There’s probably little point to arguing that much of the political media establishment is embarrassingly in the tank for John McCain, but the Washington Post has been especially frustrating this week.
On Monday, for example, reporter Jonathan Weisman noted that McCain is faring well in national polls because he’s been “branded” an “independent maverick.” Suggesting that the reputation is deserved, Weisman mentioned, “[McCain] fought the GOP over tobacco in 1998″ — without noting that McCain shamelessly flip-flopped on the issue.
On Tuesday, Richard Cohen sought to dismiss McCain’s flip-flopping ways, calling him an “honorable man who has fudged and ducked and swallowed the truth on occasion,” which Cohen described as “understandable.” (He didn’t say why McCain’s mendacity is “understandable,” but simply granted absolution.)
And today, David Broder kept the streak going.
Yet, in pointing to those vulnerabilities in her rival, Clinton has heightened the most obvious liability she would carry into a fight against McCain. In an age of deep cynicism about politicians of both parties, McCain is the rare exception who is not assumed to be willing to sacrifice personal credibility to prevail in any contest.
Broder didn’t say who makes this assumption about McCain’s integrity, which is odd, because I can think of all kinds of examples of McCain “sacrificing personal credibility to prevail” politically.
Perhaps Broder could take a look at that flip-flop list I put together. In nearly every instance, McCain abandoned a more moderate position for a far more conservative one, and in each case, it was a transparent effort to curry favor with the Republican Party’s far-right base in order to help him with the GOP presidential nomination.