The Unspeakable Recklessness of Rick Santorum

It's hard to say whether more I'm shocked by former Senator Rick Santorum's sheer stupidity or outraged by the flippant callousness of his remarks. I suspect the former since the latter should not surprise even as the inhumanity remains ever so striking. For the nation to invest in the health and well being of its citizens is not now, nor is it likely to ever be in the foreseeable future, a priority for the GOP, but for a likely Presidential candidate to under any condition to advocate for a debt default simply speaks of an outrageous ignorance of economics and unspeakable recklessness.

Via Think Progress:

As the U.S. steps closer to the economic ledge, a litany of Republican lawmakers are holding the debt ceiling hostage over unpopular priorities like lowering the corporate tax rate cutting entitlement programs. Likely GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum made his own ransom demand today on Fox News Sunday, telling host Chris Wallace that defunding the health care law is “the price” he demands for the debt ceiling and that he’d “absolutely” let the country go into default over it:

SANTORUM: [The health care law] is a program that if the president wants to defend, he should stand up and say the 2012 election is about Obamacare. We’ll put this on hold, and make it a referendum on Obamacare.

WALLACE: Well ok that’s 2012, but you’re saying you’d let the country go into default on this issue.

SANTORUM: No I think the president would let this country go into default on this issue.

WALLACE: But you would make that the condition — you’d make that the price? 

SANTORUM: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Over at Capital Gains and Games, Bruce Barlett, a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a Treasury official under President George H.W. Bush, bemoans that Wall Street, and the nation for that matter, should have known better then to send "a bunch of not-too-bright, ignorant Tea Party members to Congress." Imagine putting one in the White House.

Senator John Ensign to Resign

An ignoble end to an ignominious career.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Sources confirmed this afternoon that embattled U.S. Sen. John Ensign will resign from office on Friday, opening the door for Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval to appoint Rep. Dean Heller to finish out the term.

If Heller is appointed, it would give him a strategic leg up as an incumbent against his presumed opponent in the 2012 Senate race, Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley. Berkley is still expected to run.

Ensign's political star fell two years when he revealed he had an affair with a campaign aide, a scandal for which he remains under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

It's unclear whether the ongoing investigation played a role in Ensign's resignation, or whether he was stepping down early at the behest of the Nevada GOP in order to benefit Heller, the party's presumptive nominee for 2012.

The move is implicitly political on the GOP's part in an effort to keep the Nevada Senate seat. Senator Ensign, a member of the notorious C Street Christian fellowship, had already noted that he would not seek re-election next year in the wake of his lascivious conduct that led to Senate Ethics panel investigation that remains ongoing. Rep. Dean Heller, who represents the sprawling Nevada Second Congressional District that covers most of the state except the southern areas around Las Vegas, was expected to seek the seat. Now rather seek election to an open seat, he'll enjoy the benefit of being the incumbent.

Democratic Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, who represents the Nevada First Congressional District that includes Las Vegas, announced earlier this month that she would seek the seat.


Rep. Shelley Berkley Will Run for Senate in Nevada

Democratic Representative Shelley Berkley, who represents the Nevada First Congressional District that includes Las Vegas, will run for the United States Senate seat being left vacant by the retiring scandal plagued GOP Senator John Ensign.

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray told reporters Thursday morning at a briefing, “Shelley Berkley is running. ... Our polls show her up and winning.”

"These are serious times in our nation’s history and that’s particularly true for Nevada, where our economy has been hit especially hard," Rep. Berkley said in a statement. "As I talk to Nevadans across our state I hear one priority: jobs, jobs, jobs. And that has been my focus, whether it is fighting to prevent more layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters or getting loans for small business that want to grow, or helping Nevada become the clean energy capital of the world."

The Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston first reported the news in his email newsletter. “She had been agonizing but polling, opportunity too appealing,” Ralston wrote.

She is likely to face GOP Congressman Dean Heller, who represents the sprawling Second Congressional District that encompasses most of the state, in the general election. The race is likely to be a competitive one representing an opportunity for the Democrats to pick up a Senate seat.

More from the Las Vegas Sun.

US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader

They're off and running! And so is our coverage of the 2010 Mid-Term Elections. Here are stories from around the country on races for Federal, state and local offices.

In Connecticut, Lamont Tacks to the Center
The New York Times reports on how Ned Lamont, the Connecticut businessman who won an insurgent campaign against Senator Joe Lieberman by running left with his anti-war stance, is tacking to the center in his bid to win the Democratic nomination for Governor in the Constitution state. The primary is Tuesday.

As Mr. Lamont gears up for the Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday , progressives are grumbling that he has talked too much about tax breaks and streamlining red tape, and not enough about issues dear to labor unions and government watchdogs.

Modeling himself after Lowell P. Weicker Jr., a former Republican who became an independent, Mr. Lamont has vowed to shake up Hartford, and even borrowed Mr. Weicker’s “Nobody’s Man But Yours” slogan from his successful 1990 race for governor.

And some bloggers who had thrown themselves behind Mr. Lamont’s Senate bid have been lukewarm or indifferent. When Mr. Lamont announced his candidacy in February, using the word “business” more than a dozen times in his speech, My Left Nutmeg, a liberal Web site, ran the headline: “Ned Lamont announces for Governor.”

“If Lamont’s supposed hard-core supporters cannot rouse themselves to cheer his announcement, complete with fawning video, how in the wide world of sports is he supposed to win this thing?” one blogger wrote.

The 2010 version of Ned Lamont offers yet another striking sign of how a rough national landscape for Democrats is influencing politics at the local level.

By repositioning himself as a business-friendly centrist, Mr. Lamont is betting that liberals will give him a pass, if begrudgingly, because Democrats are desperate to capture the State Capitol for the first time since 1986.

