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Santorum Sets Tone: Health Law Will End The Nation, Wisconsin Labor Protestors Are Like Drug Addicts

By Igor Volsky  

"Santorum Sets Tone: Health Law Will End The Nation, Wisconsin Labor Protestors Are Like Drug Addicts"

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Potential 2012 presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum (R) is determined not to be outflanked by fellow conservatives on the Affordable Care Act, telling a group of activists in Spartanburg, SC over the weekend that the law is so bad, it will literally end the nation:

If we don’t repeal ‘Obamacare,’ America as we know it is over,” he told the Palmetto House Republican Women and other members of the conservative faithful during a dinner speech held at the Marriott in Spartanburg.

Santorum also took a page out of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s (R) rhetorical playbook by comparing the federal government to a drug dealer and the states and individuals who accept government dollars, including the Wisconsin labor protesters, to drug addicts:

“What these folks are in Washington is no better than a drug dealer,” said Santorum, who lives with his wife and seven children in northern Virginia.

“They give you a subtle narcotic to make you feel better as you do worse.”

He went on to compare protesting union members in Wisconsin to addicts.

“They are acting like their drug is being taken away from them,” Santorum said.

This kind of rhetoric is red meat to the GOP base; expect Republicans to trip over themselves in condemning the health law (and every other accomplishment) in the strongest terms possible as we move closer to the primary season. They will likely have to moderate their approach in a general election setting, but I suspect that so-long as they stick to very general broad-brush condemnations they’ll be on safe ground politically. As we’ve seen, the problems arise when Republicans have to address the specific provisions in the law and register their positions on such popular elements as keeping children on their parents’ plan and eliminating coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions. Those elements are already in place and while one can somehow justify saying very extreme things about a 2,000 page bill that took months and months, claiming that extending dependent insurance to college students will destroy the nation is going to be a much tougher sell.

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