- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GET ROMNEYFIED

Love Mitt, surrender to Mitt: And so goes the rallying cry among Republicans who insist that the GOP nomination process end with Mitt Romney as the imperfect but inevitable candidate. The party grows anemic, the public is vexed — so learn to love Mitt, they say. The press is rushing the process. A new CNN poll reveals that 61 percent of Republicans say Rep. Ron Paul should drop out of the race; 60 percent say the same of Newt Gingrich, though just 39 percent think the same of Rick Santorum.

Bloomberg News, meanwhile, has assembled a laundry list of party heavyweights who support Mr. Romney and are pushing to close ranks, end the primary race and just get on with the bigger battle. The Republican National Convention is, after all, a mere 21 weeks away. The aforementioned list includes the ever ebullient American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

But wait. Grass-roots folk, “principled” conservatives, tea partyers and value voters still back Mr. Santorum despite noisy “big name” endorsements, says longtime conservative maven Richard A. Viguerie, who notes that such powerhouses as Gary Bauer, James Dobson, Vision America founder Richard Scarborough and Michelle Malkin agree with him.

Rick Santorum is no stranger to the conservative movement. He is one of us. He walks with us, eats with us, and prays with us. He has celebrated our victories and mourned our losses for many years, not just when he wants our votes,” Mr. Viguerie adds.

GUNNING FOR POLLS

“We cannot fight wars by polls. If we do that, we’re in deep trouble.”

(Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta after acknowledging public fatigue with the war in Afghanistan during a meeting with Canadian and Mexican defense officials in Ottawa on Tuesday).

“Polls are for dogs.”

(Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay, agreeing with Mr. Panetta)

RECALLING THE JOURNALISTS

A woe-is-us moment for Gannett Wisconsin Media, where 25 journalists signed a petition to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, violating their “neutrality” as members of the press. Kevin Corrado, president and publisher of the Green Bay Press Gazette — a member paper where seven staffers are signatories — has declared their actions “wrong” and in violation of the parent company’s code of ethical conduct.

“The principle at stake is our belief that journalists must exercise caution and not cause doubts about their neutrality, especially at a time when the media is under a microscope and our credibility is routinely challenged,” Mr. Corrado proclaimed in a published column.

“A number of the journalists told their editors they did not consider signing the petition a political act. They equated it to casting a ballot in an election. But we do not make that distinction,” Mr. Corrado notes, adding that though none of the signers worked on the political or news desks, the paper is reviewing its ethical training policies.

Is it an overreaction? Business Insider political reporter Brett LoGiurato cautions, “Get ready to hear more complaints about the ‘liberal media’ from conservatives.”

Well, uh, yeah.

“They certainly did violate Gannett’s conduct code, but what should really concern professional journalists is how no one was surprised that so many journalists are more passionate about a hot liberal political cause than at least pretending to be neutral,” counters Media Research Center news analyst Brent Baker.

HISTORIC MUDSLINGING

“He is a man of splendid abilities but utterly corrupt. Like a rotting mackerel by moonlight, he shines and he stinks.”

(Virginia Rep. John Randolph on fellow New York Rep. Edward Livingston, 1799)

PARSING KENNEDY

As expected, the five conservative Supreme Court justices took a mighty swing at Obamacare on Tuesday. But observers who question the individual mandate are particularly intrigued by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy — the resident swing voter — who got quizzical as well as skeptical.

“The questions raised by Justice Kennedy indicate a growing concern about the constitutionality of the individual mandate,” says Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which challenged the heath care law with an amicus brief representing 119 members of Congress and nearly 145,000 Americans.

“While you can never predict the outcome of a Supreme Court case based on oral arguments, it is very encouraging that it appears a majority of the justices understand that requiring Americans to purchase health insurance raises significant constitutional questions,” Mr. Sekulow adds.

POLL DU JOUR

61 percent of Republicans say Rep. Ron Paul should drop out of the presidential race.

58 percent of men, 65 percent of women, 62 percent of conservatives, 53 percent of independents and 69 percent of tea partyers agree.

60 percent of Republicans say Newt Gingrich should drop out.

64 percent of men, 56 percent of women, 57 percent of conservatives, 66 percent of independents and 54 percent of tea partyers agree.

39 percent of Republicans say Rick Santorum should drop out.

47 percent of men, 30 percent of women, 38 percent of conservatives, 42 percent of independents and 34 percent of tea partyers agree.

21 percent of Republicans say Mitt Romney should drop out of the race.

23 percent of men, 19 percent of women, 21 percent of conservatives, 26 percent of independents and 20 percent of tea partyers agree.

Source: A CNN/ORC poll of 1,014 U.S. adults conducted March 24-25; the sample included 436 Republicans.

Caterwaul and doggerel to jharper@washingtontimes.com.