Santorum should not try to think with his heart


The late Carl Sagan was much sought after by the popular press to comment on science issues and he would rightly be cautious about expressing opinions about things that were unknown. He would sometimes be pressed to provide a more definitive response, being asked what his ‘gut feeling’ was, to which he replied “But I try not to think with my gut. Really, it’s okay to reserve judgment until the evidence is in.”

Rick Santorum should heed his advice. While he has extreme views on a lot of issues, so far he has not made any serious errors of fact or lied outright, as far as I am aware. But the rigors of campaigning, coupled with his xenophobic instincts, seem to be taking its toll and Stephen Colbert catches him saying some outrageous things about Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. When confronted, Santorum’s spokesperson says that he was ‘speaking from his heart’, an even more unreliable organ for thinking than the gut.

(This clip appeared on March 15, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

Comments

  1. says

    He’s certainly speaking from some part of his body. Although I suspect it’s one of the orifices rather than the heart. Unless, with Santorum, they’re one and the same?

  2. Dan-o says

    No different than the great Dubya answering without thinking or Obama visiting 52 states. It just happens sooner or later to all candidates.

  3. Doug McClean says

    @Dan-o,
    You nailed it Dan.

    There is absolutely no difference between misstating a number and weaving an intricate web of lies denouncing an entire country as murderers merely because the existence of such a country would be rhetorically convenient to the point you are trying to make. No difference.

    Similarly, I’m certain your correct that when asked about the “52 states” thing, Mr. Obama and his spokespeople said he was “speaking from his heart” and declined to retract the error. No difference.

  4. G.Shelley says

    Amazing, that every time a Republican says or does something stupid, we are told it is no different from Obama mis-speaking about the number of states. Pretty impressive really, that a single minor mistake is able to balance dozens of mistakes and outright lies by the right.

  5. Dan-o says

    You are correct as well as declaring war without congresses ok. It was done before by the great Dubya but for others it didn’t even make the 5am news which no one watches anyway. You got me….I surrender.

  6. Doug McClean says

    That’s a total non sequitur, but I’ll play.

    I personally fall in the camp that believes that the Article I power of the Congress to declare war is exclusive, and thus that the President in his Article II role as Commander in Chief is not authorized to commit us to a war without such a declaration.

    On the other hand, pretty much the entire history of the country and of interpretation of Article II disagrees with me on this point, so the rules as they are played do allow the President to initiate such actions.

    I take the same dim view of these actions regardless of party. I’m not happy about the times when (at least!) Presidents Truman, Carter, Johnson, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

    I’d ask for evidence for your presumption that this only made news when Bush did it. That is certainly far from the case. It’s been a central debate in American constitutional law at least since November 7th, 1973 when the endlessly-controversial War Powers Resolution was passed.

    Again, none of this has one iota of relevance to the topic, or to your ludicrous false equivalence at #2.

  7. sanban says

    I am certain I’ve hard the santorum tell demonstrable untruths on more than one occasion. From his assertions that college attendance results in atheistic brainwashing, to lies about Obama’s policies wrt religion/s, especially the religion they both claim to be adherents of, to his lies about what he has previously said on a host of issues from homosexuality to minority and women’s rights, it’s pretty obvious he’s just another of those Liars for Jesus. Santorum doesn’t mis-speak on these issues, and he doesn’t care what you or I think about his views – we are not the ones he’s appealing to.

  8. dcortesi says

    …so far he has not made any serious errors of fact…

    What?! You post a clip in which Santorum spins a completely false story and you say he hasn’t made any serious errors of fact?

    Never mind that this was an jaw-droppingly ugly piece of slander against a nation and a culture that is arguably more civilized than our own; never mind how the fact that he (apparently) believes it reveals the shallowness of his ignorance and prejudice. All that aside, it could not possibly have come to him from any reasonable source. He either made it up out of whole cloth, or else somebody on his staff is seriously deranged or is a mole trying to make him look bad.

