Rick Santorum's RNC Speech, and the New GOP Platform Wrap Anti-Gay Rhetoric in the Flag of Small Government


Remember when the GOP of 2012 was going to be all about the economy? Because dang it, the voters want it that way? Well, that's mostly, sort of, a little true. The Tampa RNC theme is anti "you didn't build that." It's about small business and bootstraps and all of the things that Barack Obama ostensibly hates. Still, the always dependable social con Rick Santorum used his moment at the podium to to bat for traditional marriage. He noted:

"The fact is that marriage is disappearing in places where government dependency is highest. Most single mothers do heroic work and an amazing job raising their children, but if America is going to succeed, we must stop the assault on marriage and the family."

Please note the shiny new Republican Party platform is with Santorum. See the words under "Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage":

The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity. [emphasis added]

Great! So two parents are better than one for kids, but the GOP also understands that sometimes things happen and parents parent alone. But, two gay people, one assumes, is the only thing worse than one gay person. 

The bolded sentence is a perfect microcosm of Republicanism — it's a call to restrict freedom in order to preserve freedom. And it's particularly insidious to the cause of small government, because the cry to restrict the rights of gay individuals (and potentially, single parents) is wrapped up in anti-dependency, anti-government language. 

Santorum even finished his speech with critiques of Obama's penchant for executive strong-arming, which a libertarian might dig if 1) the cited, totalitarian examples weren't Obama's lessening of deportations and his DOJ's refusal to keep defending the Defense of Marriage Act and 2) Santorum's speech wasn't a hysterical self-parody involving a refrain about clasping hands with the American dream. Santorum, see, has "shook the hand of the American dream, and it has a strong grasp."

In different sections of the platform, the GOP actually comes right out and says the dreaded words "same-sex." This is to say, the Obama administration had the audacity to let DOMA go. Mostly. There is also stated support for a constitutional definition of marriage.

Oh hell, if you need proof that the Republicans are no friends of small government, look no further than Jacob Sullum's heroic rant from yesterday.