Sunday, October 23, 2011

WAPO Hit du Jour

It's been a pattern that over the past several weeks, almost daily,the front page of the Washington Post has featured a "news" article (really an opinion article probably ghost authored at the DNCC) critical of a prominent republican.

On Thursday, the Post had an article slamming Marco Rubio, a generally popular Florida politician widely considered to be a threat to Democratic hegemony over Hispanics, for allegedly misstating his parents reasons for emigrating from their native Cuba to the U.S.
During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.

But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than two-and-a-half years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.
 Never mind that the Cuban Revolution was well underway in 1956, and that the Batista government that it replaced was no joy either.  At the very worst, you can accuse the Rubios of being prescient. As evidence of his perfidy they offered:
In 2006, on the eve of his rise to speaker of the Florida House, Rubio told an audience that “in January of 1959, a thug named Fidel Castro took power in Cuba and countless Cubans were forced to flee and come here, many — most — here to America. When they arrived, they were welcomed by the most compassionate people on all the Earth.”
which you might note does not even reference his parents.

Reactions to the hit piece were swift:
The Washington Post seems to be striving to prove that it can be just as irresponsible as the New York Times.
Manuel Roig-Franzia has a well documented history of being an apologist for the Cuban communist regime and a hater of the Catholic church. He is also now writing a book on Marco Rubio.
If this is the best they have on Rubio, he’s in no peril whatsoever. To the contrary, Rubio, having gone through a mainstream press attack, will likely endear himself to an even greater degree to the conservative base. If there’s one thing that all conservatives can agree on, it is their loathing of mainstream media.
 The later from the WAPO's own token conservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin.

That was by way of setting up the concept of the Washington Posts Hit du Jour series that I intend to follow.   Today's entry, by contrast, is rather mild, just a little negative press for Mitt Romney, probably the least offensive Republican contender in the their eyes since John Huntsman, beloved of E.J. Dionne for his apparent hatred for all things Republican, gave up the quest.
Mitt Romney reaches out to voters but often lacks the common touch
Right in the headline we get out of the news business and into the opinion business, attacking Mitt essentially for being born rich, and thus allegedly not being able to relate to "the 99%"...
Ever since he stepped onto the national stage, Romney has been criticized as being unable to connect with voters — partly because of past positions out of step with many in his party and partly because of what some say is a wooden, detached personality. Although he has sharpened his campaign operation and mostly aced a series of debates this year, Romney’s trip to Iowa on Thursday and recent swings through New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida reveal a candidate still struggling to make that connection.
Wow, they cite themselves in offering an opinion as to how Mitt has a problem connecting with people.  That's pretty convenient.  Manufacture your own evidence, and then cite it over and over.
...Romney stood holding the microphone at his waist, his left hand in his pocket, smiling his porcelain-perfect smile.
 Somehow, I tend to associate porcelain with brittleness.  How do you imagine they would describe Obama's smile, or even Bill Clinton's?
“He’s doing a better job of trying to be more engaging, if you will,” ... “He’s almost too perfect — too good-looking, too successful — that’s just what it feels like. It’s almost like he’s Robert Redford in ‘The Candidate.’ ”
That's just too perfect...  To be fair, that was a quote from a Republican who support Romney.  No word on how much interview they had to sort through to find the negative nugget.
“Whenever he’s speaking, there always seems to be that look of doubt in his eyes. He’s fidgety. He looks like he wants it too bad. There’s just something about Mitt that’s lacking. He can’t finish the deal. It’s that simple.”
Another Iowan, of no established importance.
Empathy has never been Romney’s strong suit. Although he has been a consistent front-runner in Washington Post-ABC polling this year, he hasn’t stood out as the Republican candidate who best understands people’s problems.
More opinion thinly disguised as news.  But now they can cite it in their next hit piece.

It's not that I like Romney so much.  I don't.  As the article suggests many people feel, I don't find him especially inspiring. The Mormon thing bothers me more than it should, maybe. The fact that Massachusetts voters found him acceptable at one point is a point for them, and a point against him.  Massachusetts Obamacare doesn't bother me; let Massachusetts make their own mistakes.  At this point, he is essentially the "generic" Republican who polls show has a decent shot at beating Obama in 2012.

What really pisses me off is the feeling the Post is trying to manipulate me through the "news"

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