The President Heads to Texas
President Obama heads to Austin and Dallas on Monday where the main event is a Democratic National Committee luncheon expected to raise $750,000 to $1 million. Tickets start at $5,000 per couple. The Texas Democratic Party will receive $250,000 to help build the party in the Lone Star State. The Dallas Morning News has more on the President's visit to Texas.

The political realities for Texas Democrats are stark – in part because backlash against Obama and his policies has fueled Republican energy. Democrats had hoped for years that by 2010, demographic shifts would help them regain a statewide office or reclaim the state House, but both goals remain major challenges.

The lunch in Austin will be followed by a speech at the University of Texas. Afterwards, the President flies to Dallas where he will attend a fundraiser at the Highland Park home of attorney Russell Budd and his wife, Dorothy. The event is to raise money for the DSCC.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White has opted to steer clear of the President whose popularity in Texas leaves much to be desired. As of late July, Rasmussen finds that 63 percent of Texans disapprove of Obama's performance (with 56 percent "strongly" disapproving). The Austin American-Statesman looks at the calculated risk that Bill White is taking by staying away from Obama and finds there's really not much downside.

In Florida, Tea Party Movement Raising Millions for Conservatives
The Orlando Sentinel has a story on the financial rewards that the ultra-conservative Republican candidates are reaping from their involvement in the Tea Party Movement. Allen West has raised nearly $3.5 million for his rematch with Rep. Ron Klein in the Florida Twenty-second Congressional District. Marco Rubio has harnessed Tea Party support to help rack up $11.6 million of campaign funds in his bid to win the Senate seat.

There's more...

Sharron Angle: "We Have Become a Country Entrenched in Idolatry"

In an interview with TruNews Christian Radio's Rick Wiles back in April, Sharron Angle, the Tea Party extremist who is now the GOP nominee for the Senate in Nevada, touches on her religious views going as far as to claim that government entitlement programs are a violation of the Bible's First Commandment - Thou Shalt Not Have Any Gods Before Me.

"And that's really what's happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment," said Angle, "we have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We're supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government."

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Angle: As believers we know that we have to lean on the Lord daily. And I’ll tell you in this political walk that I’m walking… and I think it is a calling that God has on my life. I have watched him walk with me through politics and help me to see the pitfalls of the political machinery, the seduction of the Party, and even those outside the Party: the lobbyists – all of that to say that the Lord shows me daily where he wants me to walk. And I think that’s what he always wants from us, is not to worry about tomorrow or what is past yesterday, but just take the troubles of the day and work through them with Him. My husband and I pray every morning together, and what we pray is that the Lord would order our day according to His will, not our own. We all have plans, but at the end of the day we need to be content with that thought that God has ordered this day and that he will work it to get it for our good according to Romans 8:28. And also those things in the Old Testament where he says the world means it for bad, but God means it for good.

Wiles: Sharron, why did you get in the race to defeat the biggest Democrat in the U.S. Senate, the majority leader of the entire Senate? Why did you get into this race?

Angle: We’re at war in this country – for our freedom, our culture, for our liberty, our Constitution, and we need a true, battle-tested, proven, Constitutional conservative to take out Harry Reid. It isn’t just about anybody but Harry. Harry is a consummate politician. He reinvents himself at each one of his elections as a conservative. And he has a record that works on both sides of the issue. So, we needed someone who can run to the right and stay to the right of this fellow. When he says that he’s voted seven times against partial-birth abortion, we need someone who can say, “And I have a better pro-life record than you, Harry Reid, and we don’t like the way you confirm our Supreme Court judges, who are all pro-choice. And we all know that the battle has been in the Supreme Court all along for life.” The same thing stands for those who love our Second Amendment. Harry Reid now has the NRA saying, “Thank Harry Reid for all his pro-gun votes.” Well, I have the GOA endorsement and we know that once again those Supreme Court judges would take away our right to keep and bear arms. I’m the only one in this race with a battle-tested, proven, Conservative record that I can stand on. The rest of them fall out in this area fighting Harry Reid. And I knew that all along when I started praying over a year ago over it. And this just seemed to be the battle that I needed to go to war with. And I need warriors to stand beside me. You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change.

Wiles: Then I saw the report the other day that 47 percent of the American public will pay no income tax in this country this year. This explains the divide.

Angle: Yes.

Wiles: Half of the country is working to produce and pay the taxes and pay the bills, the other half is living off the taxpayers -- they’re living off the other 51 percent.

Angle: We’re right to that point in the graph where it says, “government dependency.” And we know that once we have a majority that are dependent upon the government, we will lose our freedom; it says we go into bondage. That’s the next stage. Our Founders warned against this. They said don’t… that your liberty is only as secure as the people are. Because once they, um, get the ability to vote themselves entitlements from the largesse of the government, liberty is done; freedom is over with. We were warned. We are there. We’re right on the cusp of it, and you’ve identified those numbers. That’s the war that we’re in. You know, when I talk about a war and a battle and soldiers we have to take up our…our cry for freedom. And we can do it right now at the battle box… I mean at the ballot box. I’m not sure what continues on after 2010. I know people are very frightened about what’s going on in this country. And these programs that you mentioned -- that Obama has going with Reid and Pelosi pushing them forward -- are all entitlement programs built to make government our God. And that’s really what’s happening in this country is a violation of the First Commandment. We have become a country entrenched in idolatry, and that idolatry is the dependency upon our government. We’re supposed to depend upon God for our protection and our provision and for our daily bread, not for our government. And you’ve just identified the real crux of the problem. I’ve also been endorsed by a PAC out of Washington D.C. and the name of that PAC is Government is not God. And I thought that that was so appropriate because that is really what’s happening in our society and we need to take our country back.

You can listen to a snippet of her interview with TruNews Christian Radio's Rick Wiles here.


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