I seldom agree with Mr. Cohen. He's firmly established as a Washington courtier, and inside-the-beltway cruiser and opportunist. For him to speak so truthfully and openly about a national party's candidate for President of the United States of America is refreshing. Casting aside all pretentions at currying favor with anyone, he writes today:
Oddly, the assurances that Kennedy offered that day are ones that I would like to hear from Santorum. He, too, is a Catholic, although not of the Kennedy variety. Santorum is severe and unamusing about his faith, and that is his prerogative. But he has shoved his beliefs in our faces, leaving no doubt that his presidency would be informed by his extremely conservative Catholicism. Santorum’s views are too conservative even for most Catholics.
This is a perilous and divisive approach. We have all of world history to warn us about what happens when religion takes too prominent a role. The public square gets used for beheadings and the like. While that is not likely to happen now — zoning rules and such forbid it — we do know that layering religion over politics is dangerous. Santorum cannot impose — and should not argue — that his political beliefs come from God. That closes all debate and often infuriates those who differ.
It's not often that Mr. Cohen writes so plainly. Is this simply an indication of desperation from the Washington faux royalty that Mr. Santorum has gone on too long and it's time to send him back to K Street? Piling on is beginning. The problem of the willing peasants who support Mr. Santorum is proving difficult to deal with. Those inside the beltway who are so caught up in the politics of power that they are getting their heads handed to them by a group of folks who are just to stubborn to listen and only too willing to follow Mr. Santorum to the slaughter....
Mr. Cohen rails at the peasants for all their "quaint" beliefs and excoriates Mr. Santorum for getting so much, so wrong.
But for nutty ideas, Santorum is a one-man band. His intellectually abhorrent defense of what might be called blue-collar culture — no education past high school — is a prescription for failure. What he calls their “desires and dreams” is a sucker’s game: Welcome to an economy that can provide few, if any, jobs for the minimally educated. And his jibe at Obama for wanting to do something about it is not politics as usual — it’s just plain irresponsible.
Will the Washington insiders get their way? Will Mr. Romney prevail? Maybe Mr. Santorum really is the candidate that today's Republican Party really wants and needs. What will Mr. Santorum say to Mr. Obama? Indeed, what can he say?
More work to do.....