The liberal media are unhinged over John McCain's recent ad campaign against Barack Obama, which erased Obama's 9-point lead in the polls and tied the race. How dare McCain challenge their anointed one?
Obama is not the only one convinced he is "the one we've been waiting for." The media are also annoyed they have to endure this irritating uprising from McCain, who is officiously intermeddling with the inexorable flow of history.
Sunday show hosts, editorial pages, and both print and TV news stories this past weekend were pregnant with outrage over McCain's "negative" campaigning -- "negative" being defined as anything, truthful or not, that places Obama in a less favorable light than they require.
Their attitude toward Obama is not unlike their approach to the global warming issue: They accept the environmentalists' edict that man-made, apocalyptic warming is occurring, and no one is allowed to dissent.
So if McCain exposes Obama's policy inconsistencies, questions his character, highlights his presumptuousness, inexperience or superficiality, lampoons the media's crush on him, criticizes his injection of race into the campaign, or responds to Obama's attacks, the media yell "foul."
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter is a good example. It's not just that McCain is using unfair tactics against Obama but also that he's straying from the liberal line that earned Alter's and other liberal journalists' favor in the first place. Coursing through Alter's entire piece "Where Have You Gone, John?" is the unwritten charge that McCain is crossing the line merely by staying in the race. But to confront Obama on issues that matter, that's downright heresy.
What are McCain's capital offenses generating such media outrage? He has depicted Obama as a flip-flopper. He has accused him of arrogance and putting politics above the national interest in refusing to acknowledge the success of the surge and sticking with his demand for immediate withdrawal. McCain had the temerity to make light of Obama's pop celebrity by interposing Obama's image with those of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. McCain accused Obama of playing the race card when suggesting Republicans would attempt to frighten white voters by pointing out that he doesn't look like past U.S. presidents depicted on our greenbacks. McCain parodied Obama's messianic image in likening him to Charlton Heston's Moses parting the Red Sea. And he accused him of canceling his scheduled stop to visit wounded soldiers in Iraq allegedly because media cameras would not be available.
Alter was livid, calling McCain "a surprisingly immature politician -- erratic, impulsive and subject to peer pressure from the last knucklehead who offers him advice." McCain's "lame" tactics, in Alter's opinion, are "out of sync with the real guy." The "real guy" is that Republican who endeared himself to the likes of Alter by attacking fellow Republicans, not superior liberal Democrats. He should be attacking corporate greed, not Barack Obama. This can't be the real John McCain. The real John McCain would put the final nail in the GOP coffin and concede the race.
Surprisingly, The Washington Post's editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt, put his finger precisely on the liberal mindset concerning Republican challenges to their Democratic rivals and their policies. Hiatt says it is "an article of faith among many Democratic believers … that Democratic policies are so obviously superior, and so much more in the interest of a majority of voters, that only some form of chicanery can explain Republican election victories. In this view of the world, Republican operatives … manipulate … issues … to deceive people to vote against their economic self-interest. Or they inflate security threats to frighten them into voting against their self-interest." Bingo and kudos.
With the exception of the charge that Obama canceled his troop visit because cameras wouldn't be present, all of the other supposed McCain offenses listed above are anything but dirty politics. And Obama, by the way, did cancel his visit to meet the wounded soldiers, even if his reason wasn't photo op-related. McCain has a right to expose Obama, his flawed policies, flip-flops, hypocrisy, unfair tactics and character flaws. Indeed, he has a duty to do so.
Campaigns are supposed to inform voters, and all questions should be on the table. It is not negative campaigning to enlighten voters about your opponents' positions on the issues, his qualifications or his character, so long as the information is truthful. Negative campaigning is smearing your opponent through lies and deceit.
But while we're on the subject of honest campaigning, perhaps it is time for Obama to be truthful about who he is and what he stands for instead of scrupulously concealing those things.
But the truth will come out eventually. And if you think the media are squawking now, just wait till the campaign proceeds to the point that Obama's policy and racial radicalism receive the exposure they deserve.