  9. Dan-o says

    First off I am not pro Santorum so the Netherlands issue is not my concern. I was simply saying all politicians slip up. Now on the other hand Obama has lied before. I will just list a few.
    $8k per family in gas savings…I’m not a truck driver are you.
    Cut healthcare for military families. Actual he is calling to raise prices 30-80% to fix the deficit.
    2009 he said he would work to cut deficit in 1/2. We are now 5 trillion more.
    Taxes on the rich will be increased. Empty promise.
    Lastly, the 52 state quote is brought up because even my 9yr old knows how many states we have. I’m not talking about who signed the declaration but just how many states we have. Talk about putting your foot in your mouth. Cheers!

  10. N. Nescio says

    Somebody saying untrue things in an attempt to become President?

    Give me a minute, I need to go find my shocked face.

  11. Arjan says

    I’m Dutch and it never ceases to amaze me how other countries misrepresent euthanasia. I know it’s all to serve their political agenda, but some fact checking is in order. Euthanasia is only carried out at the request of the patiënt:
    – the patient’s suffering is unbearable with no prospect of improvement
    – the patient’s request for euthanasia must be voluntary and persist over time (the request cannot be granted when under the influence of others, psychological illness or drugs)
    – the patient must be fully aware of his/her condition, prospects and options
    – there must be consultation with at least one other independent doctor who needs to confirm the conditions mentioned above
    – the death must be carried out in a medically appropriate fashion by the doctor or patient, in which case the doctor must be present

  12. Mano Singham says

    The point of my saying ‘so far’ was to set up the proposition that this time he had said something false.

  13. jamessweet says

    Dan-o:

    I’m trying to restrain myself from making an ad hominem here, because it seems like every comment you make just reminds me why modern conservatives don’t tend to say a single thing that is remotely worth listening to, but anyway…

    The “10%” number I might be willing to write off as a slip of the tongue/misremembered statistic/honest mistake, even though that’s like 5 times the actual number. But fine, okay, let’s say that is roughly analogous to the time Obama accidentally said there were two hundred states. (Or something)

    The “half of those deaths are involuntary” and the thing about the “don’t involuntarily euthanize me!” bracelets, it is not so easy to excuse. These are not numbers that he misstated; these are allegations that simply have no basis in fact. It is not a detail that he simply got wrong, it is a completely new story that has been fabricated out of whole cloth.

    If I said something like, “Dan-O has been caught fucking dogs in the park on at least three occasions,” and then when you say that is not true and it is slanderous to say so, I can’t just reply “Oh, sorry, I got the number wrong. Zero, three, they are pretty close…” That is not a detail!

  14. jamessweet says

    Yeah, that’s the other thing, is if the spokesperson had just been like, “Mr. Santorum misspoke regarding some of the details” (0%, 5%, pretty fuckin’ close, right?!) “but he stands by the general message he was trying to portray”, well that would be pretty slimy, but it wouldn’t be quite so shocking. That the spokesperson refuses to even admit that those things he said are PATENTLY FALSE, that’s just messed up.

    But in Dan-O’s world, because it’s a Republican who did it, hey, who cares.

  15. Dan-o says

    As stated earlier I am not a Santorum follower. If he made numbers up that caused great confusion or harm that was wrong. My factual Obama lies beyond the 52 states was to prove 2 points. First when under great public scrutiny people tend to forget things (except for Santorum as stated above) and slip up. Second as stated in my last reply even my 9 year old knows how many states there are which makes the great Obama finally human. Cheers!

  16. says

    Wait, so you’re not trying to defend Santorum, you’re trying to criticize Obama? Well, news flash buddy: Both Mano and many readers of this blog are not exactly fans of Obama. We don’t need reminding that he is human. Yes, he has lied before, as you pointed out in your earlier comment below. The 52 states thing was clearly a brain fart, but he has said things (on purpose) that were blatantly false, or at the very least highly misleading.

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