I’ve got to say, I’m all atwitter with the idea of more babies. Even Regis – that would be Regis P. Fluffytail IV, formerly known as the baby – is excited. The Great Name Debate continues, though we’re to Elizabeth (Warren), Nancy (Pelosi), or Debbie (Wasserman-Schultz) for girls and Barack, Barney (Frank), and Bernie (Sanders) for boys. And just last night, Mrs. Squirrel asked me to put a paw on her tummy. I think she’s pregnant with a soccer team. At least one of them sure knows how to kick. When I felt that, my heart went ka-thudda-ka-thudda-ka-thudda.

“Well that proves you’re not a Republican,” Regis said.

He was of course talking about the H-word, the latest brouhaha among the Republican presidential contenders. The story starts back in 2001, when Gov. Rick Perry signed a law that passed the Texas House and Senate by a combined 177-4. That law offers in-state tuition to the children of undocumented immigrants who attend Texas state colleges and universities. When asked about that law in a GOP debate last week, Gov. Perry said anyone who opposes that law “doesn’t have a heart.”

Well how dare he? Or so asked other Republican presidential candidates. Even not-yet-but-maybe-candidate Chris Christie joined in. So did right wing talk radio hosts Glenn Beck, Mark Steyn, and Rush Limbaugh. Steyn was especially annoying … er … annoyed:

[I]’m sick of this cheap, glib demonization on the basis of Democrat talking points. If you want to give in-state tuition rates to illegal immigrants, find your own lousy talking points for it instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s about the heart. It’s all about the heart and if you object to that it’s because you don’t like people called ‘José.’ I’m sick of that.

Actually, it is about the heart. But the party who cheer for executions, cheer for people to die for lack of health care, and boo active duty servicemen who are gay probably won’t get that.

And apparently Gov. Perry realized the Republican base won’t get that, so he backed off:

I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate.

“That word” would be … “heart.”

I was never a fan of Gov. Perry. His wife says Texans are hungry for minimum wage jobs, but most of the people making minimum wage are still hungry. She doesn’t have to worry about that, what with being married to the governor and drawing a $60,000 annual salary from a non-profit funded by his political supporters. But there aren’t a lot of Head Of A Non-Profit Because You’re The Governor’s Wife listings in the job ads.

Still, even a stopped clock is right twice a day – I won’t comment about the nut-finding ability of my sightless cousins – and Gov. Perry was right to say that punishing innocent children for the sins of their parents is heartless.

The conservatives’ response proved again how heartless they are. Heartless enough to be outraged that a Republican even used the H-word, so disgusting to conservatives that Gov. Perry elided it to “that word.”

Democrats should welcome a debate over whether it’s okay to have a heart, and to talk about having a heart, in politics. Most Americans are not heartless, so Democrats should win that debate, hands down. That would be CPR for the Democratic Party … and for our nation.

Good day and good nuts.