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How Far Out of the Mainstream Can You Get?

In the Iowa Caucuses on Tuesday, Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of winning. 8 votes.

Why is this amazing? Because it shows how completely and totally out of the mainstream the Republican party has become. Either that, or the state of Iowa just went insane.

Santorum is about as extreme as you can get as a religious conservative. He isn’t against just run-of-the-mill things like gay marriage or abortion, Santorum wants to make contraception illegal. He has repeatedly spoken out against the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down bans on discussing or providing contraception to married couples. He is against the right to privacy, the right that keeps police from searching your bedroom looking for condoms.

How out of the mainstream is this? Virtually all women of childbearing age (more than 99%) have used some kind of contraception, which Santorum wants to make illegal. That would make criminals out of half of America.

That’s crazy. Even worse, if contraception were illegal, abortions would increase dramatically, as would teen pregnancies and other unintended pregnancies. In fact, according to a survey done last year, 82% of Americans want to increase access to contraception for women who cannot afford it. Santorum wants to ban all government funding of contraception.

Less than 3 months ago in an interview talking about contraception, Santorum promised that “all those issues are going to be front and center with me. I know most presidents don’t talk about these things and maybe people don’t want us to talk about these things. But … these are important public policy issues.” Not jobs. Not the economy. Not terrorism. This is what the person who came within 8 votes of winning the Iowa caucuses wants the government to focus on.

Some people may say that those people in Iowa voted for Santorum only because he was the flavor of the week, and he wasn’t Mitt Romney. And now that attention is being focused on the new kid on the block he will quickly burn out, just like Gingrich, Cain, Perry, Trump, Bachmann, and others before him did. If that’s true that people voted for Santorum even though they had little idea what he stands for, then we need to rethink the whole nominating process.

© Bill Day

UPDATE: In this post I focused on Santorum’s position on contraception, but he has plenty of other issues that put him outside the mainstream. He also wants to ban all pornography.



  1. TJ wrote:

    We need to rethink the whole nominating process whether or not Santorum flames out.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:09 am | Permalink
  2. Arthanyel wrote:

    Alternative Voting, National Popular Vote, and Open Primaries 🙂

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 1:56 am | Permalink
  3. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    Not sure if you saw but Santorum made an odd comment.

    “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

    84% of Iowans on food stamps are white.

    Initially, when asked about it, he said that he didn’t know the context of his own quote. But on Bill O’Reilly, he finally did it: he said that he never said it.

    “If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of — blah — came out. And people said I said ‘black.’ I didn’t.”

    In the video it looks like he does struggle with it, but what he’s saying doesn’t make sense. I’ve never hunted for a word in my life and ended up saying “blah” mid-sentence like it was a word.

    But what is really funny is his next defense:

    “And I can tell you, I don’t use — I don’t — first off, I don’t use the term ‘black’ very often. I use the term ‘African-American’ more than I use ‘black,” Santorum said. “I can tell you as someone who did more work for historically black colleges, I used to have — every year, I used to bring all the historically black colleges into Washington, DC to try to help them, because they get very little federal money through the bureaucracy, and so I help to try to introduce them to people in the Department of Education so they could have more resources.”

    See, he actually uses the word African American more than he uses the word black. Except, you know, in the sentence that immediately followed.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    Imagine president Santorum standing next to your bed making sure no body does coitus interruptus method (Withdrawal). But this would create lot of government funded jobs. For every date you get, a government inspector would accompany you.

    Ok I wanted to be funny, but sometimes things are so stupid, its hard to make jokes even.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink
  5. Jeff wrote:

    Unfortunately, Santorum appeals to the majority of conservative Republicans. The cons break into two groups: a small group of fiscally conservative wealthy Americans, and a huge group of socially conservative poor Americans. Most GOP candidates have to favor both groups with their policies. But Santorum is unique; his entire campaign is based around getting those poor social conservatives to vote for him. They don’t care if he’s a nut, or if his policies are impossible or self-destructive for the nation, he’s saying all the right things to stoke that conservative (f)ire, and he will likely do well for himself. After all, no one can claim he’s too liberal for the base.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    From what I can tell, Santorum may be a social conservative, but he is a fiscal drunken sailor. He even said he was “proud” of the earmarks he engineered as senator of Pennsylvania. Not to mention how he wants to expand the role of government (and pay for all those contraception inspectors!).

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  7. IL-08 wrote:

    Clearly it is the time for Palin to return!!

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink
  8. Michael wrote:

    In frothy Rick’s defense (not sure where I heard it, but I love the name…), his quotes do not explicitly state that he is trying to make contraception illegal. Rather, he is making a case for state’s rights: “The state has a right to [make contraception illegal], 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 statu[t]es they have.” It’s pretty clear that he would vote for a state law banning contraception, but follows it up with saying that voters would then be free to kick him out of office for it. Would he, as President, have the authority to make contraception illegal or would he push Congress for such legislation? No. He would, however, push for removing all public funding of contraception, which many people (especially older conservatives) would vote for, because our society is stupidly puritanical and we can’t have a real conversation about sex.

    Having said that, his argument is crap. State legislatures tend to be more conservative than the mainstream (partially because young voters, who tend to be more liberal, don’t follow state and local politics) and pass stupid laws that the federal government must then spend time and money overturning because they do a demonstrable harm to individuals’ rights. And he knows that.

    When I was reading those articles, though, the point that really pissed me off was this: Interviewer: “…some article that you wrote blaming […] blaming in part the Catholic Church scandal on liberalism. Can you explain that?” Frothy Rick: “[blather about moral relativism…] In this case, what we’re talking about, basically, is priests who were having sexual relations with post-pubescent men. We’re not talking about priests with 3-year-olds, or 5-year-olds. We’re talking about a basic homosexual relationship.”


    (Apologies for the language, but this whitewashing disgusts me beyond control…)

    According to the John Jay Study, which can be found on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops web site (, “Most sexual abuse victims of priests (51 percent) were between the ages of eleven and fourteen, while 27 percent were fifteen to seventeen, 16 percent were eight to ten, and nearly 6 percent were under age seven.” Considering the average age of pubescence for males is 13, that means nearly 73 percent of the 10,667 documented cases of abuse–7,787 cases, to be precise–involved sexual relations with children who were either pre-pubescent or right at puberty.

    To suggest that these cases of abuse are “basic homesexual relationships” with “post-pubescent men” is so unbelievably beyond the pale that frothy Rick needs to be called out on this every time he makes the suggestion. And it pisses me off that this Associated Press interviewer completely dropped the ball.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink
  9. Sammy wrote:

    All I have to say is, Thank you Michael. That was awesome.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  10. BTN wrote:

    Michael, I think that you are being too generous with definitions:

    (1) pre-pubescent boys: males aged <13
    (2) post-pubescent boys: males aged 13-17
    (3) post-pubescent men: males aged 18+

    Th whole reason it was a scandal was that 100% of the victims in the study were children, not men. Blaming any of this on liberals (even if he got his facts right) would be the same as blaming conservatives for abuses between male adults and underage girls.

    Friday, January 6, 2012 at 1:38 am | Permalink
  11. Michael wrote:

    BTN, you’re right, but it was done intentionally. I wanted to avoid the (bogus) quibbling about sexually active teenagers and how some cultures have different views on when one is an adult (e.g., Bar Mitzvah). I did not mean to slight the abuse of those children at all, because it was abuse and they will suffer life-long harm from it. I simply wished to emphasize just how young many of these abused children were and just how much of a lie his statement was.

    Friday, January 6, 2012 at 8:54 am | Permalink

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