The first rule of writing while on vacation is to keep it simple. And what could be simpler than Rick Santorum?

Pennsylvania's unique contribution to presidential politics has been tooling around Iowa lately, in apparent preparation for a second failed White House bid, and he continues to fascinate. Here's something he said last week, to a group of fellow Republicans in that gateway caucus state:

"Who does Barack talk about all the time? The middle class. Since when in America do we have classes? Since when in America are people stuck in areas, or defined places, called a class? That's Marxism talk."

Invoking the middle class is really just "Marxism talk"? Wow, I did not know that!

In all the decades that I've heard politicians in both parties speak up for the "middle class," I guess I dumbly assumed that they were waving the American flag. It sure sounded that way to me. But now I find out - thanks, Rick! - that all those politicians in both parties were actually channeling the founding commie. Either that, or maybe Santorum is trying to reframe "middle class" as a Marxist phrase just because the Kenyan with the funny name has used it.

But the thing is, politicians have long been invoking the phrase. I've flagged a few recent random examples:

There was the guy who said in 2005 that a college tuition tax credit is "aimed at helping middle-class American families."

There was the guy who said in 2005 that a bankruptcy protection bill would provide "a much needed incentive for (small businesses) to be able to continue to hire employes and grow, which is obviously a ticket to middle-class America."

There was the guy who said in 2006 that the financial pressures on Medicaid would be eased "if more middle-class Americans plan and save for their long-term care needs."

There was the guy who said in 2011 that a flat tax was a nutty idea because it would be "a huge shift in the tax burden onto the middle class."

There was the guy who circulated a campaign flyer in 2011, proposing "significant tax rate cuts for middle-class Americans."

And there was the guy who declared on his campaign website in 2011 that he "hopes to rebuild the middle class."

Those examples are all from the same guy - Rick Santorum.

But let's be fair here. Let's refrain from smearing him as a disciple of Marx. Unless we're talking about Groucho, Chico, and Harpo.

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