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Friday, February 8, 2008
Kessler: From McCain Basher to McCain Fluffer
Topic: Newsmax

Wow, that didn't take long.

It was just five days ago that Ronald Kessler used his Newsmax column to uncritically forward attacks on John McCain, calling him a flip-flopper," largely a creation of the media," "as liberal as a Democrat on many key domestic issues" and a candidate who "owes his victory to the New York Times and the Washington Post."

All is forgiven. Now that McCain is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee -- and, more importantly, now that his favorite fluffee, Mitt Romney, has dropped out of the race -- Kessler turns a 180 (flip-flops, if you will) and wholeheartedly embraces McCain. His Feb. 8 column begins: "John McCain made a sale at the Conservative Political Action Conference."

Kessler continued his fickle fluffing:

What was impressive about McCain’s speech was its sincerity.


He did not claim he would change his positions. He did not try to rewrite his own record, as he has in the past. He said he would listen to what conservatives have to say, and while he might change on some issues, he hoped they would understand if he does not. Finally, by avoiding specifics, the man in line to be the Republican candidate for president made common cause with conservatives.


McCain’s honest approach, coupled with the specter of what would happen if a Democrat became president, were enough to convince the leaders I talked with at CPAC’s VIP reception and elsewhere to support McCain.

Mentions of McCain's supposedly liberal views and affinity for the "mainstream media" are barely touched on. There's no mention at all of McCain's nasty temper, which Kessler has harped on previously. Even David Keene of the American Conservative Union, whose McCain bashing Kessler channeled three days earlier, professed his conversion to Kessler: "I think he approached it in the right way. He didn’t sound phony, he recognized problems, he basically said let’s talk, let’s see if we can’t work our problems out."

Because Kessler apparen't couldn't pass up the opportunity, he gets in one last bit of post-mortem Romney-fluffing for old times' sake. He claimed that Romney's "biggest problem was that he had to run both against his opponents and the mainstream media" and that "few stories mention that he is both a Harvard Law School and a Harvard Business School graduate," and suggested that Romney's choice of CPAC as his dropping-out venue echoed Ronald Reagan.

Kessler also stated that "Romney was the overwhelming favorite of conservatives and especially of strong conservatives." Guess we know what Kessler is now, don't we?

By contrast, fellow Newsmax columnist John LeBoutillier isn't quite so eager to give up his McCain-hating ways, declaring in a Feb. 8 column that "the damage Bush has done to the nation, the military and to the Republican Party will take decades to recover from" and that "Republicans — barring a miracle between now and the September GOP convention in Minneapolis — have picked yet another candidate with the exact same qualities!"

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EST

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