Free speech champions shout down Santorum at event in Washington state

As it has been with the left since the days of the Viet Nam War, "Free speech for me - not for thee."


Filling the front row at the Washington State History Museum where Santorum spoke, a group of Occupy protesters disrupted the event, forcing Santorum to engage them. Occupy Tacoma, the local branch of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is camped out right next to the museum, and advertised Santorum's visit on its web site.

"I think it's really important for you to understand what this radical element represents, because what they represent is true intolerance," Santorum said, after two protesters were taken to the ground and placed in handcuffs by police.

The protesters, Santorum suggested, "instead of standing here unemployed, yelling at somebody" should instead "go out and get a job."

Santorum's supporters roared their approval, chanting "get a job" back at the Occupiers.

The ruckus, and Santorum's visit to Washington, came on a historic day for the state. Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, which Santorum opposes. The ex-Pennsylvania senator met with state lawmakers and religious leaders shortly after the bill was signed, urging foes of gay marriage to "continue the fight," the Associated Press reported.

But in his speech this evening, Santorum kept his remarks on the subject to a minimum while attacking a recent appeals court ruling overturning Proposition 8, a California ballot referendum that banned same-sex marriage.

Santorum's visit to a heavily Democratic state that Obama won in a landslide in 2008 is good politics. The GOP chair in the state says he is the first Republican candidate to visit Washington before their caucuses in history. That shows Santorum has the mindset necessary to fight for every delegate - and every vote in the general election.

As for being shouted down, I hope they try to do it at every stop for whichever GOP candidate wins the nomination. Santorum is right - it feeds the notion that the Occupy movement is a radical fringe group tied to Democratic politics. And the more Obama uses their rhetoric, the GOP should call him on it.

If you experience technical problems, please write to