Every four years, the media try to offer the Republican electorate advice on what they should do to achieve victory. Buyer beware: Those eager to accept the media's conventional "wisdom" ought to recognize that these are blueprints for Republican domination of Washington only if it's a domination by the party's liberal wing. Currently, the simmering stew of conventional "wisdom" suggests that Sen. John McCain is going to emerge as the obvious front-runner for 2008 because his is the winning message for Republicans.
All the recurring media love for McCain -- he's the only candidate who can go on Fox News and call journalists "Trotskyites" and the liberals all laugh -- should remind conservatives why they distrusted him in 2000. His victory in the South Carolina primary warmed the hearts of liberal journalists everywhere. To represent the media giddiness, see Jill Zuckman in the Chicago Tribune. It was "a healthy dose of poetic justice as he beat his Republican rivals and vanquished the ghosts of his 2000 defeat under a barrage of scurrilous smears."
Leftists in the press have always believed that before he stole Florida from Al Gore, George W. Bush had registered his South Carolina victory in 2000 through anonymous phone calls alleging that McCain's dark-skinned adopted daughter, Bridget, from Bangladesh, was his illegitimate black love child, playing on the inherent racism of those South Carolina Republicans. It didn't matter that even four years later, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis couldn't substantiate how many of these scurrilous phone calls were actually made or by whom. The dramatic conventional wisdom had hardened into "fact."
This drama of purging the "ghosts" of 2000 no doubt led to the curious weekend reporting on the Republican contests in South Carolina and Nevada. McCain's narrow victory in South Carolina was highlighted with joy. Mitt Romney's massive margin of victory in Nevada was comparatively ignored. The New York Times highlighted that "McCain and Clinton Capture Tough Wins" but published no story on Romney's Nevada result in the Sunday paper, the same state Hillary won. "All The News That's Fit to Print" and all that.