Well, that didn’t take long. No sooner had the idea surfaced in the house organ of the Obama reelection campaign — that would be the New York Times — that a Romney super PAC funded by conservative billionaire Joe Ricketts was contemplating attack ads centered on the president’s now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t relationship with his “controversial” pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, he of “God d*** America” fame, than it got shot down in one news cycle by both Romney and Ricketts, with an obligatory cameo appearance by John McCain. Even by Stupid Party standards, it was an impressive display of preemptive surrender.
I can see why Romney “repudiated” the effort; so far, so boilerplate for a cautious candidate like Mitt, who’s clearly going to run on an above-the-fray, “I can fix this mess” campaign, and leave the gut-punching to others. But it doesn’t help to allay the fears of conservatives who were appalled by the “honorable campaign” of 2008 that Romney doesn’t yet realize the mortal threat Obamaism poses, not simply to the economy but to the nature of the nation. The malevolent phoniness of “hope and change” was evident to some of us from the moment it began, and McCain’s campaign’s blanket proscription against calling it by name was the real reason he lost so badly. (A little madcap straight talk from Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention might have helped.)
As Katrina has pointed out, Ricketts, too, has pulled an el foldo. “Not only was this plan merely a proposal — one of several submitted to the Ending Spending Action Fund by third-party vendors — but it reflects an approach to politics that Mr. Ricketts rejects and it was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take,” read a statement. That, too, was to be expected, as Ricketts is a courtly gentleman who’s largely stayed out of the limelight while supporting his favorite causes.
Still, the episode is a dramatic illustration of the Lefty Whipsaw in action: First, learn the other guy is taking a page from your playbook, then have it exposed in print by David Axelrod’s speed-dial buddies at the Times, then shriek with horror at the immoral audacity of it all.
Luckily, others are on the case. My friends and former colleagues over at the revamped Breitbart sites are busily retroactively vetting Obama, dropping this little stinkbomb yesterday. There’s simply too much that’s still obscure about the Punahou Kid, and the voting public deserves to know more about him and the party he represents. If the Right accepts the liberals’ definition of “negative campaigning” as simply telling the truth about them, we might as well go home.
In the meantime, may I humbly suggest this classic Noel Coward ditty as the official Romney campaign song:
Let’s be meek to them
And turn the other cheek to them,
And try to arouse their latent sense of fun.
Let’s give them full air parity,
And treat the rats with charity,
But don’t let’s be beastly to the Hun!
Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans.
You can’t deprive a gangster of his gun!