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A strange new disrespect

It was entirely predictable (and we predicted) that the mainstream media and the liberal pundits associated with it would not only turn against John McCain once he became the Republican nominee, but also attempt to demonize him. The decent thing for those liberals who had praised McCain so much in the past would have been to maintain their respectful posture but express their preference for Obama based on policy grounds. But there was never any hope that the liberal pundit class would act decently. The past respect was founded largely on McCain’s willingness to stick it to Republicans. Once McCain became the Republican standard bearer, it was inevitable that these liberals would withdraw that respect.

Hoping to cover up their raw partisanship, liberal MSMers attempt to show that McCain has changed fundamentally. Lacking anything terribly concrete on which to base this claim — like, say, breaking a promise to fund his campaign through public financing — liberal pundits have resorted to crass intellectual dishonesty.

The latest example comes (again predictably) from Joe Klein. He tries to show that McCain has changed by pointing to the Senator’s views of two anti-Vietnam activists, Dave Ifshin and Williams Ayers. Ifshin (with whom I attended high school) protested the war by traveling to Hanoi and making anti-war tapes which were played to McCain while he was a prisoner at the Hanoi Hilton. Ifshin later felt great remorse over this conduct. When McCain came to Congress, Ifshin reached out to him and, thanks to McCain’s graciousness, the two men were reconciled.

Klein contends that, by now criticizing Obama for his association with Bill Ayers, McCain has betrayed his ideal of ending the divisions associated with the Vietnam war. But Ifshin deeply regretted his conduct during that war and said so. As Jason Moaz reminds us, Ayers has insisted he has no regrets about his terrorist activities except that he did not “do more.”

Is Joe Klein so blinded by partisanship and Obama worship that he can’t grasp the distinction between the repentant Ifshin (who never engaged in terrorism) and an unrepentant terrorist? Or is he deliberately trying to sneak one past his readers? In the end, it more or less boils down to the same thing.

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