Thursday, February 21, 2008
All the chatter today seems to be on the NYT hit piece on McCain, lobbyists and an alleged affair. Frankly, I think this stuff helps McCain. And the Times looks foolish. Didn't they just endorse the guy as "the least bad Republican" like two weeks ago? This story was well in the works by then, certainly. So isn't their editorial board sort of acknowledging the "who cares" nature of the allegations?
Frankly, given that his age is likely to be a topic of discussion, suggesting that not only can he have a younger "trophy" wife but also maybe carry on with a second younger woman is simply not going to hurt the guy. It is going to defuse the age issue. By the way, I tend to discount the allegations in any event -- he was gearing up an election run in 1998-9 -- but still, I think the suggestion helps him. Let's remember that everybody in the country knew Clinton was a philanderer long before Ken Starr and it didn't preclude his being elected twice. And there isn't much "there, there" on the lobbying stuff. Again, it's likely to help him with the moderate voter -- he was trying to make sure the FCC continued to give minorities an edge, as they do by statute, in procuring radio stations.
So this is going to hurt McCain? With who? Hispanics? Blacks?
One other, separate thought to consider as Obama begins to overtake the Clinton machine. In the general election, who do we think Hillary voters are going to support? Will partisanship dominate, as they naturally march across to support Obama? Or will they consider a vote for McCain?
When faced with a debate moderator's obnoxious question meant to highlight Ronald Reagan's advanced age in a debate with Walter Mondale, Reagan brilliantly responded that age should not be an issue in the election, and that in any event, he would not use his opponent's youth and inexperience against him. Mondale had no choice but to crack up. It was a one-liner which at once defused an issue, humanized Reagan and made him instantly likeable and made the moderator look churlish.
McCain will be abe to unleash a similar barrage upon Obama who, unlike Mondale, will have an enormous challenge addressing his genuine youth and inexperience. Obama is an empty vessel - a gifted orator, but absolutely no record.
And our soon to be ex-President--what was his experience? Being wet-nursed through the Texas governorship by the same group of wingnut handlers he's got now (and who're on the way out regardless who wins in November)? Come on. You can do better than that. That other guy from Illinois--what was his name--oh yeah, the dude on the penny. What was his experience? Maybe more than that guy who's on the...Lord, I can't place it...oh, yeah, the 50 cent piece...whose names attached to the airport in NY. I wonder what piece of currency Dubya'll end up on.
"Hit piece?" Because real professional journalists don't tow your ideological line, it's a hit piece? Lord you all live and die by the hit piece--if you even want to call them "pieces" as the "news" through the right wing isn't even professional journalism. William Kristol, George Will, etc. maybe.
This will be 1960. Or 1996...in that the GOP candidate runs the risk of acting like the mean old fart whose house you avoid during trick or treating. But don't worry--I'm sure we can go dig up Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis in the Seeley Mudd Library (there behind Tiger Inn; Tigerhawk knows where it is) and find something awful. Perhaps Bill O'Reilley can go on a "lynching party" once we find something (I'm sure you've heard that ditty from Fox News). Disgusting. The right wing is finished.
Small point of order: Michelle Obama's thesis is not available any longer, even at Seeley Mudd Library.
Another: The right wing is not "finished" because you cannot really finish off a wing in American politics. But it is certainly in retreat. No doubt about that. The country has swung hard to the left in the last few years.
Despite previous instances of stupidity, I don't see how the Times, the Paper of Record and Grey Lady can justify running a nearly-nonexistantly verified story that even the Enquirer would have paused to put ahead of the Frog-Boy headline. The Republicans will be using this story for the next ten years to "beat up on" the Times, and justifiably so.
Remember in 2004? Unnamed sources said that Kerry had a girl friend; some even named her. She snuck off to Africa for the duration and was never thought of again. Isn't the NYTs handling McCain's situation just as it handled Kerry's? Yeah, I guess not.
What ever happened to Kerry's bimbo?
Smaller point of order: Michelle Obama's thesis is available right here: Politico link
Plus, the have an article on it...
As far as McCain and the Times goes, I think it's simple: in this battle of giants, the one telling the truth wins. If McCain is lying, he loses. If the Times can produce evidence of either a hotel stay (or it's ilk), or a favor done for her, he loses.
If they can't do these things, the Times loses. Big.