THE STUMP DECEMBER 13, 2011
Much has been made of how brazenly the Washington Post's conservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin, has been favoring Mitt Romney and disparaging his GOP rivals, to the point where she compromised her exceedingly staunch pro-Israel stance to chide Newt Gingrich for being excessively anti-Palestinian in his recent remarks on the Middle East. This week also saw Romney enlisting on his behalf Ann Coulter, using a clip of her describing him as the "strongest candidate" against Obama for a new radio ad.
Less noted, though, is the relentless pro-Romney line coming from the Post's nationally syndicated, Pulitzer-winning columnist Kathleen Parker, Eliot Spitzer's short-lived counterpart on CNN, who, I suspect, reaches a far broader set of readers around the country than does Rubin. And here's what those readers have been getting in recent weeks:
1. November 11: Mitt Romney is a jolly good fellow because he tried to help out Perry during his "oops" moment and because he straightened up a campaign staffer's garage while waiting there for a photo shoot. "He's a nice guy in a season of nastiness, a trait that may also be his greatest political failing," Parker wrote. "Humility is a tough trait to communicate in a presidential campaign that requires confident self-promotion, though it is often apparent in Romney's debate face. He looks respectfully at others when they are speaking, and his expression betrays patience and even a hopefulness that they will do well."
2. November 29: Romney's shift to a far more conservative stance on abortion in 2005 and 2006 was no flip-flop at all but a carefully considered evolution that grew out of his profound reckoning with the issue of embryonic stem cell research. "Romney's own change of heart evolved not from personal experience but rather from a purposeful course of study," Parker wrote. "The politically expedient choice was obvious, but Romney took a more thoughtful approach and sought to educate himself before staking out a position." Nowhere does Parker mention that, in fact, Romney had already flipped once before on the issue -- shifting from his anti-abortion advocacy as a Mormon leader in Boston to embrace the state's abortion rights status quo when he ran for the Senate and later for governor.
3. December 7: Newt Gingrich's comments about child labor effectively disqualified him as the GOP nominee. "He might as well have wrapped his remarks in a Tiffany box and handed them to Mitt Romney, who could exhale for a moment," Parker wrote. "Gingrich's big idea was that kids from poor neighborhoods should work janitorial jobs at school in order to learn a work ethic. His argument was that poor kids who live in housing projects don't see people working and therefore 'literally have no habit of showing up on Monday.' Instead, they gravitate toward, you know, pimping and prostitution.
"So much for the big tent. So much for diversity. Sayonara, African American vote. Hasta la vista, Paco y Maria. In one flick of the tongue, Gingrich managed to alienate all those undocumented workers he winked at a couple of weeks ago when he telegraphed during a debate that 11 million illegal immigrants would not be deported during a Gingrich presidency. The former speaker's fumble is precisely what some Republicans have feared and others have breathlessly anticipated. The Washington Wager was whether Gingrich could make it for four weeks without self-immolating before Iowa. Or would he find himself so irresistible that he just had to express himself?"
4. December 11: An all-but endorsement of Romney, declaring, under the headline "The GOP's Death Wish," that "no one other than Callista Gingrich thinks her husband can prevail in a general election." "'Anybody but Mitt' has become a familiar mantra throughout the Republican primary campaign," Parker wrote. "It is also weird and self-defeating. Republicans apparently want to nominate anyone except the one person who can defeat Barack Obama. And for all the strangest reasons: One: He's changed his mind. True. He changed his mind, thus becoming more conservative. Two: He's too perfect. Three: You can't drink beer with him. Whatever. The result of these petty obsessions has been a pathological flirtation with a parade of lesser candidates who could replace Romney. This parade has persisted despite polls consistently showing Romney as the most likely to defeat Obama. It continues even though it's perfectly clear the White House worries most about Romney."
5.* December 14: A full-throated defense of Romney's offer of a $10,000 bet during Saturday night's debate, which many commentators across the spectrum thought sent the wrong signal from a man with an estimated fortune of more than $200 million. "Oh, quelle gaffe," wrote Parker. "Rarely has such a small, innocuous, truth-based remark garnered so much attention from the chattering classes as Mitt Romney’s proposed $10,000 bet with Rick Perry during this past weekend’s Republican primary debate.
"The thundering herd wore out their little hooves racing to pounce on this tiny morsel of faux controversy. The near-unanimous verdict: Romney is out of touch.
"Out of touch with what, exactly? The 'Ordinary American,' as Beltway journos refer to the rest of the United States? Fellow politicians, who are, of course, far more attuned to the trials of everyday people? Take current front-runner Newt Gingrich, for example. He’s been there, done that — blown as much as $500,000 at Tiffany’s, racked up more than a million in campaign debt, 'offered advice' to the folks at Freddie Mac for $1.6 million about how to continue driving the country into bankruptcy. He gets it."
And did I mention that Parker is a proud resident of the key early-voting state of South Carolina? Yes, Romney could hardly have found a better friend in the lib'rul media.
*This example was added Tuesday night when Parker's latest went up on-line. Little did I realize when I posted this earlier Tuesday that she had in the works yet another column devoted entirely to defending Romney. I should have known it was coming.