NYT Displeased With Gracious GOP Congratulations To Obama

Is there anything a Republican can do that would please the folks at the New York Times short of losing an election, resigning from office, or getting caught in a career-ending scandal?

You would think the gracious, post-election comments expressed towards president-elect Obama by folks such as John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn.) would have been greeted with joy by liberal media members basking in the glow of their glorious victory.

Quite the contrary, as the losers in this election showed extraordinary class while demonstrating perfectly how those that come in second should behave in a civilized society, the Times' Jim Rutenberg found ways to spoil the moment in a piece slated for Sunday's front page (emphasis added):

Just a few weeks ago, at the height of the campaign, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told Chris Matthews of MSNBC that, when it came to Mr. Obama, "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

But there she was on Wednesday, after narrowly escaping defeat because of those comments, saying she was "extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year." Ms. Bachmann, a Republican, called Mr. Obama's victory, which included her state, "a tremendous signal we sent."

And it was not too long ago that Senator John McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, accused Mr. Obama of "palling around with terrorists."

But she took an entirely different tone on Thursday, when she chastised reporters for asking her questions about her war with some staff members in the McCain campaign at such a heady time. "Barack Obama has been elected president," Ms. Palin said. "Let us, let us - let him - be able to kind of savor this moment, one, and not let the pettiness of maybe internal workings of the campaign erode any of the recognition of this historic moment that we're in. And God bless Barack Obama and his beautiful family."

There is a great tradition of paint-peeling political hyperbole during presidential campaign years. And there is an equally great tradition of backing off from it all afterward, though with varying degrees of deftness.

But given the intensity of some of the charges that have been made in the past few months, and the historic nature of Mr. Obama's election, the exercise this year has been particularly whiplash-inducing, with its extreme before-and-after contrasts.

The shift in tone follows the magnanimous concession speech from Mr. McCain, of Arizona, who referred to Mr. Obama's victory Tuesday night as "a historic election" and hailed the "special pride" it held for African-Americans. That led the vice president-elect, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., to get into the act. During the campaign, Mr. Biden said he no longer recognized Mr. McCain, an old friend. Now, he says, "We're still friends." President Bush, in turn, also hailed Mr. Obama's victory, saying his arrival at the White House would be "a stirring sight." [...]

The presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said she was hard-pressed to find a similar moment when the tone had changed so drastically, and so quickly, among so many people of such prominence.

"I don't think that's happened very often," Ms. Goodwin said. "The best answer I can give you is they don't want to be on the wrong side of history, and they recognize how the country saw this election, and how people feel that they're living in a time of great historic moment."

Actually, Doris, what you really mean is that this hasn't happened in the previous two presidential elections when Al Gore and John Kerry acted like sore losers on a school playground rather than men.

However, if you go back to 1996, you'll find that Bob Dole was extraordinarily gracious in defeat as was George H. W. Bush in 1992.

The problem, therefore, is clearly that folks on the left don't know how to be good losers, and, as a result, don't understand it when it happens. 

'Tis a pity, dontcha think?

Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential New York Times Michelle Bachmann Doris Kearns Goodwin Sarah Palin
Noel Sheppard's picture