What's the Matter With Obama?
The four sins of "cling."
d) McCain's License to Lie: McCain seems convinced that his wartime heroism and general righteousness make it OK for him to lie in bullying fashion when he really has to (e.g., when he needs to pretend that under his immigration plan illegal immigrants would "not be in any way rewarded for illegal behavior"). That could be what's happening here too. ... Of course, as Michael Kinsley (and one of my emailers) has noted, sympathetic liberal reporters perversely give McCain straight talk points when he lies. That could happen here as well. ...
Backfill: Jack Shafer has already made many of these points. ...
**--The NYT describes these sources as two "former associates" of McCain. The text here originally said "aides." WaPo reports that "[m]embers of the senator's small circle of advisers" confronted McCain. McCain denies that the confrontation took place. ... 3:37 P.M. link
'I Was Nowhere Near Milwaukee': Now that he's safely won Wisconsin--a state relatively friendly to school vouchers-- Obama genuflects to the teachers' unions by denouncing "misleading reports that Senator Obama voiced support for voucher programs." ... If you were in the mood to grasp at straws in Obama's defense--i.e. the mood I'm in, don't know about you--you would note that this isn't a Full Grovel,** which would involve retracting, rephrasing or apologizing for the Obama statements that suggest an openness to vouchers (if evidence turns out to support them). Instead, Obama's campaign merely calls "out of context" and emphasizes the anti-voucher aspects of his platform. That seems more like the Minimum Necessary Grovel to keep the National Education Association happy while preserving Obama's freedom to reverse his "longstanding skepticism" in the future. ...
**--An example of a Full Grovel would be DNC then-chair Paul Kirk's statement after he gave an interview suggesting openness to a Social Security means test: "I was wrong. Our party ... is unalterably opposed to any cuts in Social Security benefits. I should not have mentioned the subject of a means test." 11:42 P.M. link
Howie Kurtz is his own worst enemy? Not while Charles Kaiser is alive! Kaiser, who first (as far as I know) pointed out that Kurtz has the worst conflict of interest in journalism--Kurtz covers CNN while being "well compensated" by CNN for hosting a media show-- updates his anti-Kurtz brief. Best new point: Kurtz tries to compensate for his conflict by avoiding writing about CNN, which in itself is doing CNN a favor:
According to Nexis and the Washington Post's own website, during the past 12 months, the one subject the media reporter for the Post has almost never written about is ... CNN.
This sort of benign neglect couldn't come at a better time for CNN, since many of Kurtz's own colleagues believe the news network has gotten so tabloidy and superficial that it's no longer worth watching at all.
Photograph of Ann Coulter on Slate's home page by Brad Barket/Getty. Photograph of a wedding cake with two grooms on Slate's home page by Hector Mata/AFP Photo. Photograph of Princess Diana on Slate's home page by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images.