his column reads like an adaptation of a list the Santorum campaign e-mailed him, produced by someone combing through every piece of legislation the former Pennsylvania Senator voted for to find some provision that might make him sound less mean than an angry rattlesnake. Compassionate Conservative 2.0.

Classic Bobo: "Santorum believes Head Start should teach manners to children." Awwww...

Because, you know, blah people's children just don't learn manners at home, as Santorum's fans will be glad to explain to you.

And this is a classic Boboism, putting a fresh, polite face on the segregationist transformation of the Republican Party: "Main Street Republicans like Romney usually beat social conservatives like Santorum because there are just so many more of them in the Republican electorate. But social conservatives and libertarians often provide the ideas that Main Street leaders co-opt."

For reality-based analysis on Rick Santorum, you can check out Will Bunch, Wednesday, The Rick Santorum that America doesn't know Attytood 01/04/2012 and John Baer, Santorum’s strong showing: What does it mean? Philadelphia Daily News 01/03/2012.

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