In a breathlessly-headlined story, the AP’s Glen Johnson is calling the following a “jab” at President Bush by Governor Romney:
“I do think that we have suffered over the past several years for a number of reasons, and I think you probably know what they are,” Romney said, citing the absence of strong international support in the lead-up to the war.
“There has been the perception that we have not been as open and participative with other nations as is our normal approach,” he said.
If that’s the best jabbing Governor Romney can do, he better not win the nomination, because Senator Clinton will eat him alive. But actually, I don’t think that was his best jab–or even, really, a jab at all. What’s really going on here is that the MSM is trying to sow as many divisions as it can in the Republican camp. They’ve already convinced a bunch of conservatives that Governor Romney has done a 180 since leaving office in Massachusetts, in spite of his conservative record (and the lasting loathing of those most conservatives proudly count as political enemies). Now they want to paint all the candidates as going after the president. And they want the candidates to verbally chokeslam each other, too–to make it easy for the Democrats next year. As an example, here’s the Wall Street Journal‘s Washington Wire prior to the most recent debate:
Republicans here are predicting fireworks this evening between Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, probably over immigration but also over Romney’s reputation as a flip-flopper. McCain said he expects Romney “to say McCain-Kennedy about 50 times tonight” – a reference to the immigration bill currently pending in Congress. Romney’s camp said it expected that McCain would probably throw the first stone. “We’re bracing for the usual,’’ a campaign staffer said.
The title of that post was “Republicans Predict McCain, Romney Fireworks At Debate”–but I think “MSM Crosses Fingers that GOP Candidates Will Destroy Each Other” would have been more accurate. And as you know, it didn’t happen, partially because of this response by Governor Romney when Wolf Blitzer (star of the Chris Dodd time clock) virtually begged him to go after Senator McCain:
Look, there’s certainly a place for clearly pointing out the difference between various folks. Governor Romney did that in a very civil fashion after the debate.vBut I think it’s good that the debate was not a bloodbath–and I also think a few reporters are “reporting” what they wish were the case in terms of GOP infighting, not what’s actually happening.