Klinghoffer’s New Hero — Rick Santorum

Today we bring you the political view from Bizarro World — an opinion about US presidential politics from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

The Discoveroids’ opinion — not quite an endorsement — is in a recent article by David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. His article is titled Santorum on the Santorum Amendment. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and Klinghoffer’s links omitted:

You’ll be hearing more, a lot more, from the media about how rising GOP star Rick Santorum is “extreme” — as demonstrated, not least, by his authoring the Santorum Amendment, whose language was included in the Conference Report of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Santorum definitely is an extreme social conservative — perhaps the most extreme of those left in the race. His failed amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act has become part of creationist folklore. It said:

It is the sense of the Senate that:

(1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and

(2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why the subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject.

The creationist spin is evident in Klinghoffer’s first sentence. Yes, Santorum’s amendment was slipped into the committee report, but not until after the committee had rejected his amendment. The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has an excellent article on this: Santorum Amendment Stripped from Education Bill. They say:

The good news is that the Santorum amendment has disappeared from the bill, appearing only in altered form in the Conference Report, buried deep in the “Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference” in Title I, Part A, as item 78.

[...]

The Joint Explanatory Statement is not part of the bill itself, but an explanation of how the conference committee brought together the various provisions of the House and Senate bills. The law itself does not mention “evolution”, nor does it include any sentiments reflecting the Santorum amendment. Teachers do not have to alter how they teach evolution as a result of the Education Bill.

More good news is that the obscure two-sentence distillation of the Santorum amendment reflects the conference committee’s wish to keep “religious and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science” out of the science classroom, a position that NCSE has always supported. Creation science, intelligent design theory, and philosophical materialism qualify as “religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science” and thus teachers are discouraged from presenting them.

NCSE has even more information here: Analysis of the “Santorum language”. The end result is that Santorum’s amendment, which would have required teachers to “teach the controversy,” was deliberately left out of the bill. Let’s return to Klinghoffer’s article:

Santorum himself tells the story of that legislation in this clip from a radio interview with Jan Mickelson of WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.

The video is at the Discoveroids’ website, and it’s only three and a half minutes long. It’s Santorum’s personal recollection of why his amendment was rejected (the biologists ganged up on him) We continue:

Extreme? Nationally, support for teaching both sides of the evolution controversy, as called for by Santorum’s language, is not only overwhelming but — this surprised even us when the Zogby poll came out — even more pronounced among Democrats (at 82 percent) than among Republicans (at 73 percent).

We wrote about that poll almost three years ago: Discovery Institute: Equal Opportunity Creationism. It was commissioned by the Discoveroids, and it’s grotesquely flawed. Here’s more from Klinghoffer:

The amendment was supported by Biden, Clinton, Edwards, Kerry, and McCain.

Until they heard from the science community, and then they opposed it. Moving along, Klinghoffer says:

That was in 2001. In the real world that most Americans inhabit, as opposed to the imaginary construct of what folks at MSNBC and similar outlets think our country is, apple pie is probably more divisive than “teaching the controversy.”

Right, until they realize there’s no scientific controversy, and when that’s understood the situation quickly changes. One last excerpt:

Extreme, you say? Sounds just about as mainstream as you can get.

Yes, “mainstream” on Bizarro World, perhaps, and also among creationists. But nowhere else.

Addendum: The Discoveroids have also issued a press release on the subject: Most Americans Support Santorum Amendment’s Approach to Teaching Evolution. They pay for that, so they seem to be seriously backing Santorum.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Klinghoffer’s New Hero — Rick Santorum

  1. Yeah, this sounds like Klinghoffer trying to convince other conservatives that Santorum is more electable than he actually is, by claiming some of his (Santorum’s) positions are actually mainstream ones.

    I’m convinced that the religious right would truly, honestly prefer to win the primary with one of their own regardless of it costing them the general election, over winning the general election with a more moderate conservative. What Klinghoffer is doing here seems almost in-party sabotage; this is not some attempt to deceive liberals about what Santorum will do in office, but an attempt to deceive conservative primary voters about Santorum’s chances.

