Kathleen Parker

"... I mean, that money is going to promote legalized prostitution and all kinds of wickedness around the world. And what has just happened in the Congress is that a deal was brokered ... some very prominent people, one of them a very conservative friend of mine, helped bring this about, along with very prominent Democrats."

Dobson promised to name names in a future broadcast if necessary to thwart funding of the Global Fund and warned listeners that bureaucrats couldn't be trusted with their money.

On a given day, I'd have to agree with Dobson on the latter point. Congress often spends money in ways we don't like (see Porkbusters.org). But I'm betting that money spent on whatever means necessary, including condoms, to stop the spread of AIDS isn't high on most lists.

We can also bet that Dobson's "very conservative friend" isn't Durbin but Santorum. No good deed goes unpunished, of course, and Santorum, who long has led the compassionate charge among conservatives, seems to be rich in enemies from both sides these days.

What this split among social conservatives portends for him politically will become clearer as the November elections approach, though Santorum recently has been rising in popularity in his home state. Last November, he was 16 percentage points behind his challenger, Pennsylvania Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. This week, a poll found him just six points behind Casey.

What is clear now is that Santorum puts his money where his principles are, rather than where he's likely to gain the most political traction.

While some may prefer the higher ideal of abstinence in fighting AIDS, even the Vatican seems to recognize that the lowdown reality demands something else. You can't change the hearts and minds of dead people.

Meanwhile, arguing to withhold help from people ravaged by disease because someone somewhere might have sex using a condom - now that's "wicked."

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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