AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER! They Man They Loved dispensed straight talkexcept, of course, when he didnt: // link // print // previous // next //
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2008
JAMISON FOSER, MAN IN BLACK: Is something wrong with negative ads? In our view, theres nothing wrong with such adsif they make claims which are accurate. Indeed, its strange to think that a candidate should be banned from criticizing his opponent. If he thought his opponent had good ideas, why did he run against him?
In short, theres an obvious difference between negative ads and inaccurate ads. (Positive claims can be bogus too, a point Sarah Palin is establishing.) Youd think that almost anyone could sort out this simple distinction. But your nations multimillionaire pundits have always been flummoxed by this distinction. In Fridays post at Media Matters, Jamison Foser shows you why we recommend that one percent bet: It may turn out that Matthews and Gregory are from a different part of the multiverse.
FOR THE FACTS, PLEASE SEE PAGE A4: Luckily, we read page A4 of Saturdays Post before we got to page A6. At the top of page A6, a news report festooned with photos told the public this:
Luckily, wed already read page A4. In this less inviting Fact-Checker post, Michael Dobbs had given McCain two Pinocchios for the ad which makes that claim about Raines. The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly, Dobbs had written about that claim. The fact was checked on page A4and permitted to stand on A6.
Dobbs was hardly breaking new ground in offering this particular fact-check. At the Post, the facts can now be found on page 4. Youll find them nowhere else.
All week, well help you remember that long love affair. Its often said that love is blind. Youll see that point established.
Well start today with a quick look at the straight talk The Man They Loved would dispense. As the week proceeds, well recall other parts of this sordid affairan affair which may yet change world history.
The Man They Loved and that tax bill: The Man They Loved dispensed straight talkexcept when it came to that tax bill.
It was September 1999. Theyd been in love with The Man for yearsand the affair had been conducted in public. But The Man They Loved was now running for president; he rode them all around New Hampshire, letting them watch when he got off his bus and dispensed straight talk to the voters. Except when it came to that tax bill, of course. Roger Simon mentioned the problem, in a profile for U.S. News:
Say what? In nearly every speech, The Man They Loved would rail against that Republican tax billa bill The Man had supported! But so what? To Simon, this merely meant that The Man They Loved had the ability to avoid candor. (His profile was headlined, Honest John, On the Loose.) Their lovers dissembling was mentioned in passing. By contrast, heres how Simon began:
The journalists were roaring; the bus was rocking; and, as always, The Man They Loved was talking about Vietnam.
The Man They Loved had just flipped on Roe: The Man They Loved dispensed straight talkexcept when it came to abortion.
As they all knew, The Man They Loved had always supported repeal of Roe v. Wade. But now it was August 1999, and The Man They Loved was running for president. Uh-oh! Terry Neal reported the problem in the Washington Post:
A few days later, on CNN, The Man They Loved seemed to say the same thing. Neal noted the problem with this new stand. In a National Right to Life Committee questionnaire last year, he answered yes when asked if he supported the complete reversal of Roe v. Wade, Neal recalled. And sure enough! As they constantly do today, McCains aides offered a tortured explanation of what the great man had said:
No, that didnt really make sense. But so what? The Man They Loved was honeststraight-talking. They stuck to that story as The Man They Loved made other soft statements about abortioneven when his people wink-winked at them about his intentions (details below).
The Man They Loved had cooled off Tapper: The Man They Loved dispensed straight talkexcept when he spoke with Jake Tapper.
The conversation had occurred in May 1999. When Tapper reported it for Salon, he started with what he called a confession. Uh-oh! I was thisclose [sic] to becoming one of those reporters who swoon whenever the Republican senator from Arizona flashes his winning smile and demonstrates his passion and boyish enthusiasm, Tapper confessed. And then, he described the incident which killed his incipient ardor. It involved the famous gun show loopholethe loophole McCain so despised:
Theres a bit more to this loophole storybut, in all candor, not much. Once the Lautenberg amendment was defeated, a large political hue and cry led The Man They Loved to flip a bit more. For Tappers account, just click here. In the Washington Times, a mordant Audrey Hudson captured the new flip-flop thusly:
In short, McCain had voted against Lautenberg. Then, he said he was unhappy with the fact that Lautenberg lost.
But so what? It was now September, and everyone knew it: The Man They Loved dispensed straight talk. An ardent love affair was onand as everyone knows, love is blind.
Today, many scribes abhor The Man They Loved. He has broken their hearts with his recent vile conductconduct which is remarkably like the conduct he displayed all along.
TOMORROW: The Man They Loved often lacked a clueabout his own proposals.
Whispers ignored: As the campaign continued, The Man They Loved seemed to flounder and thrash on abortion. In February 2000, Lars-Erik Nelson, a liberal admirer (and critic) of McCain, was challenged about this on C-Span (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 2/24/00). McCain has been all over the lot on abortion, he acknowledged.
But so what? No one seemed to let this affect their view of The Man They Loved. In December 1999, Richard Cohen even described the whispers he was hearing from McCains people. Quickly recovering, he then recited the standard line about The Man They Loved:
In essence, McCains people were telling Cohen that McCain had been lying all those years, when he said he favored repeal of Roe. But so what? No one loved The Man They Loved any more than Cohen did! Two grafs later, he typed the standard mash note. The Man They Loved isnt slick, he said. The Man I Love is nothing like Clinton, a love-sick puppy-dog howled.
The Man They Loved was nothing like Clinton! As we will eventually see, this was the utterly childish idea which drove their ridiculous love affair. And it drove their simultaneous War against Gorethe inexcusable, vicious acts which sent George Bush to the White House.
Liberals watched the love affairand the simultaneous war. At best, they kept their pretty traps shut. More often, they engaged in both efforts.
In recent weeks, McCain has broken Cohens heart. But good lord! What a tumultuous affair! Truly, its one to remember.