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Rick Santorum, Conservative Ideas & the Anti-anti-gay attitudes of most Americans

Just over two weeks ago, I asked, “Where is the conservative candidate at this conservative moment?

If this election were held on which party had the best vision for the future of America, the Republicans, should they hew to Reagan’s ideals, would win hands-down. Polls show a continuing, if not growing, distrust of the federal government and a skepticism for the types of solutions President Obama has been offering.

Note that his biggest political victory of 2011 was outmaneuvering Republicans on a tax-cut.

We need someone, as I wrote in January, who can take the fight to Obama–who can stand up for conservative principles.  Rick Santorum, despite his absence of real accomplishment in the Senate and lack of executive experience, has, since Newt’s meltdown, done that better than anyone else in the race.  No wonder he did so well last night.

Let us hope Mitt Romney learns from his defeat.

Santorum may be able to articulate conservative principles, but he didn’t when he was in Congress, he didn’t lead the fight to stem the growth of federal spending or limit the scope of government regulation.  And he comes with baggage that will not endear him to independent voters.  As Jim Hoft reminds us, in April 2003, the then-Pennsylvania Senator

. . . stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts. Santorum described the ability to regulate consensual homosexual acts as comparable to the states’ ability to regulate other consensual and non-consensual sexual behavior, such as adultery, polygamy, child molestation, incest, sodomy, and bestiality, whose decriminalization he believed would threaten society and the family, as they are not monogamous and heterosexual.

Just over five years ago, in the wake of his Senate defeat, I wrote

The lesson for Republicans in Santorum’s defeat is that expression of anti-gay sentiments will not help advance a candidate’s cause. Most Americans, while opposing gay marriage, don’t harbor much, if any, animosity against gay people. But, on the whole, they do seem to seem to have an antipathy to politicians who readily express anti-gay bias.

Yes, he can articulate a conservative message, but when independent voters will waver when hearing his past statements on gays.  When it comes to social issues, a good number of Americans, including most Republicans, are very live-and-let-live.  An openness to regulating consensual sexual acts suggests a meddlesome ideology at odds with the ideal of freedom.

UPDATE:  Over at United Liberty, Nate Nelson makes clear that Rick Santorum is no small-government conservative:

In April 2011, Rick Santorum said that he was “Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.” It looks like caucusgoers and primary voters in Iowa, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri believed him. But future caucusgoers and primary voters shouldn’t be fooled; Rick Santorum has made a litany of proposals that are questionable at best from a constitutionalist point of view. He wants to use taxpayer dollars to support adoptions; “to incentivize the states to promote parental choice and quality educational options”; to create a public-private partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and private organizations “for the purpose of strengthening marriages, families, and fatherhood”; to reinstate “2008-level funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education Program”; and “to advance adult stem cell research.”

Those may all be worthy goals, but a Tea Party activist might well ask: Where does the constitution give the federal government the authority to undertake these tasks?

Read the whole thing.  H/t Instapundit.

UP-UPDATE:  Roger Simon gets it:

The greatest danger is that Rick Santorum will be singled out as the spokesperson for extreme right-wing religiosity and made to look like a bigot to the largest voting group in our country — the independents. This is particularly true in the area of gay rights, but not because those people favor gay marriage. The majority of them probably don’t. But most people these days have homosexuals among their friends, family, or work colleagues and don’t appreciate even the whiff of bigotry. It’s become a big no-no.

Read the whole thing.

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36 Comments

  1. Tangentially, you raise a good point. If liberalism is so great, why don’t liberals like Barack Obama actually run on it and champion it?

    Comment by V the K — February 8, 2012 @ 6:58 pm - February 8, 2012

  2. I have long considered Santorum a joke, and it has nothing to do with his stance on gays. In 2006, Santorum held several press conferences in 2006 saying he has new and until then secret information that a tremendous amount of WMD’s had been found in Iraq. He made a HUGE deal promoting his report as absolute proof that Sadam had a huge stockpile of weapons, was still manufacturing them up to the US invasion, and that the US Govt was withholding the info from the public. He released his report, and it turns out there were not huge stockpiles of WMD’s, but worse, the ones in his report were old sarin gas warheads left over from the Iran / Iraq war, and the gas inside had degraded to the point where they were not very dangerous at all. Worse off, the weapons detailed in his report had been widely reported in the news in 2004.

    Santorum tried to make a big splash and bolster his career and cred, but instead made a complete fool of himself. And this guy, who either can’t do basic fact checking, or doesn’t care that something he presents is false, who thinks he’s Presidential material????

    And considering his total lack of fiscal cred, if he gets the nomination, or even comes close, it will prove my point that social conservatism trumps fiscal conservatism within the GOP… Well, the fact that there is no real Tea Party Conservative in the race* kind of already proves that point.

    * There is Ron Paul, but the rank and file won’t vote for him.

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 8, 2012 @ 7:28 pm - February 8, 2012

  3. No matter who the Republican nominee is, it will be an almighty labor to drag him across the finish line.

    Our primary system is a disaster – it requires unholy amounts of time and money to survive the Iowa straw poll (asininity on stilts) and the Iowa caucuses (ditto) – not to mention the endless “debates” that reveal little more than who’s capable of the snappy comeback.

    Every four years, I find myself wishing that IA and NH would secede. By the time a most people start paying attention and are able to vote in a real primary, the field has been cleared.

    In good times, we can tolerate a lot of silliness (I mean, was Clinton all that bad in retrospect?). These aren’t good times.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — February 8, 2012 @ 7:31 pm - February 8, 2012

  4. only in America would President Obama be considered a Liberal – he’s slightly less-liberal than Canada’s Conservative party.

    as V to the K will always ignore – the GOP is the overwhelming party of anti-gay bigotry and prejudice.

    Santorum, Bachmann, Romney, Gingrich….they’ve all got, on the record, bigoted and prejudiced anti-gay rhetoric they’ve spewed that they can be quoted on.

    President Obama? None.

    A distinction Gay Conservatives need to ignore with all their might in order to keep believing the lies they tell themselves.

    Try as hard as you want to find it – you will not find prejudiced and bigoted comments about the LGBT Community from Barack Obama.

    that’s gotta hurt you boys – a black democrat who treats you with more grace than your own white conservative parents ever will.

    Comment by Little_Kiwi — February 8, 2012 @ 7:35 pm - February 8, 2012

  5. I don’t get the desire to regulate sodomy from Santorum’s statement. It just seems like he was saying that the constitution does not include a right to engage in sodomy (and therefore one shouldn’t be created by the courts, as it creates the possibility for similar laws to be created by the courts), as others have pointed out here before. In fact, he says he is personally opposed to sodomy laws in this interview. And Santorum doesn’t seem, to me, like the kind of person that would lie about his beliefs just to appease people.

    He gets a lot of flak that he doesn’t deserve. However, he does deserve some of it, like that relating to his lack of sufficient spending restraint. He is preferable as Romney’s main opponent to Gingrich, IMO.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — February 8, 2012 @ 7:41 pm - February 8, 2012

  6. Ezekiel 16 makes it rather clear that the “sin of Sodom” was in fact greed, the hoarding of wealth and not sharing with those who were going without. nothing to do, at all, with homosexuality.

    aint it funny that, biblically speaking, the real Sodomites of America are the wealthy who give excuses for not sharing the wealth with the less-fortunate?

    gotta love that spin! he breaks the 9th Commandment every day. His youngest son Gabriel did not survive the birth. That kid got out lucky. Santorum has 7 children. they’re not all straight. he’s gonna come home one day to find one of them hanging by their neck. their blood is on his hands.

    Comment by Little_Kiwi — February 8, 2012 @ 7:48 pm - February 8, 2012

  7. This election has been a friendly reminder that “real” conservatives only give a damn about freedom when it’s the other side trying to take it away.

    Comment by Azure — February 8, 2012 @ 7:50 pm - February 8, 2012

  8. For me, Santorum fists into the category of politician laid out clearly by the late Christopher Hitchens when he said

    “By all means, stupid people should be represented, but not by stupid people.”

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 8, 2012 @ 7:53 pm - February 8, 2012

  9. I have been pretty convinced by all the pundits that neither Romney, nor Gingrich, nor Santorum can beat Obama. So, since it doesn’t matter anyone, what the hell, I’ll go with Santorum. On the off chance he wins, we might just get Dan Savage to self-deport.

    Totally.

    Worth.

    It.

    Comment by V the K — February 8, 2012 @ 8:04 pm - February 8, 2012

  10. More wishing for death from little fruit. Surprised?

    I do think Prop 8 spurs Santorum’s support. It’s one thing for WA to have legislation expanding the definition of marriage. It’s another for judges to make up the rules.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 8, 2012 @ 8:05 pm - February 8, 2012

  11. More wishing for death from little fruit. Surprised?

    Fascinating, isn’t it? You wonder if people like that realize that they come across as psychologically disturbed, or if ranting about hate and death is so “normal” to them that they don’t even notice it?

