I’m not surprised Santorum took the hard line on this, but what bothers me is that it’s considered a big deal. It’s a lose-lose line of questioning intended to make the interviewee look bad, and as cool as I am with making Leaky Ricky look bad, this is a disingenuous way of doing it.
Asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan what he would do if his own daughter approached him, begging for an abortion after having been raped, Santorum explained that he would counsel her to “accept this horribly created” baby, because it was still a gift from God, even if given in a “broken” way.
“Well, you can make the argument that if she doesn’t have this baby, if she kills her child, that that, too, could ruin her life. And this is not an easy choice, I understand that. As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child. And whether she has that child or she doesn’t, it will always be her child, and she will always know that,” Santorum said.
Okay, take a moment to analyze the way this question works. It’s the exact same tactic that was used against Dukakis in the 1988 presidential debate when he was asked whether he’d support the death penalty in the case of someone who murdered a member of his own family. You take a controversial issue and ask the person whether or not they’d change their stance if it were suddenly relevant to their personal life.
As I said, it’s lose-lose. If they change their stance, then their position is seen as waffling; they didn’t truly have any conviction to begin with. If they don’t, then their stance is radical and callous even toward their own family. It’s not even a legitimate question because there’s no good way out of it. It’s barely any more fair than “will you agree to stop beating your wife, yes or no?”
We know Rickles is a nut. We don’t need to pin him in with loaded questions.