McCain may not be gloating about his Florida victory (and least not personally and in public), but the Washington Post is. This front-page story by Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane called “After Romney’s Barrage, McCain Still Standing,” is styled “Analysis,” but would better be described as “Shilling.”
The authors accuse Romney of launching “a negative onslaught” and, as early as the 12th line of the story, they turn the floor over to John Weaver, the “longtime political adviser to McCain” who was fired last summer by McCain for incompetence. Weaver adds, rather incoherently, the following:
You don’t want to say it doesn’t get you anywhere because a lot of campaigns are won on negativity, but if Romney wasn’t born on third base, if he had to campaign and fundraise like everyone else, I’m sure he wouldn’t be here anymore.
Let’s try to sort through this “analysis.” First, Romney did in Florida what campaigns are supposed to do — he called attention to issues of legitimate concern, at least to conservatives. They included the fact that McCain consistently receives endorsement from liberal and leftist organs like the New York Times; the fact that, by his own admission, he’s not strong in economics; and the fact that he joined with some of Senate’s most liberal members to curb political speech (McCain-Feingold) and grant relief to illegal aliens (McCain-Kennedy). The McCain campaign and the liberal MSM would prefer it if McCain’s deviations from conservatism were off-limits for discussion, but making them so would be a massive disservice to the conservative political cause.
Second, McCain dissembled his way through Florida. He smeared Romney a false claim about Romney’s position about Iraq. He tried to walk away from his own past statements confessing lack of economic expertise. And he falsely asserted that the Gang of 14 deal he helped broker resulted in Bush nominees being hung out to dry only because the Republicans “ran out of time.” In reality, the Gang of 14 knew that not all pending nominees would be confirmed and McCain was instrumental in seeing that at least one of them (Jim Haynes) wasn’t.
The salient test for a campaign should not be “positive vs. negative,” but “accurate vs. inaccurate.” In my view, Romney’s Florida campaign scores considerably higher on this scale than McCain’s.
Third, Weaver’s verbiage about Romney being “born on third base” is ridiculous. Romney isn’t spending inherited money on his campaign, he’s spending money he earned as perhaps the nation’s top business consultant.
Weaver’s views are irrelevant, even if the Post sees fit to print them on its front page. Hopefully, they don’t reflect McCain’s, but given his unwarranted contempt for Romney (which predates the current intensity of the campaign), I fear that they do.
A final point: no one should conclude from the MSM’s current bias in favor of McCain that it will continue to carry his torch, or even treat him fairly, if he’s nominated. McCain may be the MSM’s favorite Republican, but he’s still a Republican.
UPDATE: I know the official line is that Weaver “left” the McCain campaign but as the candidate would say “look, let’s have some straight talk.”
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