The Corner

McCain’s Whiny, Hypocritical Side

Negative ads get a bad rap. They tend to be more informative, and less misleading, than positive ads. Negative ads that make false or silly criticisms are worth condemning, but the same is true of other types of ads. So I’m not sympathetic to the McCain campaign’s complaint that Mitt Romney is going negative (on Huckabee). It strikes me as the silly kind of attack.

But it’s also a hypocritical one. Only a day after that complaint, the McCain campaign is promoting this op-ed by McCain supporter Jane Swift. The whole thing is an attack on Romney. Everything Swift says falls in the fair-game category, even if much of it is debatable. But if you want to run attacks like that, you shouldn’t get all pious about the normal processes of politics.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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