Deep Thought

You know, it only matters to a certain point whether Santorum meant to say ‘black’ or had a verbal brain fart. His general point was hideous either way. America and other modern countries have gone through enough policy iterations to know what happens when you cut the social safety net. The poor become a peon class who live in constant fear of bankruptcy or jail and spend their lives managing their parents’ debt and health issues. Whether Santorum wants to immiserate all poor people or only the poor of a dusky hue, he is still a world-class asshole.

(Added) On the other hand, it matters a hell of a lot to his yokel constituency whether he has them in the crosshairs or just those undeserving urban poor who pick up steaks in their welfare Cadillacs. He would get run out of town in feathers if he threatened to take away the good kind of government handout.

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37 replies
  1. 1
    Zagloba says:

    Rih doesn’t want to immiserate people — he just thinks that Catholic Charities should be taking care of them and not the saecular power.

    In totally unrelated ruminations, I wonder how he feels about other-than-white-Christian-heterosexual-cisgendered-ecclesiatically-married couples adopting.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    FWIW, here’s a quick take on the question from an expert:

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3684

    I’ll admit to being somewhat taken aback by Santorum’s flat-out racism. Silly me.

  3. 3
    Butch says:

    It’s been amazing watching the media chase its tail over whether he said “black” or “blah,” as if it mattered.

  4. 4
    Tim F. says:

    @MattF: That seems like the most likely interpretation. He meant to say ‘black’ and changed course half a syllable in. His crowd damn well knew what he meant.

  5. 5
    EvolutionaryDesign says:

    @Tim F.: Agreed. He sure wanted to say black, but then realized he was being recorded. I’m sure his thought process was “Bla— wait. Damn internet! I almost stepped in the Santorum on that one!”

  6. 6
    cathyx says:

    I finally saw and heard the clip of him saying it. (It’s at digby’s blog if you’re interested in hearing it) He definitely said black, there really is no mistaking it.

  7. 7
    cmorenc says:

    Please, please, please PLEASE at the next GOP debate will one of the moderators ask Rick Santorum:
    “How would you feel about your accomplishment of becoming the first BLAH President of the United States?

  8. 8
    wrb says:

    @MattF:

    I’ll admit to being somewhat taken aback by Santorum’s flat-out racism.

    Had to top Newt

  9. 9
    ericblair says:

    @Zagloba:

    Rih doesn’t want to immiserate people—he just thinks that Catholic Charities should be taking care of them and not the saecular power.

    Probably more than that: if you’re a sociopathic asshole who’s Catholic, the Poor aren’t really human, they’re just an infinite resource of miserable entities that you perform Good Works on to get Jesus brownie points. Actually ending poverty would be bad, because then there wouldn’t be anybody to “help” and it would be tougher for yer fine upstanding churchgoing crowd to get into Heaven.

  10. 10
    Mattminus says:

    If black children can eat, I may have to make a small co-pay on my medicare funded mobility scooter. That, my friends, is communism.

  11. 11
    Soonergrunt says:

    There’s a reason they never complain about medicare-funded scooters.

    @Mattminus: got there first.

  12. 12
    oliver's Neck says:

    This should also be sparking a discussion as to what, exactly, it means to speak of “other people’s money”.

  13. 13
    BDeevDad says:

    This is a great take.

  14. 14
    Violet says:

    Santorum’s racism is horrifying, but take out the “blah” and here’s what he said:

    “I don’t want to make [ ] people’s lives better”

    He doesn’t want to make people’s lives better? Really? WTF?

  15. 15
    GregB says:

    The world you describe is the modern day conservative Republican Valhalla.

    The worthy thrive and the wicked are punished. God rewards the just with heaven on earth while the rest of the sinners and apostates suffer greatly.

    Listen to Santorum. It is all about suffering and punishment.

    The only people who want to transform America radically are the rightists who have been taking a hammer to the foundations of a great modern, secular, relatively egalitarian society that was cobbled together after the last great Depression.

    They want what was before that.

  16. 16
    efgoldman says:

    Rih Savonarola wants to burn poor blah people on King Charles II Salamander’s crosses.
    Yeah, that’s it.

  17. 17
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Add spineless putz to the long list of Frothy’s horrifyingly bad qualities.

  18. 18
    Raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: Ah, you are still here!

  19. 19
    Zifnab says:

    He would get run out of town in feathers if he threatened to take away the good kind of government handout.

    And yet, that’s exactly what he plans to do the moment he gets in office. He’d keep saying, “I’m just taking money away from the darkies” and when the good kind of handout got a little smaller he’d shake his head and shrug and announce, “Must be because of the black people again, better cut their share a bit more”. Eventually, the well would run dry, because he handed all the social safety net money to K-Street buddies. And that’s when it would be decided that the black people had finally gone too far. And we could go back to lynchings and segregation, like in the good old days.

  20. 20
    efgoldman says:

    @GregB:

    They want what was before that.

    In Rih Savonarola’s case, about 500 years before…

  21. 21
    Brandon says:

    America and other modern countries have gone through enough policy iterations to know what happens when you cut the social safety net. The poor become a peon class who live in constant fear of bankruptcy or jail and spend their lives managing their parents’ debt and health issues.

    That statement reminded me of this passage from the Magna Carta:

    If anyone who has borrowed a sum of money from Jews dies before the debt has been repaid, his heir shall pay no interest on the debt for so long as he remains under age, irrespective of whom he holds his lands. If such a debt falls into the hands of the Crown, it will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.

