In the Republican debate I watched, John McCain repeatedly savaged Mitt Romney. McCain almost never questioned the merits of any of Romney’s policy positions, but rather repeatedly slagged on Romney’s character suggesting, accurately, that Romney is a liar who’s changed his positions repeatedly on a whole variety of issues in a manner that suggests he’s basically a bad person. But of course whatever happens is good for John McCain so the way Mark Halperin reports it is that “To his advantage, he stayed above the fray.”
As Lemieux says the striking thing here is that just sentences later Halperin acknowledges that this is BS and McCain “seemed to relish his engagement with Romney over immigration, slipping in a sharp jab over his rival’s fortune, and got in another zinger by twisting Romney’s message of change into a glib attack on the governor’s flipflopping history.”
The Powers of Straight Talk are, indeed, great.
To me the very strange thing about this is that while McCain’s attacks on Romney were mostly accurate, the overall approach was ludicrously unfair. McCain, like Mitt Romney, drifted pretty far left for a Republican during the 2002-2003 period and McCain, like Mitt Romney, started furiously backpedaling during 2006-2007 in a desperate bid to become President of the United States. The idea of the one attacking the other as a flip-flopper is ludicrous and the fact that McCain did it while wearing a vicious snarl that he’d then transform into a disingenuous grin after unleashing a zinger didn’t strike me as especially endearing. Then again, I guess you just can’t make it as a real big-time pundit until you fall spell to the Lure of the Straight Talk and see that when McCain changes his views or spouts nonsense or whatever that that’s just all part of the Higher Straight Talk.