    Comment by V the K — February 8, 2012 @ 8:12 pm - February 8, 2012

  12. Romney is the least offensive of the remaining four GOP candidates in my mind. However, he is so boring, bland, and non specific in his answers that I want to scream. His biggest problem is his Mormon religion. I don’t mean the religion per se, but the whole notion of never taking chances and being robotic. That is so common among LDS members. You ask, how can you say that? I just returned from a week in Utah (the land of the perfect people), and they seem so similar in outlook, personality, etc. Romney needs to take chances, and I don’t think it’s in his DNA. The LDS religion is very closed off and encourages forced conformity. Mittens will have to have a total redo in order to make the bold changes needed in this election.

    Comment by davinci — February 8, 2012 @ 8:23 pm - February 8, 2012

  13. In the Republican primary, if it’s between Santorum & Romney, I’ll vote for Rick Santorum any day.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — February 8, 2012 @ 8:35 pm - February 8, 2012

  14. Well, I guess I’m one of those mind-numbed Mormon robots davinci was ranting about, but I would also vote for Santorum the Romanist over Mittens the Mormon Android.

    Comment by V the K — February 8, 2012 @ 9:02 pm - February 8, 2012

  15. Try as hard as you want to find it – you will not find prejudiced and bigoted comments about the LGBT Community from Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama was in favor of gay marriage in 1996, then against it by the election in 2008, and as of February 7, 2012 his position is “evolving.”

    Since, by the left’s defintion, opposition to gay marriage is “anti-gay,” that would qualify him as an anti-gay bigot.

    Comment by ChrisH — February 8, 2012 @ 9:13 pm - February 8, 2012

  16. only in America would President Obama be considered a Liberal – he’s slightly less-liberal than Canada’s Conservative party.

    I don’t think so. Maybe in the East, but not in the West. Stephen Harper is certainly not to the left of Obama. Obama’s actions indicate he is more liberal than he sounds, but he still sounds quite liberal. If you’re going to make such an absurd claim, you might want to back it up with some evidence.

    I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I could care less what a politician’s personal opinion on gays is. Even if the Republicans (or Conservatives) are generally more anti-gay, I really don’t care. Issues directly related to homosexuality are the least of my concerns.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — February 8, 2012 @ 9:26 pm - February 8, 2012

  17. Try as hard as you want to find it – you will not find prejudiced and bigoted comments about the LGBT Community from Barack Obama.

    Which makes it totally okay that he is destroying the economy, running insane deficits, running guns to Mexican drug gangs, directing billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bankrupt firms run by his political donors, enacting stifling regulations on the finance industry while letting Government run amuck, destroying American jobs and increasing our dependence on foreign oil, and, oh yeah, violating the Constitution by making recess appointments when Congres isn’t in recess.

    But as long as he isn’t overtly anti-gay, he gets a pass.

    Comment by V the K — February 8, 2012 @ 9:28 pm - February 8, 2012

  18. Which makes it totally okay that he is destroying the economy, running insane deficits, running guns to Mexican drug gangs, directing billions of dollars of taxpayer money to bankrupt firms run by his political donors, enacting stifling regulations on the finance industry while letting Government run amuck, destroying American jobs and increasing our dependence on foreign oil, and, oh yeah, violating the Constitution by making recess appointments when Congres isn’t in recess.

    But as long as he isn’t overtly anti-gay, he gets a pass.

    Yep, that’s how single issue voters work.

    Comment by ChrisH — February 8, 2012 @ 9:50 pm - February 8, 2012

  19. “If this election were held on which party had the best vision for the future of America, the Republicans, should they hew to Reagan’s ideals, would win hands-down.Polls show a continuing, if not growing, distrust of the federal government and a skepticism for the types of solutions President Obama has been offering.”

    That is a very selective look at the polling data. As we all know, responses to polls are completely dependent on how the question is framed. Most polls would suggest that questions about tax policy, the prohibition on barring pre-existing condition for health insurance–you know, in contrast to imaginary death panels–mandating health insurance cover birth control, etc. all of these issues weigh against the candidates your party are putting forward: honestly, Rick Santorum is the best you can all come up with?

    Comment by brendan — February 8, 2012 @ 10:02 pm - February 8, 2012

  20. Little kiwi sounds like one of those liberals that hope for the death and personal wounds of those they dislike. Are you so antagonistic that you wish for death for those you disagree with? I think you’re despicable.

