March 16, 2012

More on Santorum Porn Gate

Stacy McCain emailed a response to my post on Santorum's crusade against porn. You can view his post here.

Let me just note why I think he has this wrong and why I don't think the Daily Caller wasn't being unfair to Santorum. I think McCain makes two good points, but which miss the mark.

1) He notes that both Gingrich and Romney have made similar comments and/or pledges to "enforce present laws against obscenity".

So, he takes this as a double standard being imposed against Santorum: namely, that all three candidates share the same view on enforcing laws against obscenity.

But look closely at the policy statements of Romney and Gingrich vs. Santorum's. Romney's statement focuses on increased parental responsibilities and the "promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography.” Gingrich's response was a one liner, “Yes, I will appoint an Attorney General who will enforce these laws.”

They bare little resemblance to Santorum's focus on prohibiting the "distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier.”

Romney and Gingrich understand that this just isn't a big issue. And that to the extent that it is, it's not something worth putting on their websites as a policy statement. It just doesn't merit the attention.

McCain tries to downplay this by saying that Santorum's policy statement on pornography is merely one of two dozen policy statement on his website.

So, you're saying that internet pornography is one of the top 25 issues our nation faces? I'm sorry, it isn't.

Maybe if we had a list of 1,000 issues that merited our attention, it might make that list. But top 25?

Umm, no.

Moreover, Romney and Gingrich were responding to a question posed to them. They didn't initiate a policy statement.

Clearly, Santorum and his campaign think this is an issue worthy of the candidates time. The other two? Not so much.

2) The second objection, as I take it, is that The Daily Caller was making this an issue now when the policy statement has been at Santorum's website for some time says something about their motivations.

Possibly. But the last time I checked Tucker Carlson wasn't in the bag for Mitt Romney, he was in the bag for Ron Paul. I'm not sure how this helps Ron Paul. Nothing can help Ron Paul.

The real explanation here, I think, is that nobody really took Santorum's presidential bid that seriously until recently. That is, he hasn't been vetted like the two other candidates have.

As I wrote two days ago:

The only reason Santorum polls so well against Obama is that most people don't know him. Of the three major candidates he's the least well known.

Romney is a known factor because he's been running for President for four years now. In addition, he's the front runner so he's garnered more attention than all the other candidates.

Gingrich is known because he was Speaker of the House.

Santorum? Outside a very narrow national constituency of pro-life activists, he's a mystery to most. Ambiguity is a good thing for candidates as it allows people to project their own attitudes on the politician.

But it won't last. As Santorum solidifies his claim that he's the only legitimate challenger to Romney, people will begin to get to know him.

And if he wins the nomination, do not think the MSM will allow him to remain out of the spotlight as they did with Obama. Santorum will be vetted. And when he is, many are not going to like what they see.

I'm wrong sometimes. I hope that I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong.

But on this? No, I think I have this one right.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:57 AM | Comments |