Eleanor Clift (newsweek.com) on why Santorum is in no jeopardy of being Lotted (I hope I’ve just coined that).
The base [of the Republican party] identifies with Santorum. He’s their champion. At the first hint of controversy, powerful figures on the right flooded the White House with calls warning “not to walk away from Rick.”
The White House is behind Santorum. More than anybody in the leadership, he’s their guy. Hardcore and ambitious, he goes to the wall for every Bush initiative and for every right-wing cause. He’s leading the party’s fight against reproductive cloning and stem-cell research, and is working to pass an exclusion to allow faith-based groups that receive federal money to practice discrimination in hiring that would otherwise be illegal.
Bush knows that to break with Santorum would cost him dearly with his conservative base. Asked for Bush’s reaction to Santorum’s broadside against gays, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer reached new heights of verbal gymnastics. He said the president doesn’t typically comment on Supreme Court cases. When the reporter pointed out that Bush had spoken out quite a lot about the Michigan affirmative-action case currently before the court, Fleischer said, “That’s why I said–typically.” Fleischer did say, though, that the president thinks Santorum is “an inclusive man.” When it comes to entertainment, Fleischer is on his way to matching the Iraqi information minister.
Again with the “inclusive” label, first from Frist and now from Bush via Fleischer. How much clearer can the Republicans be on just what they really think about gay people? We’re so far outside that tent that someone who unabashedly and unapologetically spews hateful nonsense implying that we are the equivalent of child molesters can be hailed as a paragon of inclusiveness. This is the true face, not just of Rick Santorum, but of George Bush and his compassionate conservatism.
What Fleischer said:
But the president believes that the senator is an inclusive man. … The president has confidence in Senator Santorum and thinks he’s doing a good job as senator–including in his leadership post.
Are we surprised that this is the definition of “inclusive” propounded by Mr. Bush? When governor of Texas, he said he would veto any attempt to overturn the state’s sodomy law–the very case before the Supreme Court now that has loosened Santorum’s lips… I’d have liked to have said “that has gotten Santorum in trouble,” but it’s clear that he won’t get into trouble just for bashing us queers–calling the sodomy law “a symbolic gesture of traditional values.”
Ah, thanks to Andrew Sullivan’s blog for pointing me to today’s Chicago Sun-Times editorial. Here’s perhaps the best line I’ve seen so far in the debate over Santorum:
And one last point. How can we have any hope of creating a democratic government in Iraq free from domination by repressive religion if we cannot free our own laws of official faith-based biases inflicted on our fellow citizens?
And here’s one of Sullivan’s thoughts about Mr. Bush’s statement today about the “inclusive” Mr. Santorum:
It hurts me to say this, Mr President, but your statement today has just made matters far worse. Senator Santorum believes that gay people should be subject to criminal prosecution for their private, adult consensual relationships. He has equated homosexuality with the abuse of minors. He has associated homosexual relationships with bestiality. If that is an example of “inclusiveness,” then what would exclusiveness be? For the president to call the criminalization of an entire group of people the position of an “inclusive man” leaves me simply speechless. It indicates that the White House still doesn’t understand the damage that this incident is doing, the fact that it is beginning to make it simply impossible for gay people and their families–or any tolerant person–to vote for the president’s party.
Well, I never imagined that the conservative Sullivan and I–cute though Andrew may be–would be bedfellows, but there you have it. Oops… is that the police I hear knocking at the door?