    Comment by davinci — February 8, 2012 @ 10:37 pm - February 8, 2012

  21. I have long considered Santorum a joke ….. made a complete fool of himself ….. total lack of fiscal cred ….. can’t do basic fact checking ….. doesn’t care that something he presents is false ……

    Such conclusions hardly warrant any context.

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 8, 2012 @ 11:00 pm - February 8, 2012

  22. You have fingers and a keyboard. I blogged on it, but the original post got fried when my server went down in 2009. But again, you have fingers. Look it up.

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 8, 2012 @ 11:48 pm - February 8, 2012

  23. The more I read that quote from Santorum, the more I scratch my head as if it indicts him of being anti-gay. He is clearly stating a principle. If you don’t like the principle, then it should be consistent. We have evolved to where adultery is no longer prosecuted except for one state where a spouse (usually the wife) can sue the third party; polygamy is ignored, but not recognized as a legal arrangement; and incest (it depends); and child molestation appears to not being taken seriously at our public schools. These have evolved hand in hand with increasing public acceptance of gays (if not gay marriage). Even now, LA County wants to regulate condom use of porn stars. THESE ARE CONSENTING ADULTS. Do we want to be consistent?

    Comment by anon243212 — February 9, 2012 @ 12:31 am - February 9, 2012

  24. And prevent people from throwing a football and having fun on a beach!!!

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 9, 2012 @ 12:56 am - February 9, 2012

  25. Hey, Sonic, I was thinking of using that link as a possible post. :-)

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — February 9, 2012 @ 1:01 am - February 9, 2012

  26. Santorum is not the ideal conservative, just the most conservative left in the race.
    RonPaul is also NOT a conservative, and outside his stupid acts of the past that may or may not be racist (if he wrote it, disqualified, if he let someone else write in his name and let it pass, Disqualified, if he really paid no attention at all to ‘his’ newsletter, also disqualified….leaving off the numerous pics of him and Stormfront’s founders side by side, he has given the racebaiting set more ammo than anyone since Byrd, and you know they will not ignore it in his case and all his excuses for these are just as disqualifying as if he is a racist S.O.B.) his idea of foreign policy is perhaps even more dangerous than 0bama’s…and that’s damned hard to do.
    Mitt and Newt are poor choices compared to Santorum(IMHO), and I really cannot get enthused over anyone left in the race.
    I’m getting more and more convinced the Stupid Party is going to manage to lose the easiest race they have had in years.

    My wishes in order of favourability are:
    Santorum
    Newt (a far second)
    Mitt (an even further back than Newt distance in third)
    and way out well past left field is RPaul who I don’t want near the office if at all possible unless it’s him or 0bama, then I’d really have to think about it….I’d almost go for 0bama and both houses Repub rather than trust RP and one or both houses Dem. and I really don’t trust Mitt and two dem houses.

    Comment by JP — February 9, 2012 @ 3:03 am - February 9, 2012

  27. Sonic,

    No problems here. You have reached a conclusion using the strongest of language. I don’t doubt your research.

    Now, just for clarity, could you do research that would likely cast the same strong damning language on others? Here is a test list:

    Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Rick Perry, Joe Biden, Michelle Bachmann, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Harry Reid, GW Bush, John F. Kerry, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Billy Graham, Oprah Winfrey, Sponge Bob, Mr. Rogers.

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 9, 2012 @ 8:21 am - February 9, 2012

  28. (Santorum) . . . stated that he believed mutually consenting adults do not have a constitutional right to privacy with respect to sexual acts.

    And he was absolutely correct about that.

    If you think he’s wrong, point to the part of the Constitution that establishes a right to privacy, and denies states the right to pass laws regulating private personal behavior.

    Comment by V the K — February 9, 2012 @ 9:26 am - February 9, 2012

  29. Now, just for clarity, could you do research that would likely cast the same strong damning language on others? Here is a test list:

    Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Rick Perry, Joe Biden, Michelle Bachmann, Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Harry Reid, GW Bush, John F. Kerry, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Billy Graham, Oprah Winfrey, Sponge Bob, Mr. Rogers.

    In the last seven plus years of blogging, I’ve been critical of all those, including some equally strong language, with the exception of Billy Graham, Sponge Bob, and Mr Rodgers.

    Oh, and you forgot Jerry Brown, who I called retarded. Yes, I went there, and got called out by one of Browns minions in the comments. They are a sensitive bunch.

