Elections 2012
2:15 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Seattle's Dan Savage back in the news for 'Santorum' hijinks

(Warning some of the links in this page, as well as performing the talked about Google search, could result in the display of a NSFW website page.)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s showing in the Iowa caucus this week has put Seattle’s notorious sex blogger, political commentator and Stranger editorial director back in the news for political hijinks.

In 2003, Dan Savage, who writes the sex advice column Savage Love, created a website pranking Santorum’s name to ridicule him for the negative attitude toward homosexuality Santorum expressed in response to a Supreme Court decision legalizing sodomy.

As a result of the popularity of the prank website, which defines “santorum” as a combination of bodily fluids resulting from a sex act, and the site’s associated blog, the former two-term Pennsylvania senator is a hard-luck case when it comes to Google, Bing or Yahoo searches.

Web results that sting

While those searches turn up his political success in the Iowa caucus and his striding advances in polling, the second result points to Savage’s website.

In a post today responding to a New York Times story on Santorum’s online problem, Savage emphasized that:

“Santorum's Google Problem wasn't created because my readers and I strongly disagreed with Santorum about gay marriage … I strongly disagree with—still—Barack Obama about gay marriage. Santorum's last name was redefined [censored because we’re not that kind of Website] after the sitting U.S. Senator told a reporter that Americans do not enjoy a constitutional right to privacy and argued that the states should be able to arrest, prosecute, and imprison people—Lawrence v. Texas was a case about two men who were arrested after police burst into their bedroom, found them having sex, and arrested them—for private, consensual, adult sexual acts.”

For his part, Santorum acknowledged the issue on his campaign blog last year, according to the Seattle Times, writing: "Savage and his perverted sense of humor is the reason why my children cannot Google their father's name.”

"That just makes me sad," his daughter Elizabeth Santorum told The Huffington Post. "It's disappointing that people can be that mean."

The Seattle Times notes that Santorum has asked Google to remove the prank page from its search results but was denied.

In Iowa, the "Google problem" — if voters were even aware of it — could well have been seen as "a typical liberal attack" on social conservatives, who make up about 60 percent of Republican caucus-goers, Tim Hagle, a University of Iowa political-science professor, told the Seattle Times.