Republicans Can Love Their Families & Be Smart Too

Is Rick Santorum really still talking? Even more surprising, are people really still listening? Apparently yes, but not the "elite smart people."

At the Values Voters Summit, Rick Santorum spoke about the perceived chasm between intellectuals and the Republican Party -- one that he believes cannot be bridged and should therefore be embraced by GOP adherents. Instead, he advocated for a sort of political and social isolationism, withdrawing from culture and learning and turning inward toward church and family.


On one hand, I find this both amusing (is Rick Santorum really saying that Republicans aren't -- in fact, cannot be -- intellectuals?) and intriguing (does this mean all the Republican politicians will leave Washington and return home to their biological and church families?). But mostly I think it's sad.

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Republicans can value education and knowledge and culture and intellectual curiosity, no matter whether they are devoutly religious and no matter how conservative their views might be. Granted, learning about the world -- historically, culturally, scientifically -- does necessitate a certain openness that woefully seems to be missing from some high profile Republican politicians and pundits. But plenty of intellectual Republicans do exist, and they're smart enough to know that an educated worldview includes sources beyond family, church, and Fox News.

Fortunately, not all Republicans are buying what Santorum et. al. are selling. The mostly conservative blog Outside the Beltway is likewise dismayed:

[T]here’s something about being intelligent, or curious about the world, or interested in something beyond the orthodox interpretations of history and the law that conservatives insist upon. You see it manifest itself in the rejection of even the rather obvious fact that humanity can have an influence on the environment around it and, most irrationally, in the very rejection of everything that biology, anthropology, physics, and cosmology teach us. For many on the right, it’s easier to believe in the stories written in a 6,000 year old book than it is in the evidence of just how amazing the universe around them actually is.

I grew up in a conservative household where the Bible had no place on the bookshelves among dozens of volumes about history, culture, and science. I'm confident that similar conservative households still exist. I wish more of those families would speak up among their party.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, see "How Do We Best Sustain American Values?"

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