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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Santorum's Google Problem

If he runs for president, Rick Santorum has a problem. Most people don't know who he is. And if they Google him, well, Roll Call picks up the story:

Santorum’s Google problem began in 2003, when gay sex-advice columnist Dan Savage sought to mock Santorum’s comments on homosexuality. Then the third-most-powerful Republican in the Senate, Santorum told the Associated Press that April that gay sex could “undermine the fabric of our society.” The interview touched on a Supreme Court case related to sexual privacy, and Santorum compared homosexual acts to allowing for “man on child, man on dog” relationships.

“And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual 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. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does,” he said at the time.

Savage soon created the website, tied to a contest in which he asked readers to submit definitions for the term “santorum.”

It would be among the first “Google bombs” in the modern political era. Using extensive links to other sites, Savage soon ensured that the winning definition would be among the top search results. (The search yields even less flattering sites if users search for the Republican’s last name alone.)