    And I imagine even those rights are too liberal for our (pre)-modern conservatives. They have already eviscerated bankruptcy, can’t wait them to go after the discharge of debts upon death next. Because really, the logical outcome of the policies they propose is the return of feudalism, Austrian irony aside. When I think about this in the context of PolitiFacts Orwellian “fuedalism is Medicare if you call it Medicare” garbage, I sometimes wonder if Ron Paul is not in fact on to something. Because the immediate logical response I feel is to sell all of my assets to completely de-leverage and buy as much gold as I can with what remains and then bury it in the ground somewhere.

  22. 22
    Rafer Janders says:

    The poor become a peon class who live in constant fear of bankruptcy or jail and spend their lives managing their parents’ debt and health issues.

    Feature, not bug.

  23. 23
    J.D. says:

    He didn’t say “black”, he distinctly said ‘to blave’, and as we all know, to blave means to bluff. So what he meant to say was that he didn’t want to give gamblers “somebody else’s money”.

  24. 24
    Satanicpanic says:

    @Violet: Republicans have reached that place where the Democrats in the 80’s were- they think that telling the “hard truth” is going to get them somewhere. The number of people who want to vote for a guy promising not to help people is probably roughly equivalent to the number of people who will vote for a guy who promises to raise their taxes. Aside for the sheer assholishness of what Santorum is saying, it’s not a winning strategy.

  25. 25
    Mark S. says:

    Is there anything more depressing than listening to GOP economic proposals? “We’re going to create a bunch of sub-minimum wage jobs and cut taxes for the rich!”

  26. 26
    David Hunt says:

    @Mark S.:

    Is there anything more depressing than listening to GOP economic proposals?

    Yes: Seeing those proposals enacted into law.

  27. 27
    Dr Paul says:

    I think this line of reasoning is ridiculous, Tim, and I think it may have something to do with the fact you are not blah. If you were blah, trust me, it would matter.

  28. 28
    Brachiator says:

    @Tim F:

    You know, it only matters to a certain point whether Santorum meant to say ‘black’ or had a verbal brain fart. His general point was hideous either way. America and other modern countries have gone through enough policy iterations to know what happens when you cut the social safety net.

    No, it matters more than you think. Santorum is not leading some lofty general discussion about whether or not there should be a social safety net. He’s race baiting.

    The poor become a peon class who live in constant fear of bankruptcy or jail and spend their lives managing their parents’ debt and health issues.

    Most truly poor people don’t have “debts.” They just have bills.

    Bankruptcy is more a fear (or an option) of the middle class. Poor people are just broke.

  29. 29
    gogol's wife says:

    @MattF:

    That’s a fantastic comment thread.

  30. 30
    chopper says:

    actually, he was in the middle of the word ‘black’ when the town bell rang.

  31. 31
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Raven: Yeah. I might even post a column this weekend.
    Or I just might continue to play the hell out of Star Wars The Old Republic.

  32. 32
    Brandon says:

    @Brachiator: If you read that passage from the Magna Carta I posted, you’d see that there was a time when debts were not discharged upon death but inherited. If you follow the logic of the Republican position, that is exactly where we are headed, piece by piece. First student loans became non-dischargeable (we can discuss govt allowed abuse of the poor by Kaplan here), then most consumer debts have become nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Next stop is the only one left, discharge upon death. The rentier class will not rest until we are firmly back to medieval times.

  33. 33
    Tim F. says:

    @Dr Paul: You’re right about that. Maybe he meant it as a not-so-subtle dig at Romney.

  34. 34
    Brachiator says:

    @Brandon:

    If you read that passage from the Magna Carta I posted, you’d see that there was a time when debts were not discharged upon death but inherited. If you follow the logic of the Republican position, that is exactly where we are headed, piece by piece. First student loans became non-dischargeable (we can discuss govt allowed abuse of the poor by Kaplan here), then most consumer debts have become nearly impossible to discharge in bankruptcy. Next stop is the only one left, discharge upon death. The rentier class will not rest until we are firmly back to medieval times.

    Were you also referencing the crazy law that some NH Republicans tried to foist off on their constituents?

    New Hampshire Republicans are taking textual originalism to a whole new level: three lawmakers have proposed a bill that requires that all legislation find its origin not in the U.S. constitution, but an English document crafted in 1215.
    __
    When the legislature reconvenes this month, Republicans want their colleagues to justify many new bills with a direct quote from the 800-year-old Magna Carta

    In any event, we are still not talking about poor people here, but the English lords who might get into debt.

    Another little curlicue here is that in England at the time, Jewish people were permitted to be moneylenders (an occupation barred to Christians), and Jews were under the protection of the Crown. But in addition, the king was every Jew’s heir. So, embedded in this little passage was attempts to prevent a bankrupt lord’s property from ultimately falling to the monarch. I suppose the analogy might be if every person’s property might potentially be confiscated by the GOP. You never know.

  35. 35
    Moonbatman says:

    Santorum is the Jim Jones of 2012.
    Funny to watch the butthurt of the Koolaid drinking wingnuts trying to revise History that Jim Jones was not a patriarchal Rightwing extremist like Jared Loughner!!!!1!
    Reminder: Jonestown was a Utopian, far-left San Francisco-spawned holocaust, not a Christian one

  36. 36
    tamied says:

    @Satanicpanic: That depends on the type of people they would help, I mean the Right sort of people (real merikuns).

  37. 37
    e says:

    He clearly said “I don’t want to give money to blah people” – and what’s wrong with that? Give money to interesting people, not “blah” people.

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