Chuck Todd had some very revealing comments about the media's coverage of John McCain the other day, in the wake of John McCain's repeated claims that Iran has been training al Qaeda troops and sending them into Iraq:
Even if he gets dinged on the experience stuff, "Oh, he says he's Mr. Experience. Doesn't he know the difference between this stuff?" He's got enough of that in the bank, at least with the media, that he can get away with it. I mean, the irony to this is had either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama misspoke like that, it'd have been on a running loop, and it would become a, a big problem for a couple of days for them.
Kevin Drum responds at the Washington Monthly:
Let's recap. Foreign policy cred lets him get away with wild howlers on foreign policy. Fiscal integrity cred lets him get away with outlandishly irresponsible economic plans. Anti-lobbyist cred lets him get away with pandering to lobbyists. Campaign finance reform cred lets him get away with gaming the campaign finance system. Straight talking cred lets him get away with brutally slandering Mitt Romney in the closing days of the Republican primary. Maverick uprightness cred allows him to get away with begging for endorsements from extremist religious leaders like John Hagee. "Man of conviction" cred allows him to get away with transparent flip-flopping so egregious it would make any other politician a laughingstock. . . .
Remind me again: where does all this cred come from? And what window do Democrats go to to get the same treatment the press gives McCain?
The most under-covered of these, I think, was McCain's dishonest campaign tactics against Mitt Romney in the days leading up to the Florida primaries.