Carol Platt Liebau: A Good Enemy to Have

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Good Enemy to Have

Anyone who doubts Mitt Romney's conservative bona fides -- or that he poses a threat to Dems in the general election -- should check out this smear job from The New York Times.

Uniquely, the article charges, Mitt Romney is "disliked" by his competitors. Well, that isn't surprising, is it, given that he presents a formidable threat to them for the nomination, is rich, handsome and has a background of achievement in the private sector -- along with a fabulous family. What's more, he's had the resources and the willingness to run negative ads, which doesn't win one any friends -- but will be a necessary quality in a viable general election candidate.

Contrast the Times' assessment of John McCain, its favorite Republican candidate:

In stark contrast to Mr. Romney, Mr. McCain seems to be universally liked and respected by the other Republican contenders, even if they disagree with him.

Before crowning McCain Miss Congeniality, the Times might want to check with some of McCain's Republican Senate colleagues. Whether the other Republican contenders want to criticize him or not, few of his Senate Republican colleagues appreciate McCain's reputation as a grandstanding showhorse, to put it charitably. Many, in fact, think he's a jerk.

It's worth noting that a significant number of McCain's Senate colleagues have endorsed his competitors. But with behavior like this, who can blame them for being reluctant? Rudy (who isn't even himself a senator) has won endorsements from Kit Bond of Missouri, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and David Vitter of Louisiana. The "disliked" Mitt Romney has won the endorsements of Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. Amazing that McCain's main rivals have attracted the support of as many of his Republican colleagues as he has, isn't it? And none of the other senators (Clinton, Obama or Edwards) running for president has been exposed to criticism like this from a colleague, who -- by virtue of his status as a former colleague -- is a bit freer to discuss his real feelings about McCain.

In any case, McCain's buddies at the New York Times should realize that its wet sloppy embrace is about as helpful as the kiss of death for a candidate in the Republican primaries. As for Mitt Romney, he must be doing something right if the people at the Times are going after him.

Oh well, at least the Times reveals that Dan Schnur -- quoted speaking favorably on McCain's behalf -- is a former McCain staffer . . . unlike the "oversight" by the LA Times here when it quotes Schnur decying the fact that (McCain-loving) independents aren't eligible to vote in California's Republican primary.


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