George Will On George Will

George Will, ostensibly commenting on the viability of the current Republican contenders reveals more about himself than he does the race for the nomination. This is the best/worst defense of Santorum I have heard.
The problem is not that the phenomena that trouble Santorum are unserious. The use of prenatal testing for search-and-destroy missions against Down syndrome and other handicapped babies is barbaric. Obama’s stealthy pursuit of a national curriculum for grades K through 12 is ill-advised and illegal. And no domestic problem — not even the unsustainable entitlement state — is more urgent and intractable than that of family disintegration.

The entitlement state can be reformed by various known — if currently politically impossible — policy choices. But no one really knows the causes of family disintegration, so it is unclear whether those causes can be combated by government measures.

We do know the social pathologies flowing from the fact that now more than 50 percent of all babies born to women under age 30 are born to unmarried mothers. These pathologies, related to a constantly renewed cohort of adolescent males without fathers at home, include disorderly neighborhoods, schools that cannot teach, mass incarceration and the intergenerational transmission of poverty. We do not know how to address this with government policies, even though the nation has worried about it for almost 50 years.
He is an engagingly happy warrior, except when he is not. Then he is an angry prophet of a dystopian future in which, he has warned, people will be “holed up in their homes afraid to go outside at night.” He has the right forebodings but may have the wrong profession. Presidential candidates do not thrive as apostles of social regeneration; they are expected to be as sunny as Ronald Reagan was as he assured voters that they were as virtuous as their government was tedious.

Today’s Republican contest has become a binary choice between two similarly miscast candidates. Romney cannot convince voters he understands the difference between business and politics, between being a CEO and the president. To bring economic rationality to an underperforming economic entity requires understanding a market segment. To bring confidence to a discouraged nation requires celebrating its history and sketching an inspiring destiny this history has presaged.

Romney is right about the futility of many current policies, but being offended by irrationality is insufficient. Santorum is right to be alarmed by many cultural trends, but implies that religion must be the nexus between politics and cultural reform. Romney is not attracting people who want rationality leavened by romance. Santorum is repelling people who want politics unmediated by theology. Neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable candidate for November.
Translation. I know Santorum is right and I know the other guy doesn't get it and won't fix a doggone thing, but looking smart to the sneering class seems more important to me right now, after all, my livelihood depends on it.


  1. What exactly is "right" about Santorum? Explain to me how it's OK that he voted to fund Planned Parenthood (and bragged about it), raise the debt ceiling, backed Spector, lied about his deal with Spector and apparently has no problem abandoning his "principles" to be a "team player". I'm just not getting what you find so "right" about him.

  2. When did he vote to fund Planned Parenthood? Dates and contexts or it didn't happen, you dimwitted troll.

  3. Sophia,
    I think Anonymous is talking about the most recent republican debate. Santorum... was not his sharpest. In the debate he was talking about the value of "principles" and used the same exact word later on saying he violated his own "principles" with respect to the no child left behind vote. It was truly a horrible debate performance for him. I was rooting for him, but I was not surprised how weak his answers were.

  4. Meant to say "was" surprised at how weak his answers were.

  5. Will gets it wrong on many points. Conservative distrust of Romney starts with Romney's political career as a liberal. He would have trouble with social conservatives anyway, but libertarian and economic conservatives rightly see Romneycare as the blueprint for Obamacare. Romney's baseline strategy was to convince conservatives he was the most electable. Has anybody read that we're somewhat hesitant to vote for Romney because he doesn't know the difference between business and politics?

    For Santorum, Will falls for the MSM constantly trying to show him in a negative light. They will play the same half-dozen clips of him being less than happy. Indeed Reagan was cheerful, but not always. He was a great debater, but flopped in the first debate against Mondale.

    Santorum's biggest challenge is to encapsulate the very large, very complex problems our society has in a way most Americans will understand while the MSM misstates everything he says. Will seems to have fallen for the misstatements.

  6. Pat,
    Could you translate your translation? What does it mean to look smart to the sneering class? Is this an endorsement for Romney? Just curious. Thanks.

  7. Hey, Sophia's Favorite, before you jump to insulting someone who disagrees with you as a "dim-witted troll," you might want to do your research. Here's the link to Santorum bragging about supporting Title X which provides support to Planned Parenthood for contraceptives.

    And Archbold, how's your brain doing? It must be getting really flexible after all the bending-over-backwards you're having to do to support such an awful candidate.

  8. Here's the link to Santorum bragging about supporting Title X which provides support to Planned Parenthood for contraceptives.

    Aaaand there's the context that was missing.

    He wasn't bragging about funding PP at all.

  9. Man, how pompous can you get? And you call WIll sucking up to the sneering class? Get a mirror: you are sucking up to the "Catholic, Damn Straight!" class. Will said nothing objectionable here, and Santorum does come off poorly when he gets negative. As do most of us.

  10. "But no one really knows the causes of family disintegration, so it is unclear whether those causes can be combated by government measures."

