Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Bestiality, homophobia, and Rick Santorum. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's disgracefully homophobic junior senator, lives in the Pittsburgh suburb of Penn Hills, according to his Senate biography.

The local weekly, the Penn Hills Star, has not yet had a chance to react to his outburst comparing and contrasting homosexuality to pedophilia, bigamy, polygamy, and bestiality. (Why is it that the right-wing Republican gay-bashers always turn out to be lugging around a mind full of depravity?)

But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is certainly a worthwhile read this morning. It includes long excerpts of Santorum's so-called thoughts, expressed in an interview with the Associated Press. ("That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." Woof!) The Post-Gazette also publishes a story by politics editor James O'Toole on the angry reaction that Santorum's hate speech generated.

The rival Pittsburgh Tribune-Review runs just a wire story that gets little play on the paper's home page. Apparently nothing on the editorial pages or from the columnists, either. Is the Trib really that slow off the mark, or is this a reflection of the sensibilities of its zillionaire right-wing owner, Richard Mellon Scaife?

The pillars of more or less respectable conservative opinion, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Weekly Standard, and National Review, appear to be silent this morning; their pundits are no doubt trying to figure out how to defend the indefensible.

No such problem at the right-wing site, which shortly after midnight today posted a hysterical rant under the headline "KKK-FJB Democrats Attack Santorum for Gay Comment." The "KKK" is a reference to Senator Robert Byrd's former membership in the Ku Klux Klan; "FJB" is an acronym for something that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton supposedly once said, and I'm sorry, you're just going to have to read the damn thing to find out what it means.

Tellingly, NewsMax quotes Santorum's milder comment about "bigamy," "polygamy," "incest," and "adultery," but leaves out what he said about kids and dogs. Even the wing-nuts understand how toxic this is.

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