The news about Hudak’s signing a petition more than a decade ago saying he is pro-life is apparently big news today, and the media is in a full fledged frenzy, with reports from the Toronto Sun, National PostOttawa Citizen, Toronto Star, and CTV. We agree with the Citizen that Hudak’s position is gutless, but there is plenty of outrage to go around.

The origin of the story is interesting. It is not like an enterprising reporter decided to dig up Hudak’s past position on abortion. It is not a coincidence that so many media outlets covered this story at the same time. Last week, Warren Kinsella, a liberal strategist and blogger, highlighted the story on his personal website, a clearing-house of his complaints about supposed extreme right-wingers in the federal Conservative and provincial Progressive Conservative Party. Kinsella apparently learned about Hudak’s past pro-life position from the Association for Reformed Political Action, to whom Hudak sent an email confirming he was pro-life.  This week, Hudak was asked about the issue in a press conference. Obviously, some reporter got the idea to press the issue from Kinsella’s blog.

Hudak has tried his best to ignore the issue of abortion. It is the media that are stirring up this controversy — and contra some of the headlines and story ledes, not Hudak. In fact, Hudak is running from this issue, using a tactic some might compare to a possum and it is a tactic often employed by politicians such as the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Some astute pro-life analysts have been predicting that Hudak since becoming leader, as seen in our August 2009 coverage of the Ontario PC leadership race.

Pro-lifers might be bitterly disappointed in Hudak’s balancing act which consists of ignoring the abortion issue while trying to maintain social conservative support (ditto his position on human rights commissions). But the real outrage here is the media thinking they can play gotcha with the issue of abortion, and doing so by following Kinsella’s lead. If the federal election campaign taught us anything it is that attacking conservative politicians with the extremism label is returning diminishing results — especially when these pols are obviously not pro-life standard-bearers. The Liberals and media are looking desperate; Hudak is looking cowardly.