Thursday, January 05, 2012

He Wants To Talk Sex

Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh pretended "now the long knives are out for Santorum; and I guarantee you: The fact that the media and the Democrats are trying to associate Santorum with "big government" is an indication of something very important."    He charged

Big government is being misused here when applied to Santorum. Big government as it's used today means welfare state, and Santorum does not believe in a welfare state. So the left is playing a rhetorical game here, folks, and I want to alert you to this. "Big government" has a specific meaning today, and it means welfare state. It means redistribution. It means high taxes. It means command-and-control of the economy. And that's not what Santorum believes. So the left knows that "big government" is a negative. It is a harmful term to attach to somebody, and that's why they're trying to attach it to Santorum. But Rick Santorum does not believe in the big government of Barack Obama. It's totally different thing for him.

Leave aside Limbaugh's presumably ignorant remark "the long knives are out for Santorum."        Democrats (including the Obama administration) believe that Mitt Romney will be the GOP presidential nominee and thus are attacking him, primarily.  Santorum may as well be a gnat- annoying, but (figuratively) dead soon.     And if that vast liberal conspiracy Rush imagines is portraying the former Pennsylvania senator and (while he was Pennsylvania senator) Virginia resident as a supporter of "big government," it would not be to denigrate, but rather legitimate, him.

But the bigoted bombastic blowhard is not the issue.       And neither is his charge "big government as it's used today means welfare state."      It may be to Limbaugh and to his dittoheads, with their eyes closed and fingers set firmly in their ears, so as not to see or hear anything that might upset their worldview.        But big government actually is, well, big government.

On caucus day, Santorum was interviewed by Jake Tapper of ABC News and reiterated his opposition to Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the U.S. Supreme Court in 1965 struck down a state law banning use of contraceptives by married couples.        He couched his enthusiasm in the concept of states' rights, maintaining

The state has a right to do that, I have never questioned that the state has a right to do that. It is not a constitutional right, the state has the right to pass whatever statues they have.  That is the thing I have said about the activism of the Supreme Court, they are creating rights, and they should be left up to the people to decide.

You shouldn’t create constitutional rights when states do dumb things.      Let the people decide if the states are doing dumb things get rid of the legislature and replace them as opposed to creating constitutional laws that have consequences that were before them.

Though Santorum, eager to pretend he is not a moral scold, this time referred to "dumb things," words come back to haunt.     Interviewed in 2003, he explained that he supported the position of the state of Texas in Lawrence, in which the Court went on to strike down the Texas law banning gay sexual behavior.     Two men had been arrested and convicted of committing "deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex (man)"  in their own home.       Santorum told the Associated Press reporter  

We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And 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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does.

Those laws, Santorum clearly believed (believes), are "there for a purpose," ostensibly because those sexual acts "undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family" and "undermine the fabric of our society."

Santorum's support for a government ban in one's home of behavior of which he disapproves extends beyond homosexuality.       He  asserted "I have no problem with homosexuality.   I have a problem with homosexual acts.      As I would with acts of other, what I would consider to be, acts outside of traditional heterosexual relationships. And that includes a variety of different acts, not just homosexual."

These were not preferences expressed in 2003 by a philosophical theorist, constitutional lawyer, or Freddie Mac historian.      They were uttered then by a United States Senator who apparently was unconcerned that they would be considered extremist by a majority of citizens, given that most Pennsylvanians are not favorably disposed to a Western equivalent of Sharia law.

Such issues are not for the squeamish.   But Santorum himself, in a recent interview (video, here) with of Shane Vander Hart of, stated (at approximately 17:48)  “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.... 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."  

Unfortunately, ex-Senator Santorum was not asked in 2003 by the AP what the "variety of different acts" would entail, include or exclude.       But now that he is the second leading contender for his party's presidential nomination, it's time to have that conversation he is inviting and determine for ourselves whether the expansion of state power he contemplates fairly defines "big government" and vastly exceeds what most Americans have ever envisaged.

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