Noel Sheppard's first attempt to spin away Mike Huckabee's remarks about President Obama's past was to portray it as merely misspeaking. His second attempt to ignore the illogic of that spin. Now, Sheppard seems to have conceded that Huckabee said something stupid.
Sheppard starts off his March 5 NewsBusters post by trying to go after George Will's Washington Post column criticizing Huckabee and pointing out the dearth of plausible Republican presidential candidates. Sheppard first attempts to dismiss Will as someone who is "no stranger to leaving the reservation," but then finds himself approvingly quoting Chris Matthews -- who just a few days earlier Sheppard was bashing as a "shill" and a "so-called journalist" for his "multiple Obamagasms" -- saying that people care more about the economy than fabulism about Obama's background. Sheppard continued:
This battle over Obama's background may have had its place in 2008 despite many on the right believing the fight never occurred because the junior senator from Illinois and his devotees in the media didn't let it happen.
Maybe that's so, but do most Americans, in particular independent voters, want to discuss the President's upbringing instead of issues that we're facing right here at home such as high unemployment, high gas prices, high food prices, low housing prices, and burgeoning revolutions in Africa and the Middle East that could quickly threaten our national security?
Don't we have far bigger fish to fry in 2011 than where the President was born and what influenced his worldview as a child? If he couldn't be beaten with such tactics in 2008 when he was just a totally unqualified junior senator, how can that possibly be a winning strategy now that he's got over two years presidential experience under his belt?
That could be seen as more spinning for Huckabee by trying to portray the questions Huckabee raised as not worthy of coverage. But later, Sheppard is fully agreeing with Will:
Sitting presidents are difficult to beat. Despite the ongoing housing crisis and high unemployment, Obama's favorability rating has remained quite high, making defeating him even tougher.
Will like most conservatives desperately wants this to happen sending the current White House resident packing, and therefore most certainly wants what he believes is best for the Republican Party to accomplish this.
What he's saying is that some potential presidential candidates are focusing on extraneous issues that not only don't resonate with the majority of the public but also detract from the stronger message.
"[T]he nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons."
In sum, the vast majority of Americans don't care where Obama was born, and care even less about his father and his grandfather. The more Republicans talk about such things rather than jobs, gas and housing prices, exploding deficits and debt, and a totally unstable Middle East and African continent, the less the public cares what such they have to say.
Bill Clinton's motto in 1992 was, "It's the economy, stupid!"
To a certain extent, Will is saying the same should be true for Republicans 20 years later.
Sheppard is throwing Huckabee under the bus, even if he won't come right out and admit that's what he's doing.