    Why don't you take a stab at it, George? Or maybe remember all the times that you bellyached about government policies (like welfare) begetting this mess?

    Just today on the roundtable, Will slammed Santorum for "lecturing Americans about sex." To George Will, Santorum is an uncomfortable, embarrassing peasant who doesn't own a Brooks Brothers tie. Even grosser, he doesn't use birth control. Most supremely disgusting: he talks about why.

    WASPS are prudes.

  11. Good translation!


  12. That piece struck me as pretty reasonable. He points out some weaknesses he perceives in both candidates, and discusses how they might play in the general election.

    I think George Will may have revealed more about what YOU think George Will thinks, than about what George Will actually thinks.

  13. Oh, so it is George Will who is looking smart to the sneering class, and not one of the candidates?

  14. "He wasn't bragging about funding PP at all."

    Then please, do tell me what he was saying.

  15. Then please, do tell me what he was saying.

    Why bother? You don't listen to anything you don't want to hear, anyways. You're still misconstruing our hosts after it's been explained several times, with quotes, that you're mistaken.

  16. Patrick, your translation is right on. One more note: When Will says: "Santorum is right to be alarmed by many cultural trends, but implies that religion must be the nexus between politics and cultural reform." GOD must be the nexus between politics and cultural reform. Religion is man's response to the gift of Faith from God and a first Amendment civil right. The Person of GOD must be again given liberty in the public square. Our Creator made us and knows how to save us.

  17. The necessity of God: To paraphrase Dr. Albert Einstein: "If God did not exist, man would have to invent HIM." Please note that the verb "invent" carries the connotation of letting God in. Besides, our Creator endowed all equal men with unalienable rights and to exile God from the public square is to exile all of our liberties and unalienable rights. I am old enough to remember when a person could sleep in his house with the doors and windows unlocked.

  18. You don't need me to tell you that conservatism is going through a series of massive cavitations at this time. We should have seen it coming, of course. I believe the conversation was inevitable after Bush declared conservatives "compassionate." It was a nifty trick and worth talking about its merits; unfortunately, the debate didn't happened when it should have.

    In fact, the debate was already shaping up during Ronald Reagan's twilight days in office. In the anticlimax of the Cold War’s end, some conservatives assumed the American concern for far pavilions set the agenda for an expansionist vision in foreign policy. Others, who saw the Cold War as a necessary but temporary evil, were urgent to see the nanny state that America was becoming reined in both in her combat boots on the ground overseas and in her welfare mansion on the federal plantation back home. Unfortunately, this debate was sidelined – or rather, forcefully preempted with all the violence (I almost said shock and awe) of an airliner slamming into a skyscraper...

    And so today instead of a coalition of conservative forces, we seem to be on the verge of a conservative crack up.


  19. Perhaps Mr. Will is a prig, a half step to the right of David Brooks, and too blinded by Puritanism to understand the Catholic perspective on social disintegration. But I think he's fairly accurate when speaking about the majority of American mainstream voters. (The polls say most Americans claim to be conservative - a comforting thought until you ask the next question: What exactly does that mean?) You and I know Santorum's right about contraception; in a certain sense, his concerns tickle prejudices into hopes for a "Catholic moment" by which the country is led out of the desert and into the much heralded but little heeded need for a more loving civilization...

    But isn't our frustration with Mr. Will really our frustration with ourselves - meaning our fellow Americans? It seems unlikely that American will recover from 47 years of contraception with the "deus ex machina" provided by the lofty (albeit sincere) speeches of one politician running for office - even the highest office - and even with the benefit of the media's laserlike though impatiently short-sighted focus.

    Daily, weekly, President Reagan had the helpful reminders of current events to show how the "evil empire" deserved its moniker, despite media efforts to paint all of Russia in innocuous shades of grey, reducing its harsh conditions to a slightly dour Potemkin village.

    What hidden strength has Santorum got to convince the people of America - especially the slippery middle which adheres to no one party and wishes rather to bring its pocketbook into the voting booth whereby it exchequers principles for paltry gain? How can Santorum persuade against the evils of contraception when his audience is mostly working mothers, hipsters and single swinger guys and gals who never got a chance to grow up (living as they do in a perpetual sexual play-land). Indeed, when an overwhelming - and growing - number of citizens have already given up on traditional marriage(vide: The National Marriage Project, University of Virginia), it’s unfortunate that the American people can’t connect the dots as easily between contraception and the spiritual wasteland most of America has become as easily as they can communist aggression and the wasteland which most of Eastern Europe had become…

    I wish Santorum well. I wish he could win, but doubt he will. Most people are going to either be repeat offenders for Mr. Obama, they're going to sit at home on election night or they're going to vote for Mr. Romney. I think Mr. Will is simply painting the picture of reality. Who wants to hear about contraception when what we want to hear about is how to get a job?

    And who knows if Mr. Romney is the one who will give them that job? But they like his lies. A lot. Indeed, unfortunately, at this late date, Americans are more willing to believe lies than to listen to a Cassandra in a sweater vest.



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