On Friday while working away on the step-master at my gym, I glanced up to see Arianna Huffington puffing away on CNN (or was it MSNBC?), calling into question John McCain’s national security credentials. This former McCain supporter claimed her one-time candidate has made repeated public statements showing he doesn’t understand the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam.
Posturing for the netroots, Arianna is merely repeating a notion propagated on the left (most notably by the New York Times) about the presumptive Republican nominee’s confusion of the two leading Muslim sects. A number of conservative bloggers have exposed this MSM interpretation for that fraud that it is. Simply put, it twists McCain’s statements out context (See e.g. these two Powerline posts: here and here).
What struck me about Mrs. Huffington was how far she had come since 2000 when she enthusiastically backed the Arizona Senator for the Republican nomination. While supporting that good man, she frequently badmouthed his GOP rival that year, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush. Her anti-Bush barbs helped her get the attention of Hollywood left-wingers who were already unfavorably disposed to the man, but who had only previously known her as a Republican pundit.
Once she began bashing a Republican, they started taking notice of her political comments, praising her where once they had ignored her. That praise become like an aphrodisiac to this Angelena.
Realizing she could find a greater welcome among the Angeleno political set as critic of Republicans rather than as an advocate for a revitalized conservatism (which she had been throughout the 1990s), she shifted her focus in order to better appeal to her neighbors. Her new-found anti-Republican identity has afforded her a degree of prominence she had not previously enjoyed. Her books now get more mainstream attention. Her web-site, the Huffington Post has become a leading source of left-wing opinion.
So eager has she become to retain her position of leadership in the netroots commentariat that she is now spurning the man whom she once so eagerly supported, merely because he is the Republican nominee. What a delicious irony. Had she not supported John McCain in 2000, she would likely not have gained the media platform from which she now denounces him.