Friday, February 29, 2008


Nagourney, on the front page of today's New York Times:

...if Mr. Obama becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, he is sure to face an onslaught from Republicans and their allies that will be very different in tone and intensity from what he has faced so far.

...For much of this year, Mr. Obama has been handled with relative care by Mrs. Clinton....

"Relative care"? Hillary Clinton suggesting that Al-Qaeda was more likely to attack if Obama is president? Bill Clinton describing Obama's assertion that he's consistently opposed the Iraq War as a "fairytale" and comparing Obama to Jesse Jackson? Surrogates attacking Obama's youthful drug use? Campaign staffers circulating madrassa e-mails? A speaker at a Clinton campaign appearance calling Obama supporters "latte-drinking, Prius-driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies"?

You can say the Clinton campaign got nasty or you can say that politics ain't beanbag and Obama can't complain if the going got rough. But Nagourney is actually arguing that the going didn't get rough -- that Obama has been treated with kid gloves. That's absurd.

Of course, Nagourney would argue that. The message of virtually every story Adam Nagourney has ever written is "Democrats are doomed." He predicts doom for Democrats and then uses his front-page column inches in the Times to make that into self-fulfilling prophesy. So pay no attention to Obama's success in the polls, against both Clinton and McCain, Nagourney says -- Obama's really never been attacked, and he probably won't be able to handle it when he is.


There's one more pro-Republican meme Nagourney wants to spread in this story: that whatever happens between now and November, John McCain is innocent.

Watch how Nagourney pre-acquits McCain:

But Mr. McCain clearly will not control all of the voices that could oppose Mr. Obama, from bloggers and talk radio hosts to other elected officials. Even parts of the Republican Party apparatus can transmit messages that the presidential nominee cannot or will not.

That's a sneaky, deceitful elision. The first sentence alludes to people McCain genuinely can't be expected to control. But the second sentence refers to the national party of which McCain will be the nominee. Is Nagourney saying that McCain is helpless to influence the big kahunas in his party when he's the party's presidential candidate? Well, no, Nagourney's not exactly saying that -- but by putting that sentence after a sentence about people McCain "clearly will not control," Nagourney is trying to lull you into thinking that nothing, even if it comes from RNC headquarters, will be McCain's fault.

That is what we're going to hear, of course, for the next eight months -- that no weapon wielded by any Republican, in however appalling a way, has McCain's fingerprints on it.

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