Stomp The Roaches

Emerging from three days of near-isolation from politics, I woke up today to this:

And this:

And this:

You know, normally when you turn on the light the roaches scatter and head for the cover of darkness.  In this election cycle, the roaches of extremism, nesting in the brains of GOP candidates, not only don’t scatter when the lights come on, they send for their friends.

I have found quite disgusting most of what Republicans have said and done this campaign season, much of that disgust registered on this blog since campaigning began. But I don’t think I have been more disgusted by anything said so far as I am by the attacks on President Obama for trying to protect American soldiers, via his apology to the president of Afghanistan for inadvertently burning Qurans.

It is almost beyond words.  Hillary Clinton, our Secretary of State, apparently has learned diplomat-speak very well, since she totally understated the problem:

I find it somewhat troubling that our politics would inflame such a dangerous situation in Afghanistan.

Somewhat troubling“?  She finds it somewhat troubling that candidates for the highest office in our land would “inflame a dangerous situation“—thus putting our troops at even greater risk? Well, I find it somewhat troubling that we should use such mild language to call out Republicans for their cynical exploitation of this issue.

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief, for Allah’s sake. His responsibility in this matter is to do all he can to calm nerves and not expose our soldiers to even more danger than they already face. To criticize him for doing his job is really unbleepingbelievable.

When the roaches are out running around in the light, you don’t just find it “somewhat troubling.” You stomp your rhetorical foot on them—no, both rhetorical feet—crushing them, knowing that the uncomfortable crunch is the first step in stopping the infestation because, if you don’t do it now, they will simply go back to their conservative nests and breed more extremist ideas.

When Rick Santorum says, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute,” you don’t just find that “somewhat troubling” either.
We all should find that disturbing, frightening, terrifying.  And we should say so. Loudly. And often.

When Rick Santorum, playing to the weird crowd that makes up his base, says, “President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” he should be mocked endlessly, until his extremist ideas aren’t even comfortable nesting in the brain of the host.

Santorum said to Glenn Beck, the father of a lot of extremist roaches, the following:

I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.

Now, what do you do with such fanaticism but crush it? What do you do with such zealotry but turn on the light and start stomping your feet?

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31 Comments

  1. I completely agree with your analysis here Duane.

    On the matter of everyone going to college it is clear that Santorum took the statement out of context. The President was clearly talking about access and opportunity, not mandatory college for God’s sake. But Santorum’s extreme religiosity is now clearly out in the open, demonstrating I hope that our First Amendment concerns have not been misplaced. The desire to meld religion with government is omnipresent in the electorate.

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  2. Thank you, Jim, for accurately terming the constitutional principle. The words “church and state” are not in the Constitution and are a distortion of what the Constitution commands. It is “religion and government” which is to be kept separate, as commanded by the Constitution, in Art. 6. and the First Amendment.:

    “Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history,” James Madison, Father of the Constitution, William and Mary Quarterly, 3:555.

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  3. And, I should have added:

    The principle of the Founding Fathers is in Art. 6: “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” The principle drafted and added to the Constitution by the First Congress and ratified by the states is the First Amendment, “make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

    Use of accurate terminology is important when discussing the constitutional principle, and we all need to use Madison’s “religion and government” terminology, rather than Jefferson’s inaccurate “church and state” comment. It is the whole subject of “religion” which shall not be established by Congress or law: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb7SbUWw9dM .

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  4. I’ve been stomping on the father roach, Glenn Beck, for 20 months now. Santorum is just repeating Beck’s anti-intellectual claim, and he really needs to be tied to Beck in the effort of exposing him as the 14th Century reactionary that he is, especially if the Tea Party/Republican base manages to get him nominated. The Republican establishment knows that if Santorum gets the nod, this election will be a landslide for the President. That’s why you hear them complain about the Party not being a “modern” party any more as if it ever was. (Actually, by Santorum/Beck/Paul’s standards, the Nixon Administration was hard-core progressive.)

