Move over, Newt Gingrich: you no longer have a monopoly on accusing the Democrats of fascism.

Rick Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who has been hanging out with Jon Huntsman at the bottom of the Republican pack, said in Waterloo, Iowa, on Tuesday that the United States was beginning to resemble fascist Italy.

Santorum said that President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law, if allowed to stand, would be the final death knell for America as we know it, because it means having government control that very critical aspect of our life, which is access to the care that we need to stay alive.

We are ever gradually, and not so gradually in the last couple of years, edging our way toward the same kind of country that my grandfather left, he said. His grandfather left Italy in 1925, soon after Benito Mussolini took power.

Gingrich, for his part, has not compared Obama to Mussolini, but he has claimed that the secular-socialist machine poses as great a threat to the United States as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union did.

Santorum, Gingrich and their supporters do not seem to be deterred by the contradiction inherent in accusing Obama of both socialism and fascism, which are distinct political philosophies.