Rick Santorum’s anal issue
AS the surprise runner-up for the Republican presidential nomination in Iowa, Rick Santorum faces an uphill struggle to maintain the momentum in the upcoming New Hampshire primaries. This is not just because his campaign funds are relatively low, but also because Santorum’s biggest claim to fame thus far is his association with an unpleasant by-product of anal sex.
Thanks to a campaign by gay rights activists the top result for a Google search for “Santorum” is the website Spreadingsantorum.com. It has nothing to do with furthering the presidential hopeful’s campaign, though. Instead, it is dedicated to spreading awareness of a made-up neologism that ties Santorum’s name to gay sex.
The website dates back to 2003, the year that Santorum told the Associated Press that, although he had “nothing, absolutely nothing, against anyone who’s homosexual”, he did have “a problem with homosexual acts”. Sex columnist Dan Savage decided to launch a competition to name a sex act after Santorum, who was then a Pennsylvania senator. The winning entry defined Santorum as “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex”. Savage then launched Spreadingsantorum.com and as bloggers started to link to the site its Google rankings rose, overtaking the official Rick Santorum homepage.
Now, nearly nine years on, Spreadingsantorum.com has made a comeback and despite the ex-Senator’s busy schedule and high-profile appointments since 2003 his own website has not pipped Savage’s. Yes, Santorum has had a long absence from politics since losing his 2006 bid to serve a third term in the US Senate, but as senator he was also the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and he later served as a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Nevertheless, online, his name remains most firmly tied to that foul matter rather than to any prestigious post he has taken on in the past few years. Not even his New York Times best seller It Takes a Family or his stint as contributor to Fox News have managed to overshadow his anal problem.
“Google bombs” or “Google washing”, practical jokes carried out by manipulating the search engine’s results page, are hard to smooth over. But for Santorum, there may be a solution. Savage has reportedly offered to help him out of his Google quandary, saying: “If Rick Santorum wants to make a $5 million donation to [the gay marriage group] Freedom to Marry, I will take it down. Interest starts accruing now.”
Santorum may want to reconsider his gay sex position.