A Warning for McCain

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 12, 2008 12:26 PM
Over at TIME, Michael Scherer has a piece on "McCain's 7 Steps to Beating Obama."

One of the purported steps is insanely optimistic -- Scherer asserts that the McCain team is going to try to "work, woo, and win" the press.  Remarkably, he refers to the press as the "referees," even as it becomes increasingly clear that they're anything but.  A prime example of journalists all a-twitter with Obamania is this Richard Wolffe/Evan Thomas valentine in Newsweek(praising Barack's "preternatural equanimity" and swooning over the fact  that "Obama seems to have retained the affection of his [staff]" over the course of the campaign).  In a revealing aside, they assert that John McCain "may not be able to resist casting doubt on Obama's patriotism."

TIME's Scherer helpfully tells us what journalists will be characterizing as "hardball politics":

He has repeatedly brought up the fact that a Hamas spokesman said positive things about Obama, even though Obama did not reciprocate the compliments. McCain has also tried to tar Obama by his relationship with William Ayers, a once violent anti-Vietnam War activist, by demanding that Obama call on Ayers to apologize for his actions.

This
is hardball?  Please.  And Barack has to compliment Hamas in order for it to be an issue?!  Would John McCain have to compliment abortion-clinic bombers or the KKK in order for their support of him to be an issue?  Somehow, I doubt it.

If anyone on the McCain team is expecting any kind of a fair deal from the MSM this election, they're smoking something that's both illegal and strong.  It's going to take some reprogramming, but John McCain has got to realize that the press is not his friend, at least not anymore.

Journalists are going to try to define the terms of debate for him so that any criticism of Barack Obama is presumptively illegitimate and off-limits.  To the extent that he tries to play by rules that the press establishes, he will unilaterally disarm himself and gravely impair his efforts to win.

There's no reason to believe that McCain is plotting to take the low road, and certainly the MSM would never let him get away with it if he tried.  And it's important to remember that there's nothing inappropriate, wrong or excessively ugly about pointing out Barack Obama's radical associations or the fact that at least some of America's enemies are rooting for him.