When you blog about the professional anti-LGBT movement, you get used to reading completely batsh*t, sex-obsessed things from Peter LaBarbera, or junk science from hate group leader Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. But in 2012, GOP Clown Car candidate Rick Santorum has ushered in an impressive and visible new era of religious right/junk science/insane statements that suggests the Republican Party either cannot or is unwilling to deal with the basic political realities going on in this nation. It’s not 1900.

I understand this focus on social issues is about distracting low-info voters from the fact that the GOP has done nothing to create jobs; it’s been about bleating the usual mantra of lowering taxes on the wealthy and other crap that helped destroy the economy in the first place. What I was unprepared for was the unbridled desperation of the fundie base to the extent that it’s driving independent voters and especially women to have to go back to arguing about basic matters of contraception, access to the legal right to an abortion, and whether they should even be in the workforce. And the party of anti-government intrusion is MIA.

I cannot believe Rick Santorum, a leading candidate running for POTUS said “Satan has his sights on the United States of America” — and is dead serious, not doing amateur stand-up comedy. It is surreal to see this unfold in 2012.

Santorum’s viewpoints are so bizarre — and so nakedly boasted about — that there’s a “Rick Santorum or Satanic Heavy Metal?” quiz you can take. His long-record of anti-gay statements are completely off the rails and he has not disowned any of them, like this one in 2008:

“Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.”

No one in the GOP, which is loaded with gay Republicans, is willing to say this is ridiculous demonization, in fact, they are letting the Base rile up. If Santorum is the head engineer of the New Republican Crazy Train, he’s got plenty of people in box cars all the way to the caboose.

Take Tanya Ditty, state director for the anti-gay Concerned Women of America of Georgia, who testified yesterday before the subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on House Bill 630 (State Fair Employment Practices Act), which would provide Workplace Protections for LGBT State employees. In her “expert” testimony that surely was seen by the GOP lawmakers, Ditty asked committee members to oppose the bill because she believed it would allow such things as necrophilia, zoophilia and pedophilia.

You might laugh at this and think the woman needs better meds, but how far is she from standard bearer Santorum? After all, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania is on board with bigoted, barely sane Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, on whether Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen who talks over-the-top discredited birther batsh*t:

Arpaio said he plans to endorse one of the four remaining GOP candidates in the coming weeks. But the sheriff added he would not make his choice known before he announces the findings of his birth certificate probe at a news conference set for March 1st.

Santorum, he said, seemed to have no problem with the nature of his investigation. “He had no problems with what I told him that I may be doing,” Arpaio told reporters.

Is the GOP really swinging this far to the right by its silence? Perhaps the problem is that party brokers don’t like Mittens, and no one of any stature in the party is willing to run in 2012 to bump The Mormon (the fundie base is clearly not down with Romney). I’m sure those pols sitting it out know that the sh*tload of an economic mess that was left for Barack Obama can’t be cleaned up in four, let alone 8 years, and they don’t want to be left holding the steaming bag.

But to hand over the spotlight to Santorum, rather than marginalizing him, shows just how weak the GOP is, and how much fealty it continues to have to fundie dog-whistlers like the Rev. Franklin Graham, who is beyond offensive in insulting the President and the Muslim community with his tasteless bigotry. But again, Santorum is on the train, questioning the President’s faith (which is irrelevant to holding office, but it’s front and center in these preposterous conversations):

Appearing on MSNBC Tuesday morning, Graham said he is not sure the president is a Christian. Neither is he certain that Obama is not a Muslim.

“All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries,” Graham said.

“Islam sees him as a son of Islam … I can’t say categorically that (the president is not Muslim) because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama.”

Over the weekend in Ohio, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum criticized Obama’s environmental policies, saying they are based on “some phony theology. Oh, not a theology based on the Bible. A different theology.”

Note to MSNBC – Graham’s not his daddy — and doesn’t deserve a media platform to spread unprovable or false trash to tie the President to some kind of Muslim extremist, anti-American agenda. And the GOP is silent, not calling out Graham.

That the Republican talking heads don’t even flinch or call out Santorum’s obvious retrograde, science-free trash is telling. No one questions his absurd position on evolution, documented in a 2008 interview:

There is no suspicion of it. It is decided science that cannot be questioned. There cannot be any doubts about it. If you have any questions or doubts, it’s trying to inject religion into the science classroom. So it is above reproach.

I obviously don’t feel that way. I think there are a lot of problems with the theory of evolution, and do believe that it is used to promote to a worldview that is anti-theist, that is atheist.

Santorum’s bold insistence on publicly defended faith — specifically Judeo-Christian of course — as a legitimate factor in a campaign to serve as President, not Pope is absurd. Personal faith beliefs (or none at all) have no place in our governing, yet this is where the GOP obviously wants to go.

But the question I have is — how many people in the U.S. actually identify with and support Santorum’s views? A third of GOP voters? Half? Do we have that many people in the country who think the state mandating the inserting of  a probe into the vagina of a woman who wants to have an abortion is an appropriate role of government?  The general public doesn’t want government in their private sexual lives, and the party of alleged small government is silent, allowing the fundamentalists to rule their primary process in a way that is embarrassing.

After each election cycle you see speculation that the GOP will finally kick the religious right out on its duff and get back to core conservative values. At this point I’ve only seen the American Taliban influence coddled again and again. I don’t think the GOP can afford to lose the “sheeple” vote, the base of organized churches that get out the vote, do door to door and can be easily manipulated by fear and smear, God and guns, and fear of changes in gender roles or sexuality (without shame).