Mitt Romney is about as close to defeating President Barack Obama as any Republican could have hoped to be. The polls–if you believe them–show him slightly or significantly behind, but within striking distance. The challenge he faces is unique: he is acting, and is being treated as, the incumbent rather than the insurgent. In effect, “President” Romney has been in office since mid-August, with none of the power but all of the responsibility.
It was President Romney, not Obama, who set aside time to visit victims of Hurricane Isaac. It was President Romney, not Obama, who reacted swiftly to the attacks on our embassies by standing up for American freedom. It was President Romney, not Obama, who took on the entitlements crisis head-on by adopting many of Paul Ryan’s ideas. It was President Romney, not Obama, who laid out a practical plan for the housing crisis.
The media have also treated Romney as the incumbent, pouncing on every word and gesture, seizing on every mistake and inventing errors where none exist. Romney’s so-called “gaffes” have one thing in common: they are all statements of fact. He is being held to a presidential standard–for presidents should know better than to tell all–while Obama’s outright lies to the nation (on Libya, the debt, etc.) are ignored by the media.
Previously, the press has been both biased in a partisan way and an in an ideological way, but usually the partisanship was driven by ideology. As you may have noticed, the press are great fans of gay marriage and abortion, and they shape their coverage to put the best possible face on these positions, and the worst possible face on opponents. (To the extent they feature contrary voices at all.)
That’s bias, of course. We’ve gotten used to that.
But in the Benghazi debacle, there is no possible ideological grounding to explain their bias. There is, I trust, no ideological movement that advocates for intelligence failures and the deaths of good-guy diplomats. There is no ideological movement in favor of reckless incompetence bordering on malice in providing security for consulates abroad (which, as a legal matter, are considered US territory)…
This isn’t ideological bias, then. This is pure advocacy for a political party. Obama’s embarrassment is not an ideological issue — or should not be. I hope we can all agree that a president should attend security briefings — especially as 9/11 approaches — and provide adequate warning and security for US government personnel. I hope we can all agree that the government does not suddenly gain a Right To Shamelessly Lie about its failures, simply because it finds it politically advantageous to do so.
I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not. You know, when I first started in politics – and for a long time before that – everyone on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, despised the press commonly, because they were SOBs to everybody. Which is exactly what they should be. They were unrelenting. Whatever the biases were, they were essentially equal-opportunity people.
That changed in 1980…
If a president of either party—I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush—had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified! It would have been—it should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said…
We have a political campaign where, to put the best metaphor I can on it, where the referees on the field are sacking the quarterback of one team, tripping up their runners, throwing their bodies in front of blockers, and nobody says anything. The Republicans don’t.
Via the Daily Caller.