    BTW, you’re one of the few people out there using the label, reactionary, to accurately define the likes of Santorum, Beck, Palin, Limbaugh, et al. Keep up your excellent efforts.

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    • Victor,

      I believe the establishment will win in the end, mostly with Santorum’s help, as you suggest. And I believe the reason Romney will beat him and become the nominee is not because Romney is a moderate candidate (he most certainly is not), but because the obvious perception is that Santorum cannot win. So while I agree with you that Santorum has needs to be linked with extremists like Glenn Beck–and that is not an unfair link–I also believe we need to constantly expose Romney’s adopted extremism, which he has confessed to Ann Coulter is the way he will govern.

      Let’s not forget that Ann Coulter, a huge supporter of Romney these days, is every bit as zealous for the past as those you mention. And if Romney can make her comfortable, that tells us we have a lot of work to do in exposing what he has said this campaign season.

      Duane

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      • In the midst of this circular firing squad/circus, I find some comfort in two possibilities:

        1. Demographics: the GOP is doomed unless they change.

        2. If they keep this up, they might suffer what the Dems did for 40 years after 1968 – in fact still do in some circles – a reputation for – yup, as you said – being reactionary and therefore not really American.

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        • ansonburlingame

           /  February 27, 2012

          Moe,

          I agree with you and have been writing for some time now about the parallels of the McGovern rise to the nomination and Santorum doing so today for the GOP. Echos of McGovern can still be heard today, at least for those of us old enough to remember, in the halls of Democratic Party Politics.

          Anson

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          • I too remember it well. McGovern was the wrong candidate and the loss was enormous. And of course, the yippies and anarchists in the streets of Chicago got all the headlines; the good regular people demonstrating against the war didn’t get the attention – it’s always the guys who are most outrageous who draw the media. And that’s what peoople remember – even today.

            As for the GOP today, it’s not just Santorum, there has been an absolute abundance of crazy out there. It’s going to stick.

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  5. ansonburlingame

     /  February 27, 2012

    Duane,

    You pull out your list of right wing extremists and call them “cock roaches”. I could do the same with a left wing extremist list but will not do here, just to avoid an argument. But we have lots of such “things” scurrying” around in the light of day in American politics today.

    So permit me to suggest a different view, as you might expect, with calling anyone a “cock roach”.

    A (probably) very simple and unintentional American mistake (buring some Korans in what was thought to be trash), has inflamed a nation. No words from ANY American is going to calm that anger in the citizens of Afghanistan. Only real actions can do so. My guess is trying to return to the status quo in our relationships with Afghani citizens (pre-burning) is going to be “impossible”, “very problematic”, “something that we must simply out wait”, or you name it.

    OR, we leave Afghanistan, now. Why stay any longer? The only reason that I see for doing so now is talking points in a campaign. Such talking points are not worth further American lives or treasure wasted in a forlorne and futile effort in Afghanistan. We had our chances, now long ago, but now have lost. It is time to go home.

    As for the “snob” comment, it was wrong for sure. However the “aspiration” or “goal” for all Americans to actually go to college, if that is what the President “meant” is wrong as well. Want a list of reasons why? It is a long one.

    But I would also argue that ALL Americans already HAVE the opportunity to go to college. It takes hard work and “drive”, but what else is holding them back?

    Anson

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    • [ALL Americans already HAVE the opportunity to go to college. It takes hard work and “drive”, but what else is holding them back?]

      Money.

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    • Anson,

      Let me make a suggestion: Seek out a course in How To Be a Careful Reader.

      You wrote,

      You pull out your list of right wing extremists and call them “cock roaches”… So permit me to suggest a different view, as you might expect, with calling anyone a “cock roach”.

      You can scour from top to bottom what I wrote and you won’t find a place where I called anyone a cockroach.  Here are the relevant passages, just for the record, and to help you with your reading studies:

      In this election cycle, the roaches of extremism, nesting in the brains of GOP candidates…

      Now, what does one find in the brain? Ideas, Anson, ideas. The piece was about the nutty things being said by GOP candidates, particularly Santorum. Here’s another one:

      When the roaches are out running around in the light, you don’t just find it “somewhat troubling.” You stomp your rhetorical foot on them—no, both rhetorical feet—crushing them, knowing that the uncomfortable crunch is the first step in stopping the infestation because, if you don’t do it now, they will simply go back to their conservative nests and breed more extremist ideas.

