In an election year when pundits have gleefully abandoned the “S.S. Sanity” and candidates are being knocked off like Agatha Christie characters, one underdog has risen above the fracas to claim, at least statistically, the frontrunner position for the Republican nomination.
Richard “Rick” Santorum has exploited voter indifference toward the odd impression of a human called Mitt Romney, surging to a dead heat with the former Massachusetts governor. Newt Gingrich, per usual, is lingering past his expiration date but for all intents and purposes — forgive me, Ron Paul faithful — it has become a two-horse race.
This is good news for GOP bigwigs praying for a swift end before this mediocre crop of candidates inflicts further damage to the party’s brand. It’s great news for Santorum, who now must only defeat a man with all the substance of a marshmallow.
Let there be no mistake, though — Rick Santorum inching closer to the United States presidency is terrible news for everyone else.
The idea of a President Santorum that exists beyond Pat Roberton’s dreams is a small miracle.
Santorum was cozy in his role as the fringe candidate until every luminary the Republicans threw at Romney fell victim to the frontrunner’s “stay quiet and let these nuts screw up” strategy. By default, a kooky, sweater vest-clad afterthought was cast as the anti-Romney.
This is how we end up with a nominee for our nation’s highest office whose views would have been out of touch with the American people in 1970, much less the 21st century.
Outlandish claims? Don’t take my word for it. Santorum is more than happy to tell you what he believes.
“I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues,” Santorum said in an interview last October with Caffeinated Thoughts, an evangelical blog.
Santorum gets a bad rap for being something of a moral tightwad. Turns out he’s a big fan of sex — as long as it’s between two married, heterosexual adults for the sole purpose of procreation, and only if blindfolds are worn, shirts stay on and 10 Rosaries are recited immediately upon completion. That’s not too much to ask, right?
What Santorum most certainly does not approve of is contraception morally bankrupting our pure nation.
“One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is the dangers of contraception in this country,” Santorum said in the October interview. “It’s not OK. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”
Santorum believes contraception encourages immoral behavior, which makes sense because kids only think about sex because condoms are available.
As president, he would advocate allowing states to ban birth control. And why not? Giving them the right to choose abstinence-only education has worked out so well. Just look at Mississippi’s teen pregnancy rate.
Then there’s homosexuality. However you feel about gay marriage, the issue deserves a thoughtful public debate. This idea does not interest Santorum at all. Cue the tape.
“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality,” Santorum said in a 2003 interview with USA Today. “That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”
In Santorum’s mind, two men in love are on the same level with bestiality. Maybe he should be running for president of Iran instead.