  2. Eh, Santorum is the last non-Romney available, that’s all. This is a guy who lost his own district thanks in part to his support of Arlen Specter, and is a flagrant pork-barreller and big-government conservative with no executive experience.

    The only good that will come to the GOP out of his recent good showing in Iowa, is that so much effort will be expended in calling him an extremist, compared with Romney, that it will be that much harder for the left to call Romney an extremist and have it stick–not that it will stop them from trying when Romney is the nominee.

  3. Santorum is the last non-Romney available

    *cough* Jon Huntsman *cough*

  4. I didn’t mention Ron Paul either.

  5. All these evangelical muffin-heads meeting in Texas to “choose” a Republican candidate reminds me so much of the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch. These morons couldn’t pick their own noses.

    The problem is that the Real Republican candidate is still out there. The current crop was killed by the frost and none of those stunted sprouts has a hope in Hades against Obama. Santorum is definitely a sociopath and possibly mentally ill but he’s not stupid which makes him a contender. Perry is just plain stupid such that he makes W look like a fricking genius. Gingrich, they well know, doesn’t believe any of the social conservative pap he spews out, he just wants power and the Muffins know that if he gets the White House there will be no muffins served … ever. He’s out. Huntsman and Romney are Mormons. They’re out just for that. Can you imagine how much bile John Hagee would have to swallow to support a Mormon from his pulpit? He’d strangle!

    Yes, please, please, please pick the “Jesus candidate!” Alienate every moderate, independent and non-Christian in the country. Pretty please! Teach the controversy? How about Preach the controversy! That’s what we need.

    And lest you think I’m ranting, I voted for Nixon, so there! My Republicans, where have you gone?

  6. My Republicans, where have you gone?

    @Doc Bill: Didn’t they nominate McCain, Dole, and George H. W. Bush, all of which were moderates, none of which were evangelicals? Either a) the evangelicals can vote for moderate non-evangelicals despite being “extreme” or b) they don’t control nominations.

    Perhaps I’m forgetting all the times you boosted McCain here but it sounds like you left your party more than they left you.

  7. Nope, Gabe, I left the party in 1980. Haven’t voted Rethuglican since. Boosted McCain? No. Sold his soul. He could have been a leader but maybe he never was.

  8. Tomato Addict

    Doc Bill writes “… Jesus candidate …”

    Stop it Doc, if I laugh any harder I’ll spill my beer!

  9. I need a favor, especially if you’re conservative like me. I know that 99+% of you will think it’s a waste of time, but it “don’t cost nothing,” and there’s a chance that the sound bite – and Santorum’s no-win response (be it blatant evasion or a clumsy answer) – will be heard by a critical mass of potential voters. Please do what I will do and send Santorum a letter or email asking exactly what he meant when he said that he “believes in” evolution “in the micro sense.”

    Don’t ass-u-me that be believes a literal Genesis – given his antics of the past 11 years I would bet that he does not – but ask exactly what he meant by the weasel words used. Start by finding out if he agrees with Behe on the “~4 billion years of common descent.”

  10. @FrankJ

    …send Santorum a letter or email asking exactly what he meant when he said that he “believes in” evolution “in the micro sense.”

    No need. I already know what he means, and what everyone who says this means. They mean the ToE is inadequate to explain the origin of all species. And they always, always — at a bare minimum — mean the origin of man (Behe type IDers may be the only exceptions, and that is a big maybe). They mean direct divine (or IDer) intervention was required to make man — that man did not evolve from lower animals. They mean there can be no “materialist” explanation for the origin of man. They mean the IDerdidit/Goddidit.

    By belief in “micro” evolution they mean they accept that some things/species could have evolved, but not all.

