Don’t let lib­eral es­tab­lish­ment choose GOP can­di­dates

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Con­ser­va­tives are wor­ried that an ideal Rea­gan con­ser­va­tive has yet to emerge and lead the 2012 GOP pres­i­den­tial field. But are we al­low­ing the lib­eral me­dia (and es­tab­lish­ment Repub­li­cans) to ma­nip­u­late the nar­ra­tive to pre­vent such a re­sult?

Ob­vi­ously, the lib­eral me­dia do not have the best in­ter­ests of Rea­gan con­ser­va­tives in mind when they do their “re­port­ing.” So when they tell us cer­tain GOP can­di­dates are un­electable or electable, com­mon sense would coun­sel us to take their ad­vice with mounds of salt. But do we?

Surely Ron­ald Rea­gan isn’t the only qual­i­fied, electable Rea­gan con­ser­va­tive in our life­times. Nonethe­less, the vir­tu­ally un­chal­lenged as­sump­tion is that Rea­gan con­ser­vatism is ex­treme and its pur­vey­ors in­trin­si­cally di­vi­sive.

The de­mo­niza­tion al­ways fol­lows the same pat­tern. A promis­ing main­stream con­ser­va­tive can­di­date ap­pears and be­gins to gain trac­tion and is then re­lent­lessly at­tacked and marginal­ized into ap­par­ent un­electablil­ity.

Com­pare the me­dia’s treat­ment of Mitt Rom­ney with their treat­ment of John McCain in the 2008 Repub­li­can pri­mary cam­paign. We don’t need to de­bate here whether Rom­ney is a Rea­gan con­ser­va­tive; all that mat­ters for pur­poses of this dis­cus­sion is that the lib­eral me­dia thought he was, or enough so that he had to be stopped. McCain, on the other hand, had been their dar­ling for years for his high-pro­file counter-con­ser­va­tive stances and his pen­chant for ad­min­is­ter­ing friendly fire on his GOP col­leagues. It wasn’t un­til the gen­eral elec­tion that they turned on McCain.

More re­cently, we see the same phe­nom­e­non with this year’s slate of po­ten­tial can­di­dates. Sarah Palin and Michele Bach­mann are strong, un­apolo­getic con­ser­va­tives, qual­i­fy­ing as con­ser­va­tives on all three legs of Rea­gan’s three-legged stool: eco­nomic, so­cial and for­eign pol­icy is­sues.

They have both been sav­aged as in­ex­pe­ri­enced, ex­trem­ist, di­vi­sive lightweights. But the me­dia never cast Barack Obama’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence in a neg­a­tive light. They con­served their ammo for use solely against Palin, who wasn’t even run­ning for the main spot on the ticket and who had far more ex­ec­u­tive ex­pe­ri­ence than Obama.

The me­dia por­trayed Obama as a uniter, de­spite his hav­ing had the most lib­eral vot­ing record in the Se­nate in 2007. And they haven’t prop­erly ac­knowl­edged the ex­tent of his di­vi­sive­ness yet, though he’s the most po­lar­iz­ing pres­i­dent of the mod­ern era, in­clud­ing Ge­orge W. Bush.

This year, the es­tab­lish­ment had been prop­ping up Mitch Daniels, prob­a­bly be­cause it didn’t view him as be­ing as con­ser­va­tive as Palin, Bach­mann, Rick San­to­rum, Her­man Cain or Tim Paw­lenty.

Now that Daniels is out, we hear that those in the es­tab­lish­ment will start talk­ing up John Hunts­man, doubtlessly be­cause they see him as less con­ser­va­tive and thus less threat­en­ing.

Nor is the me­dia’s anti-con­ser­va­tive vit­riol re­served ex­clu­sively for an­nounced pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates.

On “Meet the Press,” David Gre­gory am­bushed Paul Ryan for his plan to “cut” Medi­care when polls al­legedly show that peo­ple in­co­her­ently op­pose cuts even if the fail­ure to im­pose sub­stan­tial cuts would bank­rupt the coun­try.

In a dis­play of smug­ness I’ve not wit­nessed since Obama told Sen. McCain “I won, John,” Gre­gory sneer­ingly lec­tured Ryan on his au­dac­ity in pro­mot­ing his plan with­out hav­ing a na­tional “con­sen­sus.”

Hold on for a sec­ond. I re­searched Nexis and Google and couldn’t find a scin­tilla of ev­i­dence of Gre­gory’s in­dig­na­tion against Obama for shov­ing Oba­macare through with­out a con­sen­sus.

So the rule is: Vil­ify the con­ser­va­tive for push­ing a plan and si­mul­ta­ne­ously en­gag­ing in a na­tional di­a­logue aimed at de­vel­op­ing a na­tional con­sen­sus, and glo­rify the lib­eral for ly­ing, cheat­ing and steal­ing to cram a bill through with an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of op­po­si­tion, let alone with­out a con­sen­sus.

Why do we keep al­low­ing our po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies to pick and dis­qual­ify our can­di­dates?

Pro­fes­sional politi­cians have steered our ship of state into the Ti­tanic ice­berg. It’s hardly face­tious to sug­gest that there’s an in­verse re­la­tion­ship be­tween the col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of those in the po­lit­i­cal class and their abil­ity and will­ing­ness to ex­tri­cate us from the mess they’ve cre­ated.

We need fresh blood and a fresh ap­proach to the na­tion­threat­en­ing prob­lems we face, so per­haps we should lib­er­ate our­selves from the tem­plate pre­vent­ing us from step­ping out­side the box.

I haven’t de­cided whom I will sup­port for the GOP nom­i­na­tion this early in the field. I like Palin, Cain, Ryan, Rick Perry, San­to­rum, Paw­lenty, John Bolton and Bach­mann, among oth­ers.

But I sure won’t let the lib­eral me­dia or es­tab­lish­ment types color my think­ing about it.

Let’s try to re­sist the de­bil­i­tat­ing con­ta­gion of pes­simism out there. Con­trary to con­ven­tional wis­dom, there are plenty of good can­di­dates, and all of them are in­fin­itely su­pe­rior to Obama. If the nation is to be saved, one of them, on this list or not, has to pre­vail.

David Lim­baugh is the au­thor of “Crimes Against Lib­erty”.

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