No, I didn't get the days confused. This isn't a Sunday Funnies post. I included this 'toon by David Horsey and published by the Los Angeles Times because the blog post which went with it was really quite interesting and the cartoon added just the right amount of snark.
Rick Santorum is pulling out all the stops in South Carolina, capitalizing on his conservative religious views in a state known for, well, conservative religious views.
In the race to be the most sincere Christian candidate for president, Rick Santorum looks like the front-runner.
Out on the edge of town here Sunday afternoon, out among the big box stores and strip malls, at a family restaurant called Percy and Willie's, Santorum came by to shake hands and speak to a crowd of diners who had likely spent the morning praising the Lord at one of the area’s many evangelical churches.
"America is a moral enterprise, not an economic enterprise," Santorum declared. The United States is successful not because of its powerful military, its economic system or its form of government, he said; it is successful because of the American people’s faith in God. The news media don’t get it, he said, “and I’m running against a president who doesn’t believe it.” But the good people of South Carolina understand “the obligation we have to lead good, moral and decent lives.”
And he's having some success:
Jamie Thompkins, an attractive, middle-aged teacher from Georgetown, described herself as an ultra, ultra-conservative who is happy to be living in the middle of America’s Bible Belt. Santorum appeals to her, she said, because “he would put God before anything else. He’s going to really rely on God and not rely on what everyone else says.”
Another woman, a local psychologist who, like a lot of people here, didn’t want her name showing up in the media, said religious faith is an extremely important factor in her choice for president. She said she could tell that, with Santorum, it is not just rhetoric: “He talks the talk that we talk.”
What I found amazing about this (as did Horsey) is that both women and all of the other Santorum supporters are aware that Rick is a Catholic, not an evangelical, born-again Protestant. It wasn't all that long ago that the Religious Reich would have had as much trouble with Santorum's and Gingrich's religion as they obviously still do with Mitt Romney's Mormonism. I would have thought that Rick Perry, a bona fide evangelical would get the votes and the imprimatur of the 100 evangelical leaders who decided, after three ballots, to endorse Santorum instead. Maybe things are changing, or maybe, just maybe Rick Perry is seen as too weak to actually get elected in a match with Obama.
Or, and I agree with Horsey on this, the evangelicals still haven't decided on a candidate and all of this hoo-hah is just more evidence of division in the ranks.
...Still, by most reports, Santorum has not sewed up the evangelical vote. And if it stays split, Romney is very likely to come out on top in Saturday’s primary.
If South Carolina is as close as Iowa was, it's going to be a long campaign for the remaining candidates. If Romney cruises to a New Hampshire-like victory, I think the real contest is over.
I'm still going to pick up more popcorn this weekend.