Santorum Acknowledges Anal Sex Problem

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Well, it’s about time. Back in September, I wrote a story about former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, who was jetting around to Iowa and New Hampshire laying the obvious groundwork for a presidential run in 2012. But as I noted back then, getting voters to take him seriously is going to be a little challenging given that if you Google his name, one of the first search results is this site, created by Seattle Stranger editorial director and syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage. In revenge for some nasty homophobic comments Santorum made back in 2003, Savage successfully used the web to turn Santorum’s name into a sexual neologism that means “the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.” The site is often credited with contributing to Santorum’s defeat in his 2006 re-election bid.

Years later, Santorum’s Google problem is still significant. I tried to ask him about it last year for my story, but he and his consultants refused to return my calls. But this week, Roll Call managed to put the question to Santorum and he actually answered! Here’s what he said:

It’s one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak.

Santorum advisers told Roll Call that burying Savage’s site on Google was virtually impossible. The reporter suggested that Santorum might consider getting his supporters to fight back with blog posts and Internet traffic directed at his own sites. But his advisers wrote this effort off as too expensive. Of course, what they didn’t say is that the homophobes Santorum panders to—he’s a frequent fundraiser for the anti-gay marriage group National Organization for Marriage—aren’t nearly as many or as motivated as the pissed off gay people and their friends, relatives, and sympathizers who were outraged by the comments he made equating homosexuality with bestiality. The fact that Santorum can’t generate enough web traffic to bury the Savage’s seven-year-old site in the Google rankings suggests that winning the bigot vote won’t be enough to put him in the White House. But of course, we knew that. After all, it wasn’t even enough to keep him in the Senate.

Meanwhile, note to the Santorum campaign: Roll Call didn’t mention this, but here is one really easy way the future candidate can solve his Google problem. Last year Savage told me that if Santorum would donate $5 million to the gay marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry, he’d take down his site all together. Considering the alternatives, Santorum might consider that something of a bargain.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate