James Bowman, writing in The New Criterion, on the waves of hysteria provoked by Rick Santorum's social conservatism, worth quoting at length:
John Nichols, blogging for The Nation, wrote that Mr. Santorum “has no qualms about rewriting the Constitution as a social-conservative manifesto.” Whether or not he would have any qualms, he would not, even as president, have any power to re-write the Constitution as a social-conservative manifesto, assuming there could be such a thing, and so has not proposed to do so. That at various times he has expressed support for constitutional amendments very unlikely ever to pass, circumventing Roe v. Wade or in defense of traditional marriage, does not make the idea, expressed with affected horror, of a rewritten Constitution any less of a left-wing fantasy foisted upon him on the basis of the media’s neverending barrage of hypotheticals designed to expose what they claim to regard as his outlandish religious views....
...Those on the left may or may not believe in this right-wing bugbear they are at such pains to create, but they undoubtedly have a very strong sense of the convenience of having such a bugbear to attack when people might otherwise want to talk about subjects like jobs, economic growth, or government fiscal policy that the left would prefer to avoid during this election season. Left-wing utopianism is so much the default position of the media that it is easy for such writers to pretend that the most important thing about a candidate is how, if he were absolute dictator, he would fashion an ideal society. By treating Mr. Santorum (or anybody else) as if he were seeking election to the presidency in order to do only things that the president cannot do, the media and their left-wing allies hope they will be able to hold together a bare majority on behalf of President Obama—a majority not of those who approve of him, which he is most unlikely to have, but of those who are opposed to this left-wing fantasy of a right-wing theocracy. And how glad we will all be, amidst our economic doldrums and our fiscal ruin, to have dodged that bullet.
I sometimes wonder how much of the professed fear is real. I suspect it may be both real and not real--I believe the emotion is real, more or less, but that deep down those who cultivate it know that they're just telling each other scary stories. Not that they wouldn't in fact be very unhappy with Rick Santorum (or for that matter Mitt Romney) as president, but in their hearts they know they aren't in any danger proportional to the emotion.