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Sober Up, Santorum

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There's a classic Winston Churchill story I've always loved. He apparently was a bit tipsy at a fancy party, and a woman was disgusted that such a prominent man had taken the occasion to become blotto. "Mr. Churchill," she reportedly uttered, "you are drunk."

"I may be drunk, Madam," he replied. "But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."

In the pantheon of snappy comebacks, that's gotta be in the Top 10.

Churchill was known for his humor and eloquence, among other things ... which is why I find it particularly galling that a modern-day politician would compare himself to Churchill. Especially when that someone possesses the opposite of eloquence, humor and good judgment: Tricky Rick Santorum.

As the Philadelphia Daily News has noted, Santorum has the audacity -- and that phrase is perhaps redundant -- to compare himself to the great leader of Great Britain, whose leadership in the face of a brutal German onslaught helped people believe the good guys would win World War II.

"As he did in his campaign in a series of speeches" the Philadelphia Daily News reported, "Santorum referred yesterday to what he said were multiple forces trying to undermine the United States as the 'gathering storm' -- a phrase that is also the title of Winston Churchill's memoir about the causes of World War II."

It's no accident that Tricky Rick is using this buzz phrase. When you get your butt kicked, when you are humiliated beyond belief at the ballot box, when the voters send you a clear message that they're sick and tired of your bullshit ... you must seek the last refuge of a political scoundrel: claim to be a visionary.

Did I mention that Santorum lost the election to the remarkably uncharismatic Bob Casey by 18 freaking points?

The Philadelphia Inquirer also noted Tricky Rick's attempted hypnotization/transformation. The paper quotes a Hershey, Pa., political analyst, Michael Young, who said Santorum appeared to be modeling his post-congressional career after a leader whom the senator invoked on the campaign trail: Winston Churchill. Churchill, see, was turned out of office early in his career, became a lonely voice in the 1930s warning against the spread of European fascism, and returned to power in 1940.

Churchill was an astute student of history who early on saw patterns forming that would result in World War II. Santorum is a dangerous loudmouth who's fanning the flames of anti-Muslim fervor with his constant references to "Islamo-fascism." (Note that few other public figures utter this phrase; although I think I heard Dubya mumble it once, even he hasn't fully embraced it.)

Hitler had clear designs on world domination. Does Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad think he's going to rule the world? I don't think so. I'll believe it when he starts systematically invading his neighbors, a la Hitler. There are things the United States won't tolerate, as we proved during the first Gulf War.

But the bottom line is that U.S. foreign policy shouldn't be run by loudmouth extremists. Santorum fully supported the Iraq war, and still does. He still believes it was a grave mistake to fire Donald Rumsfeld. I rest my case. Can you say "delusional"? I knew you could.

How crazy is it to stake your reputation and expertise on the success -- and I use the term facetiously -- of the Iraq war? The "gathering storm" is nothing more than a marketing gimmick to help Santorum make a fortune on the lecture circuit.

Santorum's lack of Churchillian eloquence is exemplified by his infamous "man on dog" quote comparing homosexuality to bestiality. But perhaps his silliest utterance was when he compared the Iraq war to the climax of the Lord of the Rings trilogy:

"As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else," he explained. Similarly, he contended, the eye of the terrorists is "being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S. You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States."

I have a fantasy of being drunk at a party and Santorum shows up. I'm drunk, but I point out to the former senator that in the morning I'll be sober -- while he'll still be a yahoo from central casting.

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