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First off, I agree with Pete’s agreement with me that we don’t really have a candidate we believe can actually defeat the president. It’s possible Romney will become that candidate.

In the USA TODAY, the article on Santorum was mainly about his hostility to gay rights. A good Catholic has to be opposed to same-sex marriage. But Pete is right that there’s no Catholic position on gays in the military, and the least that can be said is that Rick’s opposition to the new policy has been artless.

I’ve also got a couple of really hostile emails (again!) saying that no Catholic could support Santorum, given his indifference to Catholic social teaching. Pretty amazing, given that he’s the most Catholic candidate ever, arguably too Catholic from the perspective of electability.

But those emails came from the agrarian traditionalist types—maybe not exactly Porchers, but close. One objection to Santorum is to his unfashionable support for the Bush freedom agenda, with its solicitude for the rights of people everywhere and the corresponding interventionism. But foreign policy, of course, is largely a matter of prudence, and there are and should be good Catholics on both sides of issues such as what to do about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

A second objection to Santorum is that he’s the defender of the ethnic, industrial working man. His solution is not to go back to the farm, but to promote policies that will sustain and maybe renew at least parts of America’s industrial base, creating real jobs, so to speak, for real men (and women). So his defense of community, culture, marriage, and such doesn’t depend on going back to an earlier stage of the division of labor. He’s addressing the real issue of the economic and cultural degradation of the lives of the bluecollar part of the middle-class. This policy has its romantic features, but it’s not as literary/romantic as Porcherism. Rick’s not at war with Walmart, but he’s defending the jobs and God-and-family ways of life of those who shop at Walmart.

I am not, by the way, endorsing Santorum to balance McCain’s endorsement of Romney. He does bring some new and good stuff to the table, though.

It’s true enough that Rick has all kinds of dimensions lacking in Huckabee that might (underline might) energize, say, the Catholic working guys of Manchester and other places in New Hampshire.

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