A key subtext of the Republican presidential campaign has been the bigotry of its candidates who clearly dislike blacks, women, gays, and the poor. They are, in fact, the most bigoted bunch of national candidates since George Wallace ran for president. But the bigotry of each of them is a bit different. Here are some of the distinctions:
Ron Paul might be described as a recovering bigot. Yes, there were those anti-gay, anti-black newsletters in the 80s and 90s that complained about the criminal tendencies of black men and the “gay lobby,” but he behaves himself much better these days. Dan Savage put it well to Dave Weigel at Slate: “Ron is older than my father, far less toxic than Santorum, and, as he isn’t beloved of religious conservatives, he isn’t out there stoking the hatreds of our social and political enemies. . . Ron may not like gay people, and may not want to hang out with us or use our toilets, but he’s content to leave us the fuck alone and recognizes that gay citizens are entitled to the same rights as all other citizens.”
Mitt Romney is a circumstantial bigot whose dislike for various groups of people rises and falls with the geographical location of his current speech and the latest polls.
Newt Gingrich’s bigotry is less effective than it might otherwise be since it is often obscured by the fact that he really hates everyone except himself.
Rick Santorum is the most sincere bigot of the lot. He doesn’t think gays deserve equal rights, which should be reserved for those who perform activities that are “healthy for society.” And, as he noted, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Santorum bases his bigotry on his deep faith, which would make Jesus at best an enabler and at worst a co-conspirator in Santorum’s bigotry. Fortunately, however, Santorum understands Jesus no better than he does blacks or gays.