What is it about campaign-trail journalists that makes them incapable of resisting any forcefully promoted meme (which usually means any meme promoted by the right-wing noise machine)?
Case in point: this post by Michael Shear at the Caucus blog of The New York Times, which cites the Cory Booker comments about Bain Capital, then criticizes pro-Obama ads that refer to Bain:
In Obama-Romney Trash Talk, What's Fair and Where's the Fine Line?
Is President Obama asking tough questions about Mitt Romney's record or unfairly attacking the Republican candidate?
...the episode involving Mr. Booker suggests that Mr. Obama is walking a fine line as he tries to make Bain Capital a central issue in the presidential campaign. Both candidates are eager to attract independent voters who may be turned off by attacks they think cross a line of decency. And Mr. Romney has jumped at the chance to argue that the president has done just that.
Stop right there: A candidate for president had a job for many years, and is citing his work at that job as his principal qualification for the presidency, and when his opponent harshly criticizes the performance at that old job, that crosses a line of decency? If that's the case, then what the hell can you possibly say about any candidate that's in any way harsh and wouldn't "cross a line of decency"?
Ah, but then we learn what's so horrifyingly indecent: the pro-Obama Bain ads use mean words about Romney ... as a person!
But the campaign ads and conference calls are frequently platforms to question Mr. Romney's personal qualities.
A video released Monday by Mr. Obama's campaign highlights an office supply company whose workers were fired when it was bought by a Bain company. In the ad, the workers deride Mr. Romney’s personal ethics.
One says that Mr. Romney "did not care about us as workers." Another says that Mr. Romney "takes from the poor and the middle class and gives to the rich. He's just the opposite of Robin Hood."
A third says flatly: "You can tell by the way he acts, the way he talks. He doesn't care anything about the middle-class or the lower-class people."\
... That message is being echoed in "super PAC" ads on the campaign's behalf. An ad by Priorities USA Action concludes with a worker saying that Mr. Romney "promised us the same things he's promising the United States. He'll give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing. He'll take it all."
Apart from the fact that there's nothing unusually harsh about any of this, the people quoted aren't in politics at all -- they're ordinary Americans. They're ordinary blue-collar Americans. Most of them are ordinary white blue-collar Americans.
Aren't these precisely the people we're all supposed to give deference to? Aren't they the plainspoken Americans whose workboots we milk-fed, metrosexual elitists aren't fit to resole? Aren't they the Tea Party voters and the Palin/Joe the Plumber voters and the Hillary beer-and-a-shot voters and the security moms and the NASCAR dads and the Reagan Democrats?
When did it become a violation of decency for these Regular Americans to speak their minds?
Oh, yeah, right: when their anger was directed at a Republican, and was deployed on behalf of a Democrat. Sorry, I should have known that.
UPDATE: I fear Digby is right:
Judging from cable news Booker got the job done.There is now great "unease" about Bain crit, so no more talk of Vulture capitalism in 2012.— digby (@digby56) May 21, 2012