The "rats" reference alludes to a 1970's movie, Willard, about a social misfit whose only meaningful relationships were with rats. It's a prequel to another not-all-that-great flick, Ben, which at least had a Michael Jackson song as its claim to fame.
Zorn decries name-calling by name-calling those he has declared guilty of name-calling (ambiguous at best, I concede). I disagree with his premise. Willard is the man's given name, and he hasn't legally changed it. I reserve the right to refer to Romney as Willard. If that makes me a rat to some, bring on the cheese..