The Spectacle Blog

Swearing by Santorum

By on 3.27.12 | 11:02PM

I want to take some time to comment on Rick Santorum cussing out New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny earlier this week after a speech in Racine, Wisconsin and his subsequent defense of his language. To be precise, Santorum said, "If you haven't cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign you're really not a real Republican."

Honestly, Santorum came off as incredibly thin skinned in that exchange. This isn't to say that there haven't been times when President Obama or Mitt Romney have been testy with reporters. Will Brad Watson and Brett Baier please stand up? But neither Obama nor Romney have sworn at a reporter.

If Santorum thinks Zeleny's question was so annoying as to warrant cussing him out then I'm afraid it's the tip of the iceberg. Should Santorum manage to win the GOP nomination and then defeat President Obama then he will get a lot more of these questions and he will be a million times more annoyed than he is now. Is Santorum going to cuss out every reporter? Would Santorum become the first President to drop a f-bomb at a White House press conference? Now there may be times when getting cross with a reporter is absolutely necessary but one has to choose one's battles carefully. I didn't think Zeleny's question was unreasonable nor was his tone towards Santorum either condescending or confrontational. Zeleny is no Helen Thomas let alone Sam Donaldson.

Although there is much to dislike about the New York Times, Ronald Reagan managed to get elected and govern for two terms without cussing out any of their staff. Don't get me wrong. Reagan found the New York Times and the liberal press to be tiresome. In a letter written to an old friend from Eureka, Illinois in February 1982, Reagan said, "You are right, what we're getting from the press is dictated by ideology. But, if you think it's bad out there, you ought to have to get up every morning and start the day with the Washington Post and the New York Times." But when confronted by a miscreant a good old "oh, shut up" would suffice. In a good many of his dealings with press, like the aforementioned Donaldson, Reagan used humor to his advantage.

Please keep in mind that I voted for Santorum in the Massachusetts Primary three weeks ago so I swear by him. Still, I think a page from Reagan's book would do him a world of good.

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