Mr. Obama’s remark about rural Pennsylvanians clinging to guns and religion is the coin of the realm in his crowd. But let’s put their shared consensus another way: Somehow it became a conventional view in contemporary American politics that it is non-urban conservatives who in every case have to accommodate their beliefs to a national culture created by people who live somewhere else. “They” must adjust on abortion, guns, school prayer, sexual mores and all the rest of it. Liberals, meanwhile, not only feel no need to concede anything but use the commanding heights of the press and academia to define anyone who dissents from their ever-evolving national culture as a political fringe obsessed with people, one might say, who aren’t like them.

The gun-control bill is collapsing in the Senate because its liberal sponsors, led by Barack Obama and California’s Dianne Feinstein, lost the support of Democratic senators from states with traditional hunting cultures, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Mark Begich of Alaska or Max Baucus of Montana. Why so many people in these states and many others to this day still distrust public authorities on guns is a good, but untold, story. …

But what about Kermit Gosnell? This story suggests something Neanderthal-like may have developed around the fringe of abortion practice in the 40 years since Roe v. Wade. But rather than re-examine and even reform those practices, the curtain will be pulled on the Gosnell case. They’ll cling to Roe, no matter how unseemly its status quo.