Joe Lapointe has worked as a sports reporter with the New York Times and a segment producer for "Countdown With Keith Olbermann'' on Current TV
The Rick Santorum presidential campaign is so focused on nasty wedge issues of sex and religion that the candidate and his campaign workers can’t avoid Freudian slips when talking about other things.
The latest example came on Monday afternoon when Alice Stewart, Santorum’s press secretary, was speaking to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC about President Obama’s environmental policies. Trying to clarify Santorum’s strange statements lately, Stewart told Mitchell:
"He was referring to the President’s policies in terms of the radical Islamic policies the President has, specifically in terms of the energy exploration."
Later in the hour, Mitchell reported that Stewart called in to say she mis-spoke; she didn’t really mean to say "radical Islamic."
This came two days after Santorum, speaking about the President’s environmental policies, referred to "some phony theology" practiced by the President and his supporters. Santorum has since tried to clarify his remarks but saying he does not question Mr. Obama’s religion.
As for sex, Santorum has made his position clear: He’s against it, all of it, heterosexual and homosexual, if it is for pleasure. Sex, Santorum says, is only for procreation of children who will be school either in the home or in private schools or in public schools without federal or state funding.
Perhaps it was wrong to jump to the conclusion that, sexually speaking, Santorum is a homophobe. By opposing the right of women to choose birth control and abortion, Santorum has shown himself to be an equal-opportunity bigot toward both gays and women.
He may be leading Mitt Romney in polling for next Tuesday’s Michigan primary. He may even win it. But if Santorum gains momentum and takes the nomination, his extremist, scary views on these and other issues will alienate vast segments of voters.
Against Obama, Santorum would lead his party to the most devastating landslide defeat since President Johnson clobbered Barry Goldwater in 1964. In politics and other areas of life, people sometimes say "Be careful what you wish for."
At the risk of jinxing everything, let’s hope that Santorum gets the Republican nomination. It could lead to a third party candidate to split the Republican vote as more sane GOP members seek a more rational candidate who does not seem to snarl all the time.
The nomination of the dangerous and caustic Santorum could lead to a Democratic avalanche that takes back the Senate and retakes the House of Representative. Assuming the economic recovery continues, the more the public hears from Santorum, the more it will swing to the Democrats.
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