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11/ 3/06

4:02 PM

Spot Check 

Rick Santorum, a Hillary-Loving Hepcat

D.C. is nothing but a staged wrestling match, says Santorum.Courtesy Rick Santorum for U.S. Senate

When you think of Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum, the phrase "ideologically flexible good-time Charlie" doesn't immediately spring to mind. More like "fundamentalist jihadist who compared homosexuality to bestiality and said women should stay in the home."

In 2004, when the Christian right helped Republicans coalesce a permanent death lock on power in Washington, few were sitting prettier than the Ricker, who got busy encouraging Congress to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case and recently compared the Iraq war to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Some pointed out the irony of an avowed values warrior exemplifying the fight against terror by citing a movie that's basically nine hours of hugging hobbits. But getting those secret coded subtexts they plug into Hollywood movies nowadays isn't so easy for guy who doesn't encounter much culture beyond the passages from Revelations he puts his kids to sleep with every night.

Having searched high and lowbrow, Rick Santorum has finally found a cultural allusion he can work with. Less than a week before the election, with every poll showing him far behind challenger Bob Casey, Santorum has rolled out a clever riff on the popular professional-wrestling craze. In the ad, wrestlers who represent the rancorous climate in Washington go at it in the squared circle, while Santorum lists all the tone-defying bipartisan legislation he's sponsored with friends of moral relativism like Joe Lieberman, Barbara Boxer, and — wait for it — "even" Hillary Clinton.

The pair sponsored a bill censoring violent video games, a sop to the right Clinton loves to trumpet. If this was your introduction to Santorum, he'd seem like a pretty decent fella, youthful and with it, just the kind of moderating tone we need in D.C. and not the kind of loon whose major issue of 2005 was airlifting burritos to Terri Schiavo's hospital room.

Clinton Burnishes Hawkish Image [MSNBC]
Watch the ad.