Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Washington Wire at its very worst

Elizabeth Holmes writes:

The Republican candidate had come under fire for associating with Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition who fell from grace after his involvement with lobbyist Jack Abramoff. McCain was one of the leaders of the investigation of Abramoff's lobbying activities that led to his imprisonment. Reed was never charged.

To read this passage, you would think that the very suggestion that Ralph Reed is an undesirable associate is crazy. It is written as if there weren't emails unearthed by the House investigation between Reed and Abramoff. In those emails, Reed bragged about having Karl Rove block a nomination in the Interior Department who was seen as hostile to Abramoff's casino clients. Charged or not, Reed didn't just "fall from grace" because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was up to his eyeballs in the auctioning off of the federal government and there's proof of it.

And now McCain's going to an event "promoted" if not "hosted" by Ralph Reed, and it's wrong for Democrats to object to this, because McCain led an investigation of Abramoff after he was caught? Holmes seems to be under the impression that McCain's leading those investigations, instead of perhaps strongly approving of already-exposed government corruption, should inoculate him from charges of hypocrisy. Holmes would have us pay no mind to the fact that Reed really was intimately involved in the biggest public corruption scandal in years.

At other points, Holmes just lashes out at McCain's critics:

"Yet the Democrats jumped on the email..."
"The Democrats"? All of them?

"That didn't stop the Obama campaign from issuing a 'response' to the absence"
"Will those little jerks at the Obama campaign never be satisfied?!"

"Others took it as an assertion of his involvement with the campaign, going so far as to insinuate he was hosting the event."
Given that Reed sent out invitations to the event in his own name, you arguably have to go further to preserve the distinction between "promoting" and "hosting" than to conflate them. [Bonus points for referring to the guilty parties as unspecified "Others."]

"On Monday evening, there was no sign of Reed at the Marriott Marquis here and no mention of him by McCain during his remarks."
So... McCain's failure to acknowledge Reed's support is evidence he didn't get any? I think it just means he wants to downplay it now that he's taking criticism for it. Yes, especially given that Reed is sending emails/fundraising for him and is on his Victory 2008 team, I think the latter interpretation is more likely.

That just about covers it I guess. It's not as though the WSJ's Washington Wire garners a huge audience as far as I know, and that's all to the good, but it still carries a major news organization's brand and it's churns out more than its share of awful posts. This is just my nomination for the worst of the season so far.

No comments: