Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Suddenly Santorum


I guess it was inevitable, though I would never have dared to hope for such a thing. Now that the, "Anything but Mittens," contingent of Republican primary voters have worked their way through Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich, it looks like it just might be Rick Santorum's turn on top. Rick Santorum. The man whose name will forever more be synonymous with, "the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the result of anal sex," thanks to sex columnist Dan Savage. Really. He's doing well in Iowa.

Much has been made of Ron Paul's surge in the Iowa polls. He does share the racist, misogynistic, homophobic values so dear to the Republican base, it's true. But apparently he doesn't take them far enough, because he's not the only candidate benefitting from Newt's demise. Rick Santorum's numbers are climbing too. And God knows, there is no one more racist, misogynistic, or homophobic than Senator Santorum.

In case you've forgotten what an abomination of a human being Santorum is since Pennsylvania voters finally mustered the good sense to vote him out of office last year, let's take a little trip down memory late, shall we?

He may be best known for his virulent homophobia. He has compared homosexuality to bestiality, pedophila, and incest. He's bizarrely equated the love between same sex couples with his for his children and mother-in-law. He doesn't really see what all the fuss is about same sex marriage anyway, as his view of marriage has nothing to do with affirming one person's love for another, but is all about being, "open to children," whatever exactly that means, and bettering civilization.

He takes the anti-choice agenda to an astonishing new level. Not only does he want Roe v. Wade overturned, which is par for the patriarchal course, he'd like to see Griswold v. Connecticut thrown out as well. It was the pre-Roe ruling in which justices first invoked the right to privacy, in granting married couples the right to use birth control. For one thing, in Santorum world there is no such thing as a right to privacy. None at all. Nothing extant protects the physical bodies of citizens from the exercise of state power. That in and of itself carries terrifying implications a plenty.

Just as importantly, Santorum thinks birth control itself is a bad, bad, thing, saying in 2005:

I think it’s harmful to women, I think it’s harmful to our society to have a society that says that sex outside of marriage is something that should be encouraged or tolerated, particularly among the young. I think it has, as we’ve seen, very harmful long-term consequences for society. So birth control to me enables that and I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country.

So, no birth control, and no sex outside of marriage. Santorum seems to believe even sex within a marriage should be federally regulated. Because, you see, "if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything." Consensual sex, amongst adults, leads inexorably to the legalization of polygamy, adultery, and incest. I'm pretty sure adultery is legal already, but maybe the imagined threat of imprisonment is the only thing keeping Santorum from straying beyond the marriage bed. Even more disturbing, though, is the moral equivalency drawn here between adultery, polygamy, and incest. Don't we all agree that incest is worse than adultery, or even polygamy, carried out among consenting adults?

Abortion is, of course, even worse. In Santorum world, it is, in fact, worse than slavery. “But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave,” he tells us, in his 2005 book, "It Takes a Family." It's nice how he's found a way to combine two of his favorite hobbies, racism and misogyny in a single insane sentence.

More recently, he did it again, saying in January, " find it almost remarkable for a black man to say ‘now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people’.” Apparently black people have no business being pro-choice, because having been legally defined as something other than fully human in the days of slavery. Which gets really confusing, because he's also said legal abortion is worse than slavery, which wasn't really so bad after all. Or something like that.

He made a similar point when he joined Michele Bachmann in signing a family values pledge stating,"sadly, a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African American baby born after the election of the U.S.A.'s first African American President." Because slave owners were super respectful of their possessions' family feelings, and never, ever, sold parents off to the highest bidder without their children. Right.

He's described the interactions between Catholic Priests and any children they sexually abused who were over the age of 13 or so as, "a basic homosexual relationship." He thinks it's horrible and selfish for women to work outside the home just because they need to provide for their children, or, worse yet, find it satisfying and fulfilling to do so. He blames Social Security's financial woes on legal abortion. He thinks something specific to American freedoms has lead to doubling human life expectancy. He's either a little bit crazy, or unfathomably stupid. Neither of which, recent history tells us, necessarily rules him out of the presidency.

Granted, his numbers haven't gone up as far or as fast as Paul's have. But the most recent Public Policy Polling survey of Iowa has him up from 6% to 10, tied with former frontrunners Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry. And Mike Huckabee did win Iowa in 2008. So anything is possible.

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