Santorum would target porn if elected

Updated
 
The anti-contraception, anti-porn candidate.
The anti-contraception, anti-porn candidate.
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Rick Santorum caused a stir several months ago when he talked about how he’d approach contraception if elected. “One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country,” he said, adding, “Many of the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay, contraception is okay.’ It’s not okay.”

In fairness to the former senator, Santorum did not talk about using the power of the presidency to crack down on contraception, but rather, he intends to “talk about” the issue if elected.

Santorum’s concerns about pornography, however, are more far more related to public policy. Josh Barro noted a campaign position paper in which the Republican pledges to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography.

Santorum avers that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography.” He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that “pandemic,” by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers.

I would note that this is very different from what the Bush Administration did. The Bush DOJ did establish an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force in 2005, but this body focused on bringing prosecutions against small-time producers who made porn with extreme content. (Even so, it faced significant pushback from U.S. Attorneys, some of whom viewed such prosecutions as a distraction and a misuse of resources.) Many social conservative groups were disappointed with the task force, contending that more mainstream hardcore porn violates obscenity laws, and they urged the Bush Administration to bring obscenity cases against major producers.

Santorum promises that he would do exactly this. His statement references going after pornography that is distributed not just on the Internet, but also “on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV.”

Since Americans clearly have no appetite for adult content online or on television, this will no doubt help deliver millions of votes to the Santorum campaign.

Rick Santorum

Santorum would target porn if elected

Updated