Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Monday, January 28, 2008

George Will drills McCain

And I thought we had some pent up anger towards "St. John," but apparently we're not the only ones. Today, George Will unloaded on him, and despite the spin that Captain Queeg has put on criticism from the conservative pundits, he can't say that this is some form of flattery or jealousy. Key graphs:

That cloud has been a constant accoutrement of their careers, and has been influencing the nation's political weather for 16 years. But by the time Bill Clinton brought the Democratic Party in from the wilderness in 1992, the party had lost five of the previous six, and seven of the previous 10, presidential elections. Democrats were so grateful to him, and so determined not to resume wandering in the wilderness, that they averted their gazes to avoid seeing, and hummed show tunes to avoid hearing, the Clintons' routine mendacities.

Then, last week, came the radio ad that even South Carolinians, who are not squeamish about bite-and-gouge politics, thought was one brick over a load, and that the Clintons withdrew. It was the one that said Obama endorsed Republican ideas (because he said Republicans had some ideas). The Clinton campaign also accused Obama of praising Ronald Reagan (because Obama noted the stark fact that Reagan had changed the country's trajectory more than some other recent presidents -- hello, Bill -- had done).

This was a garden-variety dishonesty, the manufacture of which does not cause a Clinton in midseason form to break a sweat. And it was no worse than -- actually, not as gross as -- St. John of Arizona's crooked-talk claim in Florida that Mitt Romney wanted to "surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do" in Iraq because Romney "wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster."

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the Clintons should bask in the glow of John McCain's Clintonian gloss on this fact: Ten months ago Romney said that President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki should discuss, privately, "a series of timetables and milestones." That unremarkable thought was twisted by McCain, whose distortions are notably clumsy, as when Romney said, accurately, that he alone among the candidates has had extensive experience in private-sector business. That truth was subjected to McCain's sophistry, and he charged that Romney had said "you haven't had a real job" if you had a military career. If, this autumn, voters must choose between Clinton and McCain, they will face, at least stylistically, an echo, not a choice.

But that dreary scenario need not come to pass. Romney seems to have found his voice as attention turns to the economy, a subject on which McCain seems neither conversant nor eager to become so. And in South Carolina, Obama, more than doubling Clinton's 27 percent, won a majority of the votes, becoming the first person in either party to do so in a contested primary this year. He won a majority of men and of women, which pretty much covers the rainbow of genders. And he used his victory speech to clearly associate the Clintons with "the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election" (hello again, Bill, you political ethicist who famously said "you gotta do what you gotta do") and "the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea -- even if it's one you never agreed with."

Obama is running against two Clintons -- or one and a fraction of one, given how much she has been diminished by her overbearing spouse. Romney is marginally better off running against a Clinton impersonator.

Now, let's add this tidbit to the mix. McCain has decided to use robo-calls to slam Mitt Romney. The transcript is below:

"I'm calling with an urgent Mitt Romney voter alert. We care deeply about traditional values and protecting families and need someone who will not [inaudible] in the White House, ending abortion, preserving the sanctity of marriage, [inaudible] the trash on the airwaves and attempts to ban God from every corner of society. These issues are core to our being. Mitt Romney seems to think he can fool us. He supported abortion on-demand, even wrote a law mandating tax payer funding for abortions. He says he changed his mind but he still hasn't changed the law. He told gay organizers in Massachusetts he would be a stronger advocate for [inaudible] rights than even Ted Kennedy, now it's something different. Unfortunately, on issue after issue, Mitt Romney has treated special issues voters as fools, thinking they won't catch on. Sorry Mitt, we know you aren't trust-worthy on the most important issues and you aren't a conservative. Paid for by John McCain 2008."

Johnathan Martin of Politico has confirmed that these calls have come from the McCain camp, therefore McCain has gone negative. It started with his disingenuous slap over the claim that Mitt was in favor of a withdrawal timetable. Now they're using slanted oppo-research to go after Mitt.

Look, McCain was bound to do this regardless of who was ahead or on his heels. I have said this repeatedly that he is running a very arrogant campaign, much like Hillary Clinton's (I'm happy to see that Mr. Will picked up on the similarities) and that's because he believes he deserves the nomination. He feels he was robbed in 2000, and if he loses the nomination this year, he'll claim he was robbed.

the presidency isn't for arrogant, condescending people, and shame on McCain for even thinking that he can run this sort of a campaign and get a pass. Not even his precious media is doing that for him.

Publius II


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