Various and Sundry – March 2, 2012

By Ian C. Friedman - Last updated: Friday, March 2, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

* On Sunday, Rick Santorum told ABC News that John Kennedy’s September 12, 1960 speech to Greater Houston Ministerial Association made him want to “throw up.” Kennedy’s address to an assembly of Protestant ministers has typically been praised by Republicans and Democrats for its directness in confronting the false and damaging charges about how Kennedy–who would become the first Catholic U.S. president–would favor the Church and take orders from the Pope.

Santorum said that what caused his stomach to turn was Kennedy’s assertion that “people of faith [should] have no role in the public square.” Check the transcript and video to try to find where that was stated or even implied. What I suspect bothers Santorum most is the following excerpt:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference; and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials…”

* Despite the anticipation and excitement that accompanies them every year, Super Bowl ads are typically (and justifiably) quickly forgotten. But this year’s “Halftime in America” commercial for Chrysler was an immediate focus of attention and continues to be discussed, mainly for what have been perceived as its political undertones.

Running for two minutes and appearing just prior to the second half kickoff, the ad featured Clint Eastwood in the continuation of the campaign that lauds the resilience of the city of Detroit and the high quality of American automaking. Eastwood closes the piece by grunting, “This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines…It’s halftime, America. And our second half is about to begin.”

The ad has been a Rorschach test for Americans. Those who support President Obama think it was great. In their equation, the auto industry was on its deathbed, Obama made the tough decision to help it out, and now it is more than back on its feet. Those who oppose Obama–in this case, most prominently Karl Rove–fear the same equation and view the piece as a kind of Obama campaign spot (never mind that Eastwood is a Republican and publicly opposed the government rescue of Chrysler and General Motors.)

* Mitt Romney has been a treasure trove quotable gems recently. My clearinghouse of Romney’s words can be found at Most of The Week’s “Mitt Romney’s 9 Worst Clueless Rich Man Gaffes” are already featured at mittquotes. Inspired by Romney, Slate’s Dave Weigel has coined the term “Romneying”, which he defines as, “accidentally bragging about your place high up in the economic stratosphere.”

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