It is now mandatory that every GOP presidential debate must feature at least one audience reaction of sufficient ugliness to scare the bejeezus out of any political independent who might be watching. There were the spontaneous applause and whistles at the mere mention that Gov. Rick Perry had overseen 234 executions. There were the exuberant "Yeah!"s at the hypothetical suggestion that a person lacking health insurance who goes into a coma be left to die. Last night it was the booing of a gay soldier serving in Iraq who asked whether people like him would be pushed back into the closet under a Republican administration.

This last was so shocking that I fear people watching on television may have missed the groundbreaking nature of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's answer:

"Yeah, I -- I would say, any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military. And the fact that they're making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we are going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege to -- to -- and removing 'don't ask/don't tell' I think tries to inject social policy into the military. And the military's job is to do one thing, and that is to defend our country."

Any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.

Talk about social engineering! Santorum doesn't just want to eliminate homosexuality from the military. He wants to eliminate heterosexuality too! Drop your socks and grab your--no, I guess in Santorum's formulation it would be the socks you would have to grab. Our nation would be defended by a military composed entirely of virgins and abstainers. I don't think I need to tell you how quickly America would relinquish any claim to being a great power.