For the benefit of those who are new to this blog, I’ll say up front I don’t like John McCain. DOnot mistake this string of comments, therefore as a defense of him. But it will be useful for us to understand, I think, the genesis of the smear attempt mounted by TNR and the NYT.
I consider the timing of the story very suspect. And given the rush job they did on printing the story, it seems clear to me that those printing it considered the timing critical. As I said elsewhere, in the last few days, someone needed McCain on the defensive, right away… needed some way of putting him off his stride at the beginning of the campaign for the General election. This fits almost exactly with the prediction I made when he started leading the republican race. They’d start attacking him when he had things sewn up. And so they have.
But who are they, and who would benefit?
There are several ways we can take the evidence, here, as to who might benefit from such a story hitting just now; Huckabee is out of that list, since he’s not a serious candidate any longer, and would thus have nothing to gain.
McCain running a preemptive strike (So as to get the story out of the way at a less damning time) is something I might buy if I could be convinced that he had enough pull at TNR and the NYT to promote such a story in those venues. I am not so convinced, just now. So, sorry, that one just doesn’t ring true.
And in any event McCain would need to be a complete idiot to pull such a stunt, since in my view there’s no good time for such information to be coming out. I will point out that most of the stories which have been hurting candidates in both parties, this cycle, are all years old. Indeed, the only one this statement doesn’t apply to is Obama, given he has no legislative history to speak of.
Let’s look closely at the nature of the smear; It’s clearly aimed at breaking McCain’s link with the conservative base, and a time when that link is tenuous at best. It was a smear created by people who think that such matters are a central issue to the conservative base. Possibly, created by someone who has a history of being dragged into the public spotlight for sexual issues,a nd influence peddling issues themselves. The Clintons, for example. Or, perhaps their former supporters elsewhere in the Republican party.
Given the leaning left that the New York Times has always exhibited, it’s not much a stretch to consider that wing as the source of this.