The phrase "in the tank" has now become as ubiquitous on the campaign trail as "hope," "change" or "my friends." As all-too-common as "turning a corner" was in 2004 or 2000's deliciously Orwellian "compassionate conservatism," a laughable turn of phrase that heralded the bizarre, Opposite Day approach of the Bush administration, which gave us the equally inane Healthy Forests and Clear Skies initiatives and, time after time after time after time, placed former industry lobbyists in charge of the very agencies that were supposed to monitor said industries.
(As I wrote on my old blog Doomed Generation back in Nov. 2006: "After Spencer Abraham called for an end to the Department of Energy as a senator, Bush made him head of that department. John Bolton advocated the U.S.'s withdrawal from the United Nations -- Bush made him ambassador to that organization. Lumber Industry lobbyist Mark Rey, head of the Forestry Service. Coal Industry lobbyist J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Lead Industry lobbyist Gale Norton, who once wrote about energy companies' "right to pollute," Secretary of the Interior.)
Anyway, the new catchphrase of the McCain camp was best illustrated yesterday at Politico. Ben Smith, after covering a conference call with McCain chief strategist Steve Schmidt that demanded reporters take a closer look at Obama and rued all this damnable liberal media bias, noted that Schmidt's reasons for looking at Obama were themselves taking some liberties with the truth. When he e-mailed the McCain campaign to check up on this, McCain aide Brian Rogers responded simply "You're in the tank."
This came just one day after Schmidt himself said the New York Times is "totally 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate."
And so the McCain campaign has been reduced to the last straw to be grasped by a dying conservative candidate. When all else fails, blame the media. But the real problem here is not that the New York Times or Politico is a left-wing outfit. Indeed, the Times has done a fine job peddling almost every Bush lie of the past seven years, especially in the lead-up to the Iraq War in the woefully, inexcusably credulous work of Judith Miller. And as for Politico, the site has been dismissed on the left since its inception, given that the outfit's president and CEO, Frederick Ryan, is a former assistant to Ronald Reagan and current Board Chairman of the Ronald Reagan Library and its publisher, Robert Allbritton, is the son of Joe Allbritton, who boasted ties to both the Bush family and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Regardless of the objectivity or lack thereof of the actual reporting, those ties at the top are enough for many hardcore lefties to dismiss The Politico out of hand.
No, it's not the liberal media that is in the tank for Obama. It's reality. As a famous conservative pundit once opined, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." When your vice-presidential candidate demonstrably lies through her teeth again and again, you don't seem to know where or even what Spain is, and your campaign is rife with the very people who took down the economy to begin with, those things tend to drag down a campaign. It's not the media that's responsible for the abysmal shape in which the McCain campaign finds itself, just a few days after what looked like a high-water mark. Indeed, people like Schmidt and Rogers have no one to blame but themselves. Like the man said, the fat is in the fire, the hog is in the tunnel.
And the good time of the greedhead is coming to an end.