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Bad spokesmanship

Earlier this year, when he was still the online editor for the Weekly Standard, Michael Goldfarb and I appeared together on NECN's NewsNight with Jim Braude. Despite our wildly divergent political views, he struck me as a pretty good guy--not a ranter, but a smart conservative you could have a substantive conversation with.

Now, of course, Goldfarb has moved on to bigger things; he's the national spokesman for the McCain campaign. And in that capacity, he recently gave a bizarre, painful interview to CNN. Take a look:

Who's the Unnamed Anti-Semite? A commenter on Blue Mass. Group suggests that it's Jeremiah Wright. Some quick Googling suggests that's correct: in this Fox News clip, which was posted on YouTube back in March, Wright posits a connection between 9-11 and Israel's Palestinian policies, which he labels racist. Making his argument, Wright says this: "I say that dirty word again--every time you say 'Israel,' Negroes get awfully quiet."

So why did Goldfarb get cute? Yes, McCain has previously ruled Wright out of bounds. But this approach--alluding to Wright but refusing to speak his name--seems useless at best. Conservatives who get Goldfarb's reference (assuming he was alluding to Wright) and see Wright as problematic are almost certainly already McCain supporters. Undecideds who might be swayed by Goldfarb's (hidden) argument, but don't know what it is, never get enlightened; instead, they see a McCain flack who seems to be caught in a lie. Finally, undecideds who do know what Goldfarb's referring to witness a McCain surrogate reneging on the campaign's pledge not to bring Wright into the mix.

Is there something I'm missing here? Because this strikes me as a woefully inept bit of flackery.

(Via Blue Mass. Group.) 

  • Bob Neer said:

    Sadly for the professional reputation of Mr. Goldfarb, I think you've got it exactly right. This was a comically inept interview.

    November 1, 2008 12:36 AM

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