Via Newsbusters, Breitbart TV, and Verum Serum, this operates like a crude goof on MSNBC’s usual M.O. There’s a Republican lit scarily from below (note to Santorum’s advance team: don’t do that again), then some footage from “1984,” then a quickie rehash of some of Santorum’s social views punctuated by references to theocracy and Stalin, and … that’s it. I get the feeling that the only reason there’s no Hitler reference is because Bashir wanted to show what he regards as tasteful “restraint.” Good for him. He’s 99 percent of the way towards a cable-news Godwin-ing, but somehow he refrained from crossing the goal line by swapping in a communist totalitarian for a fascist one. Baby steps.

The dumbest part of this, per the imagery of Big Brother addressing a crowd, is the idea that Santorum’s ready to lead the brainwashed masses into supporting his social agenda. On the contrary: Not only is he increasingly on the wrong side of the majority on gay marriage, but he’s in a very small minority on the subject of contraception. As Michael Scherer notes today at Time, a recent Pew poll found that fully 85 percent of Americans view contraception as either “morally acceptable” or “not a moral issue.” According to the new CBS/NYT poll, 66 percent support Obama’s “compromise” requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of birth control. There’ll be no torchlight parades during a Santorum administration calling for a ban on condoms; in fact, precisely because his views are so unpopular on this, it’s unlikely there’ll be a Santorum administration at all. But it’s no fun for Bashir and MSNBC to point out that virtually no one agrees with Santorum because then there’s no teeth to the endless scaremongering about wingnut hordes descending on America to bring about the new dark ages. All this really is, ironically, is a Two Minutes Hate. At least when Olby used to do it, he’d give you 10 to 12 minutes to show that he cared. Ah, the good ol’ days.