Rick Santorum is campaigning in New Hampshire, one of the few states that does not discriminate against gays in marriage and the site of the first Republican primary. I don’t think he’s going to do well there, but then who knew he was going to do well in Iowa. Of course, while Iowa also does not discriminate against gays in marriage, many of its citizens would prefer to turn the clock back. That gives Santorum and all the vile things he says a little power there. That probably won’t be the case in New Hampshire, and it certainly was not the case in front of a bunch of college students in Concord:
Rick Santorum was booed after a lengthy back-and-forth with several students in Concord, N.H., on the issue of same-sex marriage, which is legal in New Hampshire.
As Santorum addressed a group of college students, one asked him how same-sex marriage affects him personally and why not have legal same-sex marriage as long as it’s not religious in nature.
Santorum answered that for “230 years marriage has been between one man and woman. So if you want to change the law…you have to make the positive argument about why.”
This actually is sort of correct. In order for change to happen, those in favor of said change need to say why it should happen. However, the game has been rigged. People like Santorum never made their positive argument for marriage 230 years ago. They didn’t even give a second thought to gays and so marriage was assumed to be between one man and one woman. The onus is actually on him.
And what are his arguments? Appeals to tradition and inapt comparisons. The former is just an extension of the rigged game and is thus logically invalid; it isn’t a positive argument at all. The latter is why “Santorum” has the frothy definition it does.
But to Frothy’s credit, he stuck by his guns and tried to make the students justify their positions:
Santorum responded, “Are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?”
Several members of the crowd loudly yelled, “Yes!”
At that point, the former senator from Pennsylvania compared same-sex marriage to polygamy.
“So anyone can marry can marry anybody else? So if that’s the case, then everyone can marry several people … so you can be married to five people. Is that OK?” Santorum asked.
I’m a little disappointed in the response. Students shouted back that they weren’t discussing polygamy. That is true and Frothy was creating a red herring, but I’m perfectly happy responding to his question: Yes, it is okay for a number of people to get married to each other at the same time. The only issue anyone can draw about that is how taxes would work out. New codes and laws would need to be created, and I’m not sure how that would or should go. But on the moral question, there is no doubt: there is nothing wrong with polygamy.
Frothy then got a little weird:
The student answered that [people] should [be allowed to do what makes them happy] as long as no one was harming anyone else. Santorum countered, raising his voice and asking, “Who decides if they are harming other people? Is there an objective standard?”
Wasn’t it Frothy who told people they needed to make positive arguments in order to defend their positions? If it is his contention that people are harmed by gay marriage, then he needs to say why. I have yet to see a remotely convincing argument for that position. Ever.
Santorum continued, but threatened to end the discussion, telling the crowd, “I’m going to give people one more chance and then we are going to move on. I’m going to ask the question again. If three people happen to get married based on what you just said, what makes that wrong and what you said right?”
“That’s irrelevant,” the student responded. “My personal opinion is, ‘Yeah go for it,’ but what I’m asking [is] for you [to] justify your belief and your high morals about all men created equal-”
At that point, Santorum cut off the student and, for the third time, asked, “What about three men?“
Politicians tend to be pretty good when it comes to rhetoric. They certainly misstep, but they’re still better than the average Joe when it comes to this stuff. That includes Frothy. Except in this case. Using good rhetoric means, in part, appealing to one’s audience. If he was speaking to a bunch of sexually immature, sexually insecure Evangelicals, then sure, mention the idea of three men having sex. That would gross them out. “Icky!”, they would think. But saying that in front of a bunch of pro-equality college students is going to fall flat. In fact, it just made him look even worse.
When he wrapped up, several questions later, the crowd loudly booed him.
I think Frothy still has some learning to do. Maybe he should look to his biggest opponent. After all, I’m sure Romney wouldn’t have had a problem saying whatever would have please the crowd.