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RUSH: Now here’s the Bill McGurn piece. “The politics of the double standard on social issues.”Bill McGurn, full disclosure, is a friend of mine. He writes at the Wall Street Journal, and this piece is an unexpected surprise. It’s unexpected in that it is rare that anyone is advising a principled conservative like Santorum to basically continue to be who he is, be himself. That’s what this piece does.
“When Barack Obama was campaigning for president 2008,” McGurn begins, “he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the most part, his position was treated as a nonissue. Now Rick Santorum is campaigning for president. He too says that marriage is between a man and a woman. What a different reaction he gets. There’s no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says. President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands –nudge nudge, wink wink — that he’s not telling the truth. The press understands that this is just one of those things a Democratic candidate has to say so he doesn’t rile up the great unwashed.”

The press knows Obama can’t be truthful about this. If Obama were to go out there and say that he doesn’t think marriage is just between a man and a woman, there would be hell to pay. So he has to lie about it. We’ll wink and nod. We understand he’s gotta lie. In fact, we’ll even do some stories here on how lying is good for the culture. It’s what they did for Clinton.

“It’s arguably the most glaring double standard in American life today. It helps explain why candidates with social views that are fairly conventional among ordinary Americans — the citizens of 31 states including California have rejected same-sex marriage when put to a vote — find themselves depicted as extreme. It also speaks to why even some who share Mr. Santorum’s social views nonetheless fear that his outspokenness on these issues will only undermine his candidacy.” That’s right, even the people who agree with him say, “Kind of tone it down, gosh, on the social issues. People are gonna react, please no, you gotta shut up, Rick.”

“That has led some folks to suggest that Mr. Santorum simply drop these issues altogether. Their hope is that by concentrating his energies solely on Mr. Obama’s management of the economy and foreign affairs, Mr. Santorum might avoid dividing his party and America. However reasonable the argument may be on paper, it is simply not practical,” to make these social issues arguments.

“It’s not practical, first, because Mr. Santorum is running as what he is, a conviction politician. Having been dismissed for months by Republicans hostile to his social views, he is not likely to take their advice now. He appreciates that he did not get where he is today by trimming his sails. Indeed, that’s one reason he has now overtaken Mitt Romney as the front-runner in Michigan. Mr. Romney is behind because Republican voters have yet to be persuaded he stands for anything.”

Now, I’m reading here from Bill McGurn in the Wall Street Journal. You can call him or send him e-mails. But when you call him, Snerdley will not answer. McGurn says “one reason he has now overtaken Mitt Romney as the front-runner in Michigan. Mr. Romney is behind because Republican voters have yet to be persuaded he stands for anything. Mr. Santorum is ahead because even those who might not sign onto all his social particulars are hungry for a nominee who does not bend with the wind.

“Dropping the social issues is also not practical for another reason.” I hope you people in the Republican establishment are listening. “Dropping the social issues is also not practical for another reason: The media won’t let him. When Mr. Obama used a prayer breakfast earlier this month to suggest that the Gospel of Luke was a call for raising taxes on the wealthy, the press corps yawned. When Mr. Santorum complained about the ‘phony theology’ behind the president’s worldview, suddenly it landed on every front page and lead every news show.


“So what’s the answer? The answer is that when Mr. Santorum discusses these issues, he needs to fold them into his larger narrative about the free society. That narrative has to do with pointing out the dependency that comes with an expanding federal government, the importance of family, and the threat to freedom when, say, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals or a Health and Human Services secretary can substitute their own opinions on these issues for the judgment of the American people.

“Mr. Santorum comes to the task well equipped. He echoes Ronald Reagan, for example, when he talks about how small government requires strong families. Or when he’s pointing out the intolerance of a federal government bent on forcing religious individuals and institutions to underwrite practices (e.g., contraception and sterilization) they regard as abhorrent.

There is, however, one area where Mr. Santorum needs to demonstrate a discipline it’s not yet clear he has. That is the ability to resist the efforts to drag him out of the public questions into the weeds of theological debate. In short, Mr. Santorum must resist the temptation to run for president on ‘Humanae Vitae,’ the 1968 papal encyclical prohibiting artificial contraception.” We had a call about that.

“Of late the former Pennsylvania senator has pointed out that, despite his personal views, he has voted for contraceptive funding in the past. Alas, he has also said that artificial contraception is the kind of moral issue he plans to talk about as president. These are important issues. They have large implications for society.” But he would be wise to set them aside.

“He might be surprised to find how prophetic that document was in its warnings about the consequences of the contraceptive mentality for society, including the weakening of the marriage bond. A presidential debate, however, is simply not the vehicle for clarifying the coherence of the Catholic Church’s view of human sexuality. That doesn’t mean Mr. Santorum should compromise his views. To the contrary, he needs to keep his comments simple, clear, and focused on the political point he is hoping to make. That in turn will require letting pass a great deal that he might be itching to respond to. Mr. Santorum cannot change the double standard. With a little discipline, however, he need not let himself be defined by it.”

So basically McGurn’s saying: Look, leave Catholicism for your home. Don’t bring it to the political debate. But don’t give up these social issues; it’s who you are. Just correlate them to the political issues of the day.

And here’s a good way of doing it. Santorum was on Hannity a couple of nights ago, and they were talking about the fake controversies in the media over Santorum’s comments. Hannity pointed out that it was Obama who used the Bible to back up his tax-the-rich policies, and he then asked Santorum why this double standard in the media exists when it comes to Obama. And McGurn just explained it. The double standard exists because the media winks and nods when Obama lies. They know he has to and they’re willing to let it go. Now, what Santorum said to Hannity was, “Well, it’s perfectly clear. I mean, let’s be honest. This is standard fare. I mean, I’m not saying anything particularly new here. I mean, what we have been talking about, the radical environmental agenda that puts the earth over the needs of man, that, you know, doesn’t understand that the best way to create a sound environment is for people to be doing well and to have prosperity.

“Because you go to countries where in fact the mankind is not doing well. And let me assure you, the last thing they worry about is the environment. It depends on America’s growth and prosperity, so we can in fact be good — husband to the environment as the way we should. … And for them to continually distort, this is the kind of stuff that I think is actually, I think one of the reasons we’re doing well in the polls, because people [voting in the Republican primaries] see it for what it is. They see a national media trying to destroy conservatives.” And there’s a level of sophistication now within the news consumers and the audience that fully understands that’s what the Drive-By Media is about and it’s just not as easy to do it.

It’s not as easy to destroy conservatives as it used to be. (interruption) Well, there are any number of reasons why that is. But, anyway, McGurn, basically, his primary point is (there’s some great points) he’s telling Santorum: The Humanae Vitae, leave it alone. Don’t bring it to the debate. Don’t bring it to a campaign appearance. That’s your personal religious belief. Not everybody’s Catholic. Just leave that where it is, but don’t give up on your social issues. They are defining cultural issues. Continue to be who you are and acknowledge the double standard. And the real point for the Republican establishment is: The media will not let the social issues be abandoned.

You can sit there and you can wish and you can dream all you want that abortion and contraception will not ever come up, but look who brought ’em up. Look who invented a totally phony issue, and now a totally phony voting bloc: Contraception mom, “birth control moms,” for crying out loud! The Democrats brought it up. They go to it each time they’re in trouble. So for all this mainstream Republican establishment wish and hope and desire that the social issues not come up, they always will. And so it’s gonna be incumbent upon whoever is not afraid to talk about them, to not be afraid to talk about them. It’s that simple.

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