• When Rick Santorum Loved Hot Man on Man Action

    In the contest between senator "man on dog" versus governor "dog on car," the divergence in public images is clear. Mitt Romney is the temporizer who will come around to believe entirely, wholeheartedly, unconditionally in whatever it is that you want him to believe at the moment. Rick Santorum is the consistent social conservative scold, who sees Satan in everything from pornography to the "sexualized violence" of contemporary professional wrestling.

    Turns out the picture is more complicated, since Santorum is partially responsible for what pro-wrestling has become. Following graduation from snob school, Santorum worked as a lobbyist, whose job it was to remove the World Wrestling Federation from the clutches of Pennsylvania bureaucrats

    Beginning in 1987, Santorum's mission, as dictated by the WWF, was simple: Get the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission out of the ring. There was no need for state officials to act as referees, because wrestling was a spectacle, not a sport. Nor did it need the state to supply timekeepers, announcers, and doctors — the promoters could take care of that…

    Santorum, who called the state's regulatory structure "pernicious" in a later interview, had some legitimate grievances. "They go there, they sit ringside, they bring their friends over the barricade…and they watch the match," he said of state athletic officials. "That's how wrestling is regulated in Pennsylvania." Nothing could justify paying state employees to referee a staged contest: "They made you pay all this money to the boxing commission. They used to just rape these guys," he said, referring to the state agency's treatment of wrestling promoters.

    So perhaps Santorum had a point, but I'm fascinated by his views on purely metaphorical "rape" of wrestling promoters. If only he was so compassionate to victims of actual rape.

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    Related: Rick Santorum Says Reasonable Thing About Afghanistan

    Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images


    Tags: Lobbyists, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Sports, Wrestling

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