Election 2014  
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Agenda for the Dark Ages: GOP Frontrunner Rick Santorum's 5 Most Extremist Themes

If Santorum gets to bear the standard for the GOP, the party moves even further to the right. Here's a taste of what's on that plate.

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Slamming the president's agenda on a range of points, Santorum said the agenda is "not about you. It's not about your quality of life. It's not about your jobs. It's about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible, a different theology, but no less a theology."

On CBS News' "Face the Nation" the next day, Santorum said he was talking specifically about the president's environmental policy and, no, he didn't mean to suggest that Obama is a Muslim or anything like that. (Actually, he was suggesting that the president is an earth-worshipping pagan whose earth-worship is a path to growing the size of government.) Transcript from ThinkProgress:

When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.

Some, including me, heard in Santorum's original comments a dog-whistle to right-wingers intent on viewing Obama as a crypto-Muslim. But Political Animal's Ed Kilgore reminds us of Santorum's assertion in a 2008 speech that mainline Protestants (basically, Protestants from the major sects who are not part of the religious right) are not Christian, either. Whichever it is, Rick Santorum clearly reserves to himself the right to determine who is and isn't a Christian, a particularly outrageous claim by a presidential hopeful who asserts that rights are bestowed on humans by his idea of the Christian God. In the practical sense, then, a President Santorum would render himself as God.

2. The end of science. While it may be de rigueur for Republican candidates to deny the science of climate change, Santorum takes it a step further, claiming not just that humans make no contribution to changes in the climate, but implicitly arguing that in order to be a great nation, America needs its citizens to waste energy, especially through such greenhouse-gas producing products as gasoline-guzzling cars and incandescent lightbulbs. For starters, that will give a rationale for raping the U.S. environment through fracking -- of which he's a big fan, especially near population centers -- offshore drilling, and plundering the Alaskan wilderness.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, Santorum made the point that, among the nations of the world, those that use the most energy have the highest standards of living. (It doesn't take a genius to accept that people who live in centrally heated and air-conditioned homes, and who have refrigerators and ovens that run on fuel other than dung probably have a higher standard of living than those who don't.) So, by Santorum's reasoning, that means we should step up the energy gluttony if we want an even higher standard of living. (If you can come up with some scientific reasoning for that conclusion, you deserve a very special prize.)

At Talk to Action, Rachel Tabachnick attributes Santorum's anti-green messianism to a strain of religious-right theology known as "Biblical economics," which, Tabachnick says, is " a world in which unregulated free markets are holy and the opposition is literally demonic."

But it doesn't end there. At the intersection of Santorum's anti-science stance and his misogyny stands his opposition to prenatal testing.

3. A return to patriarchy. The leaders of Rick Santorum's religion -- the Roman Catholic Church -- oppose abortion and birth control, and so does he. Combined with his opposition to science, the fact-free mind of the GOP frontrunner has transformed his personal religious beliefs to a contention that prenatal screenings of pregnant women and their fetuses are a bad thing, so he wants to end any requirement on health-insurance companies that they be covered. Via First Read: