When Foster Friess, a funder of a pro-Santorum SuperPAC, made a joke about birth control in the old days (that women kept an aspirin between their knees, meaning they kept their legs closed and were not promiscuous), there was outrage (on the internet pronounced OUTRAGE) from various quarters.

In responding to questions, Rick Santorum correctly pointed out that he was not responsible for everything supporters say, but then made an error by claiming that there was a double standard and he should be treated the way the media treated Obama and Jeremiah Wright (emphasis mine):

SANTORUM: Okay. So I’m now going to have respond to every supporter who says  something. Now, I’m going to have to respond to it. Look, this is what you guys  do. I mean, I don’t- you don’t do this with President Obama. In fact, with  President Obama, what you did was you went out and defended him against someone  who- he sat in a church for- for 20 years, and defended him- that, oh, he can’t  possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. It’s a double standard, this is what you’re pulling off, and I’m going to call you on it

There is no double standard, there is no standard at all.  It would be a double standard if the Fries-Santorum and Wright-Obama relationships were comparable, but they were not.

It is inappropriate to hold Santorum responsible for a joke by Friess because the joke had nothing to do with the relationship between Friess and Santorum.   That relationship has to do with sharing similar economic outlooks, and is arms length not a mentor-mentee relationship.

The Wright-Obama relationship, however, did go to the heart of the theology of Wright and Obama as to which Wright’s outrageous comments were central.  Wright was Obama’s spiritual mentor for two decades and close family friend.  By establishing and nurturing that relationship, Obama bears responsibility for tolerating, if not openly adopting, Wright’s rhetoric.

So the two situations were not analogous, and hence there was no “double standard.”  I understand why Santorum invoked the “double standard” defense, it’s a lot easier politically and in a short television interview than making the distinction I make here.  But it does not apply.

Foster Friess birth control joke had nothing to do with Rick Santorum, while Jeremiah Wright’s theology had everything to do with Barack Obama.