FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Is Jen Rubin using Andrew Ferguson to sneak an anti-Perry sneer in?
Now, normally I don’t like to do this sort of thing when it comes to people who will be eventually on my side when it comes to an election. Truly, I do not. But while I was reading this Jen Rubin Washington Post article targeting the latest anti-Romney… excuse me, I meant to type out “Newt Gingrich,” there… I was struck by something in these two paragraphs:
Andy Ferguson, a senior editor at the Weekly Standard and arguably the most dazzling writer on the right, has been a one-man killing machine. In a series of pieces on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Jon Huntsman, he has systematically done in (or helped to do in) more Republican candidates than Think Progress, the New York Times and George Soros ever could.
In some cases, the effort was an intentional dissection of the candidate’s foibles. He wrote of the liberal elites’ favorite Republican: “Huntsman seems to have missed something big in the landslides of 2010. The reason for his Rip Van Winkle aura, to use still another metaphor, is that Huntsman spent most of the Obama administration out of the country.” His kickoff suffered from “hoary rhetoric [and] the overpackaging that can’t quite obscure the obvious lack of anything fresh to say.” At other times, Ferguson has simply caught the candidates unaware, letting them sink themselves (Daniels’s “social truce” and Barbour’s musing about the civil rights movement in Yazoo City).
Erm. Jen? Yeah, but I can’t help but notice that you didn’t say how Andy Ferguson was an ‘one-man killing machine’ that did in Rick Perry.
Was it in this article (“Rick Perry, Annotated”?)
The mere fact of it, and of him, must seem to America’s liberals as an explicit and deliberate provocation – their worst nightmare come horribly to life. He’s a governor of Texas. He has a funny accent. He got lousy grades in school. He not only owns guns, he shoots them. He’ll soon be wearing cowboy boots again. He shows no sign of having read Reinhold Niebuhr. And he might win.
No? I didn’t think so: I remembered that article when it came out, and at the time I thought that it was a reasonable, balanced look at the candidate’s pluses and minuses. And believe me, I was looking for a hit piece: after all, we had just had the RS Gathering so prominently mentioned in the article, and even then we knew that we were going to get a lot of pushback on having a major Presidential candidate declare at our event. This was not a hit piece.
So, in that case: how about this one (“Perry and the Profs”)?
Perry’s admirers praise his sure-footedness – his ability to sense cultural trends before others do and turn them to his political advantage. He was the first national politician to ally himself to the Tea Party movement in 2009, a move that’s just now paying off. He caught the mounting anxiety among middle-income parents about college costs early on. Most American parents now say that a college degree will be essential for their children’s future success; at the same time, according to a new Pew Foundation poll, only 22 percent of Americans believe that most people can afford to send their kids to college. And 57 percent describe the quality of American higher education as “only fair” or “poor.” To address this anxiety Perry’s opponents offer more government subsidies, which in turn provide an incentive for schools to raise their prices – an attempt to douse the fire with gasoline. Perry’s ideas are cheaper, more comprehensive, more imaginative, and more likely to work.
No, I don’t think so on that one, either. Again, it’s a balanced look at an issue – the Texas educational system – where Governor Perry’s weaknesses and strengths are fairly assessed and presented. It is, in fact, a somewhat more complimentary article than the first one, possibly because Andrew Ferguson is clearly more aligned with Perry’s basic aims and methods. And, speaking more generally: neither article addresses what turned out to be Governor Perry’s real, campaign-endangering problem – which is to say, his debate performance. Which means that neither article is either particularly damning, or even really all that a reinforcement of the major narrative with regard to Perry.
So, if these supposed killing words didn’t come from either of those two articles, then from where did they come? – Because those are the only two Perry-related columns written by Andrew Ferguson in the Weekly Standard since Governor Perry got into the race. And a search for other Perry-related articles written by Ferguson haven’t been exactly fruitful. So… could we get a link?
I mean: extraordinary claims, extraordinary evidence, and all that.
Moe Lane (crosspost)