You can tell that Rick Santorum’s second run for the presidency is winding down; he is so desperate for air time that he went on The Rachel Maddow Show last night.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Rachel Maddow; she’s a smart interviewer and treats her guests with respect. But if Rick Santorum, who basically wrote the book on flaming homophobia, will go on TV and sit across the desk from an openly gay woman, then you know he’s really grasping for attention.
The interview went well; polite and generally friendly, but Mr. Santorum lost his way when he revealed that he slept through Grade 10 Civics, not to mention his law school classes on the Constitution, when he stated that Congress can write a law to ban marriage equality over the rulings of the Supreme Court. Sure they can; they can also order extra pepperoni on Pizza Wednesday. But the Constitution is very clear — and confirmed in numerous cases, not the least of which is Marbury vs. Madison — that the Supreme Court decides which laws are valid and which are not and that’s final. He said the way to get around that was to wait until we had a president who could appoint the “right” justices to the Court to overturn a ruling, which is the judicial equivalent to the frustrated baseball fan’s cry of “Wait ’til next year!”
Mr. Santorum also said he’s unsure of whether or not being gay is a choice, but he cited anecdotal evidence that “some” people have “turned away from the gay lifestyle,” although he neither named names nor told us what exactly the “gay lifestyle” is. (To be fair, I’ve been openly gay for forty years and I don’t know what it is either.) But even without being able to say that being gay is an immutable fact, he still wants to relegate the LGBT community to second-class status. That doesn’t make him a serious thinker on the matter. In the words of Charlie Pierce, it makes him a colossal dick.
Still, it was nice to see Mr. Santorum on the show and not carrying on like second-rate evangelist in a roadshow tour of Elmer Gantry. And this was probably the last time he’ll be on national television without being surrounded by the other candidates who have picked up his schtick — Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker — and are running with it, leaving him as the guy who lost the primary race to Mitt Romney in 2012. There’s always someone in the race who seems slightly pathetic — like Gary Bauer — but has to give it one last shot. It was nice of Rachel Maddow to give him a chance to exit gracefully, even though he won’t take it.