First, the back story: It's gone largely ignored here, but for the past several days, John McCain and Mitt Romney have been going at it.
The recent skirmish began on Thursday, when during a blogger call, McCain criticized Romney's comment during the recent GOP debate about consulting lawyers as, "a product of inexperience ..."
It heated up again yesterday when McCain criticized Romney for flip-flopping on Face the Nation. He also pointed out that Romney had voted for a Democrat for president, supported a Democrat for Senate, and criticized Ronald Reagan.
During a conversation with me today, McCain blog coordinator (and Granite Stater) Patrick Hynes was critical of Romney's support of Democrat Dick Swett, over conservative former New Hampshire
Speaking, as a conservative and as a New Hampshire voter, before we are expected to believe Go. Romney is the only 'real Republican' in the race, I would like some assurances that he will never again contribute money to a liberal Democrat running against a conservative Republican, as he has done in the past.
Gov. Romney once called the tax pledge 'government by gimmickry,' but perhaps someone should extract a different pledge from him: A pledge that he will not actively work against Republicans again.
In response to the McCain attacks, the Romney campaign has circulated this video today, which shows McCain heaping praise on Romney back in 2002:
MCCAIN: "We've got a great team here but it's led by a man of honesty and integrity. It's led by a man who is prepared to serve and a man who I have grown to know for his honesty, his decency and his commitment to America. I am proud to be in his company. Aren't you?" (John McCain, Romney For Governor Fundraiser, 10/30/02)
So while Romney has flip-flopped on social issues, McCain has flip-flopped on Romney. (Of course, moms always warn us of the dangers of talking bad about other people -- but they never warn us of the dangers or praising a future enemy ...)
Regarding McCain's past praise of Romney, Hynes points out to me:
All this video demonstrates is that John McCain supports and endorses fellow Republicans, unlike Mitt Romney who worked hard to elect Rocky Anderson—who supports impeaching President Bush—Mayor of Salt Lake City.
... And maybe he's right. Maybe this should be filed in the "no good deed goes unpunished" file. Or maybe this illustrates the fact that candidates are free to change their minds on issues (and people), over time. Romney's point is that, if he's so liberal, why did McCain support him on 2002? McCain's team would probably argue that Romney was fine for Massachusetts, but too liberal for the presidency.
Still, this latest game of "gotcha" is nothing new to the YouTube era. Sadly, it seems the deeper one looks into the backgrounds of any of the candidates, the more one finds them all to be inconsistent, opportunistic, and, yes, liberal.