Will ‘man on dog’ bite Santorum?

by Gloria Feldt on January 6th, 2012
in Election Watch, General, Media, No Excuses, Political Strategy, Politico Arena, Politics, Women's Rights and tagged , , , , ,

For once I like title Arena gave to today’s question about whether Rick Santorum’s way out of the mainstream views about sex will get noticed after the media swarm in the wake of his IA caucus near-win. Please tell me you’ll help keep this buzz alive. Because in truth I don’t trust the press to keep shining a light on it–and there are devastating implications for women’s rights as well as gay rights if the public doesn’t know Santorum just how zealously would work to take them entirely away.

Rick Santorum (AP Photo/Bradley C Bower)Arena Asks: In a recent CNN interview, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum tried to put space between comments he made that appeared to equate homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality, Political Wire reports.

“In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing,” Santorum told the Associated Press during a 2003 interview. Santorum recently told CNN: “I didn’t connect them. I excluded them.”

Will these comments haunt Santorum on the campaign trail? Or will they be lost in the hubbub of the election cycle?

My Answer: Right now Rick Santorum is the Flavor of the Minute with the press. That’s the best thing that could possibly happen IF reporters keep on finding (which they will if they look) statements like his “man on dog” comparison to homosexuality. Santorum made that comparison, from which he is now trying to distance himself, in a slippery slope litany of what he speculates might happen if social definitions of marriage were to include the possibility of homosexual unions.

But he can’t distance himself from his repeated disdain for gays and lesbians let alone same sex marriage, IF the media keeps on doing its job. For example: “Is anyone saying same-sex couples can’t love each other? I love my children. I love my friends, my brother. Heck, I even love my mother-in-law. Should we call these relationships marriage, too?” (Santorum’s Philadelphia Inquirer column, May 22, 2008)

It will also become increasingly obvious that at the root of his opposition to marriage equality is medieval beliefs about the nature and purpose of human sexuality as anything other than procreative in the patriarchal position.

Santorum’s outrage about the Lawrence v Texas decision that struck down Texas’s anti-gay laws caused him to reveal his opposition to birth control too. Santorum said: “[If] the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home, you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery…It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold–Griswold was the contraceptive case–and abortion.” (AP interview, April 7, 2003)

He promises to go after contraception head-on if he were to become president: “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country…. Many of the Christian faith have said, well, that’s okay, contraception is okay. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” (Speaking with CaffeinatedThoughts.com, Oct. 18, 2011)

Peel back those retrograde ideas about sex and “how things are supposed to be” and you inevitably find misogyny deeply rooted in fundamentalist and traditional Catholic theology.

Santorum’s warped and bigoted ideas about sex and social policy will only be lost in the shuffle IF the press fails to do its job and keep reporting them after today’s Santorum media-feast is over. It’s a big “IF” and the future of many fundamental liberties depend on it.

Here’s the link to my original post on Politico

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

4 Responses to Will ‘man on dog’ bite Santorum?

  1. Mark says:

    Why does your link to Santorum’s May 22, 2008 column point to an interpretation of the column rather than the column itself?

    I would like to read the actual column, but I am having great difficulty locating it.

  2. Aletha says:

    Ironically, I found links to the original article on several sites, which all seem to point to the same article, but the link is broken. Perhaps the Philadelphia Inquirer was embarrassed by it. However, the Wayback Machine is your friend.

  3. Gloria Feldt says:

    Thanks for the link to the original source, Aletha. I have a great deal of on – paper documentation of Santorum and others in files under my bed (from when I was writing The War on Choice in the pre-google days) and you have saved me from having to dig them out ;-)

    Santorum has made so much anti-woman and homophobic commentary that really there is no argument about where he stands.his is a worldview straight out of the dark ages. It’s time to shed light on it and call it what it is. Perhaps the most damning thing about the Inquirer editorial, though,is the utter disrespect he exhibits for people whose worldview and moral principles differ from his. He mocks them, rather than engaging in serious debate.

  4. Aletha says:

    You did not know about the Wayback Machine? It does not archive everything, but it is a great resource for tracking down expired links. Santorum is such an embarrassment, it seems fitting that the Inquirer would make his column disappear while keeping alive the commentary you linked above. Fortunately I think he is a has-been. He has some following among Christian fundamentalists, and might make a decent showing in South Carolina, but if not, I would expect him to drop out of the race shortly thereafter.

    Santorum lost his Senate seat in 2006, soundly trounced by Bob Casey, one of the shining examples of the Democratic strategy of accommodating a big tent on the abortion issue. It was not as though only an opponent of abortion could win in Pennsylvania. Arlen Specter was extremely popular there, a pro-choice Republican who was in the Senate for thirty years.

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