Rick Santorum’s Google Problem
Rick Santorum has a major problem. An embarrassing problem. An Internet problem.
Let’s cover some of the backstory. In 2003, Santorum made this statement, conflating homosexuality with polygamy and incest:
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… It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution… You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong healthy families… In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing.
In response, Dan Savage, a sex columnist and gay rights activist, launched a campaign to redefine Santorum’s name to a sexual innuendo. After accepting suggestions, the winning definition for “Santorum” was “The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
A website, spreadingsantorum.com, went live shortly thereafter, complete with a googlebomb which placed it as the number one result for “santorum” on Google. Senator Santorum wasn’t too happy about this, so Dan Savage offered to take it down if Rick Santorum’s campaign donated $5 million to the gay marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry. This never happened, so the website remains.
Fast forward to the present, and spreadingsantorum.com is still the number one result in Google searches for “santorum.” This is obviously a problem for his campaign, as Santorum has demanded that Google remove the site from its results. Google politely refused.
Rick Santorum isn’t the first person to have tried this, and he won’t be the last. And now he’s learning the same lesson as Barabara Streissand and Scientology: Geeks don’t like it when you try to censor the internet. Spreadingsantorum.com is still the number one result on Google for “santorum,” but now it’s number two for “Rick Santorum” and “Senator Santorum.” It’s also result number four for “Senator Rick Santorum,” just below Santorum’s official website.