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 9, 2012 @ 10:51 am - February 9, 2012

  30. Well, then, Sonic ….. is there anyone who can rise above your damning labeling and rise to the Presidency of the United States of America?

    If not, how do you reconcile backing off your damning labels and voting for one of these jokes? Or do you sit out the election and just take the role of critic?

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 9, 2012 @ 1:10 pm - February 9, 2012

  31. From Googling, I discovered a significant detail about the Lawrence v. Texas case that many people might be unaware of:

    At the time that Mr. Lawrence and his partner were arrested for having anal sodomy in the bedroom of a private residence, Texas law treated male homosexual sodomy (anal or oral) as a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of $200 — no jail time was possible. Prior to a revision of the Texas legal code in 1973, homosexual sodomy had been a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment, and a minimum of two years (for oral) and five years (for anal).

    Since Rick Santorum has said that he would have voted against the state anti-sodomy law, but would have supported the state’s right to enact an anti-sodomy law, I’m curious as to whether he actually knows what the Texas law was!

    I mean, would he personally vote against a state law that made sodomy a a mere misdemeanor with a $200 maximum penalty? If so, good to him for being laissez-faire on the matter of gay sex.

    Conversely, would he support a “state’s right” to imprison people for years and years because they’d engaged in consensual gay sodomy? If so, boo to him for his indifference to the 8th Amendment.

    (Incidentally, at the time Lawrence v. Texas was decided, Idaho law still allowed for consensual adult sodomy to be punished by a theoretical maximum of life imprisonment. From what I’ve been able to find on the Innerwebs, the state of Idaho had last imposed the life sentence circa 1950, in a sodomy case that involved an adult man fellating a 10-year-old boy — thus, there was a very clear statutory-rape angle as an aggravating factor. But even though sodomy in Idaho had not actually been punished with life in prison for a good half-century, the fact that Idaho still retained the nominal power to lock up active homosexuals and throw away the key means there was still a potential 8th Amendment question as late as 2003, when SCOTUS heard the Lawrence case.)

    Comment by Throbert McGee — February 9, 2012 @ 2:40 pm - February 9, 2012

  32. @Thorbert,

    I disagree with the courts on Lawrence, in much the same fashion that Sen Santorum does. Just because a state can do something doesn’t mean it should. But stupid laws should be repealed.

    It’s akin to Ohio’s smoking ban. It’s a stupid law, but I believe it to be constitutional (except apparently in California)

    Comment by The Livewire — February 9, 2012 @ 3:24 pm - February 9, 2012

  33. Well, then, Sonic ….. is there anyone who can rise above your damning labeling and rise to the Presidency of the United States of America?

    If not, how do you reconcile backing off your damning labels and voting for one of these jokes? Or do you sit out the election and just take the role of critic?

    It wouldn’t matter. Since I live in California, and I won’t vote for Obama, and he’s going to win this state even if he were to have a stroke and die tomorrow, my vote is meaningless.

    I’m not going to vote for one of these “jokes” as there are only two of those in the race at the moment, Santorum and Gingrich. Mitt almost makes the list,… No, screw it… It’s three… He’s also on the list. For all his faults, I back Ron Paul as he is the only fiscal conservative in the race. That said, if he were running, I would consider voting for Chris Christie. But, alas, depending on my mood, I will either write in Ron Paul, Paris Hilton, or newcomer to the scene, Vermin Supreme!!! (I wants my free pony).

    PS. If California were a swing state, and the contest were between Obama and Santorum????…… Crap… I dislike them both…. Still voting for Vermin Supreme!!! ;-)

    Comment by sonicfrog — February 9, 2012 @ 3:47 pm - February 9, 2012

  34. As much as I want Obama out of office, I will never, ever vote for Santorum. Not only is he homophobic and hateful, he wants to force his personal religious and moral views on the rest of us.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    I’ll hold my nose and hope the country doesn’t go under with another 4 years of the Current Occupant. I won’t vote for a Candidate Santorum.

    Comment by Peg — February 9, 2012 @ 4:14 pm - February 9, 2012

  35. Peg,

    How, pray tell, would the “homophobic and hateful” President Santorum, “force his personal religious and moral views on the rest of us?”

    Such hyperbole must be backed by something more than mere paranoia.

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 9, 2012 @ 4:31 pm - February 9, 2012

  36. you guys are so cool

    Comment by trailer park prophet — February 9, 2012 @ 7:16 pm - February 9, 2012

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