Some Things Just Cannot Be Done
The recent furor over the comments of Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum have lead to rather substantial criticism of Mr. Santorum. There is good reason for this, as Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker explains.
It is easy to pound Santorum, and no one makes it easier than Santorum himself. Nevermind that he invokes Satan, claiming that the “Father of Lies” has his sights on the
United States, as Santorum did in 2008 at Ave Maria University in . He has never met a question he wouldn’t answer or a combatant he wouldn’t engage. Florida
But Ms. Parker, is a Conservative and like all Conservatives she feels the problem is just that the national press mis-understands what Mr. Santorum is saying, particular with respect to whether or not a state government may ban all forms of birth control.
Thus, when a reporter asks whether he thinks states should be able to ban birth control, Santorum says yes, but . . .
HEADLINE!!! “Santorum says states should be able to ban birth control!!!”
Except that’s not what he meant, nor is it what he intends.
Well if that is not what he means, what does he mean. Here is Ms. Parker’s explanation.
Santorum was expressing a legal opinion, and his answer was within the context of whether states have any regulatory jurisdiction over the question.
Okay, he was expressing a legal opinion, which means the supposed headline that Ms. Parker says is incorrect is exactly what he means. Her faux headline summarizes Mr. Santorum’s position exactly. His position is that states have the right to completely ban birth control.
Mr. Santorum himself is on record as not favoring a ban on birth control, just giving the states the right to do so. Even with his feeble political skills and rabid adherence to government control over personal behavior he knows that political position is not tenable’ a national candidate cannot succeed if he calls for government bans on family planning. So his position is the states should have the right to do so, and then let others do the dirty political work that he will not do himself.
The argument here is similar to the arguments against Civil Rights legislation in the 1960’s. At that time Conservatives who were opposed to Civil Rights protection argued that while they themselves were in favor of equal rights, government should not enforce that policy. This policy position allowed them to take the anti-prejudice position while at the same time supporting policy that allowed racial discrimination to continue.
Such an argument with respect to family planning is just as disreputable today as that argument on Civil Rights was then.