Do Republicans stand with bigots?

Did you know that liberalism causes pederasty? I didn’t. Thank goodness that we have Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., to alert us to this political health hazard! From The Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, refused yesterday to back off on his earlier statements connecting Boston’s “liberalism” with the Roman Catholic Church pedophile scandal, saying that the city’s “sexual license” and “sexual freedom” nurtured an environment where sexual abuse would occur.

“The basic liberal attitude in that area . . . has an impact on people’s behavior,” Santorum said in an interview yesterday at the Capitol.

“If you have a world view that I’m describing [about Boston] . . . that affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way,” Santorum said.

Santorum, a leader among Christian conservatives, was responding to questions about remarks he made three years ago on a website called Catholic Online. In those comments, Santorum said, “It is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm” of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Say what?

“I was just saying that there’s an attitude that is very open to sexual freedom that is more predominant” in Boston, Santorum said yesterday. Reminded that the sexual abuse occurred across the country, Santorum said that “at the time [in 2002], there was an indication that there was more of a problem there” in Boston.

For those who haven’t heard Santorum, recall that he also linked homosexuality to bestiality and isn’t afraid to invoke Hitler analogies. From the same Globe article:

Santorum has startled Washington in the past. In a 2003 interview with the Associated Press, he linked “man on child” and “man on dog” sex with homosexuality, describing them as deviant behaviors that threatened traditional marriage. Earlier this year, he apologized for comparing the Democrats blocking President Bush’s judicial nominees to the Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.

At least he apologized for the Hitler reference. But liberalism = raping kids and homosexuality = bestiality? A-OK!

What wing of the Republican Party does this man represent?

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Lean Left’s KTK speculates that Santorum is just reaching out to the religious Republican base … which, as KTK notes, means that either Santorum actually believes this stuff or he’s just catering to the bigots in his own party. Neither thought is really appetizing.

Santorum is certainly free to spew his toxic rhetoric the body politic if he chooses to do so. The First Amendment makes no exception for politically odious speech. But that speech is still disturbing on several levels.

First, it’s disturbing that they would be uttered so publicly, and then reiterated in such a public forum. This indicates that Santorum’s brand of bigotry has become at least as socially acceptable as alcohol-induced vomiting at an undergraduate kegger. If Santorum’s attitudes are so socially acceptable, it says something about the depths of the American body politic … or at least the portion of the body politic that would claim Santorum.

Second, it is disturbing that these attitudes emanate not from a fetid ideological swamp like Free Republic, but from a man who is the third highest-ranking member of the Republican Senate majority. Not only that, but if Santorum retains his seat in the 2006 election, then may very well be the Republican Party’s standard-bearer in 2008.

Think about that. An unrepentant, reactionary bigot could become the face and voice fo the Republican Party. Troubling, no? At other times, I would dismiss Santorum as far-right wingnut of no great import, but his proximity to the leadership of the Republican Party requires that his words and actions be carefuly scrutinized.

And I know the perfect people to scrutinize them.

In my short tenure as a blogger, I have earned a reputation as a “reasonable” liberal because I have no truck with the Michael Moores of the Democratic Party. I am not shy about condemning fellow liberals who spew utterly ridiculous filth into the body politic.

Turnabout is fair play.

I want to hear from some reasonable Republicans, from some thinking conservatives. Does Senator Rick Santorum represent them? Are they willing to condemn his rhetorical excesses and the bigotry behind them? Will I hear or read about some Republican who is willing to say that Santorum is a bigot?

If not, I must draw one of two conclusions:

  1. That the “reasonable wing” of the Republican Party purposefully stands with bigots and tolerates Santorum’s insanity for the sake of political expediency; or,
  2. That the “reasonable wing” of the Republican Party actively endorses Santorum’s views.

I look forward to an answer.

Cross-posted from Pennywit.com, where Pennywit blogs regularly.

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