Bozell Column: Santorum vs. The Meat Grinder
For many months, the liberal media elite has made no secret that in its mind, the field of Republican presidental candidates includes Mitt Romney and a collection of clowns. Clearly, Romney is the opponent that Barack Obama and the liberal establishment want nominated.
Journalists have mercilessly savaged every single conservative alternative to Romney who’s ascended to the top of the polls. Palin. Bachmann. Cain. Perry. Gingrich. It’s too bad for them that the results from the Iowa caucuses threw off their bold predictions that the Romney Juggernaut would achieve liftoff in Des Moines. Yet Romney won by only eight votes over surprising Rick Santorum. This means one thing only: Senator, step up to the guillotine.
“He's about to face the meat grinder of tough scrutiny for the first time,” promised Ann Curry on the “Today” show. I’m stil waiting for Obama to face the “meat grinder of tough scrutiny for the first time.” Instead, he gets to handle Barbara Walters slow-pitch puffballs in prime time, being asked what kind of superhero powers he’d like to have.
Some would protest Obama has faced some meat-grinder questions recently. Take the president’s “60 Minutes” favorite, Steve Kroft, who put some tough questions to the president on CBS in December. The complaint? Obama compromised too much with heinous right-wingers. Kroft scolded, “There are people in your own party who think that you were outmaneuvered, that you were stared down by John Boehner and Grover Norquist and capitulated....It seems to be all the compromising is being done by you.”
The compromising is supposed to be done by the conservatives. The media stayed on their message with a relentless discipline after the Iowa results. Santorum, like the other authentic conservatives, are too “far right” to win. Ann Curry started the meat grinder. “So is he going to have to change his conservative message as he's looking into north, looking into New Hampshire, which is a much less conservative state?”
ABC’s Jake Tapper laid out the “reality” of Santorum moving to the center. “His is an unapologetic, in-your-face conservatism. But Santorum argues this is all part of his fight for the traditional American family,” Tapper reported. “But in order for Santorum to succeed, he really needs to expand beyond those base Republican voters.”
CNN’s John King told Santorum he was a Democrat’s dream. “A lot of Democrats were celebrating, if you will, Senator Santorum, last night, saying, in their view, you're on the extreme right on many of these social issues and they think, for them, it's a good thing that these issues will be front and center.” This is especially appalling coming from CNN, which has created several hour-long specials boosting the extreme left, like “Gary and Tony Have a Baby.”
Several anchors – including NBC’s Savannah Guthrie before the caucuses and Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (warning of what would come) afterwards – pressed Santorum on artificial contraception, which hasn’t exactly come up in most presidential campaigns. Obama isn’t exactly being badgered about contraceptives and how he told a town hall meeting in 2008 they would help his daughters avoid being “punished with a baby.”
The media will demand Santorum move to the center on all of the issues: economic issues, defense issues, and social issues. But they think he’s especially vulnerable as “extreme” on the social ones. Conservative viewpoints are “extreme,” but the liberal counterpoints never are so.
It’s “extreme” to criticize contraceptives, but not extreme to give them to 12-year-olds in public schools. It’s “extreme” to oppose all abortions, but not extreme to favor every one of them (even partial-birth abortions) and want them funded with taxpayer money. It’s “extreme” to believe in traditional marriage, but it’s not extreme to support “poly-amorous” groupings of three or five lovers in loose “family” arrangements.
Amazingly, ABC’s “Good Morning America” slavishly promoted polyamory the morning after Santorum’s near-tie. Abbie Boudreau gushed, “Really, these days a modern family, just like ABC's hit comedy, can be anything you make it.”
Republican voters need to remember that the ultraliberals who run our national media are nowhere near the “mainstream” on the culture, or on any other vital American issue. When they insist a conservative candidate really needs to move to the middle, perhaps conservatives ought to push back and ask when was the last time these people were anywhere near the center. They couldn’t find it with a pair of binoculars.