Thursday, February 19, 2009

Newsbusters takes on Mitt Romney (via Douglas Kmiec)

Newsbusters often does very good work -- they're a Media Matters for America of the Right. But their piece on Douglas Kmiec doesn't do the man justice. We linked to Kmiec's "The Death of the GOP?" earlier this week and noted he was a former Reagan official turned Obama supporter. So granted... the guy's not Ann Coulter.

But Newsbusters takes a uniquely selective approach to his piece -- one that ignores his prescriptions while focusing heavily on his diagnosis. And even where Kmiec is hopeful about the GOP, Newsbusters spins the smile into a frown (ea).

In his penultimate paragraph, Kmiec does his old fried Mitt Romney no favors by dragging his name into this anti-GOP screed claiming that Obama should appoint the former Massachusetts governor as the next nominee for the Commerce Department. And what is Romney's chief qualification in Kmiec's eyes? Romney is a "flip flopper" that can "work to find common ground."

Were I Mr. Romney, I'd not be thanking Kmiec for reminding the voters that I have no principles and will do anything to "work with" the other side!

Does that pass the smell test? Who ever praised someone for being a flip-flopper? That should light the red flags on fire.

Let's read Kmiec's words:

.... there is someone who seems ideally suited by personality and preparation: Mitt Romney. Romney's skill as a capable financial workout artist saved the 2002 Olympics from almost certain failure and successfully restructured innumerable private firms. In the GOP presidential primary, the ultrapartisanship of Mike Huckabee and John McCain derisively hung the "flip-flop" label on Romney or his intelligent open-mindedness, but in the light of day, that is better understood as a badge of honor.

It's obvious, isn't it, that Kmiec isn't praising Romney for being a flip-flopper. He's praising "intelligent open-mindedness". Whether you think Romney's a flip-flopper or not, it's patently unfair to accuse Kmiec of embracing flip-flopping.

Here is the other tip-off that betrays Newsbusters: it employs adjectives as a first and last resort, and has some great ones, imprinted by this line:

"Douglas Kmiec used to have a certain reputation as a serious man of the law and a man of religious conviction. Apparently that reputation is no longer important to him if this display of name-calling is any indication."

Mind you, this comes after accusing Kmiec of "demagoguery", "overheated, nonsensical rhetoric", "purposeful misinterpretation", "no longer cares about how he is viewed", "full Democrat partisan"... and the list goes on and on, like a receipt at Walmart.

This isn't about Mitt Romney or Douglas Kmiec. This is about rhetoric that inspires the wrong kind of response.


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