Santorum attacks JFK on religion and Obama on education, then goes after doctors

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has lately attacked Barack Obama for advocating higher education, John F Kennedy for favoring separation of church and state, and doctors in U.S. and the Netherlands for supposedly being a bunch of rabid serial killers. (What? No zombies?) Here's a 100-second clip from Talking Points Memo that doesn't have time to get the medical stuff:

Santorum didn't just call President Obama a "snob" for speaking in favor of college education, he also claimed colleges are "indoctrination mills" that destroy most students' religious faith. (Actually people who attend college may be less likely to give up their faith, according to reports by Cathy Lynn Grossman at USA Today and Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo.)

Santorum later reversed himself in part. On Friday (March 2) he said he shouldn't have used the word "snob," and on Sunday morning, after it was pointed out to him that Obama had called for high school graduates to continue their education in a number of possible ways, Santorum said, "I agree with the president."

Santorum also attacked John F Kennedy's famous 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association. At the College of Saint Mary Magdalen in New Hampshire last October he declared, "Earlier in my political career I had an opportunity to read the speech, and I almost threw up." (Santorum later told talk show host Laura Ingraham, "I wish I had that particular line back.") Seriously misconstruing Kennedy's point about the separation of church and state, Santorum accused JFK of opposing religion itself, and he's continuing to make that wild claim. "What kind of country do we live in that says only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case?" Santorum demanded on ABC Sunday.

David Greenberg at Slate has a well-written article that explains the historical background of Kennedy's comments and how seriously Santorum distorts them. You can read a transcript of JFK's speech for yourself or listen to a recording on line, or you can watch a 20-minute film of the entire speech on YouTube here: Part 1, Part 2.

Finally, on February 3 at the American Heartland Forum in Columbia MO, Santorum reheated Sarah Palin's "death panel" lie with a ridiculous claim (apparently taken from something he'd heard a caller say on talk radio -- there's a reliable source for you) that under the Affordable Care Act, patients over 70 would be denied medical care for strokes. Forgive my Volapük, but that's bullshit. He also said in the same appearance,

In the Netherlands, people wear different bracelets if they are elderly. And the bracelet is: "Do not euthanize me." Because they have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands but half of the people who are euthanized -- 10% of all deaths in the Netherlands -- half of those people are euthanized involuntarily at hospitals because they are older and sick. And so elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital. They go to another country, because they are afraid, because of budget purposes, they will not come out of that hospital if they go in there with sickness.

Here's the video if you think even Santorum could not possibly have said something that dumb:

This silliness has been debunked by inter alia The Washington Post, but a far more entertaining response can be found in a Reddit discussion thread that includes comments from people in the Netherlands who poke hilarious fun at the former Pennsylvania senator's ignorance. One writes,

Santorum is wrong. It's actually much worse than that. I remember this one time my grandmother got so high on drugs at a government organised prostitution party she lost her ’Please don't euthanise me' bracelet. She was euthanised on the spot. Also, children under 12 are required to wear a 'Please don't abort me' bracelet. Only if they don't want to be aborted obviously.
Well there you have the ugly truth. I have to go now as I have to drive my GF to her weekly abortion. Bye!

Another suggested, "Americans should start wearing please don't taze me bracelets." This led to the exchange:

  • Make sure you wear the 'Please don't same-sex-marry me' bracelet!
  • I noticed sir, you've forgotten yours and I gay married you while you weren't looking.
    .....A cup of tea would be wonderful, darling.
  • Now I have you both tagged as gay married to each other, in fuchsia.
  • Holy shit you spelled fuchsia right.

And there's more where that came from.

Updated to include links to both parts of the film of JFK's 1960 speech and to reflect Santorum's backpedaling on his "throw up" line. (And to correct some of my usual typing mistakes and clumsy phrasing.)

Updated again March 4 to reflect Santorum's additional backpedaling on his criticism of Obama's push for education past high school.

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