      Extremist ideas,” get it? Those are the roaches, not the candidates.

      Finally, there was this one:

      Santorum said to Glenn Beck, the father of a lot of extremist roaches…

      And,

      Now, what do you do with such fanaticism but crush it? What do you do with such zealotry but turn on the light and start stomping your feet?

      I hope it is clear now that I was not referring to people as cockroaches, but the ideas they espouse. I make this point because I think it is important you understand that while I could call people nasty names like “roaches,” that wouldn’t really serve any purpose, would it?

      Duane

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      • ansonburlingame

         /  February 28, 2012

        Headline, Duane, “Stomp the Roaches” with a picture of a cock roach.

        First major subtitle: “Santorum and Romney….”

        Second major subtitle: “Santorumn……

        Third major subtitle: “Santorum…….”

        And then you close with: “Now, what do you do with such fanaticism but crush it? What do you do with such zealotry but turn on the light and start stomping your feet?”

        Technically, I agree you called no single man a “cock roach”. Now you say they onlyt have cock roach like ideas. I will accept that you are not disparagind “the man” just the man’s ideas, right? Well for one to have “cock roach like ideas”, must the man have a brain like a cock roach?

        But don’t worry, technically and on a broad spectrum, I understand your ideas as well.

        Anson

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  6. henrygmorgan

     /  February 27, 2012

    Rick Santorum is right! colleges are nothing more than brain-shrinking liberal factories designed to crush the patriotic instincts of America’s youth and produce a nation of unthinking liberal robots and a nation filled with ever-increasing hordes of snobs.

    God save us from the terrors of that liberal/commie/America-hating math that colleges are teaching these days, not to mention the same kind of mind-destroying physics, biology, geology, chemistry, and other such brain-washing propaganda that are being forced down the throats of our innocent youth, turning them into mindless, liberal zombies.

    And also please save us from the savage, nation-destroying evils of the communist bilge crammed into the minds of our young people by the radical, mind-killing, nation-hating poetry of Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and T.S. Eliot. and their ilk, set upon the destruction of our beloved nation from within.

    And our history books failing to mention the wonderful contributions of patriotic icons like Joe McCarthy, the KKK, the John Birch Society, and the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, etc. while praising the work of those God-hating atheist Deists like Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Tom Paine are clearly intended to inbue our students with a hatred of our country and an ignorance of those who would attempt to save it from the liberal hordes.

    The conclusion is clear, unchanging, and inevitable: college is a perfect pathway to destruction, treason, and hell.

    And thank you most of all, God, for giving Rick Santorum the strength and character to survive all of these pitfalls while earning his two degrees at Penn State.

    What a man!

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    • “Rick Santorum is right! Colleges are nothing more than brain-shrinking liberal factories designed to crush the patriotic instincts of America’s youth and produce a nation of unthinking liberal robots and a nation filled with ever-increasing hordes of snobs.”

      I have to give you credit for attempting to make Santorum sound sane, which is no easy job. After all, what’s the point of college if all that math, science, history, engineering, and language do (to name a few) is to regurgitate “mindless hordes of liberal snobs.” Unfortunately we need the skills of those “snobs” to provide us all with jobs, to help build a future to keep your Social Security coming, for infrastructure, to keep us safe, and knowledge to remind us of our innovative mindset. If however you feel that we can do better without a well educated population then explain so that we can all understand it. How is that the the United State can survive change while buried beneath the weight of a revisionist version of our religious and political past?

      “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. Thomas Jefferson

      Unfortunately for all of us the “educated liberal hoards” can’t and won’t accept such a limited revisionist view of our past. For the “Santorumites reading here,” consider this, many Middle Eastern” countries are currently experimenting with those very notions of anti-liberal dogma. In fact, the Middle East could serve as a “proof of concept” to mirror what the right seems to be working for now, an authoritarian theocracy.” Now how is it all working out for them?

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    • College graduates who pursued advanced degrees and have been highly successful in business and public life:

      Rick Santorum
      Mitt Romney
      Newt Gingrich
      Ron Paul
      Jon Hunstman
      Miichelle Bachman

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    • Well done Henry! :)

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    • Henry,

      Absolutely perfect.

      Duane

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  7. Jane Reaction

     /  February 27, 2012

    Jane loves your Roaches for Rick placard. Go vermin!

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  8. henrygmorgan

     /  February 28, 2012

    hlgaskins: I suspect that you may have misinterpreted the tone of my little “salute” to Rick. Would the fact that I am a retired college professor help you to understand my feelings about someone who warns Americans to avoid college at all costs? Just a note of clarification.
    Henry

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    • “hlgaskins: I suspect that you may have misinterpreted the tone of my little “salute” to Rick.”

      I did indeed mistake the tone of your post which could easily be taken seriously since the sarcasm sounded a little too convincing. I’ll read a little slower in the future.

      My apology.

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  9. Jane Reaction

     /  February 28, 2012

    henry: No offense, but the argument can be made based upon results that 80% should NOT go to college.

    In 2010 less than 15% had jobs upon graduation, and some 40% of the Spring graduates of 2009 were still looking.

    On a regional note, Joplin area college students were told by the new Missouri Southern president after sticking the student body for the cost of a big, new recreation center, that basically all future cost increases would be paid by increases in tuition rates. What else does the prospective student need to know?

    Congratulations for your retirement, henry.

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  10. ansonburlingame

     /  February 28, 2012

    So much to say and so little space. So I won’t try very hard.

    First to Moe. The list could as well be constructed for “loons” on the left as well. So what is the point? I would however suggest that without the college experience few if any of those men, or the ones on left as well, would gain much promience anywhere!

    Now for Henry. No explanation needed after your first post and you are on the mark. Except I would suggest that “training people for jobs” is NOT the first priority of a college degree. It is developing the skills of the individual intellect first and foremost, like learning how to THINK, critically, write with clarity on ANY subject, looking hard on both sides of dispute and coming up with rational arguments before then taking a position and communicating your views. That to me is what college is all about, be it engineering, science, liberal arts, theology, etc. etc.

    No one graduates from college ready to develop a “new theory of relativity”. But without college no one stands a chance to even begin such a journey, in my view.

    Finally back to Moe and “money”. My view and experience is where there is the “will there is a way” for EVERY AMERICAN, period. BUT the will MUST come from within, and not be imposed. In fact, such “will” or “guts” or determination CANNOT be imposed. And to pay for someone to go to college having NOT demonstrated such characteristics in K12 is throwing away money most of the time.

    Government can certainly PAY for college. But no way can government instill the characteristics needed for most people to really succeed in college and afterwards.

    I wonder what Henry has to say based on his experience about the last two paragraphs above? I for one would be interested.

    anson

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    • [First to Moe. The list could as well be constructed for “loons” on the left as well. So what is the point? ]

      The point anson, is I’m not hearing ‘loons on the left’ (I didn’t call the candidates loons – I think I called them ‘highly successful’) aren’t saying education is anything but good.

      Santorum’s comment was, frankly, nuts. Obama’s comments were aspirational – something Americans always want to hear and want to beleive is possible.

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      • ansonburlingame

         /  February 29, 2012

        Com’on Moe,

        Open up the Dem party to a long and tough primary campaign and I would be writing about “loons” (OK, nutty statements) on the part of the left.

        As for all Americans to have the opportunity to go to college, they already have it. For ALL americans to actually GO to college is as nutty as what Santorum said, in my view. See below for substantiation of such a view.

        Anson

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        • Let me step in here and ask you to call to mind (or, God forbid, research) a quote or two from the Obama-Clinton campaign fight that is comparable to what you have heard from the mouths of Rick Santorum and, yes, Mitt Romney. I have chronicled the often-wacky quotes for months on this blog, so there is no need to list them now. Just, if you can, provide me with the wackiest quotes you can.

