I've been racking my brain trying to think of a non-partisan-ish, less vitriolic, more objective way to make the observation that Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is a douchebag. But since Ricky has recently set new world records in the fine art of douchebaggery, I am at a loss.
You know how I know Rick Santorum's gone over the line? Because Bill O'Reilly said so. When the nutbags start calling the more severe nutbags on their nutbaggery -- or douchebaggery, if you prefer -- that's when we start separating the mere nutbags from the complete douchebags.
O'Reilly was talking on his radio show about Santorum's opinion piece published for the Web site Catholics Online. In that 2002 piece, Santorum discusses the Catholic Church child-molestation scandal and writes, "[W]hile it is no excuse for the scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm."
Ricky has tried to backtrack and spin his way out of blaming liberals for child-molesting priests, but he wrote what he wrote. First Karl Rove blames liberals for allegedly offering "therapy" to Al Qaeda, now we hear that Rick Santorum says liberalism provides an atmosphere in which child molestation is acceptable. It's not only outrageously idiotic and offensive, it's the kind of thing that's going to make people think twice about what goes on between those senatorial ears. Or as Bill O'Reilly put it, if Rick doesn't spin his way out of this one, he's "going to lose the election in Pennsylvania because people will think he's a nut."
I don't doubt that Democrats have resurrected this 2002 article to make political hay with the '06 election fast approaching. That doesn't take away from the absurdity of the argument, which even O'Reilly gets. "I don't believe any priest committed child abuse because of liberalism," he intoned. "I believe these are evil people down the line. You have to be very precise in your criticism, and [Santorum] was not."
Only in Rick Santorum's mind does homosexuality equate to bestiality. Only in Rick Santorum's mind do two consenting same-sex adults sleeping together in Texas equate to an atmosphere that would permit child molestation. Only in Rick Santorum's mind does a priest think to himself, "You know, those Harvard professors sure are liberal, and you've got all those peaceniks marching around, so I think I'll pick me out a choice child and trip the light fantastic, if ya know what I mean."
Like most conservatives, Rick wants to turn back the clock to an imagined time of order and bliss that never really existed, except when Beaver and Wally went over to Lumpy's house. Even then, it was over in 30 minutes. The senator wrote a book called It Takes A Family: Conservatism and the Common Good, a not-so-thinly veiled response to Sen. Hillary Clinton's It Takes A Village.
Why conservatives are so offended by Hillary's notion that parents can get help from teachers and neighbors and all sorts of folk to raise their kids is beyond me.
Santorum counters that in families where both parents work for a living, "[I]f they really took an honest look at the budget, they might find they both don't need to." Sure, maybe they could scrape by ... if they're not worried about sending their kids to college or buying them a bicycle or having some money for a rainy day. It's ridiculously presumptuous of him to assume that people don't really need to work, and to blame "radical feminists" for teaching women they should.
Did it ever occur to him that maybe the family needs the damn cash?
When you're a U.S. Senator, if you don't have big bucks (and Rick doesn't) but do have six kids (Rick does), you might be aware of what a tight budget is like. But you always know there's a light at the end of the tunnel when you're out of politics: You can start raking in the dough for speech-making or lobbying or sitting on corporate boards or whatever. The sky's the limit. This is not an option for the great majority of working families in America.
Or, put more succinctly, what a douchebag.