Yesterday's historic hearings at the Supreme Court on marriage equality affected one politician more then any other, and that is former Senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Almost every Republican is now in a head-on sprint to catch up with public acceptance of LGBT marriage, but Santorum, with his stagnant views, he has become the party's official dinosaur.
Poor Rick. You remember him: the former Pennsylvania Senator who a little over six years ago was tossed out by voters, losing the election overwhelmingly by more than 20 percentage points. Then he attempted to parlay his ultra-religious, right wing views into a presidential campaign. The Republican primaries started out with clown car of about a dozen candidates. One-by-one, each had their day in the spotlight. Realistically, it seems now like it was almost inevitable that Romney would win the nomination. But the party faithful (double-entendre intended) really didn't want him, so they turned toward other candidates who they thought could take Romney down.
Their initial choice was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who won the Iowa straw poll in 2011. When her star fell, along came Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose momentum screeched to a halt after a disastrous debate. Then came the businessman with a plan: Herman Cain and his 9-9-9. He had, to put things delicately, a woman issue. It wasn't about women's right to choose, though they wouldn't have chosen him anyways. Next up to bat was the squirmiest man in politics, Newt Gingrich. He had an M & M problem: moon colonies and meanness. After going through all those candidates, the only one left that the party could look to was Rick Santorum. Literally, the party faithful only turned to Santorum after Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. He wasn't the second choice, he was the fifth.
So the fifth-stringer Santorum, with all the others limping along, starts to play, and on Feb. 7th he scores a triple play: Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. He was really hot. Until the next day, when he became so overwhelmed by his victory and, instead of aiming for the middle ground to gain votes, turned back to his fossilized positions on abortion and gay marriage. And that brought many, including the media, to examine what Santorum stood for, and thus began his decline. He never won another primary and by the time he got to Pennsylvania, he quit the race rather then risk the embarrassment of losing his home state twice.