The Jeremiah Wright Lesson for Santorum

I’m in the camp that is torn about Rick Santorum’s electability. On the plus side, he has proved resilient in reviving his career after it was all but destroyed: That kind of grit will be essential in the general. He is capable of the elegant, masterful speech he crafted on the night he won Iowa. He seems to know how to tap working-class anxieties in a way that Mitt Romney likely can’t.

But on the downside, he has a video trail on social issues that may be about to devour him. It’s no one thing, but a totality of them: the aversion to birth control even for married women, the skepticism of women at work, the evident fear that careerism is a feminist trap. Even on ground that a substantial number of Americans occupy, such as opposition to gay marriage, his mode of argument is often the most explosive available — in this case, that same-sex relationships are not much distinguishable from intra-family or polygamous arrangements. While a Chris Christie is adeptly resisting gay marriage in New Jersey by invoking the democratic value of voters’ choosing rather than politicians, Santorum is traveling a path the media and the Left will besiege, and that the Right will not necessarily embrace.

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