Rick Santorum is the king of the slippery slope argument. After all, this is the man who, while a United States senator, once said: “If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”
He is also, to put it mildly, a horrible candidate who stands absolutely no shot at any higher office, ever. Even if every other politician in the entire nation were to be swept away suddenly, Rick Santorum will still never become president.*
But what Santorum represents is an amazing opportunity to have a battle of wits against an actual living, breathing straw man. His arguments are easily debunked — and that’s if they’re coherent at all.** How this man is not every debater’s punching bag, I will never know.
This week, Santorum was speaking at Penn State University when a student challenged him — deservedly so, I might add — on his odd rebuttal to the American Psychological Association’s assertion that yes, kids are healthy with same-sex parents.
Dear student: Please pursue this more. You, the politically minded person with a cohesive argument, have the upper hand. He’s obviously struggling in the polls and making a sub-par argument — this is when you need to pounce. Because in this moment, he needs to use his indoor voice. He can’t scream over you, and he needs to come off strong. Have your way with him.
And, for the love of God, don’t be afraid to use the slippery slope argument! Even better, let him call you out on using it! I remind you, he’s the king of that.
Early in the clip, Santorum said that gay marriage will “destroy faith” in America, and urged opponents to speak up (he obviously doesn’t listen)***. Respond by asking if homosexuals should be killed, as the Bible says they should.
He said later that the American Psychological Association is “made up of people who agree with him.” He added that “not all psychologists agree with the APA.” Remind him that not all Christians are Catholics. He said that “an evidence of supporting an organization is not a benefit to society.” Remind him of this.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter what you do. But please, for the love of all that is good, press on!
If you’re strong with your views and unrelenting to a politician’s song and dance, he or she can give you a detailed account of what they are. Let him answer your question as you intended it to be answered. If that doesn’t work, wipe the floor with him.
*There’s a reason for his low poll numbers. Santorum is, essentially, a one-hit wonder who peaked during the culture wars of the 2000s. The guy can’t compete with any of the other candidates.
** I point you to his universe-changing theory: “This napkin is a napkin”
*** I’ll get to his wonderful persecution complex at a later date, but it’s really noteworthy.