Don't Let Liberal Establishment Choose Our Candidates

Townhall.comDavid Limbaugh

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. More: