Hendrik Hertzberg does a nice job, without making an effort to do so, of making the case why Rick Santorum must always just be an asterik in the 2012 election cycle.
“…he calls global warming “junk science”; he wants to keep American troops in Afghanistan until they achieve “victory”; he believes that the West Bank is “Israeli land,” as Israeli as Arizona is American; he blames the rape of children by priests on “academic, political, and cultural liberalism in America.” That last item points to what makes Santorum almost certainly unnominatable (and Romney almost certainly inevitable). In his 2005 book “It Takes a Family,” Santorum writes, “Some people ask me, ‘Why are conservatives so obsessed with sex?’ ” His answer—don’t get him started!—seems to be that sex is dangerous unless closely supervised by the state under strict faith-based guidelines. Needless to say, abortion is totally out, even for women and girls impregnated by rape or incest. As for contraception, Santorum said, in October, “It’s not O.K. It’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be”—and state governments should be free to outlaw it, along with “sodomy,” gay and straight. Last Thursday, in New Hampshire, when asked why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry, he replied, “Well, what about three men? . . . Reason says that if you think it’s O.K. for two, then you have to differentiate with me as to why it’s not O.K. for three.” He got booed; it was a college audience. But Santorum may be a bit too much of a sex cop even for many evangelicals, especially younger ones, and even for some of his fellow ultra-conservative Catholics. Say this for him, though: on these issues, the man is nothing if not dogged.