    What exactly they mean beyond that varies by species of creationist, by sub-species of creationist, and even by individual creationist. Creationists are all over the map on what exactly “macro” evolution would be, on which creatures/plants/bacteria/etc could not have evolved by “micro” evolution. There is even great disagreement even among YECs depending on how exactly they literally interpret Genesis. There is even disagreement on what exactly Noah brought on the Ark with him and how those creatures became all of the creatures in the world today.

    Besides that, there is virtually zero probability Santorum would reply to this request. He has nothing to gain by doing it. Whatever he might say, he would not want to see it forwarded to the MSM. A surrogate may reply with a “thank you for your question” nonreply reply, but he won’t.

    That said, I’d still vote for Santorum, if I had to, over the neo-Marxist currently sitting in the Oval Office. The lesser of two evils and all that.

    But it won’t come to that. Santorum will not get the nomination.

  11. Jack Hogan says:

    I’d still vote for Santorum, if I had to, over the neo-Marxist currently sitting in the Oval Office. The lesser of two evils and all that.

    It would be difficult, but I’d probably do the same. Almost anyone would be the lesser evil. However, I’d have to change my party registration to “independent.”

  12. Jack Hogan: “I already know what he means.”

    The point of having enough people “spamming” him until he’s forced to provide some detail on what he means is not to tell you what you know already, but to tell the 90+% who have only the fuzziest idea what the “debate” is about. And like I said, it “don’t cost nothin’.”

  13. Frank J says:

    The point of having enough people “spamming” him …

    I wouldn’t recommend that, not even in the case of a creationist. First, because it’s a lost cause; and second because it’s just nasty.

  14. @ Jack

    IF Obama is a neo-Marxist what do you call the British Conservative Party, Marxist?

    This is a real question though because I am really curious about this, I have seen him referred to that, or socialist, a lot, yet even Margaret Thatcher at the hight of her power was to the left of many of the positions held by the current Democratic Party of the USA.

  15. @Flakey:even Margaret Thatcher at the hight of her power was to the left of many of the positions held by the current Democratic Party of the USA.

    Cite please?

    We must recognise that modern society is infinitely more complex than that of Biblical times and of course new occasions teach new duties. In our generation, the only way we can ensure that no-one is left without sustenence, help or opportunity, is to have laws to provide for health and education, pensions for the elderly, succour for the sick and disabled.

    But intervention by the State must never become so great that it effectively removes personal responsibility. The same applies to taxation; for while you and I would work extremely hard whatever the circumstances, there are undoubtedly some who would not unless the incentive was there. And we need their efforts too.

    Moderator, recently there have been great debates about religious education. I believe strongly that politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum.

    In Scotland, as in England, there is an historic connection expressed in our laws between Church and State. The two connections are of a somewhat different kind, but the arrangements in both countries are designed to give symbolic expression to the same crucial truth: that the Christian religion—which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism—is a fundamental part of our national heritage. And I believe it is the wish of the overwhelming majority of people that this heritage should be preserved and fostered. For centuries it has been our very life blood. And indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible.

    Also, it is quite impossible to understand our history or literature without grasping this fact, and that’s the strong practical case for ensuring that children at school are given adequate instruction in the part which the Judaic-Christian tradition has played in moulding our laws, manners and institutions. How can you make sense of Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott, or of the constitutional conflicts of the 17th century in both Scotland and England, without some such fundamental knowledge?

    But I go further than this. The truths of the Judaic-Christian tradition are infinitely precious, not only, as I believe, because they are true, but also because they provide the moral impulse which alone can lead to that peace, in the true meaning of the word, for which we all long.

    “Left” of today’s Democrats? Maybe you Googled the wrong Margaret Thatcher…

  16. @Curmudgeon:

    “Spamming” was a poor choice of word. What I think scientists need to do is calmly and politely ask politicians the hard questions – on all issues, not just this one. As the national politician most “in on the scam,” Santorum is astutely aware that the massive confusion and cover-up among evolution deniers that Jack Hogan descibed above, is known to only a tiny insignificant minority. And that it’s only a matter of time before the combination of critics who say “why bother educating the public?” and the majority who say “what’s the harm, let them believe” will pave the way for a truly activist judge to rule in favor of the scam artists.

