How Sex Hijacked Election Talk
How has an election year that was supposed to be all about economic recovery suddenly become all about sex? Critics blame the media. They have a point. The media keep reporting what the candidates are saying.
When you have made social issues like abortion, gay marriage and reproductive rights your central issues, you should not be shocked that media cover them. Yet, when you look at the extreme positions into which social conservatives have pushed the
That became harder to do as this year's most decisive issue, the sluggish economy, has shown signs of improvement. Promising news like Friday's report that consumer confidence was up for the sixth straight month takes at least some of the steam out of Republican anger over President
What's troubling for many Republicans is how social issues of gay rights and reproductive rights have sprung up into the news at a time when public opinion, particularly among independent voters, is moving away from conservative positions on those old culture war issues.
In the months prior to the debate, Santorum said that, as president, he would talk about "the dangers of contraception in this country." He also gave a lawyerly response to the question of whether he thought states had the right to ban contraceptives. That response gave listeners the impression that he wanted states to do that -- and that he, as president, might ban contraceptives, too.
He has vehemently denied that, pointing out that, although he personally disapproves of contraceptives, he has voted in favor of them for others. As a firm supporter of access to contraceptives, as polls show most Americans are by a wide margin, I nevertheless will allow the former senator to have it both ways on that issue. By the same logic, I forgive liberal Democrats who deplore abortion personally but defend the right of others to choose.
I was further encouraged by Santorum's professed support for Title X, the federal program that provides contraceptive services for low-income women. In past statements and in his 2006 book, "It Takes a Family," Santorum touts his support for Title X.
This record offered him a convenient defense when he was embarrassed by his own mega-donor
But days after Santorum cited his support for Title X in a
In response to his rival Rep.
He was interrupted at that point by booing from the crowd and by frontrunner
"I think I was making it clear that," he sputtered somewhat defensively, "while I have a personal moral objection to it; even though I don't support it, that I voted for bills that included it. And I made it very clear in subsequent interviews that I don't -- I don't support that...."
More booing. In moments like that, Santorum's reputation for consistency was shattered up against the pragmatic realities of compromises that are a part of legislating. Unfortunately for him, they are the sort of retreats from principles and ideological purity that his party's populist tea party wing regularly condemns.
As long as the party's right wing seeks perfection in mere mortal politicians, they will be disappointed, especially when they're talking about matters as touchy as sex.
Read the latest political news.
- Stock Market Picks 90 Percent of Presidential Elections
- Twitter Mentality a Threat to America
- God and Caesar in America
- The God Gap
- When the Senate Worked
- The Congressional Thaw
- Failed Highway Bill Shows Just How Fanatical GOP Has Become
- Starving Public Universities Shrinks the Middle Class
- The GOP's Worst Week
- Why Marco Rubio Can't Save the GOP
- Third-Party Group Wants Internet to Pick Presidential Candidate
- Buddy Roemer to Seek Third-Party Presidential Nomination
- Debt, Baby, Debt: America's Newest Voting Bloc
- GOP Candidates Could All Add to Federal Deficit
- Who is the True GOP Conservative?
- Rick Santorum: The GOP's Unelectable Soul Mate
- Getting to Know Them
- No Republican Middle
- Note to GOP Field: Braggadocio Is Not Leadership
- Rick Santorum Repulses Independent and Moderate Voters
- What Rick Santorum Has Been Saying, And 'Not Saying'
- Only Santorum Addresses Values Issues that Concern Voters
- Rick Santorum Appeals to Only a Minority of Voters
- Mitt Romney Is More Electable, But Needs to Clean Up Campaign
- Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum Disappoint Conservatives
- Mitt Romney Can't Be Trusted So Rick Santorum Is More Electable
- Romney's Arizona Law 'Model' Would Hurt All Immigrants
- The Manufacturing Myth
- GOP Candidates Revive Bush Pre-emption Doctrine
- The Tricky Politics of the Auto Bailout
- Protesting Today's Threat to Voting Rights
- Turning a Blind Eye to Government Benefits
- Obama Fights Back on GOP Gas-Price Attacks
- How Sex Hijacked Election Talk
- Rick Santorum's Reverse Snobbery
- Mr. Right Eludes the GOP
- Latino Voters to Candidates: What Are We, Chopped Chorizo?
- Lack of Enthusiasm Isn't Just a GOP Problem
- A Brokered GOP Convention?
- Obama's Cynicism for Me, Not for Thee
- Brash Limbaugh
- The Supreme Court: Politicizing Justice
- Muddying the Playing Field
- National Deficit Result of Wars and Bush Tax Cuts
- Five Ways to Spin Obama Tax Plan
- Social Issues Bring in Popular Vote for Republicans
- Republicans Can Win on Economic Issues, Not a Culture War
- Social Issues Are at the Core of Our Problems
- Republicans Should Focus on the Economy
- GOP Needs to Rethink Positions on Economy, Foreign Policy
- Republican Mean Streak Could Leave GOP Out in the Cold
- Extra Dollars You're Paying At Pump Going To Wall Street Speculators
- A Farewell to Fossil Fuels
- United States Can't Control the World Oil Market
- The Future of U.S. - Chinese Relations
- If American Manufacturers Keep Jobs, So Does Obama
- GOP Will Lose in 2012 if Social Issues Take Center Stage
- Why Looks Are Everything in a Presidential Election
- Swing Voters Need a Champion
- Good Businessmen Rarely Make Good Presidents
- Un-Presidential Primaries
- Inside Rick Santorum's Head
- Improving Economy Driving Independents Back to Obama
How Sex Hijacked Election Talk | Politics
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services