McCain’s Weekly Standard Posse

John Schwenkler has posted a rebuttal to my response to his “long rant” on John McCain’s hiring of blogger Michael Goldfarb as an online communications staffer.

He links a host of polemical things Goldfarb has written which “suggests that his contributions to the McCain message may end up being … how shall we say? … less than statesmanlike.” That may or may not be the case, given that Goldfarb will be performing a different role and, one presumes, be constrained by the messaging themes decided higher up the chain. But, as with the Edwards campaign’s hiring of some bloggers known for invective-laden screeds, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Matt Yglesias draws a larger lesson, though. Noting that Goldfarb is “only one of a pretty large number of people who’ve shuttled back and forth over the years between organizations McCain controls and organizations Bill Kristol controls,” he reasonably concludes “McCain obviously has an affinity for a [Weekly] Standard-style approach.”

I agree that the McCain-Kristol connection is a reasonable line of argument; indeed, I acknowledge as much in the linked post. If the contention is that the Goldfarb hiring is indicative of a trend toward doubling down on McCain’s neo-con tendencies, it’s a good talking point that’s not only effective rhetoric but actually worth discussion.

My concern was with the “some lowly staffer said X on his blog and therefore his boss must agree” line of thought that permeated most of the initial blog reaction to the hire.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    He links a host of polemical things Goldfarb has written which “suggests that his contributions to the McCain message may end up being … how shall we say? … less than statesmanlike.” That may or may not be the case, given that Goldfarb will be performing a different role and, one presumes, be constrained by the messaging themes decided higher up the chain. But, as with the Edwards campaign’s hiring of some bloggers known for invective-laden polemics, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

    One of the things that has annoyed me with McCain since the beginning is his apparent bowing to the richard Cohens of the world, and thereby his refusal to break out the verbal baseball bat when needed. Goldfarb’s hiring may be an effort to counter that. IMV, it’s a needed one.