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But there's always, of course, the possibility of misinterpretation.   It's just as likely that the audience had in mind, an idea floated by unsuccessful Nevada senate candidate Sue Lowden during her 2010 campaign.   If you recall, Lowden, was the libertarian GOP candidate who advocated a return to the old-fashioned barter system between doctors and patients as a means of paying for healthcare; "chickens for checkups " is how it was described by critics.

Either way, it was another of those persistent "who gives a shyte" moments that gives weight to former Florida Democratic congressman Alan Grayson's claim during the debate over health care reform in 2009 that the GOP's version of such reform should be described as: "Die quickly !"

The chicken hawk's roar

Meanwhile, another episode -- noteworthy from the standpoint of the Tea Party conservatives' flag-waving inconsistency on the issue of "supporting our troops" -- included an encounter between Santorum and a gay soldier via video from Iraq during the Fox News/Google-sponsored debate.  

"In 2010, when I was deployed to Iraq," said the soldier , "I had to lie about who I was because I'm a gay soldier and I didn't want to lose my job. My question is: under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress we've made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military."

At that point of the exchange, the audience -- abandoning the entire pretense that permeates Republican "concern" about "undermining the troops" or providing the enemy with "aid and comfort" -- unleashed an admonishing round of boos at the serviceman as if saying:   "How dare you sully the uniform and good name of our U.S. military by defending this country while gay."

Santorum's initial response, however:   "Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military," may have prompted anyone listening to figure that Santorum either didn't hear or understand the question.   In any event, he probably needed to stop.

Instead, to the increasing applause of the debate audience Santorum pulled what some might call a Joe Biden, following up with:   "We need to give the military, which is all-volunteer, the ability to (carry out its mission) in a way that is most efficient in protecting our men and women in uniform.   And I believe (eliminating Don't Ask; Don't Tell) undermines that ability."

Quite frankly, Santorum's non-sequitur of a rejoinder -- priggishly focused toward, of all people, an active duty soldier currently deployed a hot zone -- seems the nauseatingly deceitful roar of a chicken hawk.  After all, it came from a guy whose campaign slogan states: " THE COURAGE TO FIGHT FOR AMERICA ," despite that same guy having never provided a single nanosecond of military service on behalf of his country.   It's hard to get around the tacky absurdity of such a politician lecturing an active-duty soldier -- stationed in what Santorum has called "the central front in the war on terror" -- about respect for military service.

Meanwhile, considering the target of Santorum's reply -- a gay soldier -- that clumsy retort also came endowed with a disproportionate level of satiric irony to those familiar with the results of any Google search of the name Santorum:

"The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex."  

The "virtue" of selfishness

Thus, we now have the spectacle of some Americans raining boos down on active-duty U.S. military personnel; openly cheering for the deaths of other Americans; and calling for an "everyman to himself" approach to the public health, welfare, and education of other fellow Americans.   From this vantage point, these attitudes seem to spell out a naked appeal for social Darwinism.


All hat and no cattle? Rand died dependent on Social Security and Medicare

Photo: Leonard McCombe/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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We need someone who will flat-out called "bullshyt... by Anthony Barnes on Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011 at 8:31:51 AM
I love to use the body as a metaphor for our econo... by molly cruz on Tuesday, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:54:45 PM
Very insightful and well said.... by Anthony Barnes on Wednesday, Oct 12, 2011 at 12:10:30 PM