Yes, I know I taunted you all with "President Santorum's America" in "Accelerando". But that was then, and this is now. Back in 2005 (when I was assembling "Accelerando" from its constituent pieces — he didn't feature in the original version of "Troubadour", circa 2002) he seemed vaguely sinister. But his electoral defeat in 2006 gave us the most hysterically funny portrait of an American political family ever, sort of like the Addams Family Does DC ...
And since then he has become even funnier -- the most freakishly accurate self-parodist in American politics. I mean, seriously: he hates poor people, dog-whistles to racists, thinks the Pope is an environmentalist radical and liberal, he wants to ban abortion and contraception, pornography, and, probably, masturbation, and then he tips us a sly wink, like this:
Yes, that's on his campaign website right now. (If you don't get the joke, go to his campaign site for the full-width banner and look for the other acronym. Yes, there are two of them: I'm pretty sure his team have been infiltrated ...)
And then there are his campaign videos. He's clearly been hiring scriptwriters who have feel a close affinity for dystopian science fiction novels:
Charlie-Bob says, watch for the gas price, roughly halfway through the montage in the middle. Gas gets more and more expensive until it costs $9 per gallon! (Planet Earth calling Rick's scriptwriter: some of us would kill to fill up for only $9/US gallon. It hasn't been that cheap for years: civilization has, however, not collapsed. Unless you count David Cameron and the Bullingdon Club. Hmm. On second thoughts, I retract that assertion.)
Admittedly, there's room for improvement in some areas. Santorum's team has yet to release a video as flabbergastingly insane as Carly Fiorina's "Demon Sheep" campaign ad from 2010:
... But you know it's only a matter of time before Rick appears on stage to announce that, as President, he will declare an official War on Masturbation while renaming the United States of America as the Republic of Gilead.
From his utterly punchable face — given the right punch-bag I could punch that grinning mug all day, or at least until my arm got sore: it's even more dislikable than David Cameron — through to the botox-paralysed expression of his loyal wife (clearly disapproving of his failure in that 2006 shot, but putting up with him because of her chance at the First Lady slot), to the careful strategic deployment of weeping children, Santorum's carefully constructed image is the ultimate Frankensteinian fusion of US political imagery in service of ... well, it's not politics, that's for starters.
No, his isn't politics. Rather, it's some kind of weird Hunter-Thompson-esque situationist art-terror parody thing. We're going to get to the Republican party convention and he's going to rip off the rubber face mask and reveal himself to be Sacha Baron Cohen screaming, "fooled you all!" Or maybe not. Given the history of past Republican political contenders, he's more likely to deliver the punch line with the assistance of a male prostitute and a couple of lines of coke in an airport toilet cubicle while on the campaign trail.