On Oct. 12, the Sunday edition of The Washington Post reported their "Election Lab" estimate that the Republicans will win six more seats in the House and eight more Senate seats, and projected it was 95 percent certain that Democrats will lose the Senate.
But on NBC's "Meet the Press" that morning, newly installed host Chuck Todd stubbornly persisted in the usual Republicans-in-deep-trouble narrative. Based on the judicial failure to take up gay marriage cases, Todd previewed the program by asking, "Is it time for conservatives to surrender in the culture wars?"
Later, Todd underlined his point: "Whether it's on abortion, whether it's on same-sex marriage, whether it's on marijuana legalization, the culture wars have shifted to the left. Many Republicans are trying to acknowledge that general public shift. And yet, it's going to cause some heartburn."
We're in the middle of an election cycle where red-state Democrats are running away from President Obama on gun ownership, on border control and on energy and "climate change" crackdowns. So isn't proclaiming a "national shift to the cultural left" a rather desperate spin for the losing side?
Todd is doing exactly what the liberal media routinely do when it comes to Democrats, Republicans and social issues. When Democrats in red states try to tack to the center or avoid social issues that might estrange them from voters, there is no "national shift" worth noticing. When Republicans in purple states try to tack a little bit toward the center or stay quiet on contentious issues, it's time for a "surrender on the culture wars."
Several Republicans made the decision to rebut the shameless Democratic lie that they "oppose birth control" by supporting over-the-counter sales of birth control. Is that "moving left"? Or is it merely trying to rebut a lie? Didn't the move to the left begin when Democrats forced employers to pay for birth-control pills under Obamacare? Isn't that a new extreme? Not to Chuck Todd. Obama's incapable of extremism, or extremism in the defense of abortion and contraception is no vice.
Parenthood is pushing hard in Colorado and North Carolina against Republicans who have ever favored "personhood" legislation that recognizes the unborn child is a human life from conception. That is the staunchest pro-life stand.
Now flip that script, and imagine Chuck Todd asking Planned Parenthood whether their public stand for "post-birth abortion" is politically smart. The national media hounded Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock about rape exceptions in 2012 Senate races, but this fall they won't whisper the name "Kermit Gosnell" or mention the 2013 hearing in the Florida legislature where a local Planned Parenthood staffer insisted it was a "woman's right to choose" whether a baby born alive can be murdered.
There is apparently no identifiable or embarrassing extreme when you favor abortion. Journalists describe pro-life legislators with words like "strident," and extremist Planned Parenthood is merely a "women's group."
As the Democratic Party skids toward defeat, NBC can only ask, "Is the GOP retreating?"
There is a danger when kowtowing establishment Republicans work too energetically to assuage the liberal media, since these journalists are shameless enough to then accuse the GOP of "surrender." Republicans need to keep identifying the leftist extreme on the "culture wars" -- those powerful liberals who mock people who are "bitter clingers" to their guns and religion. They ought to push back on the media's liberal cultural agenda, especially on abortion, which finds it perfectly acceptable to kill a baby in the ninth month, but truly grotesque to provide children their school lunches without enough broccoli or whole grains.