Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Letter to Stephen F. Hayes of The Weekly Standard

This morning I sent the following e-mail to Stephen F. Hayes of the Weekly Standard, in response to his amazing review of the ABC News Republican debate in New Hampshire last evening:


Dear Stephen:

One fascinating aspect of last night's ABC News Republican debate is that people are seeing that slugfest pretty much according to their feelings about the candidates. Romneyites (of which I am one) think he clearly won on substance and class. If you like Fred Thompson, you think his performance was terrific. If you are part of the Huckaboom, you think he showed his "Pied Piper" skills to the max.

Similarly, McCainiacs think the old Senator from Arizona was just super. Of course, those who do not trust McCain, or who dislike him, think his worst side was on display.

Stephen, it sure does seem that you are in the former category. For example, you state:

"Even in the squabbles in the group [McCain] seemed like the adult in the

This statement beggars belief and is truly breath-taking. I do not know how anyone can watch the video clips from last night (e.g., McCain chortling away-- see photo above-- after delivering a non-substantive one-liner, looking like the smart-ass kid in the high school cafeteria) and still call McCain's behavior "adult." But you go on:

McCain . . . dinged Romney with several very effective one-liners,
including a couple in which the cutaway shots had Romney looking nonplussed.
Among them: On Romney's claims that McCain supported Social Security benefits
for illegal immigrants: "You can spend your whole fortune on those attack ads,
my friend, but it still won't be true." On Romney's claims that he is the
candidate of change, McCain took a shot at his flip-flops: "We disagree on many
issues but I agree that you are the candidate of change." And on Romney's claim
that he was misquoted in an AP story: "When you change your positions as often
as you do, you will get misquoted from time to time." He did these things with a
smile on his face, which kept him from appearing nasty.

He did these things with a smile on his face, which kept him from appearing nasty. That one makes me wonder if you and I even watched the same debate.

It is passing strange to me why so many people dislike Mitt Romney so. Pieces like yours display such a blindness to McCain's abuse of a good and decent man that I wonder whether you are among those whose personal animus blinds them to McCain's truly repulsive display of classlessness, contrasted with Romney's iron-willed effort to show some class. (I am among those who wish Romney would have busted McCain's chops; heaven knows there is plenty of material with which to do that.) Even Dick Morris, who rarely has anything positive to say about Romney, says Romney won last nght's debate.

Anyway, I urge you to take a second look at what you've said. Yes, I am a partisan Romney supporter, but even I can see his flaws and very occasional missteps. You, on the other hand, are supposed to be a distinguished analyst of political matters. Your review of McCain's performance last night makes me wonder just how well you are doing in that role.

Lowell Brown


Blogger colecurtis said...

Wah!Wah!Wah! All of you are a bunch of cry babies!

Sunday, January 06, 2008 5:55:00 AM  
Blogger Fe2O3 said...

colecurtis - You're the only one crying here. Please bring a little more substance to the table next time.

I definitely think McCain's comment about Mitt's fortune was a very good one-liner and would have hit much harder if what Mitt Romney had said was actually false. However the exchange following that comment demonstrated that it was McCain trying to hold a tenuous position and Romney's argument was aggressive and on point.

The "candidate of change" quote was delivered so poorly and ill timed that my wife and I both looked at each other and said, "That was obviously supposed to be a dig at Romney but what was he refering to?" and then the link to the "flip-flop" charge came back to mind. From watching the "instant-response" graph of that segment I think it's clear the audience had the same reaction. Note there was no immediate laughter except from McCain himself while the joke took hold. The opinion tracking seemed to do the same, the favorability began to rise as it looked like McCain was actually complementing Romney, but as the meaning became clear the favorability dropped. It wasn't McCain's best moment, and anyone who thinks that is the "adult" thing to do, probably lauded the vice-president for telling Congress to "go [eff] yourself."

Monday, January 07, 2008 10:37:00 AM  

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