Bad week for the Republicans; good week for the president. Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump said no to running against Barack Obama, and Newt Gingrich may already be on the ropes after criticizing Medicare reform — a key issue for conservatives. Meanwhile, the president kept a low profile while basking in the demise of Osama bin Laden.
The Republican field is still wide open, but whoever decides to run should know this: You are not only challenging an incumbent president who will likely raise close to $1 billion, but you are also going up against the elite media. If you thought the established press promoted Obama the first time around, wait until you see what lies ahead.
Even though the president has had a rocky time, especially where the economy is concerned, he remains the most liberal chief executive since Jimmy Carter. He shares many values with the majority of media people, and they are very protective of him. One example: Recently, on NBC’s ‘‘Meet the Press,’’ moderator David Gregory questioned whether Gingrich’s description of Obama as the ‘‘food stamp president’’ was a racist statement.
Gingrich told Gregory his question was ‘‘bizarre.’’
It was also typical.
When Trump advised the president to ‘‘get off the basketball court’’ and down to business, he was branded racist by a variety of mainstream pundits.
During my Super Bowl Sunday interview with Obama, I asked him if he was a football fan. Some loon on HBO immediately branded that question racist.
So we can expect anyone who challenges the president to be hit with the same nonsense. Every word GOP candidates utter will be analyzed for racial purity. The media will also closely scrutinize their social activities and associations, all with an eye on diminishing and ultimately destroying the challenger.
The upcoming election is personal for the press. If the president loses and his liberal philosophy is repudiated by the voters, the media outlets that have promoted him will lose, as well. The upcoming election is not about a man, but a philosophy. The liberal media want liberal policies. That trumps any kind of fair reporting.
So the Grand Old Party is up against it, and whoever emerges with the nomination better have a strong stomach. I don’t expect Obama to sling mud; it isn’t his style. But his Internet supporters and newsroom boosters will be ready, willing and able to do the dirty work.
Huckabee and Trump are smart guys. They know what’s ahead. And it won’t be pretty.
Veteran TV news anchor Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show ‘‘The O’Reilly Factor.’’ Visit his website at www.billoreilly.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/billoreilly.