Santorum Gets Booed in New Hampshire For Opposing Gays, Medical Marijuana, Happiness

For someone who didn’t actually win the Iowa caucus, Rick Santorum has been riding a wave of good feelings and good media coverage for the past few days. (Then again, since he only lost by 8 votes, “not winning the Iowa caucus” is almost an arbitrary distinction in this case.) There’s much speculation as to whether Santorum can translate his Iowa success to the New Hampshire primary, and what it means that he did so well in spite of many peoples’ expectations. Santorum was seen as possibly-too-conservative outlier to Romney’s more appealing moderation — but maybe we were all wrong!

Or maybe we weren’t. Santorum’s attempts at winning over New Hampshire seem to have gotten a little rocky, as he left the stage at a town hall meeting to emphatic booing after a “contentious debate” over gay marriage. New Hampshire is in the middle of a tumultous battle over whether they’ll repeal their law legalizing marriage equality, and Santorum’s not the first GOP candidate to run into trouble there over his views on gay marriage.  But in front of a crowd of “mostly young people,” Santorum found himself outnumbered by the people in the audience who were ready to call him out on his anti-gay views — as well as how they conflict with his party’s stated goals of a smaller, less invasive government and protecting states’ rights.

via esquire.com

As more students shouted, Santorum tried to end the discussion that had devolved into students shouting over each other in an attempt to drown out Santorum’s words. While he was briefly able to steer the conversation away from the controversial issue, the candidate found himself in the same dangerous territory when a crowd member asked if he would adhere to the conservative pillar of state’s rights in cases when a state legalizes gay marriage and medical marijuana. “I think there are some things that are essential elements of society to which a society rests that we have to have a consensus on,” Santorum said. “That’s why I believe on things as essential as ‘what is life’ and what life is protected under the Constitution should be a federal charge, not a state by state.”

The audience also questioned how exactly Santorum had come to form such socially conservative beliefs if he didn’t seem to understand some of the basic issues behind them — for example, his apparent unfamiliarity with medical marijuana laws. Santorum’s response was that, obviously, he formed opinions from “his own life experiences” and that he “went to college too.” Which is pretty much all we’re looking for in a Presidential candidate, no? College education and vague drug references?

For the most part, Santorum’s negative reception was “an anomaly of sorts,” and many of the audiences he’s spoken in front of in New Hampshire have seemed to react positively. College students aside, New Hampshire has a healthy conservative base, to whom Santorum’s “personal narrative of coming from a Roman Catholic, working- class family with immigrant grandparents” may have plenty of appeal — especially since New Hampshire is close enough to Massachusetts, where Romney was formerly governor, to know exactly how moderate he is. But whether it’s the unending infamy of the word “santorum” or the fact that Santorum the person actually thought it was a good idea to allude to a slippery slope towards legal polygamy when asked to defend his “one man one woman” stance, it seems safe to say that the college-age crowd, or anyone who’s not completely entrenched in socially conservative ideology, is never going to help carry Santorum to victory. Which happens to be pretty much the exact crowd that did carry Obama to victory. It’s not really possible at this point to make real predictions about the general election or whether Santorum will make it there; it’s not even really possible to predict how he’ll do in the primary on January 10, as Iowa shows us. But the signs are there that plenty of Santorum’s target audience is ready to question his rhetoric, and maybe more importantly, that he doesn’t have much to say for himself when they do so. “Life experience” teaches us that doesn’t bode well for anyone, and especially not a Presidential candidate — if Santorum wants to remain as heralded as he is right now, he might want to figure out how to answer for himself soon.

Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.

29 Comments

  1. ‘Santorum’s response was that, obviously, he formed opinions from “his own life experiences” and that he “went to college too.”‘

    Ughhhh. It’s all well and good to form your opinions from your own life experiences, but when you’re looking to form governent policies, you need to look at other people’s opinions and their life experiences too, y’know? When you’re talking about medical marijuana, going “I went to college! Drugs are bad!” doesn’t cut it, and doesn’t make any sense, either.

    • And is it just me, or is he implying that believing in gay equality is just some college-kid idealism that’s going to go away when they get older?

      It’s bad enough when adults assume that young people with left-wing ECONOMIC beliefs are “immature” and “too idealistic” (and Randroids are not?) and “impractical” (because the idea that poor people just need to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps” and don’t need help is very based in reality, yes). But what is “practical” or “mature” about anti-gay bigotry?

      Sorry, Frothy Mix, it’s not because they have their heads in the skies, Santorum, it’s because you have yours buried in the sand. Or up your ass.

