Daring To Win?

Rich Lowry echoes Ross:

The enduring scandal of the McCain campaign is that it wants to win. The press had hoped for a harmless, nostalgic loser like Bob Dole in 1996. In a column excoriating Republicans for historically launching successful attacks against Democratic presidential candidates in August, Time columnist Joe Klein excepted Bob Dole not mentioning that Dole had been eviscerated by Clinton negative ads before August ever arrived.

The press turned on McCain with a vengeance as soon as he mocked Barack Obama as a celebrity. Its mood grew still more foul when the McCain campaign took offense at Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” jab. “The media are getting mad,” according to Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz. “Stop the madness,” urged Time’s Mark Halperin, exhorting his fellow journalists to fight back against the McCain campaign’s manufactured outrage.

The lipstick controversy indeed represented a silly bit of grievance-mongering. But had the Obama camp’s tendentious interpretation of Bill Clinton’s “fairy tale” put-down as a racial slight generated similar push-back from the media? Had Obama’s ridiculous depiction of Geraldine Ferraro as a quasi-racist? Had Obama’s repeated contention with no evidence that Republicans were attacking him for looking different?

It wasn't Ferraro's comments as much as the Clinton campaign's refusal to disown such comments that irked me. Obama hasn't been a saint by any means, but I don't think his elbow jabbing has equaled McCain's in any conceivable way; it's also telling that Lowry is forced to refer back to the primary for evidence of press bias. The press has turned, but for good reason. If you can't win without lying, you don't deserve to win.