Saturday, April 21, 2012

Washington Post Opens the General Election Season in Full Pander Mode for the Romney Campaign

Trying to Curry Favor with Republicans – One Story at a Time

The Washington Post, the once great newspaper of Woodward and Bernstein, the paper of Herblock and independence has been trying to re-make itself into a version of the Wall Street Journal with respect to its political positions.  It wants to be known as a purveyor of Conservative opinion.  Consequently the newspaper has enlisted a number of Conservative pundits to increase its standing in the right wing community.

For example, the Post has a person named Jennifer Rubin in its opinion section.  Ms. Rubin has no apparent qualifications other than the fact that she is basically a conduit for the Romney campaign.  Whenever they wish to present a particular position and make some political points, they convey that information to Ms. Rubin who then publishes the Romney talking points as her pointed observations.  Why the Post does not simply print directly from the Romney campaign and eliminate the middle person is not clear.

A recent story in the Post illustrates their desire to present an uncritical view of Mr. Romney.  This is a story about how Mr. Romney is really a nice, relaxed, concerned regular person and that he comes off as a stiff autocrat only because he is trying too hard.

His efforts to relate to voters who have little in common with his wealth and religious background have left him at times looking forced and stiff.

The people who know Romney well, and who alternately describe him as a barrel of laughs and a master persuader, can’t figure it out.

Now a story like this doesn’t just happen.  It is put together by the campaign and peddled to friendly journalists.  In this case the campaign finds Mr. Romney’s associates, one who are willing to say nice things about him and either forwards their words directly to the Post, or gives their names to Post reporters who then follow up with the sources. One way we know that in this case is the utter ridiculousness of the story.  Here for example is a story about how Mr. Romney deals with managing diverse issues.

Christensen argued that Romney should open up more. He said the candidate should talk about the way he navigated acrimonious negotiations between the selling partners and the junior partners at Bain and Co. during a near-mutiny that nearly sank the firm.

“Oh my gosh, if you could tell that story in the context of a bifurcated Congress that can’t agree on anything,” Christensen said, adding that there were “hundreds and hundreds of people whose livelihoods depended on this. Why can’t he tell us this story? Nobody knows.”

That’s right, this friend of Romney’s is saying if Mitt would just describe how he managed partners at Bain and Co it would illustrate how well equipped he is to manage the Congress and legislation.  Yes, historians and political scientists have often mentioned how managing a wealthy business partnership is key experience in working with the Congress.  Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan certainly had the Bain and Co. experience to help them get legislation through a divided Congress and public.

And here is a direct quote from the article

Asked by Jay Leno in March to associate words with political personalities, he acquitted himself well, saying “huge” for Donald Trump and “press secretary” for Rick Santorum.

Wow, there’s future greatness defined isn’t it.  And what about this wonderful thing Mr. Romney did that humanizes him and allows him to identify with others.  Well there is this sign of future greatness.

George Keele, who served his mission with Romney in France, recalled Romney’s talent for teaching through example and without piety, as well as his ability to laugh.

One night in Bayonne, in southern France, Keele answered a knock on the door and saw two men, their faces hidden by sheets, ordering him in French to put his hands behind his back, turn around and not utter a word. Keele fled out the back door only to hear Romney, his mask removed, laughing uproariously in the house.

There is a lot more, read the article, but only if you can stand to read a very phony story about a very phony man. 

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