Emmett Tyrrell
WASHINGTON -- It is called the Taranto Principle, having been named after he who coined the principle, the inimitable James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal. According to the Taranto Principle, the left-wing media, in their fawning treatment of left-wing politicians, only encourage the pols' worst instincts: encouraging Jean-Francois Kerry's sophomoric wind-surfing during his presidential race or Howard Dean's blood-curdling scream upon losing the Iowa caucuses. And then there is President Barack Obama. At his press conference the other day, he finally commented on the traitor Edward Snowden. Obama said, "You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Edward." OK, OK -- I made that up, but who doubts that he is capable of such excesses? Barack Obama might say anything, and the left-wing press will generously indulge him, thus encouraging him to ever-greater pratfalls.

I thought of the Taranto Principle while reading Fred Barnes's commentary the other day on the governor's race in Virginia. Barnes says, "Negative campaigning is common in American elections, but Democrats in this year's high-stakes race for governor of Virginia have taken things to the next level." The Democrats accuse the Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli of saying things that he has manifestly never said. They accuse him of writing it all down in a book, but when fact checkers checked the book the Democrats' charges dissolved in a haze of lies.

I am not surprised. The Democratic candidate for governor is none other than my old friend Terry McAuliffe. At least I think he is a friend. He calls me "Bob" and I call him "Terry" in a warm correspondence that is as evasive on his part as the campaign Democrats are now waging against Cuccinelli. They cite Cuccinelli's book, "The Last Line of Defense," as saying things that he clearly has not said. Terry did exactly that with me, citing scurrilities in my magazine, The American Spectator, that did not appear there. Terry is a bold-faced liar, and apparently those who compose his ads in the Democratic Party are, too. Why do they go to such extremes? I suggest the Taranto Principle. They are encouraged by their boosters in the media.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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