So Rick Santorum is apparently sitting down for an interview for The Rachel Maddow Show.
Any normal election cycle, this would be practically unthinkable. While The Rachel Maddow Show has a habit of reaching out to members of the GOP and has been quite fair to those who appear on the program (it definitely isn’t equivalent to a progressive appearing on The O’Reilly Factor just to be yelled over and cut off), she is not going to just serve up softball questions to Santorum. Other than agreeing that Fox News is wielding to much power over the GOP field of Presidential candidates with their 10 person debate limit, Rick and Rachel have very little in common politically to put it as mildly as possible. Rarely will I make this statement, but tonight’s interview is truly must-see-TV. Or at least a must-hear podcast.
So why is Mr. Google Problem himself not only going on a progressive show, but on a progressive show hosted by an openly gay anchor?* One has to assume that Fox News, and its field-narrowing 10 man (and with Carly Fiorina’s current numbers it will be only men) limit, based on national polls, for the all important first candidate debate has something to do with it. While candidates left out of the Fox News debate will no doubt spin it as a non-fatal setback, the truth is those not on the stage are not going to be seen as serious candidates afterwards. Barring the miraculous, being shut out of the debate will effectively end the campaigns of candidates already desperately trying to be noticed in the current sea, 16 announced as of today, of contenders. The process of weeding out the field has been the job, in previous cycles, of the states with early caucuses and primaries. While this process has its own issues (as a voter in Pennsylvania my primary vote is nothing but a rubber stamp or a hollow protest, the national candidate almost certainly already having been chosen by our election day), many still find it preferable to having the field whittled down on the whims of a television network. Adding to the sense of outrage many feel is the fact that with this many candidates at this stage of the election cycle, national polls are in large part just a name recognition competition with practically the entire field within the margin of error of each other. In a poll with a margin of error of +/- 5%, what is the statistical significance of a separation of .2 or .4 of a percent? Is that really what we want deciding who is allowed to run for President?
So with the date of the first debate rapidly approaching (for real, is there any other country that’s election cycle is over a year?) and practically meaningless national polling numbers suddenly all-important, expect to see all of the GOP presidential candidates, at least those without a safe spot on the debate stage, doing anything to make news, get attention, draw eyes, and hopefully move those polls the fraction of a percent the means everything. Rachel may ask Rick some uncomfortable questions tonight, and she may draw out answers that further infuriate moderates and progressive alike, but those groups don’t chose the GOP candidate. When it comes to the actual primaries, Santorum knows that his extreme positions and statements hit a chord with the fringe conservatives who vote en masse in GOP primaries. After all, it was just last cycle that he finished second to Romney, and Trump’s poll numbers seem to indicate that, if anything, the “base” has become more conservative. As long as he’s on that stage, he knows he has a chance. Its just cracking the top ten, getting his name out there, moving those numbers. This interview is much more likely to nudge the polls than mentioning Brad Pitt in e-mail spam. Well played, Rick.
In honor of tonight’s impending interview ( I seriously can not wait. I just don’t even know what to expect. It will probably be a really civil and professional interview, but damn, imagine how his base would love it if he dropped some homosexuality-and-contraception-causes-dog-fucking bigotry in her lap? Talk about guaranteed top ten status…), here are a couple of recent Rick “What’s that on the sheets?” Santorum nuggets of “Wait, What?!?”
“When we as a society allow for the dehumanization of any of our community, then we lead to this type of genocide and it leads to even more, as you see, more horrible — and an insensitivity to the dignity of lives and respect for that life,” Santorum said. “I think Planned Parenthood is a cancer in this country, something that the federal government should not have anything to participate with.”
Rick, come on now, don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think about Planned Parenthood. And dammit anti-abortion activists, you can make whatever moral, ethical case you want against abortion, but it is not genocide and it makes you look batshit when you make the claim.
I will close the post with a consequence of marriage equality that no one even considered. I hope us non-bigots are happy now, with the chaos we’ve inflicted on schools that exist only in imaginations fueled by homophobia. Damn us.
“I know in the schools in Massachusetts, in the grade school, they teach — there are books in place that say ‘Suzy has two moms,’ it’s okay to put a book that says ‘Suzy has two moms’ but you can’t put a book in there saying that moms and dads and marriage is important and tell people how important it is to be married before you have children, then you’re moralizing,” Santorum said. “It’s okay to say, ‘Suzy has two moms’ or ‘Johnny has two dads,” but you can’t say that marriage is an important part of having a stable and healthy economy.”
* I admit, I had a bit of trouble typing that because honestly, a host’s sexual orientation shouldn’t matter one way or the other, let alone even be anyone’s business, yet it seems relevant in this case due to Santorum’s, if not outright homophobia, public positions in opposition to the GLBTQ community.