40 Years After The 1972 Campaign, "Dirty Tricks" No Longer Matter To MSM

Hugh Hewitt

1/26/2012 12:01:00 AM - Hugh Hewitt

The single biggest storyline out of Florida and concerning the GOP presidential nomination isn't getting much attention.

It is the attempt by President Obama and his allies to pick the Republican nominee.

It is the manipulation of the Tea Party by the hard-left activists of the ACORN-wing of the Democratic Party.

The president and the Chicago Gang as well as their allies in Big Labor want the GOP nominee to be Newt Gingrich.

This is a fact and isn't intended as a slam on the former Speaker. He and his supporters can easily say "President Obama had better watch what he wishes for," and leave it at that.

But there is no denying the president's campaign of what we used to quaintly call "dirty tricks."

Here's how the Orlando Sentinel's Scott Powers put it in yesterday's front page story: Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has an unlikely ally this week in his Florida primary battle against Mitt Romney: the Democratic National Committee.

The Democrats are targeting Mitt Romney as if he were already the Republican nominee running against President Barack Obama, with campaign ads, Internet videos, daily news conferences and dozens of news releases attacking the former Massachusetts governor.

Traditional Democratic partners are jumping in, too. Both the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' and Service Employees International Union's political-action committees are running their own TV commercials in Florida this week — attacking Romney.

Gingrich and the other two Republican candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas U.S.Rep. Ron Paul, are being all but ignored by the DNC and its allies.

Richard Nixon's operatives have long been accused of pushing George McGovern on the Democrats in 1972, a result of the campaign of "dirty tricks" the Committee to Re-Elect the President waged on Ed Muskie.

Now, because President Obama is cheating in plain sight, campaign skullduggery doesn't interest the Manhattan-Beltway media elites.

AFSCME has bought nearly $1,00,000 in television time to hit Romney with negative ads.

SEIU has bought $800,000 in negative radio spots to hit the former Massachusetts governor.

And those are just the "above the horizon" expenditures that can be tracked from various sources.

Democrats are trying to Muskie Romney. But with much larger dollars and an obviousness that hides the audacity of the maneuver in plain sight.

Does anyone think the DNC operatives quoted in the Sentinel are acting without the president's approval? Does anyone think that Big Labor isn't at least taking its cues if not its outright marching orders from David Axelrod? Axelrod wants the president to run against Gingrich. The Chicago kingmaker is making a bold play to take out the strongest of the GOP candidates, and MSM doesn't even raise an eyebrow.

Had Karl Rove orchestrated millions in hit pieces on John Kerry or Howard Dean in early 2004, would the moral authorities of MSNBC and the New York Times have objected?

We know the candidates cannot tell the "super PACs" what to do or say, but we know that what the candidates or their operatives do or say directs their allies from a convenient distance. That is the First Amendment at work and it is fine.

But we have never, ever before seen and shrugged off such a blatant manipulation of the other party's nomination processor.

Why isn't this news? Why isn't every detail of the unions' massive expenditures and the DNC's concerted effort to direct their fire being picked over by MSM? And more to the point, where is the Manhattan-Beltway media elite reserve of outrage that used to pour out at the names of Donald Segretti or Dick Tuck, famed for their rather low-level mischief.

They don't see it the problem, and they don't see the story because they are simply blind to anything the president and his team comes up with. "Fast and Furious?" Recess appointments when there is no recess? The vast reaches of the crony capitalism endemic to this Administration?

It has been 40 years since the "Watergate Campaign" of 1972. The hardball hasn't changed, just the MSM's interest in being outraged by it.