Get Thee Behind Me!

Ah, you just gotta love the MSM and its blinders!

Thanks to a handful of obscure researchers and bloggers (I first noticed the story at People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, but others may have gotten there first), and to the subsequent efforts of a handful of us interested in such exotic topics (including Rick Santorum himself, who can’t seem to criticize the president without bringing up “theology”), it’s come to the attention of the MSM that the current front-runner in the GOP presidential nominating contest, at least as measured by national polls, delivered remarks in 2008 that seem a mite peculiar.

But the “story” as it is being retailed currently seems to be that Rick Santorum believes in the existence of Satan. So, too, I strongly suspect, do a significant majority of Americans.

Largely missing in the discussion of Santorum’s subscription to a supernatural cosmology is the fact that he views American history as essentially a struggle between “true Christians” like himself on the one hand, and Beelzebub on the other, in which the latter has already conquered academia and mainline Protestantism, and is by inference exercising his infernal control via the policies of that noted former academic and mainline Protestant, the President of the United States. Much of what Santorum has to say about current events is heavily colored by this “worldview,” most notably the belief that the president and his devilish supporters are laboring to wipe out “true” Christianity by forcing its staunch defenders, from the U.S. Conference of Bishops to innocent job-creators, to become complicit in such idolatrous practices as the slaughter of zygotes and the worship of the false idols of reproductive rights and the Environmental Earth-Goddess.

By ignoring all this and simply mocking Santorum as someone too unsophisticated to understand the supernatural as a fairy tale for rubes, his MSM tormenters are not only letting him off the hook for his sinister interpretation of politics as holy war, but are doing him the signal service of reinforcing his manichean vision of America torn between humble believers and derisive, self-satisfied elites.

Perhaps Santorum’s political standing is fragile enough that making him a figure of fun will be enough, in combination with the Romney Death Star’s descriptions of him as a big spender and felon-coddler, to derail his presidential campaign. But it would be far better if those pundits chortling over Santorum’s “Satan Warning” today took the trouble to understand it.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.