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But Santorum’s hypocrisy is boring. What’s interesting to me is the fundamental shift in philosophy he has to make between the two rhetorical moments, between a speech in front of Tea Party types in Michigan and a conversation with a Democratic talk show guy in Washington. For example, in phrases like “Not all folks are gifted the same way” and “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands” he’s calling on a specific kind of Christian discourse, one that indexes a quite non-liberal vision of the human. It’s not explicit, but it’s there: in contrast with the secular language of individual accomplishment and self-determination that he uses with Stephanopoulos (e.g. “skills and desires and dreams”), talking about “gifts” takes us to something like the parable of the talents, and to the moral responsibility that gifts bring to use them to the ends which the Giver intends.
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