Thursday, February 28, 2008

Two Can Play That Game

TPM reader ER explains that McCain benefits three times when he denounces the scurrilous insults a supported directs at Obama. First the insults are inserted in people's minds, second they are re-inserted by McCain's denunciation, and third he manages to temporarily convince people that he is a mensch.

OK so how can Obama denounce slanders of McCain ? My first attempt (I'm pretending to be Obama. Don't sneer I bet you do too when no one is watching).

Sadly the New York Times risks sinking to the level of the National Enquirer (hey someone find a low circulation tabloid which Obama can afford to insult). The notorious February 21 article reports that 8 years ago, un-named aids were concerned that the relationship between Senator John McCain and the lobbyist Victoria Iseman might be romantic. This article is un-acceptable for six reasons. First the salacious innuendo distracts the public from the really important issues. Second it attempts to violate my esteemed colleagues privacy. Third the hint of a possible past concern of an unfounded allegation would not amount to news even if the allegation concerned something that is newsworthy. Fourth the sources were clearly aids to Senator McCain in the past, but the article does not note whether their association with Senator McCain has ended. I am sure it has and that they are pissed because it passed. Fifth, I trust both Senator McCain and Ms Iseman and concluded that their relationship was strictly business. But finally the alleged evidence of a possible cause for concern isn't evidence of anything. There is no need to appeal to cupid to explain why Senator McCain is in constant contact with a lobbyist, when cupidity will do as well. Right now both Senator McCain's campaign manager and his chief political adviser are lobbyists. No one suggests that their relationships are romantic.

Reporting that Senator McCain works in close and constant collaboration with lobbyists is like reporting that the sky is blue. That the media has been reluctant to mention the plain fact that Senator McCain is closer to lobbyists than any Presidential candidate in history does not justify pretending that this fact requires a sexy explanation.

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