“He would attack people in a smug way that was harder-edged and more insulting than was necessary, said Mark Salter, the former chief of staff to Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, adding that lawmakers in both parties shared this view. “He was a bully who was not a potent enough force to be a bully.”So they got this McCain guy to call him a bully. Then they set out the hypothesis in a big old generality:
From the start of a legislative career that included two terms in the House and two in the Senate, Mr. Santorum earned a reputation for throwing haymakers with no regard for custom, sacred cows or his own newcomer status.If you look past the manipulative words, all you've got is that Santorum fights hard for what he believes. I'm sure the NYT would prefer if the GOP didn't confront President Obama with a tough fighter.
By the way, I'm seeing a hardcore effort to portray Santorum as an anti-gay bigot. In that context, the notion that he's a bully resonates with the campaign against bullying kids who are (or seem) gay. But there are really 2 different uses of the word "bully." Being a tough fighter in the political arena is quite different from harassing and assaulting kids. And a traditional-values political position — which includes opposition to same-sex marriage — is quite different from feeling hatred or antagonism toward individuals who have a homosexual orientation.
The liberal media conflates things, but fair-minded people think clearly and see the distinctions as well as the similarities.