          I’ll be waiting.

          Duane

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          • That question occurred to me as well. I don’t think there’s anything comprable out there, unless it was the time HIllary said “science is the devil’s work”

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          • ansonburlingame

             /  February 29, 2012

            Let’s see. Remember the Democrat debates in ’08. Kunich (Ohio guy) comes to mind as well as the right Rev Sharpton. I was not all that atuned to those debates back then but do remember rolling my eyes. i also heard some very scary things said about what would be done in Iraq after a Dem victory in ’08, which they won but then failed to carry out. Same with Afghanistan. For sure I never heard a peep about escalating the war in Afghanistan during those debates as well.

            So about the only thing I will agree to as to “nutty” statements coming from Dems, is that NO Dems were religious zealots, so none of that nonsene was forthcoming. I will certainly give you tnat point.

            Anson

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  11. henrygmorgan

     /  February 28, 2012

    Anson: I agree with your last two graphs and with the rest of your piece. In forty years of college teaching, I can’t tell you how many students I saw wasting my time and theirs, but I can tell you that the numbers have steadily increased over the years. The very best students I ever had were vets and mothers coming back to school when their kids got old enough not to need the mom every minute of the day. Both categories of excellent students realized how important their learning was and how fortunate they were for the opportunity.

    Henry

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  12. I said on this blog some weeks (months?) ago that I thought Obama will end up facing Jeb Bush, and your loyal follower Anson scolded me with “Oh, come on, Helen” but here I am to say it again. I don’t believe the Republicans are going to allow Santorum to go to bat in the end. So I still think that somehow it will be Obama vs Jeb Bush. Or maybe Chris Christie.

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  13. ansonburlingame

     /  February 29, 2012

    Helen first,

    I still say “Oh, Helen”, again. Put the name “Bush” before a substandtial number of voters or potential voters in America today and they will think G, W. is running again. I had the opportunity to meet and spend a couple of days with Jeb Bush while still on active duty (I hosted a visit by him on board a nuclear submarine at sea). He is a far different man and politician than his brother. But few Americans would give him the chance to prove it in a campaign.

    But as well he COULD be a good President as well., maybe better than anyone else already campaigning.

    Now Henry,

    I was a reasonably good student in college but it was a “grind” for sure. Four years of a tough engineering course of study was hard work and little real “vision” of what would result.

    But at age 43 I was assigned to be a student again (Naval War College). That one year in a demanding “liberal arts” course of instruction entailing foreign policy, defense policy, defense program management and national strategic development was absolutely thrilling to me. It was not a grind at all to read 1000 pages a week of old and obtuse material (Thuycides, Clauswitz, etc.), discuss deep issues in seminars (a Rhodes Scholarship type method of learning) and writing extensively to develop and defend various views, not to mention the tests to show one’s progress.

    That adult level, post-graduate level of learning was simply astounding to me, as well as for me. No more complex math but with known solutions that could be proven.

    Nope it was complex “human” issues that could never be proven but could be carefully developed over time to achieve agreement. As well that later (age 43) learning process was added to 20 years of real world experience upon which I could reflect as well.

    BUT, without the “grind” of 4 years of college I would NEVER have had the opportunity to attend that post-graduate school. Just like the “grind” in my K12 education was absolutely needed to prepare me for admission to a good college.

    As well, Moe, my parents did not have the money to send me to college and my IQ is NOT that great as well, as I am sure many commenters on this blog would agree!

    Your experience as a professor matches almost exactly, as well, with my professional experience in dealing with the “output” from our education system. Bottom line, money counts for little, it is character. And character development begins, first at home but also in first grade and onward through the entire span of our educational system. Every day in school should count, no matter who the student might be with a goal of making sure that each student becomes the best the he or she might become in society, later on.

    We are failing, miserably, in such efforts today and simply asking for Government to foot the bill does little or nothing to fix the underlying issues.

    Anson

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