  2. Actually, i hope santorum DOES get the repub nomination. he’s such an incredible joke, obama will crush him! romney is probably the scarier candidate since he is much more sane than santorum (though equally NOT who i want for my president)

  3. Pingback: Santorum’s defense of bigotry fails on all counts – Los Angeles TimesNouvelles du monde | Nouvelles du monde

  4. He’s homophobic, anti medical marijuana, sexist, hypocrite, and a racist. But yet he almost won the first primary, and they wonder why most minorities want nothing to do with the Republican party.

  5. If he becomes president, 2012 really will be the end of the world. This nation does NOT need a homophobic president… Once again. It’s the 21st century, and it’s about time we move on from older political, social , and economic views. Let’s not do things the same as the past (Like Obama’s health care. Like, damn.) and change some shit. It’s not like what we’ve been doing has been a great deal of success. In my opinion, if things keep going south, you should take a step back, think about what you’re doing, and change. Otherwise, things will keep getting crappier, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. Autostraddle for President. :D

  6. Santorum says: “Because I believe we are made the way God made man and woman, and man and woman come together to have a union to produce children, which keeps civilization going, and provide the best environment for children to be raised.I think that is something society should value and should give privileged status over a group of people who want to have a relationship together.”

    So how does he feel about all those straight folks who don’t have kids? I guess childless marriages between heteros aren’t real relationships either?

  7. Doesn’t anyone else see the google problem as enough to keep him from the presidency? Some kid in a different country will be like, “hmm, I’d like to learn more about this Santorum guy” so then they google him and lose all respect when they learn about what his name stands for. Pretty sure we could warp this into a foreign policy threat (plus he wants to bomb Iran, which sucks too).

  8. Just because no page mentioning “Rick Santorum” should be without it: http://spreadingsantorum.com/ to keep the Google ranking up!

    New Hampshire is a different kind of conservative. They tend to be more libertarian and hands-off there. That’s why Huckabee didn’t stand a chance there after winning Iowa in ’08, and I doubt Santorum will either. Romney will take it easily, with Ron Paul in second.

    • Especially as this now is the second Google ranking, after his campaign site, when you search his full name. It’s still first for just his last name, but we cannot let this stand! All Google bombs away!

      • It is second only because his campaign purchased ad space. Which: too bad santorum. you’re stuck with Dan Savage’s definition. If Santorum wasn’t advocating for such horrible bigotry, I’d feel bad for him. I wonder if his kids will change their names.

  9. American Politics are so scary sometimes. This shit would NEVER fly in (western) Europe (I’ve never been to eastern Europe so I don’t know about them). What gets me the most is how does he actually expect to run a country when his only opinion about it “gays and sex are bad. Also immigrants”? It seems to be the basis for everything on his agenda, and yet he’s taken seriously as a candidate? DAMN GURL.

  10. Must we wait for a complete economic collapse to regain our unalienable­ rights?
    Maybe it’s high time we all stood up and told our government that we’re pooped at being beaten and jailed in order that unconscionable Transnational Corporations, and their Media Enablers, can continue to abuse, addict and poison us for obscene profits.

    According to the CATO Institute, ending prohibition would save roughly $41 billion of expenditure while generating an estimated $46 billion in tax revenues. – http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/DrugProhibitionWP.pdf

    Thanks to Prohibition we now have far more people locked in cages than would normally be the case. Apart from the fact that these extra prisoners are not contributing economically to society, it also costs 50,000 dollars per annum to incarcerate them. Additionally their families often go on government assistance, and it’s again the average tax payer who has to pick up the bill. Their kids may be taken into care or raised by foster parents, again with tax payer money. Now add to all this the court costs, jail costs, and the salaries of all those people that have to deal with the enforcement of prohibition, like police officers, judges and public defenders and you’ll start to get a fair idea of why “Black Thursday”, October 24, 1929 happened during the period of another of our great experiments – Alcohol Prohibition.

    * The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
    * 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population at year-end 2009.
    * 2,292,133 adults were incarcerated in federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2009, that’s approx. 1% of US adults.
    * Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or parole.
    * In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation,parole, or incarcerated) in 2009 — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.

    Prohibition has helped fill our Prisons and Jails to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for so called ‘drug offenders’. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. Prohibition takes violent criminals and turns them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries, including our own. Our drug laws are also funding the Taliban and al-Qaeda whose illegal opium profits allow them to buy weapons and pay it’s fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

    Maybe many of the early Prohibitionists did not really intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide, or put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system. But similar to our “Great Experiment” of the 1920s, the prohibition of various other drugs has once again spawned rampant off-the-scale criminality & corruption, a bust economy, mass unemployment, a mind-boggling incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan and an even higher rate of drug-use (both legal & illegal) than in all other countries that have far more sensible policies.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

  11. I lived in PA when he was Senator there. I was young at the time, but even then it was easy to see what a crazy bastard this guy was. He talks out of both sides of his mouth, has no idea the issues behind what he is talking about, and gets large cut backs from lobbying groups. Other than that he’s fantastic ;p

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