Billionaire Santorum backer: In my day, contraception was women putting aspirin between their knees

posted at 3:45 pm on February 16, 2012 by Allahpundit

Via Mediaite, behold the left’s newest viral sensation. This is a, shall we say, unhelpful soundbite in service to a worthy point, namely, that there are bigger policy fish to fry than birth control at a moment when Obama’s pushing a catastrophic new budget and Iran’s getting closer to nuclear breakout capacity. What I can’t figure out, though, is why a Rick Santorum supporter would be eager to make that point. No one’s benefited more politically from the uproar over HHS’s contraception mandate than his guy, and there may be no politician in either party who’s willing to riff on sex and morals as freely as Santorum is. And not just on sex, of course: Jim Geraghty flags this bit on gambling from RS’s interview with Vegas reporter Jon Ralston a few weeks ago.

I’m someone who takes the opinion that gaming is not something that is beneficial, particularly having that access on the Internet. Just as we’ve seen from a lot of other things that are vices on the Internet, they end to grow exponentially as a result of that. It’s one thing to come to Las Vegas and do gaming and participate in the shows and that kind of thing as entertainment, it’s another thing to sit in your home and have access to that it. I think it would be dangerous to our country to have that type of access to gaming on the Internet.

Freedom’s not absolute. What rights in the Constitution are absolute? There is no right to absolute freedom. There are limitations. You might want to say the same thing about a whole variety of other things that are on the Internet — “let everybody have it, let everybody do it.” No. There are certain things that actually do cost people a lot of money, cost them their lives, cost them their fortunes that we shouldn’t have and make available, to make it that easy to do. That’s why we regulate gambling. You have a big commission here that regulates gambling, for a reason.

I opposed gaming in Pennsylvania . . . A lot of people obviously don’t responsibly gamble and lose a lot and end up in not so great economic straits as a result of that. I believe there should be limitations.

You could swap in “drinking” for “gambling” there and have a rough argument for banning alcohol consumption in homes. (If you’re free to indulge in private, who’ll stop you from going overboard?) If you nominate Santorum, you’re getting a guy who’s more willing to try to save people from themselves than the average “personal responsibility” conservative, which means you’d better prepare for occasional moral tutelage from the presidential podium and maybe some new morals regulations if he can cobble together a congressional majority for it. Which, of course, is what makes Friess’s objection to Mitchell’s question so ironic: Contraception issues are Santorum’s bread and butter, whether he wishes they were or not. He’ll be sidetracked endlessly with this stuff in the general election if he’s the nominee. Arguably that makes him a stronger candidate than Romney since, unlike Mitt, he’ll still have something to campaign on even if the economy recovers. Thing is, it won’t be just abortion questions that are thrown at him on the trail; it’ll be questions about contraception and online gambling and other things he considers vices as a way of teasing out how far his “there is no right to absolute freedom” reasoning extends in the interest of keeping people on the path to virtue. Is that reasoning more or less likely to deliver a victory in the midst of an economic comeback?

By the way: He’s finally overtaken Romney for the national lead in Gallup’s tracker.


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