Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Inside Mitt's Mind

The news this morning is that the McCain/Palin campaign has apparently released a new ad accusing Barack Obama as having a single educational legislative accomplishment: that of passing "legislation to teach 'comprehensive sex education' to kindergartners. Learning about sex before learning to read?"

The Obama campaign reacted swiftly, and accused the McCain campaign of being dishonorable:
It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls - a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn't define what honor was. Now we know why.
Smearing an opponent is not honorable, but it's not the first time that McCain has done so in this cycle.

In late January, with his campaign in trouble, Romney was buried in Florida when McCain took a Romney quote about setting timetables in Iraq and twisted its meaning by changing the context. Here's the Romney quote:

[T]he president and Prime Minister al-Maliki have to have a series of timetables and milestones that they speak about. But those shouldn’t be for public pronouncement. You don’t want the enemy to understand how long they have to wait in the weeds until you’re going to be gone. You want to have a series of things you want to see accomplished in terms of the strength of the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police, and the leadership of the Iraqi government.
But during the primary season, McCain seized on the single word "timetable" and claimed that by discussing 'timetables', even in private (with Iraq PM Maliki), Romney was part of the defeatist crowd that was against the Surge:
Governor Romney obviously said there had to be, “timetables,” although they had to be secret because we weren’t going to tell the enemy when we were leaving. I mean, that’s — that’s just a fact. And if we’d have done that, as the Democrats and some Republicans wanted to do, we would’ve lost that surge and al-Qaeda would be celebrating a victory over the United States of America.
To be sure, Romney was in trouble already, having lost Iowa and New Hampshire; but a win in Florida would have put him back on the map, and McCain's distortions helped seal his fate.

At the time, the mainstream media didn't pay much attention to what McCain was engaged in; after all, as George W. Bush famously told McCain himself in 2000 (when McCain was being smeared for his adopted daughter from Bangladesh), it's just 'politics.'

McCain's 2000 experience may have changed him, like Richard Nixon's experience in Illinois and Texas did in 1960. When the "new Nixon" got another change -- in 1968 and 1972 -- he left nothing to chance.

Wonder what Mitt thinks.

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