Faced with long-standing agreement about what he said about same-sex unions being like “man-on-dog” as well as clear video evidence that he said he didn’t want to give “black people” more government money, Rick Santorum has taken the best GOP refuge: he’s denying that’s what he said. It’s the best refuge because it’s worked for others in his party.
Think of it as Rick Santorum bringing Jon “not intended as a factual statement” Kyl’s philosophy to the presidential sweepstakes.
First, as my colleague Lisa Derrick mentioned at LaFiga, Santorum wants you to believe
I’m pretty confident I didn’t say ‘black.’ I started to say a word and sort of mumbled it and changed my thought. I don’t recall saying black. No one in that audience heard me say that.
Guess what, though? There’s video. You can watch and decide what Rick Santorum said for yourself; you don’t even have to be in the audience. You are the audience:
What do you think he said at 0:21? I know what I heard, and I know what Rick said.
An enterprising reporter could actually go find out what audience members heard Rick say. And if anyone does, I hope the reporter asks why they applauded.
Santorum’s “man-on-dog” contretemps is of much longer standing; it’s what prompted Seattle sex-columnist Dan Savage to appropriate the candidate’s last name for a winning reader’s foul neologism, creating Rick’s Google problem. But the landslide-swamped former Pennsylvania Senator is bound and determined to rewrite his bit of cultural history: you see, he didn’t say homosexual love is like man-on-dog. According to him (now), he said exactly the opposite. Read what he said, to a very startled AP reporter in April 2003:
Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —
Isn’t any reader or listener going to understand the antecedent of “it” in the penultimate sentence in that quote is “the definition of marriage”? Doesn’t everyone read it that way? And hasn’t everyone read it that way since Rick said it? Wasn’t the entire Savage campaign based on that reading — that the definition of marriage isn’t certain things: homosexuality, man-on-child, man-on-dog? And the equating of these three things?
Yes. And Rick Santorum let that reading stand until he almost beat Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucus, and his campaign lit fire. Now, he wants you to hear it a different way (starts at 0:46):
It’s pretty clear what Santorum said: Marriage does not include homosexuality. It also does not include “man on child, man on dog.” Because marriage is “one thing” — a heterosexual couple.
Santorum’s revisionist interpretation — that he went out of his way to differentiate between homosexuality and pedophilia/bestiality — is absurd. He did the opposite. He had a basket labeled “ungodly things that can’t count as marriage,” and tossed in homosexuality, “man on child,” and “man on dog.”
Rick Santorum forgets he’s running for President in an entirely too-well documented era to expect Americans to believe his revisionism. In the GOP, you can try to make people believe you didn’t say something that you really did say. Fooling the rubes is the path to electoral success over there.
But if it happened, it happened. And we all know what happened here, and that Rick Santorum is trying to paint it otherwise.