The problem with a Santorum spoiler 

Instead of cheering on a weak candidate, it’s better to vote responsibly

"It all comes down to sex. ... Woodstock is the great American orgy. ... One thing I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not OK." 

—Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum

 

Believe it or not, those are recent, real remarks from one of the two top candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, a former senator unhealthily obsessed with sex, a man who was, six years ago, thrown out of office by the voters in his own state.

Rick Santorum seems to be some sort of deeply messed-up, pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic. Forget abortion as a litmus test. He is not only against that; he's against contraception. He thinks a long-ago U.S. Supreme Court decision saying birth control was a right was decided wrongly, and would apparently ignore it.

He says he believes the states should have the right to outlaw birth control, and would encourage them to do so. 

Essentially, he is as far removed from mainstream America as the handful of Maoist nuts in the Revolutionary Communist Party. Naturally, there is a great temptation by liberals and Democrats to hope (please, God, please!) that he becomes the GOP nominee.

I know some of them, from university deans to lawyers in the Upper Peninsula, who gleefully voted for Mullah Rick in the Republican presidential primary last week. They assume that with Santorum as the nominee, the party would lose in a landslide. Joe Nocera, a fairly conservative columnist for The New York Times, wrote that he is openly rooting for the little man from Pennsylvania.

His reason is different, however. Nocera thinks the landslide defeat Santorum would suffer is just what the Republican Party needs to sober up — and to throw off the tyranny of the religious fanatics and right-wing nuts who now dominate the party at every level.

Nocera believes that if Santorum were to lose badly, "The party will no longer be able to delude itself about where its ideological rigidity has taken it," and will become more moderate.

Whereas, if Mitt Romney were to become the nominee and lose, "the extremists who have taken over the party will surely say the problem was Romney's lack of ideological purity."

All that may make sense on paper. But I don't buy it, for a number of reasons. First of all, the power of the presidency is so vast that you never want to risk having someone unacceptable as one of the two major party nominees. 

I remember being at the 1980 Republican Convention. Ronald Reagan had just been nominated, and the majority of the national press saw him as a certain loser. They knew America was not going to vote for an old, right-wing B-movie actor. Except then the nation suddenly got sick of Jimmy Carter, and decided Reagan's simplistic rhetoric was charming. Santorum is much scarier than Reagan, who didn't really care about social issues. 

What if he is nominated ... and the country goes into another downturn, or two weeks before the election, the president has a heart attack or a stroke? Even if that doesn't happen, and Santorum were to be smeared, there's no reason to believe this would start the Republicans back toward moderation.

Barry Goldwater lost badly too, in 1964. But that campaign converted the Deep South to a Republican region, and made the GOP safe for racists, where many have remained since.

No. Trying to help Rick Santorum win anything is the height of irresponsibility for anyone who believes in personal freedom and rational thought. Once, when Adlai Stevenson was running for president, an admiring lady supposedly gushed something like, "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person."

Adlai told her, "That's not enough; we need a majority." He knew what he was talking about; he never came close to winning.

 

The unmaking of a pig: Way back in the '60s, when people were in power who weren't afraid to call themselves liberals, there was one right-wing media star: William F. Buckley Jr. 

He was witty, fascinating, well-educated and highly effective in print, on his TV show Firing Line, or making a speech. True, he was a total snob and somewhere to the right of Louis XVI.

But he was often worth paying attention to. Contrast that to the dominant right-wing media voice for the last two decades: The brawling, nastily ignorant, and usually grossly fat Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh, who flunked out of a ninth-rate college, has made millions by spewing racist and sexist rhetoric to millions of listeners. He has cruelly mocked everyone from the homeless to those dying of AIDS, and for some baffling reason, has gotten away with it.

Now, however, he may finally have gone too far. Last Wednesday, he identified Sandra Fluke, a courageous young law student, as a "slut" and a "prostitute" who "essentially says she must be paid [by the government] to have sex."

The truth was this. Fluke testified before Congress, encouraging representatives to require health care plans to cover contraception. For months, conservatives have been selling the big lie that President Obama's health care plan is "limiting religious freedom" by requiring employers to provide access to health care plans that include coverage for contraception.

Actually, the government plan promotes religious freedom. Nobody is making anybody practice contraception. Instead, those who are against requiring plans to cover birth control are attempting to force their views on others.

But that's not what they want you to believe. Limbaugh, an admitted prescription drug abuser who has been divorced three times and once had illegal Viagra seized from his luggage, set a new slimeball record.

To his national Clear Channel audience, Limbaugh claimed that she "admits to having so much sex that she can't afford it anymore." Then, in an aside that says everything, he added "if we are going to pay for your contraceptives, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

In fact, Fluke was motivated in part by a friend who lost an ovary because of cysts that could have been treated with birth control pills, if she could have gotten them.

Afterward, even Speaker of the House John Boehner, a Republican, said Rush had gone too far. The best thing was the reaction of America's women, who, rather than get down in the slime with the scumbag, began hitting him where it hurt — going after his advertisers.

By the end of last week, Quicken Loans had suspended advertising on his program. Several other advertisers did the same. Rush was then pressured into a weasel-like phony apology, in which he said he was "sincerely" sorry about his choice of words. But then he repeated his rant about "recreational sexual activities."

The people who run Clear Channel, the largest chain of radio stations in the nation, care about one thing: money. 

But it is vitally important to keep the pressure up. Figure out who keeps this creature in business polluting the airwaves, and let them know they are losing your business. 

Sandra Fluke has clear grounds to sue the big fat idiot and his employer. By the way, what did our hero, Rick Santorum have to say about this? Just this: "You know, an entertainer can be absurd."

We know, Rick. We've been watching you.

More by Jack Lessenberry

Best Things to Do In Detroit

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2016 Detroit Metro Times

Website powered by Foundation