Monday, August 25, 2008

Columns We Won't See From Richard Cohen


The Richard Cohen line of thinking on Obama's choice of running mate is so... trite. And so easy. After describing Biden's good qualities - "Joe Biden is a gentleman", although "wrong on Iraq, he has been right on so much else", "he has been loyal - to his party and to his president," Cohen mind-reads Obama and tells us,
Biden's selection represents an implied admission by Obama that he lacks what Biden has: foreign policy credentials. In that sense, the Delaware senator does not make the ticket whole. Instead, he calls attention to what it lacks.
If you're going to trot out Republican Party talking points, at least have the honesty of doing so Kristol-style - just regurgitate them exactly as they were given to you:
McCain operatives were pleased by the Biden selection, which they considered, as one said to me, “a pick from weakness.”
The purpose of that talking point, lovingly embraced by Cohen, is to present any choice as being one that evidences weakness. Pick somebody whose strengths supplement your own, and your choice highlights your "weakness". Pick somebody without those strengths and the pick also only serves to highlight your "weakness". The best part is, it doesn't matter who you pick.

Let's run through some of Kristol's possible VP choices for McCain and imagine the columns Cohen won't be writing:
  • Tim Pawlenty - "Pawlenty's selection represents an implied admission by McCain that he lacks what Pawlenty has: health, youth, vigor, charisma. In that sense, the Minnesota governor does not make the ticket whole. Instead, he calls attention to what it lacks."

  • Mitt Romney - "Romney's selection represents an implied admission by McCain that he lacks what Romney has: an understanding of economics and the needs of business. In that sense, the former Massachusetts governor does not make the ticket whole. Instead, he calls attention to what it lacks."

  • "A woman"1 - "[A woman's] selection represents an implied admission by McCain that he lacks what [a woman] has: appeal to Hillary Clinton's supporters.2 In that sense, [a woman] does not make the ticket whole. Instead, she calls attention to what it lacks."

  • Joe Lieberman - "Lieberman's selection represents an implied admission by McCain that he lacks what Lieberman has: following his flip-flops and embrace of Bush's economic policies and the religious right, credibility with the political center. In that sense, the Connecticut senator does not make the ticket whole. Instead, he calls attention to what it lacks."

This is really quite easy - the sort of editorial you can phone in. But somehow I expect Cohen will be much more respectful of McCain's choice.
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1. Kristol believes that women are fungible, and thus rolls "Meg Whitman, the former eBay C.E.O., Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, or Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska" into a single entry.

2. Kristol speaks of McCain's selecting "a woman, whose selection would presumably appeal to the aforementioned anguished Hillary supporters." If you take issue with the notion that all a woman could bring to McCain's campaign is appeal to Clinton's supporters, and you would be correct to take issue, you should take it up with Kristol.

4 comments:

  1. Despite the Dems and the allied main stream media’s desperation to see Romney as McCain’s Veep, Mitt is clearly out, with (1) Obama doubling down on the class warfare theme (McCain’s 7 houses) and (2) McCain doubling down with ads showing the hypocrisy of Biden attacking Obama in the primaries — Romney did way more than that contra McCain.

    This leaves only Govs Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty. Pro-abortion Ridge and Dem-Lieberman were never real considerations, despite relentless media goading. Pawlenty’s lackluster TV performances, coupled with Palin pizzazz, the primacy of oil drilling and the ticked off women/Hillary voters, does now portend a McCain/Palin checkmate on the Dems. This is so albeit the Dems and liberal media dare not mention Palin’s name, that is, everyone but…..

    And if there’s any question as to Palin being uniquely positioned and able to more than nullify Biden in debate, see the excellent discussion at palinforvp.blogspot.com

    Team McCain, well done!!!

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  2. So... was that message from "Spammers for McCain" or from "Spammers for Palin"?

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  3. VEEP Debates Q&A

    QUESTION: How will Sarah Palin do in a debate with Joe Biden?

    ANSWER: How many men watching will be aware that Biden is in the room?

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  4. Are you trying to suggest that, if he doesn't win, we can expect to see McCain in the next round of Dole-style Viagra ads?

    ReplyDelete