MSNBC's Ron Reagan Assails 'Lonely, Homophobic' Rick Santorum

Hardball guest host Ron Reagan on Wednesday assailed Rick Santroum as a "lonely, homophobic voice shrieking in the wilderness." The liberal MSNBC anchor attacked the Republican presidential candidate for his opposition to gay rights, wondering if Santorum wanted to return to the days when husbands could beat their wives.

Reagan mocked Santorum for defending "traditional" marriage, scolding, "Marriage has, in various times and places throughout history, been treated as a property arrangement with husbands, in effect, owning their wives as they would cattle. Is that the tradition Santorum seeks to revive?"

The son of former President Ronald Reagan continued, "In late 19th century America, men were entitled to beat their wives, as long as they used a stick with a circumference no larger than their thumb, the so-called rule of thumb. Does Santorum harbor a yen for corporal punishment?"

A transcript of Reagan's closing commentary can be found below:


08/24/11
5:58

RON REAGAN: Let me finish tonight with Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. Santorum is lately taken to comparing marriage equality to a choice of paper products. According to his whimsical logic, gay people mustn't be allowed the same opportunity to wed that straight couples enjoy, because, well, a paper towel is not a napkin. If only Santorum was a lonely, homophobic voice shrieking in the wilderness. But all the other Republican candidates, whether they choose Bounty or Brawny, have likewise signed on to defend the inappropriately-named Defense of Marriage Act, a law designed to solely disenfranchise gay couples. Even leaving aside the fact that some of us have been known on occasion to employ a paper towel as a napkin, it is an odd, nonsensical comparison. Santorum's larger point seems to reflect his discomfort with so-called traditional marriage being redefined. But what tradition does he have in mind?

Marriage has, in various times and places throughout history, been treated as a property arrangement with husbands, in effect, owning their wives as they would cattle. Is that the tradition Santorum seeks to revive? In late 19th century America, men were entitled to beat their wives, as long as they used a stick with a circumference no larger than their thumb, the so-called rule of thumb. Does Santorum harbor a yen for corporal punishment? Of course, Santorum and many of his anti-gay colleagues can do a lot better than paper towels. They're found of claiming that if gay people would be allowed to wed, we would have to allow polygamy, incest and bestiality. This is so absurd some people find it difficult to argue against. If you find yourself similarly flummoxed, just point out this very simple distinction. Laws against polygamy are non-exclusionary. Whether you are gay or straight, black or white, Christian or Muslim, you can't be married to more than one person at a time. Preventing gay people from exercising the same rights creates a separate, unequal class of people. It is exclusionary. That is the only meaningful distinction you need to keep in mind with- when arguing with people like Santorum. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is impossible to believe that marriage to the person of one's mutual choosing doesn't fall into one or more of those categories. Santorum and his friends might want to consider the meaning of the word unalienable.

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org