  17. Carlsonjok – much as I would love it if Huntsman got some press, I don’t think he’s going to get a turn at being “nonRom of the day” like the other candidates did. He’s Mormon, and some (if not most) of the antipathy the far right has towards Mitt is because he’s not the right religion. Neither is Huntsman, so… “no soup for him.”

  18. Neither is Huntsman, so…”no soup for him.”

    I think it has a lot more to do with Huntsman’s negativity about Republicans, as well as that he is the only candidate who actually served in the Obama Administration, than it has to do with being a Mormon. You don’t get a nomination by insulting your base and working for the other party.

  19. Huntsman’s real problem is that he is too moderate for the current Republican base. He would appeal to independent voters who like his fiscal conservatism but also appreciate his ability to work with democrats and his foreign policy knowledge – which positions him well as a VP to a more conservative Presidential candidate, but if Romney gets the nomination, then it’s unlikely that Huntsman would be his running mate.

  20. Huntsman’s real problem is that he is too moderate for the current Republican base.

    Too moderate for the base that selected McCain?

    No, his real problem is this:

    http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/huntsman-clarifies-gop-sanity-comment/300791

    “In an interview with Politico Friday, Huntsman said he subscribes to the theory of cycles of history. “I believe we are in one such cycle,” Huntsman said. “I think that cycle ultimately takes us to a sane Republican Party based on real ideas.”

    It did not take a stretch of inference to conclude that Huntsman was suggesting the current Republican Party is not sane. Asked about his comments after the coffee shop appearance Sunday, Huntsman at first answered, “I’m encouraged by Paul Ryan. I’m encouraged by people who are putting forward real ideas in the Republican Party. We need more of that than we need theatrics.”

    But what about the suggestion that the GOP is nuts? “We are sane when we stand up and we talk about real solutions for the American people,” Huntsman said. “We are insane when we stand up and light our hair on fire, when we engage in political theatrics and soundbites that just don’t make any sense. The American people need real ideas, and they ultimately want to be brought together. They want this country to work.”

    When you call the party whose nomination you are seeking “insane” you don’t get their endorsement. Especially when you don’t give specifics–who is saying what insane thing.

    Huntsman’s popularity is only among progressives. We can see that even in the little community here.

  21. Gabriel Hanna says: “Huntsman’s popularity is only among progressives. We can see that even in the little community here.”

    Huntsman is acceptable to me, but I’ve pretty much ignored him because he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. And this little community here probably isn’t representative of anything other than scientific sanity and a willingness to tolerate my eccentricities.

  22. I think Huntsman would be a fine candidate for President, but I’m baffled by the way he apparently intends to get there.

  23. The party that chose McCain is not the party we have today. The 2008 party was right-wing, to be sure, but they were the party that owned the Presidency and were not in full rebellion mode. It was a time when the party establishment still held some control.

    That was before the Tea Party movement. Since then, even the House Speaker cannot control his caucus.

    A lot has happened to anger right-wing conservatives; bailouts, TARP, financial reforms, the affordable health care act, foreign actions such as supporting NATO in Libya and bringing home troops from Iraq, events like the recognition of gay marriage in New York and the brouhaha about immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama, and of course the OWS movement. It seems to me that the current party wants to nominate the most hardcore candidate it can to change the direction of this country radically, yet struggles with the knowledge that such a candidate will not be electable. However, someone as moderate as Huntsman is, in my view, much too far to the left of the current republican base to even be considered. In fact, Romney has had to reverse a number of opinions to pander to the social values conservatives, and back off his environmental stances, in order to move far enough to the right to qualify. Romney would not be where he is except for the fact that most of his opponents are either crazy or have serious baggage.

  24. Remember Scott Brown? He was a Tea Party candidate, and a liberal. And the current front runner is a moderate.